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Overview and aim
Because the choice process for services is inherently risky with many unknowns, the experience itself often dominates the evaluation process… All services are experiences – some are long in duration and some are short; some are complex and others are simple; some are mundane, whereas others are exciting and unique (p. 36). From the customer’s point of view the most vivid impression of service occurs in the service encounter or ‘moment of truth’, when the customer interacts with the service firm. The linking of these moments of truth (service encounter cascade) contribute to the customer’s overall satisfaction and willingness to do business with the organisation again… (p. 84). Creating and managing effective processes and experiences are always essential management tasks for service organisations (p. 36).
(Wilson et al. 2012)
The aim of this assignment is to stimulate your critical thinking about two service encounters you have recently experienced – one satisfying, one dissatisfying. This will help you better understand customer expectations and why, as consumers, we are sometimes satisfied or dissatisfied with the service encounter experience. By recording and analysing your own experiences, particularly with reference to the theories, tools and techniques of services marketing, you should begin to discover what is truly needed to satisfy a customer.
2 Assignment Requirements
Recall two recent memorable service experiences – one satisfying, one dissatisfying – delivered by two different types of service providers (e.g. a bank, a hotel, an airline, public services, etc.). Drawing on your knowledge of Topics 1 to 4, undertake the following for each service experience:
1. Profile of service: Briefly profile the service organisation and the service in terms of Lovelock’s classification of services (see textbook Figure 1.1) and the continuum of evaluation for different types of services (textbook Figure 2.1). Include details of the location and size of the service organisation and other background information useful to describing the nature of the business.
2. Your service expectation: Recall and describe your desired, predicted and adequate expectations of the service. Highlight the main factors that influenced these respective expectations (see Figure 3.7 of the text). Draw conclusions about your zone of tolerance for the service encounter.
3. Your consumer experience (general): Describe your actual consumer experience in general terms by drawing on one or more lenses for the consumer experience stage of consumer decision making and evaluation of services (see textbook pp. 36 to 40 – integrate relevant service marketing concepts!).
4. Your service encounter (specific): Describe your actual service encounter by answering the first four questions relating to the critical incident technique (CIT) (p. 86 of textbook):
When did the incident happen?
What specific circumstance led up to this situation?
Exactly what did the employee (or firm member) say or do?
What resulted that made you feel the interaction was satisfying/dissatisfying? Categorise your encounter according to the four themes of service encounter satisfaction/dissatisfaction (Table 4.2 of textbook) and explain your choice.
5. Your future service behaviour: Based on your evaluation of the service encounter, explain the likelihood of your future patronage of the service provider.
6. Recommendations: Based on your evaluation of the service encounter, answer the fifth CIT question, i.e. discuss what you think the service organisation should have done differently (see Table 4.3 of the text for ideas). Link to relevant service marketing concepts, which support your recommendations!
3 Marking criteria
1. Knowledge of a discipline competency: Demonstrated command of concepts relating to issues of interest (36%):
a) Profile of service (10%)
b) Service expectations (8%)
c) Consumer experience (8%)
d) Service encounter (10%).
2. Intellectual rigour: Commitment to critical thinking (see document ‘Critical Thinking – A brief recap’) in relation to relevant issues (64%):
a) Profile of service (10%)
b) Service expectations (7%)
c) Consumer experience (7%)
d) Service encounter (10%)
e) Future sales behaviour (15%)
f) Recommendations (15%).
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