Creating a Culture of Customer Service
Introduction (what the chapter is about)
Customer service culture can be defined as a set of beliefs, values, or actions that are passed on to employees in an organization. The beliefs, values, and actions are meant to guide the way employees relate with clients, ensuring that the customers get the best services and their needs are met in a satisfying manner (Dwivedi, 1995; Woodside, 2008).
This chapter, therefore, seeks to give a guideline on how to conduct a research on the said topic (Rauner & Maclean, 2009). This follows the already established fact that offering excellent customer services is a sure way of earning clients loyalty, which results to good profit margins. Excellent customer service is especially important in the hotel and tourism industry and this paper will give a detailed report on the methodology used to go about a research on the said topic (Barlow & Stewart, 2006). This methodology chapter therefore entails the research question, objectives of the research, the areas chosen for the study, a detailed overview of how the research was done, setbacks and finally the conclusion (Bell, 2005).
How is the hotel industry able to create a culture of customer service? Why is the culture of customer service deemed so important and necessary in the hospitality industry? How does the culture of customer service differ in hotels located in different countries?
The objectives of this research are:
Purpose Statement/ Rationale
The purpose or rationale of this study is to determine the degree of customer service culture and the existing differences between hotels in various countries. In this particular study, the countries of interest are America and Ireland. Many managers have given different views on the said subject. However, they all agree that the culture of customer service is important for the success of any company in the tourism and hospitality industry. Leo Varadkars, a manager in the industry gave his opinion on the subject, and his opinion has inspired many such research studies.
Who is being researched?
The samples of research are sourced from facilities in the tourism industry such as Hotels and a governmental tourism providing facility. Samples of these hospitality facilities will are from America and Ireland. The comparisons will help create a clear comparison of the culture of customer service (Bell, 2005).
An overview of how the Research was done
A few hotels were picked both in America and Ireland. Of the sampled facilities, some were privately owned and others were state property. This was necessary so as to create a clear comparison on how the culture of customer service was created and maintained in the various facilities (Sapsford & Jupp, 1996).
For the research, methods of data collection were both quantitative and qualitative (Cummings & Worley, 2008). Quantitative methods were used to give statistical data that would be used to give statistical analysis. An example of this is the use of questionnaires. Qualitative methods were used to help draw meaning out of the information collected. Such is the interviews and the secondary source, which is past documented information.
A series of interviews were organized, and questionnaires prepared. Members of the research team also set some time aside to make observations on how everything was being run around the facilities chosen for the study. These methods of collecting information were targeted at employees in the various facilities under study, the customers, and the management. This was to ensure that no stone was left unturned so as to have reliable information at the end of the research. Past documented information was also used as a source of information for the study but more emphasis was laid on the primary sources of information listed earlier.
The interviews were prepared mainly for the management personnel as well as a few employees. This is because it would have consumed a lot of time and funds to have one-on-one interviews with even the clients. Again, one-on-one interviews can be a bit intimidating, making the collection of information not as successful as it ought to be.
Questionnaires were set and given to customers who visited the facilities. This was a very effective method of collecting information since many people were able to express themselves freely. The questionnaires had both open and closed questions sections, and those filling them in were not obliged to give their personal information. The information from these questionnaires was meant to determine if the customers were satisfied with the way they were served. They questionnaires also allowed for the respondents to make comparisons on customer service in various facilities that they had been to.
The last method of collecting information was reading what was already in the media about the sampled facilities (Finn, Elliott-White & Walton, 2000). This was used at the beginning of the research so as to give the researchers a clue of what to expect in the field.
The information was later analyzed and recorded in form of a report. In the report, charts were used to show the number of clientele in facilities that practiced excellent customer service culture, how many facilities were slowly taking up the culture, and the gradual changes in the overall performance of facilities that adopt the culture (Khanzode, 2004). The charts were also used to make it easy draw comparisons of the performance of facilities that applied the culture in the daily running of their organizations.
Limitations of the research
The research was conducted in two different countries, which are quite a distance from each other. For this reason, a lot of time was spent when travelling. Lots of time was also wasted when trying to get the venues of study ready for the research. More to that, a lot of time was wasted when moving about the two countries in search of tourism and hotel facilities that would best suit the study. It is common knowledge that America has a lot to check out from when it comes to the industry of tourism and hospitality and so short listing a few among the many available options was difficult (Pyo, 2002).
Another constraint during the research was trying to convince the managers of the facilities that the research was for a good course. Many felt that the researchers were competitors trying to find a way to ruin business for them. However, those conducting the research had all the needed documents to show that the research was a legal on and was allowed by authority.
A lot of travelling from one hotel to another and from America to Ireland had to be done to ensure the research was a successful one. This consumed a lot of time and it was also a bit too expensive for the researching team.
Creating a culture of excellent customer service has been proven very important in the tourism and hospitality industry (Croce & Perri, 2010). The industry, being a service industry, has to focus mainly on serving customers in the best way possible, which later yields satisfied customers and therefore good profit margins (Uysal, Perdue & Sirgy, 2012). It would be detrimental for a service facility to focus more on how to increase its profits by any other way other than giving the best services to its clientele. For example, in a tourism facility, the wardens should be well trained, well mannered, and patient enough to satisfy the customer and let them see and learn all they need to. Such a warden takes their time with the client and by the end of the session, the client is satisfied and will not mind paying whatever amount of money for the services offered (Kusluvan, 2003; Dwivedi, 1995). There are chances that the satisfied customer will come back to the facility or even recommend a friend to visit the facility.
In any project, a number of challenges are expected and so an effective team should always have a ways to deal with the limitations that may come up (Reed, 2007). In this study, the most prevalent challenges were that a lot of time was consumed while travelling and while applying some methods of data collection such as conducting interviews.
Credit is awarded to the research team for the trouble they went through when sampling the areas of study for the research. The methods of data collection used were also excellent, which yielded to the reliable and comprehensive report at the end of the study.
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