SERVICE MANAGEMENT 7
Companies and organizations exist for the mutual benefit ofconsumers (by getting the service), and service providers (by earninga profit). In most cases, customers choose to be served by more thanone company. The companies, therefore, have to devise ways ofattracting clients and face competition from their complementarycompanies. One of the major ways in which they face this competitionis by ensuring quality service provision. Customers always have thepleasure of choosing the organization from which they can get thebest service. One of the ways they can evaluate the level of servicein an organization is by using the RATER (SERVQUAL) model (Berndnt &Brink, 2014).
This is a model that was designed to evaluate an organization`sperformance by gauging five main factors: the ability of employees togive a quality service, their confidence in service provision, theorganization`s equipment, the ability of workers to empathize withcustomers and their will to solve the client`s quest forsatisfaction. The role of customer satisfaction is meant for allstaff of the organization, regardless of how minor or senior theyare. This essay describes the activities and customer relations offood and drinks company in the US, the Publix Supermarket.
Keywords: organization, customer, satisfaction, employees, company.
Publix supermarket customer services
The role of customer feedback to the services of an organizationshould not be undermined. In Publix, this is not exceptional. Acustomer evaluation criterion is put in place, and this evaluationhelps them improve their service. In their customer service andcomplaints desk and also the website, customers have a very well laidforum of giving their response to the organization`s services.
Kelvin Trooper, a resident of Texas, once visited the group with hisbicycle as usual only to find signposts on the bicycle parking area:"restricted area." He found a place to park the bike andchained it to a nearby post. Furthermore, he thought, it`s only fortoday. The following day, constructions had begun taking place in theparking area, and he had to enquire from a security guard what theyare planning about the same. He was informed that the parking areawas to be converted to a garage, where the company vehicle andmachinery repairing would take place. On further inquiry, he realizednone of the responsible employees was willing to solve the situation. He was disgusted and together with other customers, he had to changehis means of transport. He was used to getting services at Publix,and he could not just shift to another service provider. He usuallyconsidered using a bike to go to Publix supermarket as an officialway of exercise, but now he had to adapt to the new changes. He hadto create more time for aerobics and other field activities. In asimilar way, other customers were affected. Many hanging questionswere left on their minds: Aren`t cyclists welcome? Is theorganization concerned with the customers` welfare? The organizationmust have lost a small fraction of the customers through this andmany other destructive policies made.
Similarly, a lady had complaints about the organization. She orderedfor a given type of cream more than once, but she always got what shedidn`t expect. Upon complaint, the responsible staff was justrelaxant in attending to her for a whole week, and she had to lookfor another service provider. This lady is a representation of themany customers who are probably not able or are not interested inexpressing their take on poor services. Thousands of customers arelost unknowingly.
Chauffeur, a physically challenged customer, once visited Publixwith his wife and the reception was exemplary good. He did not makethe long queues like other clients, and he was served well tosatisfaction. Later, they discussed the same with his wife, and hedecided to flag their happiness by posting their comments on thePublix customer care sites about their satisfaction. That week anincrease in some customers, especially the physically challenged wasnoticed. The reputation of the organization had been improved by justgiving pleasure to one customer (Barbara, 2006). The organization`sstaff recognized that people with disabilities had a right to enjoyservices of the organization just like anyone else. Some employeeswere set aside in a new department to handle the disabled cases. Theprofit margin in Publix that month was also found to increaseslightly. Though these changes could have been because of otherfactors, we should ask ourselves: Why at that particular time? Theimpact of the customer`s response should not be overlooked.
Basing on some observations, I conducted a RATER audit for Publix,and the results were as follows
Reliability: The Company is 60% reliable in their functions.
Assurance: Confidence in the employees was 75%.
Tangibles: The business is 100% equipped (physically).
Empathy: The care for customers given by the organization is petite.40%.
Responsiveness: The willingness to assist customers get what theywant is 60%
Publix has a long way to go for it to be a total consumersatisfactory company.
Understanding the customer needs
An organization should be in a position to understand what acustomer needs in the company, their expectations and their reactions(Teas & Agarwar, 2012). To get this, it is vital to note thatthere are different types of customers. Customers are classified intotwo broad categories according to their service needs and accordingto experience. According to experience, there are the expertcustomer, naïve customer, and the naïve expert customer. Accordingto needs, they are grouped into convenience customer, economizingcustomer, ethical customer and personalizing customer (Haemoon,1999). All these types of customers have different needs.Understanding what your customer needs leads to giving of perfectservices.
Poor services in organizations lead to loss of existing andpotential customers, loss of profits and bad business reputation."Providing excellent customer service contributes to positiveword of mouth marketing- the holy grail brand building"(Berndnt& Brink, 2014). This quote by Steve Cox emphasizes the role ofgood customer relations as a perfect product promotion tool.
Good customer relations always create a friendly environment foremployees, and there is a good customer relationship.
An organization should not overlook the effect of customer serviceon the financial performance of the business. Fair treatments tocustomers always affect their loyalty to the company (Teas &Agarwar, 2012). No matter how simple or small your business is, youcan retain your customers by giving them the proper service theyneed, which they probably couldn`t get in large organizations.
Best ways to ensure customer satisfaction
Both positive and negative customer relations affect the businessadversely. Some of the ways to maintain good customer relationsinclude:
1) Valuing the customer`s time
Some organizations just lose their customers because some of theiremployees never take into account of the client`s time. Some literarywaste customers time unnecessarily (e.g. keeping their customers onhold for minutes and probably the customer is interested in a rathersimple enquiry. In a situation where an employee feels he/she hasconsumed much time for the customer, they should first explain tothem anything happening to keep them on hold. They should then lookfor other options they can give the customer such as asking them tocome at another time or leave their contacts for furthercommunication on the issue in question.
2) Preparedness in an organization.
In some offices, the workers open at 0800hrs only to start theirservices almost one and a half hours later. A customer could bewaiting to be served for one hour. Lack of preparation gives animplication that the organization is disorganized. No customer willtake chances if there is a better option.
3) Being pleasant
If customers are communicated to in a pleasant tone, they alwaysfeel the organization is friendly to them. Despite the emotionalimpact of situations, an employee should never be rude to a customer.A favorite quote by Michael Kerr: "A customer may not always beright, but he does always pay your bills. You may receive a smugsatisfaction, but you will always lose future revenue stream and maycreate a new spokesperson for your competitors". (Berndnt &Brink, 2014). Sensible employees should always put themselves in thehands of the customers and reason out with them in all circumstances.
Barbara, M. (2006). The Power of Personal Service: Why It Matters •What Makes It Possible. How It Creates Competitive Advantage. CHRIndustry Perspectives, No. 1, September 2006.
Berndnt, A., & Brink, A. (2014). Customer relationshipmanagement and customer service. Juta & Company Publishers.
Haemoon, Oh. (1999). Service quality, customer satisfaction, andcustomer value: A holistic perspective. Hospitality Management 18(1999) 67Ð82. International journal of hospitalitymanagement.
Teas, R., Agarwar, S. (2012). Quality ques and perceptions of value:an examination of the meditation effects of quality and sacrificeperceptions. Iowa State University working paper #37.6 Iowa StateUniversity.