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Customer Service Quality To Gain Customer Satisfaction Tourism Essay

This study investigated the customer service quality to gain customer satisfaction of Travelodge Covent Garden. As per I know, this is the first student research based on customer service quality to gain customer satisfaction at the Travelodge London in Covent Garden. This study was to examine customer service quality of hotel, Impact of customer service quality to gain customer satisfaction, Importance of customer service policy and importance of employee training to improve customer service quality.

A questionnaire was circulated in electronic form to 250 customers those who stayed at Travelodge Covent Garden hotel from April to September 2010.Only one fifth (#50) of the total customers were the actual respondents .09 employee of Travelodge Convent Garden were involved in this research. That means 59 completed questionnaires were collected. The respondent customers of Travelodge Covent Garden London, provided information of their visit, customer service quality, degree of customer satisfaction, worst thing that can not satisfy customer, why they choose this hotel and their opinion about the employee of this hotel. The respondent employees provided information how they improve their customer service quality and how they motivated their customer to come to this hotel.

The picture of this study was not straight- forward; some differences which were quite different than common supposition were come out. The study found that customers were expected to get high quality of customer service provided by hotel staff. From this study it could be said that that customer service quality of this hotel is good but their room service quality fail to get customer satisfaction.

Based on these findings, some recommendation had been pinched. It was recommended if business want to get competitive in today’s global market they should concern about their customer service policy by providing training to their employees, as research shows that only trained employee can provide better service to their guests. Customer service manager should concern that their customer will get better customer service and at the same time standard room.

1.0- Introduction:

The main aim of this study is to report the impact of customer service quality to gain customer satisfaction of Travelodge Covent Garden.

With so much competition in today’s global economy, customer service is necessary for any business. In today’s increasingly competitive hospitality sector, every organization marketing strategies and tactics is to make profit and contribute to the growth of organization. Customer service quality is a comprehensive issue that effects all organization. Does not matter how big or small the organization is or what is their interest. Today’s business world, not necessarily hospitality organization, all organization are interested in evaluating and implementing marketing strategies that aim to improve customer service quality to gain customer satisfaction which will help them to be differentiate from other. Customer service is a kind of service which involves a series of work designed to get customer satisfaction. It is one of the most important elements of the marketing mix for products and services. To stay in the competitive market organizations have to consider that customers are not only interested for product or service but also have some concern of how they are getting it. Customers are more educated, more aware about their money. Their expectation of the organizations and the people they buy from is much higher, they want better customer service. Customer service provides an income for the business, it also provides feedback, which can help the organization to improve service delivery on products, improve customer service bring up to date marketing, Production and transference equipments. In this assignment my problem statement is “Does customer service quality play a vital role in order to gain customer satisfaction at Travelodge Covent Garden, London?”

Quality service is the key to a successful hotel business. When customers get better services from a hotel they become satisfied and want to come back at the same hotel when they needed. A satisfied customer will often be a repeat customer. Also that customer may tell other people and referred them in the same hotel where they get great service, which is one of the cheapest effective advertising for that particular hotel.

Travelodge Covent Garden is one of the greatest budget hotel situated in the heart of London. With Travelodge, consumers can expect an easy, calm, stress-free experience and reliable standards of quality and service. Travelodge provides them the best budget hotel which has the spatiality of good customer service and room quality.

1.2- Research question:

This study is set up to answer the following research questions:

1. What is the definition of customer service?

2. Discuss the importance of having great customer service in hotel.

3. What are the most important principles of great customer service?

4. How to improve customer service in hotel?

5. How customer service builds loyalty and profit?

6. Why hospitality organization such as “Travelodge Convent Garden” should assess the success of their customer service policy and how this organization can use this to improve the provision of staff training and development.

7. What are the disadvantages of negative customer service?

1.3- Significance:

1. Customer service is a service which principally helps an industry to keep a deep understanding with customers and manage their customer’s information to understand what is the need and want of their customers.

2. This project will help an industry to improve their customer service. Customer service can make or break a business.

3. This proposed study has also vital significance for evolution of theories of customer service which would help hotel organizations to adopt effective marketing strategy.

4. This research is beneficial to get some reason of having a good customer service policy in business.

5. This research has managerial implication, as managers can get advantage and have better understanding of their customers.

6. It provides that high quality of customer service create loyal customers which are beneficial for the future of hotel.

7. Apart from the above mentioned significance, this research will give me a chance to explore my ideas and views, as a post graduate diploma in hospitality and tourism student which will help me to gain knowledge for my future profession.

1.4- Research Objectives/Goals/Aims:

The objectives of this study are to examine customer service management as a competitive advantage for hotel business. The research aim and objectives explored in this study are:

1. To help the hotel to enhance their competition.

2. To review literature on customer service and its effectiveness.

3. To get loyal customers and to build good reputation and image of hotel.

4. To evaluate competitive advantage of Customer service. Customer service is as important as product quality of hotel.

5. To examine whether hotel business adopts customer service management as a tool to keep customer longer to increase revenue.

1.5 Ethical implications:

Ethical insinuation in a research is principally to carry out the research in a moral and responsible way. As a researcher I must discover a reasonable way of what methodological theory recommends and what is ethical possible from practical viewpoint.

As a researcher it was always attempted to continuance objectivity by making sure all data were collected accurately fully. Some ethical issues I took into consideration are:

a. Ethical treatment of participants:

I designed my survey questionnaire in such a method that respondents do not suffer discomfort, awkwardness or loss of privacy. In order to protect the respondents I clarified the respondents about the benefits of this research and the participant’s rights and protection.

b. Anonymity and Confidentiality:

I offered complete anonymity and privacy to all participants in my research. During the time of my survey questionnaire I never asked name, address or any personal information which might recognize the specific person. All data which I collect kept confidential and used for only research purpose.

1.6 Hypothesis:

Good customer service can help this particular hotel to beat the competitors between the hotels. In today’s world market it is as important as product quality of hotel. It can make or can break.

By providing great customer service quality a particular hotel can get repeat customer or loyal customer which is helpful to save money that might be spent on advertising. Repeat business and word of mouth advertising are the best ways of maintaining a healthy business.

2.0 Literature review:

Reviewing literature is essential for assignment. It can critically form the foundation on which research is built. According to Jankowicz (cited in Saunders, M.et al.2007) literature review is a review which is written for project report should therefore be a narrative and critical analysis what other authors have written. This literature review will introduce the concepts of customer service, importance of customer service, and development of customer service which can help a hotel organization to gain customer satisfaction and to be profitable in competitive hotel business.

2.1Definition of-customer service:

Many researchers have difined customer service quality in different ways. Customer service is the stipulation of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. According to Jamier, L. Scott. (2002), “Customer service is a progression of actions designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation”. The book” Rules to Break and Laws to Follow” is written by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. in 2008.In this book they write that customer never forget the services that they get from an organization. Sometime their trust can be destroyed when they do not get proper service quality or it can be destabilized one day at a time, with a thousand small demonstrations of incompetence.

In today's hyper-competitive business environment, Customer service quality is a significant factor that helps in differentiating service products. According to various literatures, satisfaction of customer is obtained with the escape of high quality service and products. Now consumer are more educated, better informed, more value conscious and demand more for their money. Their expectations of the companies and the people they buy from are much higher. In short, they want better customer service.

2.2 Importance of Customer Service quality:

Marquardt (1989) points out that Customer service quality improvement becomes the most valuable fact in the service industry .This service quality can improve productivity, decrease the cost, build customer satisfaction and increase profit for organization. This is one of the greatest keys for the success of a business. It can literally make or break business. In business, if anyone wants to generate profits by selling their products and services to people who need and want to buy. Customers want to know how the organisation or hotel industry can make their lives better or easier or how the organisation can relieve them of their pain.

Customer service is the most important function in today’s hospitality industry. Many researchers(Olsen2002;kang,Nobuyuki and Herbert,2004;soderlund and Ohman,2005) stated that good customer service quality have been correlated to customer behavioural intentions like purchase and loyalty intention, willingness to spread word of mouth.

Those customers who experience good customer service from a hotel are likely to return to this hotel and even spend more money at other attractions in the area.

Jones and Farquhar (2003) told that good customer service quality make an impact to gain loyal customer. Bolton (1998) pointed out; service quality manipulates customer’s consequent behaviour, intentions and preferences. When a customer chooses a contributor that provides service quality that meets or exceeds his or her expectations, he or she is more likely to choose the same provider again. Besides, Cronin and Taylor (1994) also found that service quality has a significant effect on repurchase intentions. Good customer service helps to increase business. People or customers who leave the hotel which provide them good customer service are likely to tell their friends about the good time they have and also tell their friends and family what type of services they have got. In return, their friends and family will also come to the same hotel, building a growing customer base.

That’s why it’s essential to be consistent in providing excellent customer service, quality food and an inviting or friendly atmosphere.

2.3 Importance of customer service policy:

Having customer service policy is important for any hospitality and tourism business. It is a structure that describes the company’s doctrine of doing business. Many researchers are pointed out some reason of having good customer service policy:

1. Good customer service policy helps to increase the brand name of a hotel. It pushes the brand’s name of any company’s into customer mind. It shows a very positive attitude of customers towards the hotel or company.

2. This policy helps company to get more profit continuously which help to amplify revenue.

3. It helps to adjust and acclimatize employee’s principles and approach in accordance to company ‘service policies.

4. Good customer service policy can feel up whatever consumer want, so consumers spend more for getting these services.

5. It helps to get good competitive advantage which is helpful to maintain company’s position up to date and marketable.

6. Repetition of customer is achieved by a good customer service policy.Customer service policy is a fundamental factor which must be maintained a very standard level especially in hospitality sector in order to achieve target market.

Advertising is essential in growing and maintaining a profitable hotel business. Good customer service helps to increasing advertisement for a hotel. Guests expect high-quality service. Lunchars (1996) said: “the results of a 1990 survey of conference participants revealed that eight of the top ten factors rated most important for guest satisfaction were related to service quality rather than to the quality of facilities”. While the leisure and business markets will undoubtedly have different specific demands for facilities, fulfilling guest expectations for quality service will be necessary for success across all market segments.

On the other hand Poor customer service can wreck the reputation of a hotel, restaurant. People will talk over the Internet or by word of mouth and after getting poor service people will not visit this hotel. Customers are not only external but also internal as well.

Some researchers noticed that a person who has experienced poor customer service from a restaurant will most likely share their bad experience with an average of 10 other people. Those 10 people are extremely like to pass it on again, and after that a huge wave of negative publicity has grown. It is revealed that 80% of all hotel complaints are related to poor service not for poor products and quarter of those surveyed pointed out they would not ever return to this hotel where they received poor service.

These following policy are essential to provide good customer service quality in hotel:

1. A general early check in or late checkout process is maintained.

2. Customer can cancel or adjust their reservation if required. Any cancellation can be done in respect to the type of reservation made.

3. Special needs can be made in request area when customer information is confirmed as a part of online reservation process.

By following these basic rules in maintaining good customer service, company build a relationship with their guests, a relationship that helps their business grow and prosper.

2.4 Conclusion of literature review:

Although many researchers have been done so far on common information of customer service and many theories have been described by researchers but only a few studies have been provided on explaining the effect of customer service in particular hotel. To make a better position in hotel business, increasing profit and getting a brand name at ‘Travelodge London in Covent Garden it is needed to be researched or studied further on various aspects. There is no complete research have been done till now specially impacts of customer service in “Travelodge hotel”. A fastest budget hotel like Travelodge in Covent Garden in London is situated in tourist attracted place. Many types of tourist come here and enjoy holiday. So it can be said that this area could be the best place to carry out this research.

3.0. Research Methodology:

According to Kumar, R. (2005) research methodology is one technique of finding answer to such questions. There are two major types of data collection methods for this analysis: Secondary data collection methods and primary data collection methods. Both data collection methodologies have been used in this research.

3.1 Secondary data collection:

Secondary data are those types of data which are existed and has already been examined by an academic. Saunders, M.et al. (2007) said that literature sources are divided in to three categories: primary like email, report etc; secondary like newspapers, books, journal etc and tertiary are those like encyclopaedia, index etc. In this research all data were collected through the library of London Victoria College, British library, Internet search engines, commercial bibliographic database and dictionaries.

3.2 Primary data collection:

It is raw data. This data may be collected by survey based on questionnaire or interviews. Survey based questionnaire provide quantitative data; on the other hand interviews provide qualitative data. Guba & Linchon (1994) said, “Both qualitative and quantitative method may be used appropriately with any research paradigm” (cited in Saunders, M. et al.2007,pp.100). Both two types of data collection method were used in this research.

3.2.1 Questionnaire Survey:

A self-administered internet arbitrated questionnaire was planned to collect raw data. A semi-structured questionnaire has been prepared and given to about 250 customers whose had stayed Travelodge Covent Garden hotel at least one night in the previous six months. I am contacted those customer by e-mail as my friend who is the customer complaint manager in this hotel. After explaining him that I am doing this research for my study and it is not harmful for the organisation rather than from this research, organization can be benefited. Then he helps me to get those customer mail address.Questionnaire question was closed format questions as respondent (customer) can quickly and easily answer the questions. The questionnaire consisted two sections: First section was designed to explore the demographic data of respondent like age, gender; status (tourist or local consumer) etc .Second section of questionnaire identified the impact of customer service quality to gain customer satisfaction. This questionnaire took 5-10 minutes to fill up. Different methods were used for every part of the questionnaire. For example, the questionnaire asked consumer to signify the quality of customer service in this hotel, using Liker rating scale (very good= 4, satisfactory= 3, poor= 2, very poor= 1). There were some open ended question are also attached with closed format question like” If you have responded others please specify “and also give them (respondent) an opportunity to express their own idea.

3.2.2 Interview:

An interview strategy has been carried out to collect qualitative data which is connected with philosophically phenomenological. According to Kvale, S. (1996) Qualitative Interviews also depend very much on the connection between interviewer and interviewees in developing the open dialogue which can allow a joint construction of considerate in the interview. This technique was applied when the interview was conducted to the H.R manager and Guest complaint manager and some other employee of Travelodge Covent Garden hotel. The interview was conducted through face to face conversation.

3.3 Data Analysis:

Data analyses are two types, quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

3.3.1 Quantitative data analysis:

Table, graph chart, pie chart has principally used to analyse quantitative data. Quantitative data refers to numerical data which has been given in percentage form for better understanding. Saunders et al. 2007 pointed that Quantitative data is supported on meanings derived from numbers and data collection marks in numerical outcomes and analysis conducted through the use of diagrams and statistics.

3.3.2 Qualitative data analysis:

It is a data analysis process which refers to all nonnumeric data that have not been quantified and this process allow us to develop theory from data. Saunders et al. (2007) argued that qualitative data is based on meanings articulated through words and collection results in non-standardized data requiring classification into categories and study conducted through the use of conceptualization.

4. Finding:

Questionnaire was given to 250 customers and it was circulated on August to September 2010. 50 of the total respondents were customers and 09 people were employee of Travelodge London Convent Garden. That means 59 completed questionnaires were collected. This Questionnaire was designed to get information from respondents that customer service quality makes an impact and help to gain customer satisfaction in Travelodge Covent Garden, London. In this questionnaire three sections were designed, First section was designed to explore the demographic data, second section of questionnaire identified the information of customer’s visit and third section designed to identify the impact of customer service quality to gain customer satisfaction.

4.1 Demographic Characteristics:

Demographic data which provide respondents age, gender, status etc

Table-1 Age of respondents

Age(years)

Number of respondents

Percentage (%)

21-30

21

42

31-40

17

34

41-50

12

24

50+

-

-

Total

50

100

This figure shows that biggest numbers of respondents were aged 21-30; the second biggest group of respondents were aged 31-40, that means large numbers of respondents were aged between the ages of 21-40 (Table-1).

Figure-1: Gender

This figure shows that 30 out of 50, which means 60 percent were male and 20 out of 50 means 40 percent were female.

Figure-2: Customer status

Figure II, it shows that most of the guest who came in Travelodge London Covent Garden were holiday maker, out of the total 50 respondents 70 percent were holiday maker and the other 30 percent were business customer.

4.2 Information-customer’s Visit:

This section of the questionnaire were designed to get information of customer service quality of Travelodge London in Covent garden and also identify the level of satisfaction of those customers who came in this hotel.

Figure 3: Frequency of visit to the Travelodge London Covent Garden.

Respondents were asked how many times they were visited in this hotel. This figure shows that 16 percent of customer visited in this hotel very often and 34 percent were visited often, 38 percent sometimes and 12 percent seldom, that means most of the customer came here sometimes and often ( Once in a year and once within six months).

Figure-4: Planning to stay at this hotel.

Respondent were asked how many time they were stayed in this hotel. This figure showed that the biggest number of customer was stayed here 3-5 days. The second largest number of respondent (24 percent) indicated that they wanted to stay here 2-3 days and 20 percent agreed to stay for a single night.

Figure- 5: Main reason to visit in this hotel

Figure- 5 showed that 42 percent guest visited here with friends and relatives, 16 percent came here for rest and relaxation, 14 percent came for business reason, 22 percent came for fun , sports and recreation. Only 6% came for attending conference, seminar and other forms of educations.

4.3 Customer service quality in Travelodge Covent Garden:

Majority of guest expressed their satisfaction with the overall customer service quality of Travelodge Covent Garden but they were less satisfied with the quality of the room.

In Figure- 6, Respondents were asked how the customer service quality of Travelodge Covent Garden London, figure shows that Majority of customer were satisfied about the customer service quality f this hotel. As shown in this figure 46% respondents were satisfied, 14% respondents said that the customer service quality of this hotel was good and 4% said it was very good.24% commented that it was poor and 12% said it was very poor. Adding three points(very good, good and satisfactory) of measuring scale it could be said that 64% commented positive attitude towards the customer service quality of Travelodge Covent Garden and 36 percent showed negative attitude towards the customer service quality of this hotel.

As found Figure-7, it was apparent that the staffs in this hotel are friendly towards their guest. Largest number of respondents (52 percent) were agree that their staff‘s friendliness.22 percent said they were disagree and 12 percent commented that they were strongly disagree.

Figure-6: customer service quality which is offered by Travelodge London Covent Garden.

Figure-7: Staffs in this hotel is friendly towards the guest.

Figure-8: Room quality of Travelodge Covent Garden

As per figure-8, it was showed that the guest of Travelodge Covent Garden did not think that room quality of this hotel is satisfactory. Only 4 percent said it was good.42 percent respondents said that it was satisfactory while largest number of guest (38%+16%=54%) said that was unsatisfactorily (poor and very poor)

Figure-9 Worst reason that cannot satisfy customer

Figure show that most of the customers (70 percent) think that service quality is the main reasons to gain customer satisfaction on the other hand 30 percent think that quality of product is main reason.

*Motivate customer to come again and again.

This question was asked to customer service manager, guest complaint manager, human resource manager and staffs to know how they are satisfying their customers. First of all they are attracting their customers by their web sites which provide all information about their hotel. They offer lowest price with great customer service quality, clean and comfortable rooms and do everything which is needed for a good night's sleep. Travelodge do things differently to other hotel companies for attracting more customers.

*Any plan to improve customer service system and room quality?

This question was asked to the customer service manager, human resource manager to know about their customer service improving plan and improving about room quality. They inform that they are trying to overcome this problem. Already their company has taken some plan to develop their room quality and customer service system. They also said that by this time customers’ complain rates decreased significantly. They consider that customer service quality and room quality are gradually increasing and get customer satisfaction as their customer‘s complaints are decreasing.

5.0 Recommendation and Conclusion:

It is recommended that customer service is an important factor for a hotel to gain satisfied customer and this customer will be loyal customer. Business can be gain more profit by this loyal customer and customer service help to make relationship with customer.

Training is fundamental for improving customer service. Training process help employee how to check in ,how to check out, how the reservation system work, how the equipment work ,how to provide better service to customer and how to deal customer nicely .Smile and eye contact is essential for good customer service.

Employee of Travelodge London in Convent Garden must need to provide their customers’ requirements. Today customer not only want better product they also want services, If company failed to provide better service to their client. In this case they not only lose their customer who get their service but also lose their other customer because of bad reputation .So that company have to concern that the service provided by them is superior to make their customers to be loyal.

The study discovered that company website is an important element to provide better service to their customer. For providing best customer service company should use website. In this website customer can get all kinds of service and idea about this hotel.

From this research, It can be said that customer service quality help to get brand name.

The study showed that the room service quality of Travelodge Covent Garden failed to satisfy their customer’s expectation. So it could be suggested that if they want more customer they should concern their room service quality.

Frome this study it is finding that customer service quality had effective relationship with customer satisfaction. Customer service quality of hotel had positive relationship with guest but room quality revealed an unsuspected result of a negative relation with consumer. It was discovered that room quality was not good but guest’s expectation was high.

Finally, it could be said that further research is still needed to justify the outcome of this research. The research issue may have been similar but the situation in all the research may be different including this research. Further researchers are welcomed to conduct a similar research as this in the identical content.

6.0 References:

1. Saunders, M. et al (2007)”Research methods for Business students”.4th edition, Essex, UK: Person Education.

2. Peppers, Don et al (2008)”Rules to Break and Laws to Follow” Wiley. pp. 24, 164

3. Marquardt, I. A. (1989)” The link between Total Quality Improvement and Market Orientation in Guiry M. and customer service: The Critical Focas for a Firm, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Marketing Science Institute Conference.

4. Olsen, S.O. (2002) “Competative Evaluation and the Relationship between Quality, Satisfaction and repurchase Loyalty”. Academy of Marketing Science, 30(3), 240-249.

5. Kang, S. S.; Nobuyuki, O. et al (2004)”Service quality and its Effects on Customer Satisfaction and Customer Behavioural Intention: Hotel and Ryokan Guest in Japan. Asia Pacific Journal of tourism Research, 9(2), 189-203.

6. Jones, H. & Farquhar, J. D. (2003) “Contact Management and Customer Loyalty” Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 8(1), 71-78.

7. Bolton, R. N. (1998) “A Dynamic model of the Duration of the Customer’s Relationship with a Continuous Service Provider” Marketing Science, 17(1), 45-66.

8. Cronin, J. J. Jr., & Taylor, S. A (1994) “SERVPERF versus SERVQUAL: Reconciling performance-based and perceptions-minus-expectations measurement of service quality” .Journal of Marketing, 58(1), pp.125-131.

9. Kumar, R. (2005). “Research Methodology” Sage Publications Inc p-276

10. Kvale, S. (1996) InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.

11. Turban, Efraim (2002). Electronic Commerce: A Managerial Perspective. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131854615.

7.0 Bibliography:

1. Williams, C & Buswell, J (2003) Service Quality in Leisure and Tourism, UK: CABI publication.

2. Mandi, T. (2010)’Importance of customer service in the hospitality industry’[Online] Available at http://www.ehow.com/facts/importance-customer service-hospitality-industry.html, Date accessed 13/08/2010.

3. Article base Soft (2010) ‘The importance of customer service’[Online] Available at http://www.articlesbase.com/the importance-of customer-servicehtml, Date accessed09/08/2010.

4. Blacharski, D. (2006)”Superior customer service” Ocala, Florida: Atlantic publishing group.

5. Quinn, L. (2006) “Basic Restaurant customer –Service-Dos-and-Donts”, [Online] Available at http://ezinearticles.com/Basic restaurant customer service/Dos-and-Donts.Date accessed18/10/2010.

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