Q: Select a service firm (or industry) and explain how it goes about managing customer expectations?
Most organizations tend to focus on improving performance and service quality but ignore the fact that managing customer expectations is also an important element in the satisfaction process.
But what might happen if expectations are lowered too far or raised too high (then the promise may not be able to be kept, and it sets a new benchmark for future purchase occasions which customers will expect the firm to meet).
Q: Contact a familiar service organization and determine how it goes about measuring and monitoring satisfaction levels (or service quality)?
The first part is straightforward and most large organizations now have some form of satisfaction/quality tracking in place. However, the methods, frequency, and what is measured is likely to vary markedly from firm to firm.
Regarding the second part of the question, again most large firms have some system in place to achieve this. However, the extent to which it is being done well might make for useful classroom discussion.
Q: Think about a service where the satisfaction experienced is largely cognitive: and think of one where it is mainly emotional in nature?
Most services tend to provide elements of both cognitive and emotional dissatisfaction, but some are more weighted more highly with one or the other. For example, entertainment such as movies or sporting events would provide for high emotional satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
If purchasing the services of a funeral director, a great deal of the overall satisfaction gained from the experience would be generated from how well the funeral director tended to your emotional needs of sympathy, empathy, respect and reverence etc.
Cognitive satisfaction would be generated from services where it is important to execute the service correctly, and less important how the service performed. As an example, if you hired a tax accountant, you would prefer they legally minimize your tax owed, before catering to your emotional satisfaction.
Most services, however, have elements of both. If you are making the decision to hire the services of an obstetrician during you (or your partner’s) first pregnancy, you would not only want a doctor who perform emergency services perfectly if needed, but also someone who has a good ‘bedside manner’ and can smoothly guide you through some emotional times.
Q: Are the technical (outcome) and functional (process) dimensions of quality specific to particular types of services? Explain using some specific examples.
Process quality is equivalent to empathy, assurance and responsiveness combined, while outcome quality is equivalent to the reliability dimension in Parasuraman at al.’s five PSQ dimensions. Again, most services will be evaluated on both technical and functional dimensions of quality, but some are more heavily weighted towards one or the other.
The greater the level of customer involvement in the service process, the greater the importance of process quality in the evaluation of the service. From chapter 2, process quality is more likely to be important in evaluating the quality for tangible and intangible actions directed at people, whereas technical quality is more important for evaluating tangible and intangible actions towards possessions.