Minimising Quality Gaps in Service Management

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Identify and discuss the significance and relevance of minimizing Quality Gaps in developing a positive Service Culture and meeting and exceeding Customer expectations of Good service.

Many customers, independent of industry, have expectations of the service they want to receive. The rank of their expectations depends on earlier encounters and experience. Providing good service to your customers is essential to a successful business future. Companies within different industries, particularly in hospitality are renowned to become tremendously successful by offering excellent customer service, and thus creating an everlasting image which contributes to the maintaining of high demand for their goods and services. Quality gaps occur when businesses fail to deliver the quality of service expected by their customers, during the so called “moment of truth”. A moment of truth has been defined as the moment where the quality of a service operation is created (Normann, 2002, s. 21). Quality gaps would not exist in an ideal world of hospitality, or any other industry. However they are almost inevitable since different customers have different expectations, and that is why it is very difficult to determine what satisfaction means to each individual customer. This essay will emphasize on the importance of minimizing these quality gaps to sequentially reach and exceed the customers’ expectations of a positive service culture.

As the economy throughout the world is developing quite rapidly, competition within different industries is becoming tougher and tougher. The goods offered by different companies in similar industries might be nearly the same and that is where excellent customer service makes the difference between success and failure. In order to provide superb service to a customer, you first of all must know what sort of service will satisfy this consumer. There are four types of consumers, the economizing customer, who is looking to gain the maximum value for their time, effort and money (Fitzsimmon, 2001, s. 212). The ethical customer is someone who is willing to pay extra for socially responsible products, for example environment friendly items, for example a paper coffee cup which can be recycled (Fitzsimmon, 2001, s. 212). Following we have the personalizing customer who appreciates being recognized by e.g. staff, and wants to stand out, be unique (Fitzsimmon, 2001, s. 212). And finally comes the convenience customer who is not shopping for the service, but wants to get a hassle-free and fast encounter which they are usually willing to pay a little extra for, for example supermarkets which have home delivery (Fitzsimmon, 2001, s. 212).

What determines if a customer is satisfied or disappointed with your service is the amplitude of received, expected quality of services also knows as quality gaps. These quality gaps can be traced to different departments within a business. Quality gaps from the management occur through company policies, for example penalties for returning slightly late rentals. Why this is a quality gap could be argued, but the obvious customer expectation for returning a wedding dress or other rentals 10 minutes late, could be a verbal warning for next time and not the actual penalty fine according to their policy. In other words perhaps there could be more flexibility in certain policies.

Quality gaps also come from the companies’ marketing division. A lack of communication from marketing will eventually create quality gaps towards the customers. Let’s say that marketing are advertizing a special deal on rental-cars for weekend trips where the customers can have 70% off from the normal price. This will obviously be very popular and attract many customers. On the advert, marketing forgot to add that there are 15 cars available and that this deal is only valid on week 6 – 8 weekends. So obviously customers who come in on week 5 weekend will not be able to get what the...
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