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In all honesty, all of the Distinctive Characteristics of Service Operations can be used as a characteristic in defining Internet delivery, however, I find that Customer Participation, Intangibility and Heterogeneity are the most appropriate one; considering the position of top three.
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Customer Participation is considered a characteristic for the said service because the customer will be the one to do most of the job while the service provider confirms and assures the availability of the service. The customer is the one who would be placing all the detail input and scheduling the service, and will be the one to give any feedback regarding the service that has been received.
Intangibility is also considered a characteristic for the said service because “internet delivery” itself cannot be patented because there are a lot of companies who are into it. Internet delivery is more of an idea and concept that is developed long before to ease the manual delivery work of a human, but no one owns the idea because a lot of people have come up with the idea and improved the concept more or less on the same wavelength. It is more of a general and abstract activity that any company could apply into its system.
Last but not the least, Heterogeneity is considered a characteristic for the said service because every customer has a different want from the delivery system in terms of date, time, package, and other relevant factors. Basically, internet delivery is somewhat a preference item for the customer, not really for the service provider. The customer is the one being satisfied here, and more satisfaction will equate to more future customers that would add to the profitability of the company.
2. When does collecting information through service membership become an invasion of privacy?
Customers are considered the most valuable asset of a company simply because they are the dictators of what the company should do, after all customer satisfaction is the key to success. Given this fact, companies are always careful of what they do with their customers because one slip and they may lose their loyalty forever that is why companies have limits and signed confidentialities with their customers.
The only time that service membership becomes an invasion of privacy is when the company uses the customer/s’ information for other uses, other than the intention that was explained to the customer/s beforehand. One example would be Banks and their confidentiality with their customers. Banks require their customer/s’ full information, considering background and all. However, these data may not be used for other purposes like studies or researchers without the knowledge of the customer. Also, spam emails should not be sent to the inboxes, as well as advertisement calls from other companies that are linked with the bank. These are just a few examples, but customers do value their privacy and a little exposure from them can make them lose their entire trust on the company that has exposed them.
3. What are some of the management problems associated with allowing service employees to exercise judgement in meeting customer needs?
The management is the boss of the company, but there are simply times wherein they need the help of the employees’ judgement in meeting customer needs. Employees are sometimes called to intervene in the problem because they are the ones providing the service, thus they have more experience and knowledge regarding the issue of concern. Management is usually the one that calls the shots regardless of the employees, but in some problems employees are considered very valuable in the decision making process.
Examples of problems that require employees to exercise judgement are the ones at the salon, fast food chains and amusement centers. The salon is basically run by service employees and has created a relationship with the customers, so there are those times wherein the customer talks to them just like an old friend and rants out to them like they’re the problem. Basically, these employees know their customers in and out, and management sometimes need the opinion of these employees regarding price changes or renovations to the place. Fast food chain service employees are exposed to different kind of customer on the line and management could use some opinion on what could be done to lessen the impatience of the customer or if it’s possible to quicken the process pace so that customers would get served as soon as possible. Since service employees are the ones in line, they could give the management first hand opinion of the possible scenarios and their weaknesses to the changes that would be imposed in the system. Lastly, amusement centers have also connected quite a relationship with the players there because they are relied on to fix the machine whenever it breaks down. Management doesn’t know what kind of games majorly plays, so instead of simply buying a new machine for players to toy with, they could ask the service employees what kind of games he hears players talk about or waits patiently in line for.
4. Illustrate the “Distinctive Characteristics of Service Operations” for a service with which you are familiar.
The service that I love and quite familiar with is massage. Massage truly relaxes my body and gets rid of the hard knots on my body when I am stressed from life. But that’s not the point of this. The said service will be explained accordingly,
The customer has the option to decide the type of massage he would like, dry or with oil and the type of oil, and the pressure applied by the masseuse. The customer’s opinion is given much importance in this type of service because it is the way to satisfy the customer’s needs.
The masseuse have to be very prepared in this line of work because customers will come through the door almost concurrently and they expect the same level of satisfaction as they have felt during their previous sessions. There is little time for breaks and employees are alternatively sent out but when explicitly requested by regular customers, they would have no choice but to prepare themselves and aim to achieve the same level of satisfaction they can give.
This service is very much dependent on its customers and without them, there is just lost revenue for each day that goes by and employees are under utilized for the day and the same type of utilization cannot be adapted for the next day because the previous day is a lost opportunity for the service to please its customers. Also, since customers equate to money in this service, this poses as a challenge to all masseuse company services on how they can make their company more amiable than the others.
The masseuse service has long been a practice to distress and relieve the body of pain. This is an idea and concept developed way long before and cannot be patented because of its abstractness. The service is therefore considered intangible and can be provided by a variant of companies all around.
The massage service is different for each of the customer because the customer could ask for a foot, back or full massage, depending on his wants for the day. Also, since there are customers who are considered regular with a fixed service employee, their satisfaction level may be more compared to those who only have the service on rare occasions as the masseuse knows the regular customer’s body more, and therefore knows where exactly to massage the pain away.
5. Critique the “Distinctive Characteristics of Service Operations” by arguing that the characteristics of customer participation, simultaneity, perishability, intangibility, and heterogeneity may apply to goods as well.
Customer Participation is a service characteristic that allows the customer to play an active part in the service process (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Conversely, I say that Customer Participation is not only a distinct characteristic of service operations, but also of goods and products as well. Customer participation is essential to goods and products through customization. Customization basically means that the good or product ordered by the customer must be how he has designed it to be. An example would be a wedding dress wherein the designer provides the service of sewing up and putting the dress together in time for the big date, but it is still the bride who has the upper hand in telling the designer what cloth she’d like, if there’d be lace or bead linings, and so forth. Customer Participation is essential to goods and products when they are being manufactured or produced. Thanks to the field of Ergonomics, companies are now more inclined in considering the feelings and emotions of the consumers, rather than the usability of the good and/or product. Measuring the likes and dislikes of an individual with their preference to certain good or product is hard, but most of the time they are successful with what they have to offer. An example would be post-its that are widely spreading all throughout bookstores. Though they are intended for placing notes, I am one of those guilty consumers who simply purchase numerous post-its because of their design and cuteness. I have over 30 post-its designs and I am currently just using one and all the rest are just lying at home, collecting dust bunnies.
Simultaneity is a service characteristic that allows services to be created and consumed simultaneously, thus not storable (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Conversely, I say that Simultaneity is not only a distinct characteristic of service operations, but also of goods and products as well. Simultaneity is one of the basic components for goods and products because of their so called lives. Battery is occasionally used by the consumer to power a certain good or product, the energy cannot be stored thus it’s usability for the future will depend on the required energy by the certain good or product. Laptops and other electronic gadgets have service life years that say the approximated time they are still usable and efficient, after that they are no longer considered as such.
Perishability is a service characteristic that is considered as a lost opportunity forever when it is not used as it cannot be stored (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Conversely, I say that Perishability is not only a distinct characteristic of service operations, but also of goods and products as well even if they are storable. Perishability is essential for the goods and products that must be consumed as soon as possible because of their shelf lives. Food has an expiration date; depending on what the ingredients are. Although there are preservatives added to some, it is still inevitable for food to be considered as inedible for the human when it is expired because when eaten, it gives bad vibes to the human body.
Intangibility is a service characteristic that merely says service is not patentable because it only exists as an idea and/or concept, an abstract if you may (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Conversely, I say that Intangibility is not only a distinct characteristic of service operations, but also of goods and products as well. Video games may have respective companies and programmers but the idea and concept of the game is general. An example would be racing games where their basic goal for the driver is to drive the vehicle and cross the finish line first, but there are numerous games into that line like the Mario Kart, US Daytona, and more.
Heterogeneity is a service characteristic that results in a variation of services from one customer to another (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Conversely, I say that Heterogeneity is not only a distinct characteristic of service operations, but also of goods and products as well. As I have mentioned earlier, there are some consumers who like to customize the goods and products they purchase because it probably makes them feel more unique and increases their satisfaction level more than acquiring a common good that anyone could get. An example would be the meal that an individual gets from food chains like World Chicken. World Chicken offers a meal that has its own chicken and a choice of one or two side dishes to go with it. With this option, each and every consumer can get different combinations of side dishes from their selection which not only satisfies their hunger but also their wants. Another is the recent fad that had people going nuts, the Yoghurt Ice Cream. Red Mango and California Berry are two of the most popular Yoghurt Ice Cream vendors but they all have something in common, it’s their choice for the consumers to find the right toppings they want on the yummy ice cream. Everybody wins with this because consumers’ individual satisfaction levels are met.
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