Components of a Service

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The organisation I chose to look at in terms of components of a service is The Meikles hotel in Harare CBD. The four components of a service are service delivery, service environment, service product and the physical product. The services have the following additional characteristics intangibility, inseparability, variability and perish ability.

MEIKLES
Intangibility is defined as being, Kotler(2005: 42), “ unlike physical products, services cannot be seen, tasted, felt, heard or smelled before they are purchased.” To reduce the uncertainty of intangibility, buyers look for tangible evidence that will clue them in on the service the organisation provides i.e. the exterior of a restaurant if dirty may put the customer off. Inseparability refers to the way in which both the service provider and customer must be present for the transaction to occur. Therefore this unique characteristic has required hospitality managers to manage both their employees and their customers.

Variability refers to the quality of the service being delivered being dependent on the individual providing said service and the aspect of individuality among other reasons causes that variability. To solve these problem managers can initiate staff training workshops on standard customer care. Lastly perish ability refers to the inability to store services i.e. revenue lost on meals unsold cannot be recovered. To counter this, firms must maximise revenue where possible.

Components of a service are the core performance brought by customers the flow of events designed to provide a desired outcome. It refers to that part of the experience from the transfer of physical goods and this may include communication with the firm’s personnel. This statement comes from Rust et al, (1996:16)

The service delivery

The direct delivering of a service is when many services are delivered from the service producer to the consumer. It is different to channelling for goods. Channels for services are often direct with the owners of the service selling directly to and interacting directly with the customer. At Meikles the following philosophies are applied when approaching service delivery within the organisation.

The front counter is the most important customer service area.  It is the location of the first contact with customers - the frontline.  It may project an image of the Town.  The front counter should be the area where customer service is priority number one. Customers are attended to as soon as they enter the hotel and long queues are avoided. Employees always have a senior supervisor at hand to handle staff/ customer confrontations and avoid the creation of a scene at the front desk. Counters are always kept clean and orderly to give a good impression to customers on arrival. There is adequate signage that directs customers to the proper location within the foyer for assistance or information. Management makes it a point that customer waiting times should not exceed 10 minutes and that all customers are greeted with, “Welcome to Meikles Hotel, How can I help you?”

Telephone communication is usually the most important external access source between the hotel and customers. Telephones should not ring more than 4 times in a given location so that potential customers are not put off. Appropriate information should be given to customers on request i.e. when the phone is answered the employee who answered must give their full name for that special personal touch and reference. Always the employees that answer calls must ask for permission to put the client on hold. All calls of enquiry must be returned within 24 hrs. All calls must also be answered by a live person, no voicemail as it makes the service impersonal  

Follow-through or following-up on promises to customers is perhaps the most important single act in customer service.  It enhances your credibility and the credibility of the organisation when you meet your commitments.  Try to under promise...
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