Raising Customer Satisfaction: Service Qualifiers and Winners to Loyalists

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Raising Customer Satisfaction: Service Qualifiers and Winners to Loyalists

I have worked in numerous restaurants over the years, but my experience at Joe’s Crab Shack in Bellevue, Kentucky left quite an impact on me. Joe’s Crab Shack is one of the few restaurants in Greater Cincinnati that serves seafood at a reasonable price. The combination of a providing a rare product at a reasonable price seems like a business strategy that should ultimately lead to success. So, what would make a customer choose to pay a premium rate at another restaurant for almost identical food? What was wrong with the service that Joe’s was providing? Firstly, because Joe’s Crab Shack is a restaurant it is in the Service Factory Quadrant according to Roger Schmenner’s Service Process Matrix (Fitzsimmons). This is because Joe’s has a low degree of customization and contact with the customer and has low labor intensity and high capital expenditures. However, because Joe’s has a retail section within the restaurant it is shifted downward toward the Mass Service Quadrant. The difference between the Service Factory Quadrant and the Mass Service Quadrant is that the Mass Service Quadrant has high labor intensity and low capital expenditures. Besides retail stores, grocery stores and schools are typical industries in the Mass Service Quadrant. Secondly, there are five main Dimensions of Quality: reliability, tangibles, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. Reliability refers to the company’s ability to perform the promised service, tangibles refers to the company’s physical facilities, equipment, and appearance of personnel, responsiveness refers to the company’s willingness to help customers and provide prompt service, assurance refers to the knowledge and courtesy of employees, and finally empathy refers to caring, individualized service (Fitzsimmons). Out of these five Quality Dimensions, reliability, tangibles, and responsiveness are more likely to increase the quality of services within the Service Factory Quadrant. Reliability really applies to all services for the mere fact that “customers expect service companies to do what they are supposed to do. They expect fundamentals, not fanciness; performance, not empty promises,” (Parasuraman 40). For example, when customers go to a typical dine-in restaurant, such as Applebee’s, they expect an employee to take their order and then receive their order, and if customers take their cars to Jiffy Lube to have the oil changed, then they expect that the mechanic will change the oil. Furthermore, tangibles are an important quality dimension for restaurants to focus on because the majority of customers would prefer to eat eye-pleasing food in a clean facility. Responsiveness is another key quality dimension for restaurants because although meals are significantly longer throughout Europe, most American consumers are not happy with the service if it takes longer than an hour to receive their food at a restaurant. By satisfying these three service quality dimensions, a service within the Service Factory Quadrant of Schmenner’s Service Process Matrix more likely to achieve customer satisfaction. Although many managers believe that simply focusing on the applicable service quality dimensions guarantees customer satisfaction, satisfying a customer is not that simple. According to Parasuramen, service quality is equal to customers’ perceptions minus their expectations (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1985). In other words, during and/or after a service customers perceive their experience in a certain way, and a service achieves quality if that perception meets customers’ prior expectations. These expected requirements, or dissatisfiers, are the basics assumed by customers whereas satisfiers are “requirements that customers say they want,” (Fitzsimmons). Service satisfiers and dissatisfiers do not exceed customers’ expectations, they meet customers’ expectations. Both dissatisfiers and satisfiers are service...
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