Customers are the vital element of any business and their satisfaction is the most challenging and important matter of account which impacts the business value of an entity. Thus, for gaining customer satisfaction it is necessary to enhance the services offered to them. (McGeady and et.al, 2017) In order to improve services, customer service policies are designed. In the present learning, the customer policies of Hotel Hilton & Resorts are discussed which is a renowned name in the hospitality industry. It is a global brand which has 570 branches present in 85 countries and provides full service to its customers. Does this learning answer why customer service policies are prepared?. This study will help learners to understand the nature of the customer and the principle of quality service in the business. There is a different type of employees in an enterprise, these policies involve training for individual according to their lacking factor. Further, different communication methods which should be used for customers are explained in this acquisition. Also, this study helps in evaluating customer needs so that satisfaction can be provided to them. Moreover, an analysis of customer requirements and their satisfaction along with the areas of improvement is present in this learning to cope up with them to attain organizational growth.
a). Reasons for customer service policies and their assistance in staff training
To make customers satisfied with the work they are offered with, effective policies are prepared which deals with the customer service. These policies have numerous benefits in the profitability of an enterprise. These schemes help in retaining customers, improved staff morale, reduced customer attrition, etc. (Tanaka, 2017) There are many reasons behind the designing of customer service policies and some are listed below:
Vision- A customer service policy helps in creating visions of the enterprises. They also direct the stakeholders to move in the right direction towards their goal.
Stable Competition Advantages- Entities with effective customer service policies influence over customers to take their service which is an advantage over other competitive organizations.
Cost-Effective- These strategies are essential to reduce the cost associated with all the services provided to the customers. These policies are designed according to the needs and demand of the customers and prevent organizations to spend over unnecessary factors.
Reputation- The main aim of any entity is to earn a reputation. They want the name of their organization known to everyone and in order to achieve this, it is mandatory to make your customers happy and satisfied with your services (Koch, 2017). Thus, these strategies are required to achieve reputation.
Good Working Environment- To maintain a good environment in an organization, these strategies are been used. The good environment keeps the entity moving in a positive direction and hence, attains profitability.
Accountability- The service policies provides answers to the business operators about a single detail of customer. Thus, help in achieving the satisfaction of customers.
Continuous Improvement- These policies help in understanding the factors where improvement is needed. Customers complaints help in identifying where the present policies are lacking and how to improve them by revising.
Guidelines- An effective service policy gives answers to the managers and employees who are there to deal with the customers. They provide a proper way to deal with them.
Customer Expectations- Customer service policies are for the outstanding services they can provide to a customer and the reason for doing this is to cope up well with the expectations of buyers.
Identifies Vital Areas of Service Improvement- Customer complaints state the major areas where improvement is required. Also, they can determine which employee require more training and in which field.
Improves Service Education- In order to improve the service education among employees, these strategies plays a vital role (MacPherson, 2017). Customer service policies give important studies for the training program of service education.
- These policies also help in improving communication between and within the departments.
- To retain the customers through effective customer service policies which are really mandatory for organizational growth.
Hence, from the above-mentioned reasons clears the view of the significance of customer services policies in an establishment. There are different policy categories which deal with different issues arising in customer service. For example, privacy policies account for maintaining confidentialness of a customer, food and safety policies assures the quality of food that is being served, CSR policies help in saving energy consumptions, etc. (Majeed and Rupasinghe, 2017)
There are so many benefits of the customer service policies for the customers, employees and the owners of an entity. The key factor for the growth of the company lies within the staff member and thus, it is important to provide them an environment to develop themselves. In order to develop them, training programs, development workshops, etc. should help timely (Atkinson and Walton, 2017). These policies are very helpful in staff training. These strategies can determine the lacking area of an employee and thus, an effective training program can be generated. There are various steps of training to staff to improve their work efficiency. Being a manager of Hotel Hilton, it is important for me to provide all the employees with an effective set of training according to their missing field. Some advantages of customer service policies in enhancing staff training and development are listed below:
Awareness to Single Work Detail- Customer expectations, nature, the behavior is widely spread and in order to fulfill the demand and needs of every customer, an employee gets the benefit of complete knowledge of every business sector.
The customer service involves effective communication resulting in improved communication skills of staff which is a must needed thing in today's world.
Improve Knowledge and Skill Set- Broad range of customers enables improved skills of the staff. The main objective of any training program is to develop skills in the employees.
Increase Motivation- Customer service policies include rewards to the best employee who satisfied customers with his/her services and behavior. This system boosts the motivation level of employees and hence, increases profitability to the firm.
Engagement to the Entity- Providing training on customer service allows employees to understand the impact their role has on the organization (Dincer, 2017). The training and development program arranged by an entity with good investment makes employees think that they are important to the firm and keeps them engaged in their work role and business enterprise.
Problem-Solving and Complaints Handling- It is a major training session which companies should organize to make the employees efficient enough to deal with the issues arising in the customer service. They should well know with the different complaints they can come up with and the ways to handle out them effectively.
Team-Working- Employees should be familiar with the effective team working practices that can help them in assisting customers implying their best services.
Product Knowledge- Good customer servicing involves an effective and proper knowledge of all the existing services or product so that the staff can well explain them to the customers to impress them towards their organization.
Ability to deal with Different Type of Customers- The customer range is unexpected and very broad (Baum, 2017). Thus, the training should contain ways to deal with a different type of customers so that the employees can attain the satisfaction of all kind of customers.
Boost Confidence and Morale of Staff Members- The training helps in boosting up the confidence level of employees. This confidence can help them in serving the buyers and improve their buying experience. This also improves the work environment of the entity.
Personality Development- Personality of staff is really important to make them efficient in the present context. A developed personality always accounts for a benefit to the company.
Hence, above were some important steps which should be included in the training and development program of workers to make them more work-efficient and motivated towards the work role.
b). Evaluation of Different Communication Methods
For effective and proper functioning of an establishment, it is necessary to follow effective communication methods. In the present context, the communication of employees with the customers is very important in retaining them from the company. Good communication with the buyers always attract them to take their services and hence more customer figures; consequently more business value (Reichenbach, 2017). Good communication involves appropriate knowledge of services which are to be bought by the customers, should be clear and concise and convenient for both the buyers and the sellers. Further, a communication process is to be followed, this process has seven steps and they are as follows:
Sender- The sender is the person or an entity who wants to convey the message with the intention of passing his ideas or intention to the other person.
Ideas- Ideas are the subject of matter of communication.
Encoding- Once the subject of matter is formed it then need encoding of that idea in words or symbols or pictures that can be conveyed to the other side.
Communication Channel- It is the mediator between the sender and the receiver. It transmits the message through another side. Communication channels mainly are emails, SMS/MMS, websites, etc.
Receiver- It is the person who receives the messages transmitted by a sender through the communication channel.
Decoding- Once the message received to the receiver it decodes that message in the form which is acceptable to him.
Feedback- Feedback is the step used to ensure that the receiver has received the message and understand the same meaning which the sender wants to transmit.
There are various communication models which help in determining the effective process which needs to be followed by the establishment (Xian-Guang and et.al, 2017).
To deal with a different type of customers, platforms, etc. different communication methods are there. Some main communication methods are listed below-
Websites- In the present digital world, websites are the most common and important way of communicating with customers. Websites can be general or maybe company websites. They're easy to access feature makes it more convenient to the customers. Also, it contains all the details of the services that are being offered in the organization. Nowadays, Live chat through websites is also trending which is really effective.
Emails- Emails allows to communicate in a way that draws the attention as well as a time of customer (Dong and Sivakumar, 2017). Short length emails with the most important content in the first sentence are the proper format of an email.
Audio Calls- This is the most common way to communicate with customers. A good set of communicative and expressive skills are needed in this method. In this method, customers react to the employee which enables them to understand the needs of customers and offers services to them accordingly. Thus, making it the most effective communication tool.
Newsletters- Newsletters are the printed report which contains all the business activities of the company. It is somehow an unreasonable but impelling approach.
Social media- Nowadays, social media marketing is the most significant way of communicating with customers. There so many platforms for this marketing such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. With the help of these social media platforms, an organization can update its content, updates; making it a flexible approach to convey messages (Martin and Shaw, 2017). Also, the content can be presented in an attractive format in this type of marketing.
SMS/MMS- This communication method is effective for the already registered members. Timely updates or recent offers, modified services, etc. to the already registered customers will influence them to again take the services of the entity if they were satisfied by the services they were offered the earlier time.
Advertisement on T.V, Radio, etc. - This method covers a wide range of public in communicating. The advertisement should be designed in an effective way to attract a larger figure of customers.
Face-to-face communication- This method is used to communicate with the already residing customers in the Hotel Hilton. The communication with the existing customers is the most necessary requirement in the Hotel industry. It helps in retaining them and also, it encourages them to avail more services. Thus, the creation of the chances that they will visit again.
Thus, above were some methods of communication which should be implemented by the companies to convince the customers and to make them aware about the recent offers or services you are implementing in your business so that they can avail those services (Zhang and et.al, 2017). Also, it is the foremost duty of the establishments to communicate nicely with the existing customers to make their experience worth.
Further, there are some points to be noted while communicating with customers and they are listed below-
- Use positive statements instead of negative.
- Listen actively to the customers.
- Statements should be customer-focused.
- There should be no interruptions when the customer is saying his/her thoughts.
- Avoid asking them negative questions.
- Keep sensitiveness in technical knowledge difference.
- Be careful of misinterpreted words or phrases.
- Proper demonstration while explaining technical aspects.
- Avoid background noise and distractions.
- Always take feedback from customers.
All these points should be considered while communicating with a customer (McGeady and et.al, 2017). These things highly impact them and effective communication depends on these points. Thus, in order to retain the customers and increase the business value of the organization, it is necessary to follow the above-mentioned details.
c). Analysis of Customer Perception and Service Provisions
Customer perception is a marketing thought that embrace a customers belief and awareness about an establishment and the services they are offering. This varies widely depending upon the behavior, nature, demand, and need of the customer. Customer perception highly depends on the advertising, promotion, public relations, social media, and personal experience. It is important in determining the development of services and inventories accordingly. Their perception helps in reducing unnecessary money on the production of unwanted inventories. There are different views of customers in finding a service satisfiable and this includes brand, prices, engineering, usability, senses, quality, reputation, customer service, features of service, etc. Different customers consider different factors to say an inventory effectively. In order to achieve customer satisfaction, it is important to evaluate all the perceptions of them and then work according to in order to attain them for effective organizational growth. But, customers do not perceive quality in a unidimensional way rather they focus on multidimensional factors of quality. In the context of the multi factor-al approach, there is a model proposed by Parsuraman, a SERVQUAL model. This model is used to analyze the service quality in an organization. The service quality is measured using the five dimensions which are reliability, responsiveness, assurance, tangibles, and empathy. All these factors are essentially needed to be evaluated for measuring service quality of any entity (Tancock and et.al, 2017). The factors along with their definitions are as follows-
- Reliability: Reliability is the ability to perform the promised service in a dependable, accurate and consistent manner.
- Responsiveness- Responsiveness is the disposition of service providers to help customers and provide them with punctual services.
- Assurance- Assurance is the skills that employees have and their ability to convey trust and confidence among the customers.
- Tangibles- Tangibles is the physical evidence of the services which are provided by the organization such as inventories, tools, physical facilities, etc.
- Empathy- Empathy involves the attention and care provided to an individual customer in order to show them that how much important they are to them.
Reliability factors include steps such as solving client issues by listening to them actively, proper and effective time management system of the entity, error-free records, etc. Tangibles expectation of customers' are modern looking equipment, physical facilities provided in Hotel Hilton, materials associated with service in excellent hotels, etc. Responsibilities which customers expect from organization includes the willingness of organizations to help them, quick responding to customers, provide time punctual services, etc. Assurance that customer's want from industries is of the safe dealings with the hotel, consistent courteous with them, knowledge to answer customers questions, etc. (Ou and et.al, 2017). Empathy involves the individual care and attention provided to the customers, the operating hours of the industry should be convenient to them, hotels need to understand the demand and needs of customers. The service quality of all the organization is evaluated by rating the above five factors. Also, there are four more factors which are essential in gaining customer satisfaction in the hotel industry and they include, housekeeping, reception, food & beverages, and price. These are also important criteria and should be considered according to the perception of customers.
The difference between service quality and customer expectation results in the generation of service gaps. These service gaps are not good for the organization growth and every entity tries to minimize this gap by implementing various strategies and policies that can reduce these gaps by improving the service quality of their entity (Babor and et.al, 2017). Also, by implementing various policies and strategies in order to achieve the factors of SERVQUAL model, the service gap between the expectations and the quality can be suppressed. These gaps are defined as-
Gap 1- It is a positioning gap and generates when there is managers' perception of the customers' expectation. The significance consumers attach to the quality dimensions.
Gap 2- Specification gap is generated when there are differences between the beliefs of the manger beliefs and the wants of the consumer.
Gap 3- It is a delivery gap and creates when there are differences in the service provided by the staff and the specifications which are set by managers.
Gap 4- This gap is of difference in communication and is major among all the gaps (Dabrowiak, 2017). This happens when the communication done by the consumers doesn't match their perception.
Gap 5- This is the perception gap generated due to the variance in internal perceptions and service expectations.
a). Explanation of Sources of Information on the Customers
In order to measure the customer satisfaction level, it is necessary to gather information about the services that were offered to the consumers. There are some sources which can be used to collect the information of providing services which can account in improving them, they are as follows-
Ask them- it is the most simpler form of gathering data. After every service, they avail ask them about the experience they had by using that product (Rivkin, 2017). Also, either they are positive or negative one should always react to them. In case when you receive a positive comment you need to thank them for using that service and in case of a negative comment, you should assure them that you will definitely improve it next time and ask for apologies.
Be your own Customer- It is the most effective way of evaluating the flaws in business. Self-inspection leads you to know the areas of improvement of your entity and helps entities to work on those lacking factors so that the consumers don't complain about them.
Feedback- Feedbacks from customers plays a vital role in determining there expectation and service perception from an establishment. Feedbacks helps in improving the factors the customer's complaint about.
Questionnaires- Getting customers to put their thoughts in written form in a questionnaire is a good approach to gathering information (Reddy, 2017). By this method, an organization can easily get the answers they want covering all the parts of the organization. They are different from feedbacks. In the case of feedbacks entities only got to know the customer's perspectives whereas questionnaires involve all the details which an entity wants to ask.
Records- It is an internal source of gathering information about customer needs. By checking the records one can easily evaluate that which services are being used most and which are least used services. Thus, improvement can be done accordingly.
Government Reports- Government reports are external information sources. These reports combine all the data of different organizations and with the help of this data, an organization can easily compute the present demand of the customers and thus, improvements and development of the product will be done accordingly.
Books and Journals- There are various books on effective customer service policies and by applying these policies in their organization can help them to a greater extent in their desire of organization