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The quality of service is a representation of the customers expectations from a hotel industry which it should provide and the perceived kind of service and performance (Parasuraman et al., 1988).Many researches in the past have established that there is a great relationship between the quality and costs (Crosby,1979) , the satisfaction of customers((Cronin and Taylor,1992) , marketing by means of words(Caruana, 2002) and profitability (Santos, 2003).
The importance of service quality in service organizations has been proven as a critical determinant of competitiveness (Lewis, 1989). However, despite the increasing importance of the service industry and quality service as a critical success factor, service quality concepts are not well developed within the service sector. In the context of this review, it was found that the service sector is still behind the manufacturing sector in terms of embracing philosophies such as Total Quality management (TQM) (Wilkinson, et al 1991).Dale and Cooper (1992) describes Total Quality Management (TQM) as the involvement of every member of the organisation co-operating to furnish products and services that meet their customers needs and expectations. Linking to this, Wilkinson and Witcher (1991) further state quality in service organisation goes beyond the mere application of quality management into the whole organisation. Quality becomes the way of life that inspires every part of the organisation. Quality is critical for competitive success. The potential of IT to improve the quality of travel and tourism services is currently under-exploited (Poon, 1993). However, companies do recognise that they can develop an effective competitive strategy by lowering distribution costs and improving the service provided.
The assessment of service quality based on Parasuramans Et als(1988) was bassed on measuring five main dimensions of service which were
(4) responsiveness; and
2.2 Customer Orientation
Customer orientation lies at the heart of the marketing concept (Bateson and Hoffman, 1999). The purpose of a business is to create and maintain satisfied and profitable customers (Levitt, 1986). Customers are attracted and retained when their needs are met. So businesses are required to understand the customers and to build the organisation around them. This requirement is particularly important for service, which in many instances still tends to be operations dominated rather than customer oriented (Bateson and Hoffman, 2006). Customer satisfaction depends on a products perceived performance in delivering value relative to a buyers expectations. If the products performance falls short of the customers expectation, the buyer is dissatisfied. If performance matches expectation the buyer is satisfied. Thus, customer delight creates an emotional tie to a product or service, not just a rational preference and this creates high customer loyalty. Satisfied customers make repeat purchases, are less sensitive, and talk favourably to others about the company and its products. So businesses need to realize the importance of creating satisfied customers. (Kotler, 2003). This involves a consumers overall, enduring evaluation of a concept or object, such as a person, a brand, a service (Arnould, Price and Zinkhan, 2002)
2.3 Customer Attitude
Customer attitudes can be different from customer to customer. These attitudes normally differ by customers age, group, gender, family structure, social class and income, race and ethnicity and culture. People have attitudes about almost everything- religion, politics, clothes, music and food. An attitude describes a persons relatively consistent evaluation, feelings and tendencies toward an object or an idea. Attitudes put people into a frame of mind for liking or disliking things and moving towards or away from them (Kotler, 2003). A regular customer of a restaurant who receives a bad meal may begin to believe the food quality of that particular restaurant is decreasing. If that customer again receives a bad meal so then a negative belief may be permanently fixed and they will stop purchasing from that restaurant. So it is important for the business to develop the customer beliefs or attitudes toward the product or service of the business.
Allport (1997) says the concept of attitude helps to explain the consistency of a person, since a single attitude may underline many different actions. Psychologists define attitude as the relatively enduring orientations that individuals develop towards the various objects and issues they encounter during their lives (Fontana, 1981). An attitude is not fleeting; it is an orientation that lasts over time. An attitude is general in that it summarizes evaluations over a wide range of situations. Attitudes are product of information acquisition. That is attitudes are learned beliefs, feelings, and reaction tendencies. Beliefs are thoughts, linking an object to some feature or characteristic (Sternthal and Craig, 1982). Actually attitudes help consumers to make choices whether minor or important, such as consumers have attitudes towards a restaurant and attitudes towards a university. A consumers overall evaluation of a product sometimes accounts for the bulk of his or her attitudes toward it. When a business or manager wants to assess attitudes of a customer, it can often be sufficient for them to simply ask the customer How do you feel about the Carlsberg? By doing this a business or manager can understand the customers needs and feelings toward the product or service. So, based on that, they can deliver the product or service to the customer for meet their requirements to make them satisfied.
2.4 Customer Satisfaction
Satisfaction can be defined as A judgement that a product, or service feature, or the product or service itself, provides a pleasurable level of consumption- related fulfilment, including levels of under or over fulfilment (Oliver, 1997). Customer satisfaction has been noted as a major element needed to create and sustain a competitive business (Ueltschy, Laroche, Tamila, & Yannopoulos, 2002). Customers will be satisfied if the services they receive are at least as good as they were supposed to be, a consumer is considered satisfied when his weighted sum total of experiences shows a feeling of gratification when compared with his expectations. On the other hand, a consumer is considered dissatisfied when his actual experience shows a feeling of displeasure when compared with his expectation (Choi & Chu, 2001). So there is a need to provide the quality of product or service to the customer, to meet their expectations. This is because service quality leads to customer satisfaction. Service quality offers a way of achieving success among competing services and service quality differentiation can generate increased market share and ultimately mean the difference between financial success and failure. Ample evidence suggests that the provision of quality can retain the customer. Repeat customers yield many benefits to the service organization. The cost of marketing to them is lower than that of marketing to new customers. (Bateson and Hoffman, 2006). Also regular customers are familiar with the script so the level of risk for them is reduced. The true quality is said to be evaluated by the customer during and after the service encounter. Customers will tend to compare their pre-service expectation with the perceived or actual performance. Differences between expected and perceived performance will have an influence on the customers perception of the organisation- either positive or negative. This appears to be the main theoretical underpinning of the service quality model (Gronoos, 1983).
2.5 Complexity of Service
Nowadays, in the hospitality and tourism industry, people are increasingly concerned about the service they are getting. Customers are demanding higher and higher level of service, and firms are recognising more and more the critical role service plays in their ultimate success (Heskett et al, 1994). The delivery of service within tourism and hospitality is frequently located firmly within marketing. Service enters the discussion through a consideration of the characteristics of tourism which set the industry and its products apart from other industries and products (Baum, 2006).
Service companies are different from manufacturers in that they do not produce thing any tangible from scratch. Consequently, service firms often face challenges such how do they market their product that no one can see; price a product that has no cost of good sold; inventory a product that can not be stored; or distribute a product that seems inextricably link to its provider? (Bateson and Hoffman, 2006).
Service offered by hospitality firms, if compared to manufacturing are different because of the four unique characteristics namely intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity, and perishability (Cowell, 1984). These characteristics create difficulties for service employee to deliver quality service to the customer.
Customers perception toward business is to get the same standard or improved standards of service each time they return to the firms. So if service employee can improve their service delivery standards time on time, in turn it is beneficial for the business. But the unique characteristics of heterogeneity indicate the variation in consistency from one service to the next (Bateson and Hoffman, 2006).That means, in a service business, no two service performances are ever exactly alike. Because services are performed by people for people, so service performances cannot really be controlled, some variation in the service experience will always occur (Olsen, Teare, and Gummesson, 1996). Some factors such as service employees personal problems, feelings, moods etc. can create significant differences in their day to day service performance. Because of these features present in the services, businesses are facing difficulties to maintain the desired service quality to the customer.
The intangibility factor is said to be the key that will differentiate service industries from other industries (Cowell, 1984). A service can not be demonstrated, nor can a sample be sent for customer approval in advance of purchase as like product does (Baum, 2006). Service are defined as performances, deeds, and efforts; where as, goods are defined as objects, devices, and things. Because of intangibility, services can not be seen, felt, tasted or touched in the same manner as physical goods can be sensed. As a result of intangibility of services a number of problem arise such as patent protection, the difficulties involved in displaying and communicating that attributes of the service to its intended target market, and the special challenges involved in the pricing of services (Bateson and Hoffman, 2006).Concern of pricing, yield management systems are used by airlines, hotels and other service providers to ensure optimum use of facilities and these are usually focused on pricing and marketing strategies (Baum, 2006).
A unique characteristic of inseparability creates another problem in services. That means, sales, production and consumption of a service take place almost simultaneously, while there is usually a long lead time between production and sale of product in other words the concept of inseparability as used in the continuum. That means it is difficult to distinguish between the production of the hospitality and tourism service and its consumption, especially when the customer is personally part of that production process. This has critical implications for the management of quality in the tourism and hospitality business, in that the level of checks and inspection characteristic of the manufacturing sector not can be applied (Baum, 2006).
A service can not be centrally provided; inspected, stockpiled or warehoused it is usually delivered where the customer is by the people who are beyond the immediate influence of their management (Baum, 2006). Perishability refers to the fact that services not can be saved, their unused capacity can not be reserved and they can not be inventoried. Unlike goods that can be stored and sold at a later date, services that are not sold when they become available cease to exist. So without the benefit of carrying an inventory, matching demand and supply within most services firms is a major challenge. Furthermore, the lack of inventories and the need for the service provider to provide the service leads to several possible demand and supply scenarios. In contrast to their service producing counterparts, manufacturers of goods could more easily adapt to these scenarios through selling or creating inventories (Bateson and Hoffman, 2006)
2.6 Hospitality Training & Education to Employees
Learning can perhaps be best understood as a change in an individuals range and repertoire of behaviour. It is the process by which behaviour is modified, either by the addition of new and different capabilities, or by the extension and enhancement of those that an individual already possesses (Joy-Matthews, Megginson, and Surtees, 2004). They further state, if learning is based on and follows from experience, and then it seems clear that learning will be influenced by a persons exposure to different situations. Learning outcomes leading to increased capabilities will, therefore, reflect the nature, variability and intensity of what people are required to do and the opportunities that they have to experience new and different situations (Joy-Matthews, Megginson, and Surtees, 2004). Taylor (1995) states that learning styles are a means for improving communication. Styles include visual, auditory, and tactile. Personal preferred learning styles are so deeply ingrained that people have the tendency to apply their own style to deal with other people. Yet they need to address the various learning styles of the audience. It is widely accepted that working in the hospitality field requires interpersonal, analytical, social and managerial skills. How hospitality educators import these skills has been the topic for a great deal of discussion.
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