|Subject Code and Name||SDM404: Service and Design Management|
|Assessment 1||Service Quality Evaluation and Analysis of Service Management Strategies|
|Length||Maximum word count is 2000 words which excludes the Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Reference List.|
|Learning Outcomes||This assessment addresses the following subject learning outcomes:|
The assessment task is to develop the critical thinking and application skills to a given case scenario using a prescribed business model or analytical framework to resolve service encounter issues. The task requires you to critically evaluate service quality and analyse the service management strategies of a midscale boutique style hotel in the form of an academic report. To complete the task, you will be required to apply your theoretical knowledge to the hypothetical Hotel Sunnybank.
Instructions for The Task:
You are the service design consultant who has been briefed by the hotel’s Board of Directors to produce a report that reviews its current service operations and management strategies. You are also expected to provide recommendations on what strategies to keep and which strategies that require modification. You are to base your report on findings from the appended feedback collated from the annual customer and employee surveys (File Attachments 1 and 2).
In your report, your task is to undertake the following:
You are to ensure that each of the above task component is well linked to the case study. The structure of the report should be as follows:
Students will be assessed according to:
Case Scenario for Assessment 1:
Hotel Sunnybank has approached your service design firm to critically assess the areas that need improvement of quality service so that it can better satisfy hotel guests. The hotel had been operating for three years and would like to review its current strategies to face future challenges arising from the evolving needs of its business and leisure customers.
Located in the outer fringe of the city, the 200-room hotel offers bus shuttles to the city’s retail district and to the regional airport. The hotel relies on transient business travellers during weekdays and leisure customers on the weekends, riding on its popularity as an events venue, especially weddings. It has a large multi-purpose function room with an adjoining garden that provides extended capabilities. Other facilities include a spa with several treatment rooms, a gymnasium and a 100-seater restaurant with bar that cater for both resident and non-resident guests. Its operations comprise of six key departments, headed by the General Manager: Front Office, Concierge, Housekeeping, Food & Beverage that includes an Events unit, Human Resource and Marketing/Sales.
File Attachment One – Service Levels (Guest/Customer feedback)
|“Despite the old charm of this beautiful building which we love, the decor and facilities both in common areas and rooms are worn out and desperately need refurbishment. Mini bar was not fully stocked and there was no price list. We requested from housekeeping extra towels and toiletries for our kids, and it was not attended to for 4 hours after being reminded. Room service wasn’t great. The meals we ordered took half an hour longer to|
|“As a business traveller, I highly recommend this hotel: no problems with checking-in, wake-up calls were spot- on, and no errors with my bill on my express check-out. They even had some final touches by offering freshly brewed coffee on cold wintry mornings before I took my booked shuttle to the airport. Very customer attentive|
by the hotel!”
|“We enjoyed five nights at the Hotel Sunnybank. We had a premium room on the top floor, which was extremely quiet! The room and bathroom were beautiful and spacious, extremely clean and comfortable. We especially enjoyed the fabulous and varied breakfast buffet daily that included delicious Western and Asian foods and even made-to-order omelettes. Front desk staff were friendly, efficient and knowledgeable”|
|“I am totally unsatisfied with the attitude of the front desk staff at checking-in time. They were unapologetic in their inability to locate my reservation in the system, making me and my family wait for nearly 45 minutes. I spoke to Guest Relations about my experience and mentioned this in the hotel survey form. Surprisingly for a hotel that stressed so much on quality service, there was no redress being offered nor any explanation given for the inefficiency at the front desk.”|
|The Concierge was incredibly helpful when my little girl left her favourite doll behind in the room after we had checked out. I phoned the hotel from the airport and was directed to the Concierge Desk who located the doll and had it couriered back to my home address with a note by the “doll”, written to say “Glad to be back after an extended stay on my own. Made friends with the hotel workers and hope to see them again one day!” A very|
kind gesture, overwhelmingly creative by the hotel’s caring staff.”
|The restaurant was simply exquisite, headed by a very capable maitre’d with attentive, customer-oriented staff. The meals were prepared to our requirements (for two in our party of five was a vegan and allergen sensitive). Our mains arrived at different times causing one of the mains to cool off considerably but the supervisor who noticed this ordered the staff to have both mains served up at the same temperature. Overall, service is|
Service Quality Evaluation and Analysis of Service Management Strategies
The hospitality industry is going to be competitive day by day and with this, the hotel entrepreneurs are facing challenges in their business path. The report has highlighted various customer service related and some other management-related issues with different situations. The customers’ and the employees’ feedback have been shown to understand the actual issues in the management. The discussion of just in time management will help the other hotel owners to reduce waste and increase productivity and the other idea of training will develop the skills of hotel employees. The final exclusive suggestions will also help the other hotel entrepreneurs to gain a competitive advantage in the hotel industry.
The report is based on the discussion of the development of hotel service to the customers. The service industry has been more developed and competitive with the increased cautiousness of the customers. This report will be discussed with a case study of Hotel Sunnybank. Different issues that have arisen in the hotel will be discussed through SERVPERF model and solutions of those problems will be indicated with different theories. Different situations will be highlighted with the discussion for the reference of the reader. Finally, some recommendations will be suggested for the further development of Hotel Sunnybank.
2. Evaluation of Key Service Quality Dimensions.
Jamal and Anastasiadou (2009) argue that the service quality dimension creates and upgrade customer loyalty through customer satisfaction. Service quality model developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) describes different types of the gap and its reason to be seen. On gap 5, the model shows the gap between the service expected and perceived by the customer. Service quality dimension is the factors which brings a sense of satisfaction for the customer while using product and service. According to the SERVQUAL model, there is five dimensions of service quality which impacts on the expectation and perceive of service. They are tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, empathy and assurance. (Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry, 1985)As indicated by Grönroos (1993) received service quality rely upon the past experienced service, word of mouth and the perceived service.
Figure 1: SERVQUAL MODEL
Source: (Brink & Berndt, 2005)
Tangibles are the physical evidence of the service such as the physical appearance of staff, physical ambience, tools and equipment used to offer service, other customers in the service environment which must show positively of the hotel (Brink & Berndt, 2005).In the context of Hotel Sunnybank, it has received positive and negative feedback. The positive feedbacks are qualitative premium room with a spacious and beautiful bathroom, exquisite restaurant whereas the negative are old décor and amenities of the common areas and room and not enough facilities at the room. From this understanding of tangibles, the perception of customers shows that the hotel has good service quality on tangibles, however, it lacks some of the expectation of customers.
Reliability includes the steadiness service and dependability which means no errors in service delivery and offering of service on right time as promised. Hotel Sunnybank is far behind in terms of reliability as most of the complaints fall under this dimension such as late check-in process, late room service, delay in service by the housekeeping staff however a customer perceived express check-in and check-out.
The willingness of the staff to provide service to the customer comes under responsiveness such as replying the customer call immediately, being initiatives. (Dale, Van der & Van lwaarden, 2007) According to customer feedback, it seems that some of the customers believed that some of the service providers lack responsiveness and paid little attention to their needs. This infers some of the service providers didn't have the expected 'readiness' to render service immediately and genuinely. For example, staff from the front desk, housekeeping and room service.
Empathy is concerned with offering personalized service, understanding the need and expectation of customers. In terms of empathy, the customers responded with the positive feedback for the staff of concierge and restaurant and negative feedback for the front desk staff for being rude to the customer.
Assurance includes the feeling of safety to the customer, the level of confidence in staff ability and the flow of accurate information.
In terms of the Hotel industry, service quality is mainly determined by the customer (Saleh & Ryan, 1992). Evaluating all the dimensions of service quality of Hotel Sunnybankbased on the customer perspective, the hotel lacks the reliability of service in different sector of service which is comparatively a low level of service. Also, Parasuraman et al. (1985) discovered that customers positioned reliability as the most significant dimension of service quality. Getty and Thompson (1994) in a relevant study on the hotel industry also recognize reliability as the most important service quality dimension. Apart from reliability another factor of service quality has both positive and negative feedback for the same service by different customers. This shows that service quality cannot be measured through the SERVQUAL model. Some researchers argue that the measuring process of the gap between expectation and perception, psychometrically cannot gain the level of service quality. Cronin and Taylor (1992) recommended the SERVPERF model which was based on the performance in service quality measurement. SERVPERF was comprehensive more of variance in overall service quality measurement than SERVQUAL.
3. Identification and Analysis of Existing Service Management Strategies
From the response of the case study it has been proved that there is a lack of physical service from the management of the hotel and hence, some customers are dissatisfied with the service of the hotel authority. Despite the positive feedback from some customers, some customers have viewed that the facilities in the commonplace needed refurbishment. Stock in the minibar was not sufficient and there were no towels and toiletries for kids. Further, the attendant came after four hours.
Stocks in the minibar came to an end because of the mismanagement of the stocks in the bar and hence, inventory management, here is necessary to control and handle the stock in the hotel minibar. Just in time Inventory Management theory reduces storage cost (Mohamed, 2017). The Just in time Inventory Management theory should be applied here to manage the stock in the bar. According to this management theory, the supply process of drink in the minibar will be processed according to the demand of the drink in the bar. When the demand for drink will increase, the management will supply the drink in the bar. Just in time theory will minimize the waste of stock in the hotel also. The staffs in the hotel that attending the customers hours after hours should be motivated through some incentives and they should be made realized and responsible for their own responsibilities.
Figure 2: Just in time management theory
(Source: Phogat & Gupta, 2017)
One portion of customers has shaded their views again and again that the staff who attended the customers late did not apologize for their mistakes and this means that they are not cautious and responsible for their duties. Apart from the customers, the employees of the hotel have also admitted that their departmental manager is more helpful and cooperative than their manager and this proves that the employees of the hotel need an organized training so that all the employees can learn their duties and responsibilities and they will also aware of how they should perform their responsibilities efficiently (Rahayu, Rasid & Tannady, 2019). The staff in the hotel will increase their responsiveness to their customers. In this way, the customer service of the hotel can be reformed. Hotel industry stands mainly on service and the developed service of the employees will surely satisfy the customers leading to the success of the hotel. The negative feedback of the customers has mainly come on the front desk of the hotel and the employees at the front desk deal with the customers mainly. Although one of the customers has given positive feedback on his or her service and has explained how surprisingly the concierge of the hotel was helpful and how he or she helped to get the little girl of the customer back her favourite doll.
If opinions are taken from the employees, then one of the employees of Hotel Sunnybank has admitted that their supervisor and the Manager are not responsible and the employees have to carry order the order of the Manager and Supervisor without sharing their own opinions and this has degraded both the cloture and progress of the hotel. The employee says that the management always takes decision without giving any value to the opinions of the employees. According to the employee, whenever there is any bad impression on the management then they pass on the blame to the junior staffs. This is demotivating all the employees breaking the culture of the entire hotel (Choi, 2019). Again it is suggested that cultural training is necessary to train all the management staff and they should know through behavioural leadership style how they should deal with their subordinates (Noe & Kodwani, 2018). If the employees will be trained with behavioural theory, their empathy will be increased and they will serve their customers from their own will and their roles will not be burdensome to them.
From the above analysis, it is clear that there is lack of reliability also in the management of Hotel Sunnybank and lack of reliability means lack of real service and mental preparation of the employees to provide service. The bureaucracy has killed all the creation and motivation of the staff. There is no proper communication between different departments and hence, employees remain confused regarding their duties, opportunities and promotions and this has totally destroyed the culture and framework of the hotel. Financially constrained companies can make a difference through corporate governance (Dogru, 2018). Ethics is also necessary for sound corporate governance, and the sense of ethics through proper training will teach all the employees to sound corporate governance for long time sustainability in the hotel industry. Hence, the above strategies with the alignment of the SERVPERF model will make the progress of Hotel Sunnybank.
The hotel industry is based on the customer service and in this age of competition customers are also becoming more and more cautious regarding the appropriateness of their service. Customers are one of the core parts of the business and customers can switch to other corporations if they go not get their service up to expectation. In a hotel, many an issue can arise due to lack of management policies and strategies. Lack of customers service can be explained through the model ‘SERVPERF model’ This is a model through which customers’ dissatisfaction can be analyzed through the five matrixes – Tangibles, that has a physical evidence in staffs, Reliability that means there will be no errors in service, Responsiveness, which is necessary for prompt service to the cutworms, The next is the empathy through which staffs can realize their responsibility to their customers. The final is the assurance through which a corporation evaluates all the dimensions and then creates reliability. The SERVPERF model’ is more effective than any other evaluation model.
There are many management theories that can be applied to the development of an organization. For example, through the just in time method, the Pioneers of an organization, determine the supply based on the actual demand of a product. Thus, the Just in time method avoids the waste of management resources. The second is training. Appropriate training program develops employee skills and culture and employee culture is needed to develop the sense of responsibility of employees. Employee culture can be reformed through different behavioural theories also.
After the service quality analysis of Hotel Sunnybank, the following are the strategies for service development: