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Customer Service

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Part 1

Recommendation of an appropriate Quality Scheme

Quality refers to the fundamental or unique trait attributable something. Quality is more than skin deep and it goes beyond mere characteristics that make up something. It seeks to unveil all the imperative, distinctive features that constitute something while precisely trying to bring out the essential elements inherent in the subject matter. In business, quality is often entangled with key decisions with regard to effective management systems aimed at attract customers to purchase their products and/or services and consequently sharpening the competitive edge of an organization. A quality assurance scheme is an efficiency management approach that incorporates standards, audits as well as certification in a bid to ensure that the products and/or services produced undergo various processes and procedures that ensure quality and value for customer satisfaction. Standards are the conventional regulations aimed at controlling the execution of work. Audits on the other hand entail inspection of the overall activities involved in the production process to guarantee that all the standards are complied with. Certification demands that after a successful audit, an official confirmation of the audit process to detect any discrepancies if any is vital in order to certify the eligibility of the members or processes involved in the production course.

The leading thinkers and prolific contributors of quality management such as Deming, Juan and Crosby reiterated on different quality management philosophies that are extremely of importance in ensuring the implementation of quality assurance schemes aimed at improving the performance of any organization for improved customer services and hence increased turnover. Any business organization must aim at enhancing value and quality if it aims at attracting customers and carry on with its business operations in any environment successfully. As a Quality Assurance Manager, I represented the Oxford Hotel Group in a meeting which was held at the Head Office in London. There, we deliberated on four internationally recognized Quality Assurance schemes that consisted of ISO 9001, Investor in People, EFQM, and the Six Sigma which were considered to be the relevant management approaches that would spearhead the provision of world rate quality services and attract international customers accordingly.

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A critical analysis of the four schemes unveiled the following characteristics of each scheme. Firstly, a brief scrutiny of the ISO 9001 depicts that the scheme spells out necessities for a quality management system where an organization wishes to lay bare its aptitude to consistently provide product and/or services that congregates customer and pertinent statutory and regulatory requirements.  Cianfrani, Tsiakals, & West (2009) affirms that the scheme aims at enhancing customer satisfaction through the efficient appliance of the system, which may include processes for persistent upgrading of the system and the guarantee of conformity to customer and pertinent statutory and regulatory requirements. These requirements are basic and are intended to be germane any organization in spite of type, size and product and/or services that the company dedicates itself to provide. The benefits accrued to this system of quality management are that, the system involves consistent, repeatable processes is a common, tacit system that improves efficiency in the operation of the business to ensure quality.  This means that, workers are always made aware of what to do, and how it is to be done. Workers do not waste time making things up, finding things out, reinventing wheels, or duplicating efforts. Another remarkable feature about ISO 9001 is that the organization enjoys more or better business, this is because the business can easily sell and attract new customers and indeed, adopting the endorsement will distinguish the hotel from others and hence attract more distinguished and potential customers both regionally and internationally. However, the scheme has its impedes such as the huge costs associated with the certification process, also the unforeseen expenses linked with the certification process which is maintained for as long as the business is a going concern. In addition, a problem may arise in a situation whereby the employees are not interested in or are not capable of understanding and completing the policies and procedures necessary to maintain the ISO 9001 status this might lead to the failure of the scheme and eventually render the system ineffective.

Secondly, the Investor in People quality management scheme is business management strategy which entails the management’s commitment to always endeavor to train employees in order to work toward achieving and realization of the organization’s business goals and objectives.  Taylor & Thackwray (2001, p26) reiterates that it also involves the execution of habitual reviews of the training and development needs of workers, and states the procedures vital in the evaluation of the investment made purposely for the training so that achievement and future effectiveness is assessed for consistency. This system facilitates any type of organization to advance its performance through better management and development of the organization’s workers by linking their goals, aspirations and objectives with the organization’s plans. An espousal of the system will augment our organization to enjoy benefits such as, an enhanced and attractive business image both locally and internationally, improved communication systems that encourages better understanding of individual and organization’s goals and objectives hence counting on their improved performance due to the motivation. Besides, the scheme enhances better management of change while keeping the employees at per ensuring that better customer services are always endowed within the employment fraternity. Consequently, the business will attract customers even with the recognition of the organization as an Investor in People. The shortcomings connected to this system may include the time and financial commitment required to resources Investors in People which is very costly. In addition, an organization may try to make Investors in People an achievement and end up becoming skeptical of the value of Investor in People which may result to the organization’s ignorance of the human resources aspect of the organization.

Thirdly, we discussed about the European Foundation of Quality Management (EFQM) model which is a quality management scheme which is a non-prescriptive scaffold that bases its operations on quality leadership, strategy and planning, people, partnership, resources, processes, customer oriented results, people results, society results and key performance results.  According to Stimpfle (2011, p37), notes that this management approach is essential in identifying areas for improvement, may act as a benchmark with other organizations and can act as a self assessment tool and hence improving the performance of the business. Despite the efficiencies associated with this model, there are weaknesses linked to EFQM such as lack of formal accreditation for the model and it will not be blatantly visible or decipherable to customers, service users, and other stakeholders.

The last quality management scheme which we discussed was the Six Sigma which is a measure of quality that endeavors for close perfection. It is a regimented, data-driven loom and method for purging flaws. &nsp;Tang, Goh, Yam, & Yoap (2007) informs that a perfect implementation of Six Sigma bears admirable benefits that accrue to the organization. They include, a guarantee of a world class standard, development of staff skills improved quality of products and/or services, bottom line cost savings and ensures an individual’s worldwide recognition. However, the system is also associated with a couple of setbacks such as the accent on the inflexibility of the procedures which in essence contradicts novelty and ingenuity. Since its execution regularly requires skilled man power, the control and employee devotion unattainable if irregularly implemented. These schemes are similar in the sense that, they allow employees to discern and implement improvements the improvement assistances an organization by plummeting costs and escalating quality. All of the four schemes consider the existing procedures that are dominant in any organization.

I conclude that as we look forward to start our business operations in this new market, we should critically consider settling for the most effective quality management scheme that shall benefit us in the long run and. I therefore recommend for the Group to settle for Investor in People because of its flexibility and considering we are entering a new market, the scheme will attract many customers and create a good image for the company in this country. Thank you.

Customer Service Policy Document

The formulation of this document will enhance the new hotel provide quality services to our customer.

Mission Statement

Our mission shall be, to ensure that our guests receive timely, proficient, responsive and chivalrous services. We shall endeavor to uphold hygienic, comfy and well maintained premises for our guests and staff. Offer at a fair price - dietary, well-prepared meals - by means of only quality ingredients. To make sure that all visitors and personnel are treated with the reverence and decorum they ought to have. Extend passionately satisfied customers all of the time, we shall also thank each guest for the auspicious opportunity to serve them, contribute positively to the community and the environment at large and recognize that profitability is essential to our future success (Rushton, 2010, p57). By maintaining these objectives we shall be assured of a reasonable turnover that will ensure our existence to continue serving the community

Vision Statement

Our Vision shall be to a commitment to helping people around the world eat and live better it incarcerates the quintessence of who we are, all we do streams from our vision. Our vision is about meeting consumers' needs and making food an easier, healthier, and more enjoyable part of life. Our vision tells our employees, customers, and the communities where we make and sell our products and what we care about. It captures the value of health and wellness, but it also embodies all the ways we can eat and live better, such as the enjoyment of a dessert, the convenience of a microwave meal, the safety and value of our products and/or services and solutions that we make available to all people.

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Value Statement

In accomplishing our business objectives, we shall realize our vision by way of performing our affairs so that our dealings provide corroboration of the soaring value we place on integrity by dealing openly with our customers, staff, vendors and the community. We shall also consider the need for accountability by bearing in mind the environment in which we operate our business, the community views and the common good. The need for appropriate level of profits is also necessary in sustaining our business and allows our values to be observed persistently. In addition, we shall commit in the provision of quality products and/or services that conveys value for money.

The policy aims at providing products and/or services that entirely satisfy customer needs as well as ensuring that the hotel recognizes and satisfies the diverse needs of our quests.  According to Campbell (1998, p76), the management is responsible for ensuring that the policy is corresponded, appreciated, and employed at all levels of the organization and a regular audit of the customer services and satisfaction is effectively implemented to ensure that operations are geared towards the set objectives. Workers are expected to execute their duties and responsibilities in harmony with appropriate quality requirements, and to struggle for customer satisfaction and continual improvement through regular staff training and inspection.  Maintaining an ambience of truthfulness and receptiveness is one of the most crucial traits that shall be carried out repeatedly to evaluate customer service process and requesting our customers’ responses to ascertain our progress.

Part 2

Description of the problem to be solved

A research incorporating a Customer Service Gap Framework shall be used to investigate how customers perceive quality management at Hilton Hotel London. The research shall involve approximately 100 respondents and among them shall be customers, employees, and the hotel management. Interviews shall be reliable to conduct research on

customers due to the time limited as some customers may not wish to stand or sit for more than the time required to fill in the spaces available in the questionnaires. I shall also consider using other various methods of data collection such as interviews and questionnaires  where appropriate and further the review of the hotel internet website to gather more relevant data that is crucial to the study. Interviews are more effective in the sense that they are more flexible because I will easily adapt to the situation and get as much of the relevant information as possible. This research method will enable me to clarify and elaborate the  purpose of the research, effectively convince the respondents about the importance of the research, and hence, collect reliable and accurate data. Questionnaires are also an important tool in collecting data whereby an open ended questionnaire shall be availed to the respondents. Also, a critical review of the hotel’s website shall enable me obtain second hand information in a bid to satisfy my research and make a conclusion based on the information obtained for credibility and validity of the information.

Research findings      

Upon investigation, it was revealed that there was a customer service gap which constituted a gap between service delivery and external communication. That is the some of the pledges made by the hotel in their service promotion via the media and communication has often been found to arouse customer expectations. The overpromising manifested in the internet and from many of the responses received from various customers did not match the definite service delivery, this in turn created a communication gap. Customers rush to receive the services as advertised but latter on end up dissatisfied because the promised services does not match the expected services. Customers’ expectation as far as quality is concerned at  Hilton Hotel London -Tower of London is more than what they received as was concluded from the study (Fogli, 2007, p47). Customeers expected quick delivery of their orders as well as the convenience of other services. They expected the hotel to deliver quality in terms of taste, preference and choice. However, as many lamented, they had to even resend the attendants for more than two times because the waiters pleaded to have forgotten but in the real sense, the attendants did not know and feared to accept the fact. The type of food availed for the customer did not perfectly match the kind of the product and/or services they always advertise in the media and website. Besides, there were customers who claimed that they have severally quarreled with the management due to the type of handling they received from the employees of the hotel, which has prompted them to seek alternative services elsewhere. Also, the employees fall short of product familiarity and some even experience obscurity in managing customer questions and issues which is contrary to the expected services by the customers.

The employees are required to play a very crucial role in ensuring the satisfaction of customers. They ought to do their best in a bid to ensure that they meet the customer’s expectations to t he best level possible without deviating from their key roles. Besides, the management should ensure that they boycott poor human resource management policies to ensure that employees are always ready and dedicated to provide their services willingly and always endeavor to provide their skills to best serve their clients at the benefit of both the customers and the hotel. The employees need to respond to customers’ questions and help them solve them if possible. clear and precise responses to customers in a polite way is considered a marketing strategy that creates a good image of the company and hence inviting the customers to come again and consequently making the hotel grow to meet its objectives. Often, employees should aim at meeting or even go a notch higher to exceeding customers’ expectations. Employees need to be well acquainted with the type of products and/or services required and how well to deliver it at the appropriate time. The knowledge of the kind of services and products will ensure that they efficiently and conveniently serve the customers and ultimately managing customer service expectations.

The management can guarantee this through the absorption of competent employees and regularly train them on various customer service delivery skills to ensure that they match the standards of the hotel. There is need for bridging the gap of the management perception and service quality specification which can be replicated through the management’s erroneous conversion of the service policy into rules and guidelines for employees. The hotel should minimize complexities that are associated with translating customer expectation into specific service quality delivery. The management should ensure quality service design, quality maintenance and continual update of their provision of good customer services while keeping their employees at per with the changing trends in customer service. The management should always strive to be honest with their customers, not considering of the consequences. In addition, the management should ensure that the hotel communicate expectations clearly and coherently at the start of the customer relationship. Besides, management should always be read to acknowledge challenging areas with sincerity and integrity at the commencement and at whatever time needed, as the relationships between the customers and the hotel move forward and increase to guarantee customer loyalty. Above all, the management should all the time endeavor to seek to improve and perfect as it work in line with their customer service policy. Consequently, this will enhance and encourage good customer relationship as a result of adherence to the stipulated customer service rules and regulations to be effected by the employees.

Part 3

What is Continuous Improvement?

The concept of continuous improvement refers to the organizational ongoing process of improving products, processes, or services of the organization.  Chang & Niedzwiecki (1999) agree that the ongoing efforts can be aimed at gradual incremental improvement or a breakthrough improvement at once. Therefore, the concept of continuous improvement is always achieved through a four -step quality model, which involves aspects such as plan where the opportunity for change is supposed to be identified. Another step is do, where the change is implemented. The check stage involves the analysis of the implemented change, and the act stage involves large-scale implementation and continuous assessment of the implemented change.

It is worth noting that continuous change can add enormous value to the organization by lowering costs, reducing resource wastage, and increasing customer loyalty. Continuous change leads to significant levels of innovativeness in the business hence facilitating the reduction of costs as better methods of operations are achieved.  Douglas (2010, p66) asserts that the organization is able to stay ahead of competitors and achieve a dominant position in the industry hence boosting its efficiency in terms of resource utilization. Accordingly, continuous change brings value to the organization by improving the quality of goods and services hence attracting more customers to the business. Most customers would tend to stick to the business and would become more loyal as they make their daily purchases within the business.

Customer satisfaction is a marketing term that measures the rate at which the products and services supplied by the company have the potential of meeting or exceeding the needs of customers in the market. This means that the business is able to reach the exact needs of customers in the market and even provide more value than expected in the market (Hayes, 2008). The understanding of customer expectations is vital because it enables organizations focus on customers satisfaction with immense accuracy as they already understand what is needed. This ensures that they are able to achieve customer loyalty and competitive advantage due to the high levels of purchases made by the committed customers. Increasing customers loyalty is also crucial to the organization because it presents the opportunity for the business to increase its sales volume which translates to higher profitability. Again, the organization will be able to cut down on costs such as advertising costs because customers are already aware of the products and are loyal to their quality. Customer loyalty will also mean constant and even increasing levels of profitability in the business hence facilitating the stability of the business in line with the going concern concept.  

Hill, Brierley, & MacDougall (2003, p87) opine that customer information is also of key importance as it facilitates the understanding and delivery of customer expectations. Customer information presents the organization with an appropriate opportunity to identify the most profitable customers and concentrate on the identification of their changing needs and expectations within the market. This means that the organization would keep abreast of the changing technologies and customer strategies in cases where it has adequate customer information. Customer information would also present continuous increases in the expected returns as most of the needs and expectations of customers at the market place are met appropriately within the required time in line with the information. 

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