A brand new HDG local hotel of medium tariff is being built in central Hong Kong. This hotel will consist of 100 rooms. Facilities that would be provided to the guests will include breakfast buffet, lunch, dinner, bar, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, room services, fitness centre, 5 conference rooms, business lounge, sightseeing, laundry and dry cleaning, car hire, bicycle hire, and many more. To recommend a strategy for service delivering at the hotel, the management team of the hotel appointed me as the quality management consultant of the hotel. My job will include mentioned roles and responsibilities such as inspection and reporting of quality issues, monitoring of operations that affect quality, guide and supervise staff, inspectors, and technicians, reliability and consistency of production assurance, reporting all malfunctions to the production executive, providing proactive solutions for quality issues, communication with external quality assurance officers, and many more (Resources 2018). To derive the results for service quality, a survey was conducted to know the opinion of people and what are their expectations from a medium tariff hotel. Survey questions were divided into four categories: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, and assurance. As per the results of the survey it was found that people gives first priority to the reliability of hotel services then followed with tangibles, responsiveness and then assurance. This report is prepared by keeping the results of the survey and tried to give priority to the customer demands. More focus is given to provide better services that are linked to reliability is given while designing the service quality management plan.
Service quality is defined as to what extent the expectations of the customers are fulfilled by the services of the hotel or it can also defined as what customers’ overall impression is regarding excellence and weakness of service. Service quality means what customer gets in return of what they pay instead of what supplier puts in. Therefore service quality is a gap between the expected service and the actual received service (Al-Ababneh 2017).
- Importance of service quality
Service quality is vital in hotel industry as it ensures satisfaction of customer. In service quality assessment it is a crucial element. Customer satisfaction level decides the level of business performance. Higher the customer satisfaction higher is the business performance (Tessera 2016).
- Objectives of service quality management
Every organization has service quality management team to increase customer satisfaction and improve performance. Main goals of a service quality management team are to achieve the company’s goals, improve quality, influencing the culture of the company, and determining the areas that need training to improve the quality (Markgraf 2018).
Importance of Managing and Measuring Service Quality
As explained by Parasuraman, it is important for any organization, including the hotel industry to measure and manage the service quality of their company. For this companies can use the technology to gather the data that tells about the customer demands and therefore improve their service quality to remain competitive (Gržini? 2007). To provide better service quality, it is important to understand the needs of the customer and take actions as per the customer expectations. Service quality explains what the customer expectation was and what they perceived according to the image of an organization. There is SERVQUAL instrument that is used to measure perceived service quality. There have been lot of studies carried out on service quality in hotel industry. This helps in understanding the dimensional structure of service quality (Mazumder and Hasan 2014). In a new hotel setting, some quality dimensions are different from the five dimensions described by SERVQUAL. Using the SERVQUAL as a foundation, Knutson developed LODGSERV instrument to measure the service quality in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and UK. This emerged five service quality dimensions, these are “reliability” on the first priority of evaluating the service quality, then followed by “assurance”, “responsiveness”, “tangibles”, and “empathy”.
Managing and measuring service quality will help in satisfying the demands of the customers and enhancing the perceptive values of the customers. Customer demands and concepts change continuously, and these instruments help in determining the changing demands of the customers. Therefore, it help will help us in developing the service product according to the customer and market satisfaction that aims at the demands of the customer. It has been observed from the studies that mentalities and the consumption habits of the customer are different in hotel industry and this makes them demand services with more individuations (Chen 2008). Therefore, it is recommended for the new hotel of ours that we should enhance satisfactory value and perceptive value of the customers by satisfying multi-level demands of customers. There is only way of customer satisfaction is to provide services that exceeds their expectative services.
Second importance of managing and measuring service quality is that it helps in the service standardization. Service variations are mainly a concern for the hotel industry; hence there is need of effective service standardization. Service variations mainly occur because of service of employees always base on their will. In order to deliver the quality services to the customers, there is need of standardization of the services and this requires a set of strict procedure in the service process. If services would be performed as per the regulatory procedures, it will guarantee the service quality (Tessera, 2016).
This allows hotels to adopt objective management and implementing team cooperation. Objective management make the hotel members to participate in the objective project themselves, realize work and self-control surrounding the goal. This transfers the process management to the lower level and allows the employees to solve the queries of the customers independently and make the services of the hotel more individuation. This will help in quickly responding to the changing demands of the customers and establish effective performance objective (Rauch, et al. 2015).
Quality Management Methods
In the time of global competition, when there are lot of substitutes of services are available, quality is seen as the major competition opportunity by the hotel industry. The tangibility and intangibility of products of hotels allow the service quality of hotels to show great comprehensiveness. To achieve the quality management, below are the several methods for quality management:
PDCA cycle theory was co-founded by American quality experts Walter A. Shewhart and William Edwards Deming in 2010. It is one of the most effective methods for improving the quality management activities and it is especially applied for the continuous quality improvement (Nayab 2018). There are four phases and eight steps in the PDCA cycle. Four phases of the PDCA cycle are given below:
Planning Phase: First step in the quality management is plan. Plan helps in determining the objectives and policies of quality management. ABC method is used to analyse the problem and try to identify the main quality problem. In ABC analysis, problems are divided into three categories. Class A is a pivotal problem; it has small number of problems but more frequently. Class B is a general problem; has general number of problems and less frequently as compared to the Class A. Class C is minor problem; has large number of problems but least frequently(Ryglová, Vaj?nerová and Šácha 2013).
Pareto Diagram of the problems of Hotel Service
Source: (Sun 2013)
- Do Phase: The Do phase will help in implementing the action plan for improving the quality of the service that is lacking.
- Check Phase: Check phase is for checking the action plans of improving the services that are lacking on scheduled time. This includes one by one confirmation and to check that the plan has reached to the predetermined target.
- Action Phase: it is a critical phase for solving the quality issue. This phase includes listing of problems that have been solved for certain service and also make list of services that are still needs improvement and shift these problems to the next PDCA cycle in order to achieve the complete and continuous quality improvement(Sun 2013).
This model was developed for service quality and research measurement. This model is based on quality definition. It provides the knowledge of the gaps between the expected and the perceived services. Therefore, SERVQUAL is based on the difference between the client’s expectation and perception. There are five dimensions defined by SERVQUAL model and this was designed to measure the quality of service. Five dimensions of SERVQUAL model are Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy, and Responsiveness. It uses the determinants methods and gap theory for the service quality (Kapiki 2012). After measuring the customer satisfaction level of guests in the hotel, it is easy for the hoteliers to assess their current position in terms whether they are meeting needs and demands of the guest or not.
In product context service guarantee is defined as it is an extension of product warranty that helps the customers to reduce their perceived risks and enhance the confidence of customers in purchasing the services that may be deficient. Therefore, service guarantee is how providers of services redeem their service promises. In service guarantee method, if the service provider is unable to provide the service as per the customer satisfaction then he uses the pay-out method in order to reduce the perceived risk of customer. There are two types in which the service guarantee is categorised that are specific guarantee and the unconditional guarantee. There is no specific coverage, pay-out, and time in unconditional guarantee for a service by the service provider. While in the specific guarantee, a guaranteed coverage of services is declared by the service provider in advance and the customer gets compensation in case the provider is not over the guaranteed limit. Service recovery via a guarantee is divided into two categories; money-back or non-money-back guarantee (Wu, et al. 2012).
Service Setting – Servicape
There is a saying “First impression is the last impression”. When guest visits in a hotel, they type and the quality of service they perceived, they create an image for the hotel in their mind. Unfortunately, there is a cliché that one will never get a second chance for making the first impression. Therefore, servicecape is considered as predecessor of service quality evaluation. Servicecape is the term that is used to describe the influence of tangible and intangible cues on the customers (Lee and Kim 2014). First Bitner and Booms developed Servicecape model that describes the impact of physical environment in which the services are provided. This model explains behaviour of people within the service environment and helps in designing the environment for the customers so that they perceive the first aspect about the services from the service environment. Servicecape in hotel are related to the landscape, parking, exterior design, interior design, surrounding environment, signage, layout, temperature, air quality, lighting, and many more. There is need to design servicecape in such a way that improves the customer experience and affect the behaviour of guests (Hooper, Coughlan and Mullen 2013).
Service design is a tool for that simultaneously depicts the process of service, the points of customer contact, and from the customer’s point of view service evidence. It is a technique that is used for service innovation. Service blueprint for the hotel will tell about the service process with the help of pictures and maps. Components of service blueprint are customer actions, visible contact employee action, invisible contact employee action, and support processes. Applications of service blueprint include development of new services, establish “zero defects” culture, and service recovery strategies (Kazemzadeh, Milton and Johnson 2015).
Source: (Rastogi 2011)
Service Standard Setting
Service standard setting helps in dictating the ways in which customers are treated during their stay in hotel and also tells about the best practices that are used while interacting with the customers. Setting the service standards requires educating employees on acceptable levels. This improves the overall services and service quality encourages business. Customer service standards are basically tried and tested practices that are implemented for delivering the services to the customers (Instituteofcustomerservice 2015). A service delivery leader tells about the standard of services that he wants to deliver to the customer from his staff. He provides the staff with the minimum set of practice standards that they use in their work while delivering services to the internal and external customers. There are seven sources of information that help in defining the service standard for the hotel and these are employees, potential customers, management, former customers, regulatory authorities, existing customers, and competitors (Mbise 2014).
Service recovery is tool that tells that the customers are not satisfied with the services provided by the hotel or the services are not up to the customer expectation. In such case service failure occurs and the service provider has to take actions regarding service recovery in order to resolve all the problems. Service recovery aim is not only resolving the problem, but also finding the cause of the problem. Service recovery is performed in order to reduce the customers’ negative aspect for the hotel and enhance service quality level to meet expectations of customer (Sumaco 2011).
Impact of Leadership and Service Culture
Impact of Leadership
According to Parasuraman, managers’ commitment towards service quality has the ability to provide effective leadership to ensure that employees also accept service quality initiatives. Mangers commitment towards the service quality and his empowering leadership style creates an environment that allows the employees to share the objectives of the hotel. Employees under this kind of leadership are more satisfied with their jobs and perform their best quality services to serve the hotel’s guest. There is need of empowering management style to create shared values which then improve frontline service (Clark, Hartline and Jones 2008). Various studies have shown that mangers who are committed to service quality and use empowering leadership style to lead the employees has the ability of creating a transformational climate which convey their commitment to service quality to the frontline employees. Frontline employees are the ones who interact with customers face-to-face, and therefore they are most accountable for service quality, customer service, and customer satisfaction.
It is clear from the research that leadership style of a manger has enormous influence on behaviour of employees; include how they adopt strategy of organization related to the customer services. To influence employee’s commitment to service quality, there is one way that managers demonstrate this by themselves. This requires managers to take a leadership style that can influence employees (Babaita, et al. 2010). As per the research, to managing the hotel employees the most appropriate leadership style is transformational leadership. Transformational leadership leads the employees by example. There are three kind of leadership style that can influence hotel employees; directive, participative, and empowering. Directive leadership communicate organization’s goals to the employees clearly and concisely. Due to the lack of employee participation in directive leadership, it falls short of being truly transformational. Whereas, in contrast to directive leadership, participative leadership involves employees in decision making process and suggestions. This leadership style allows employees to serve as connection between management and guests. And at last empowering leadership allows certain kind of authorities to employees. This leadership has many elements of participative leadership like employee involvement and autonomy. Out of all the three leadership styles, empowering leadership is the most transformational as this requires a strong sense of shared commitment. Therefore, mangers who want their employees to exhibit the same level of commitment to service quality as of theirs; they employ empowering leadership style (Clark, Hartline and Jones 2008).
As three kind of leadership are discussed above that are directive, participative, and empowering leadership. Directive leadership gives the least or not at all power to the employees. This leadership only discuss the objectives and strategies of the hotel with the employees and ask them what they want from the employees. While on the other hand, participative leadership allows employees to participate in decision making process, consulting with subordinates, and considering their suggestions and opinions (Ayupp and Chung 2010). Employees working for participative leadership have greater commitment, involvement, and loyalty as compared to the employees who work under the directive leadership. Participative leadership is better fit in the hotel industry because frontline employees who are directly interacting with the employees are much aware of the customer needs. Third leadership style that is empowering leadership allows employees to provide necessary autonomy and authority that make them take decisions in the workplace without any permission from the supervisors. Empowering leadership is therefore is associated with increased upward influence, increased autonomy, increased monitoring, and increased decision-making latitude. This leadership goes a step further than participative leadership, where it authorize employees to solve problems of customers by taking decisions of their own without even consulting the supervisor (Klidas, Van Den Berg and Wilderom 2007). There is need of autonomy in decision making as it is required as per the customer-co tact position for effective service. This kind of leadership is used by frontline employees where there is decreased need of supervisor approval. This is the reason this leadership style is mostly liked by hotel managers as this motivates employees to adopt values and service vision of employees. Therefore, empowering leadership gives or empower the staff more and they provide their best service quality to the guest (Clark, Hartline and Jones 2008).
Service culture defines its property at the core. It is the pulse of a hotel that makes the guests to come back year after year. Guest can attract to the unique brand for the first time but it is the culture and service of a hotel that capture loyalty of guests. Service culture is mostly influenced by the staff. Engaged and satisfied employees lead to loyal and satisfied guests. Guest usually does not come back to a hotel because they feel the staffs do not care (Dikmen and Bozda?lar 2017). If guests are made feel taken care through employee engagement, they are more likely to come back to the same hotel (CultureIQ 2018). Therefore, it can be said that a successful hotel culture leads to a successful hotel. Some of the important characteristics of hospitality culture are passionate staff for work, employees fulfilment while serving guests, mangers with integrity and strength, an effective leadership with honest, fair, and trustworthy leaders, and an influencing working environment that encourage innovative ideas. Therefore, in order to improve client service issues, it is required first evaluating the hospitality culture. To identify the culture issues in a hotel needs in-depth assessment of hotel staff. A deep understanding of staff’s performance is mandatory to improve the service culture (Hyken 2014). Leadership plays a vital role in fixing the culture issues in a hotel. To resolve the culture issues, it is important first to identify those issues and the need of a culture that has happy employees and positive environment which is guest-oriented. This will improve the property much quickly. Leaders evaluated the employees now act according to that. Provide training to them if it is required, or change their role if they better suited for another role, or terminate them if they are creating toxic environment for the service culture (Mushtaq, Ahmad Fayyaz and Tanveer 2013).
Customer Feedback System Framework
Today competition is increasing and to sustain in this competitive environment, it is important for every organization to listen what their customer want and what they are saying. Motive of managing customer feedback is to ensure that all needs of customer are satisfied and all problems are resolved. In hospitality industry customer feedback is very important to make improvement in the hotel services and service culture and this results in the overall service quality improvement (Luturlean and Anggadwita 2015). Feedback is a term that describes the information regarding the prior action from customer, and it is then communicated further to use that information to make improvement in existing and future actions. Feedbacks give information that whether customer is satisfied or not satisfied with the product and service of hotel. Feedback is important element in quality management. Most common customer feedback channels used at hotels are suggestion boxes, personal emails, telephone, website, social media, online surveys, one-on-one contact, and guest comment cards (Neirotti, Raguseo and Paolucci 2016). Hotel industry is among one of those industries which are customer centric. Therefore, customer feedback in hotel industry is important because dissatisfaction indicates staff performance, problems in management, and attitude. For example, if guests are not satisfied with the room cleaning quality, it indicates that there is need of change in strategy of handling housekeeping process. Customer feedback ensures strategies for customers’ needs, performance of different departments, encourage research and development, allow fixing the customers’ impression, and many more (Dah and Dumenya 2016).
Customer feedback is directly linked with the customer loyalty and customer satisfaction level. Below given figure demonstrate the connection between them:
Source: (Quarterly 2016)
Hence, customer feedback is generally taken to know the level of customer satisfaction. It is divided into three categories: very satisfied, satisfied, and not satisfied.
If a guest is not satisfied with the services and all his expectation are not met then this will lead to decrease in his loyalty towards company and chances increase that he will not recommend same hotel to anyone in future. Guests have very high expectation from luxurious hotels and in that case it is very difficult and challenging for the management to impress guests (Opoku and Khan 2004).
Hence, having customer feedback has several advantages as it gives possibilities for improvement. But, main concern in customer feedback is what methods can be adopted in order to collect data that helps in providing quality services to the guests. Main qualities of a successful customer feedback process are:
- Reliability: feedback given by customers is how much reliable that is customers should be sincere in sharing their opinions and personal experiences.
- Accuracy: questions asked to the customers should be correct and understanding of customers is correct and they are not misunderstood the questions.
- Accessibility: methods of feedback collection should not annoy customers and also it should be easily accessible by the customers in order to save their time.
- Structure: there should be option for both that is customer can express their personal opinions and also choose between scores to evaluate performance.
- Neutrality: methods used for feedback should be in such a way that does not influence response of the customers.
- Effectiveness: feedback helps in developing strategies and improves them for better performance in future.
Therefore, from above discussion it is clear that feedback is a tool that works in both directions that allows customers to share their suggestions and opinions on services and products and at the same time also allows management to analyse weaknesses in services and strategies and adapt it accordingly to grow (EIRÍKSDÓTTIR and THORARENSEN n.d.).
Hotel industry is facing huge competition and there is need of providing quality services to the guests in order to maintain the completion and grow business. As a service quality consultant, in this report, all the strategies and tools that is required for providing quality services to the guests in hotel which is being built in Hong Kong are discussed. This report elaborated what service quality is and methods for managing and measuring service quality. There are PDCA, SERVQUAL, service guarantee, servicecape, service design, service standard setting, and service recovery tools for managing service quality in hotel. Leadership also plays important role in providing effective and quality service delivery. This report has discussed three kinds of leadership that can be adopted by mangers in hotel for quality services which are directive, participative, and empowering leadership. From the discussion it has found that from all of the three leadership style empowering leadership exhibit more transformational nature and this leadership also empowers the staff most. In this report it is provided the importance of feedback from customers and how customer feedback can be used to better the service quality and customer satisfaction level can be increased. Hence, it can be concluded that quality service is important for maintaining the business value in the industry.
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