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Service Concept Profiling sample essay

People buy different kinds of services from different companies to fulfill their wants/needs. Example: A customer buys a flight ticket of Emirates which routes to London. Not only does the customer buy his/her transportation method to London, they buy a concept. They buy comfortable seating, in flight meal and entertainment and reaching their destination on time at the lowest conceivable price. The way in which an organization labels the services provided to the customer and what service the customer is buying/using is known as the Service Concept. Service concept is intensely related to what a customer expects of his/her service (External Stakeholders) and what the staff of the organization thinks about the service they are providing to their customers (Internal Stakeholders) (Johnston and Clark, 2008).

With the help of Service Concept, an Organization has an advantage over its competitors in the market as the service concept not only supports the organization to sell their services, but also concentrates on satisfying the customer’s expectations, which helps the organization differentiate their services from other organizations. There are four main elements which help regulate a Service Concept: 1) Service Experience: Awareness that the customer has about the service is Service Experience. 2) Service Value: This is the assessment the customer is ready to pay in monetary terms for the service, with additional benefits the customer seems is suitable for them and worth to pay for. 3) Service Operation: The way in which operations of a service is processed is known to be the Service operation. 4) Service Outcome: The conclusion of what the service provides to the organization and the customer as well, is known as the Service Outcome.

One example to show you how the different elements of the service concept make a complete service is the Umm Al Quwain based DREAM LAND AQUA PARK. When the Park was built their primary service concept was to provide its customers with an extravagantly thrilling experience where they could feel away from their tensions and enjoy a good time with their family and friends. The park has many attractions for all age groups, various thrilling rides, different restaurants that suits the customer’s taste buds and a complete wholesome entertaining EXPERIENCE. The OPERATIONS of the organization are handled very efficiently, whether having quick ques for the tickets, long rides for peak rides, efficient service in all the restaurants, huge parking lot to accommodate all the visitor’s cars.

The OUTCOME of these are that the visitor has an entertaining experience , enjoy different exciting rides, an eventful day with their family and friends and safety trials which make the visitors feel safe and special. The VALUE of the service has been well received because the customers are paying a very affordable price for different rides, easy parking and have a variety of restaurants where they can satisfy their appetite and this can be evident as this Aqua Park is one of the most popular parks today. The organization has immensely succeeded in satisfying their customers by fulfilling their expectations using those elements appropriately.

It is important for Organizations to know that when the Service Concept is used as a Strategic Tool, It becomes a powerful tool to cultivate the Organization (Van Looey et.al, 2003) (Johnston and Clark, 2008). Service concept, as a Strategic Tool, can: 1. Create Organizational Alignment (Johnston and Clark, 2008): Internal and External Stakeholders have a different perception of what the Service concept of their Organization is. Example: While understanding a Service concept, Customers will be anxious about the value for money and level of satisfaction. Whereas, about the same organization, the Marketing Department of the organization will be apprehensive about the progress of the brand image delivered through the service concept and Profit Maximization. By Creating Organization alignment, the Organization can alter the perceptions of both, Internal and External Stakeholders. Example: Customer and Marketing Department have a common course towards the Service Concept.

2. Using the Service Concept to create changes in the Design: Changes in the service concept affect the organization as a whole, which also involves Service Development. Service Concept is closely linked with Service Design, which makes it one main component that includes the perspective of the customers, thus it should be designed properly to match the needs of the Customer. With the help of the outline of the Service Concept and mapping the current Service Concept with the required Service Concept, The service designers can compare their Service Concept with other organizations and suggest changes to the organization which can be implemented on the Service Concept and Design to suit the customer’s expectations. (Johnston and Clark, 2008)

3. Drive Strategic Advantage: Service Concept helps an Organization to understand what services they are providing to their customers and also understand their business. Evolving the Service Concept can also help Organization managers address their challenges and interpret in ways that can make it be different from other organizations. Keeping in mind about the Market and the customers, The Organization can evolve its Service Concept, which creates an understanding for the customer. Even though Service Concept plays a major role in Organizations, It has some Drawbacks. Services are now becoming similar, as it becomes easy for Organizations to copy one’s Products and Services and then compete with Organizations with the help of Service Concept that tells the customer about the Service being offered by the company.

Many times, Word-of-mouth plays an important role in creating a limitation for the Service Concept. Customers tend to judge the Service concept by the statement made by Marketing managers of an organization, through direct and indirect marketing (Johnston and Clark, 2008). Organizations have succeeded in outlining their Service Concept to customers, but there are times where the Service Concept does not match the expectations of the customers. This creates tension between the staff of the organization and they feel agitated as they are not able to deliver the service as expected by their customers.

Service Concept Profiling Tool:

Due to intense competition in the market, Organizations should match their Service Concept with the expectations of their customers, and they can do so evaluating where their Service Concept is, and where they plan their Service Concept to be. This can be done by using the Service Concept Profiling tool. Service Concept Profiling is a tool which helps an Organization to classify the opportunities and changes that can be made to the Service to make it better. Organizations can use this tool to carry out a Self-assessment on their Service Concept. This explains the organization about their current service concept and what changes they intend to bring towards their Service Concept to match the expectations of their customers. Service Concept Profiling identifies the potential capabilities an Organization can benefit from with the help of “Capability Mapping” (Johnston and Clark, 2001). Capability Mapping is the plotting of the current service concept of an organization and the service concept required by the organization to meet customer expectations and satisfy them.

The gap between the current and required service concept is known to be the Capability of the Organization (Johnston and Clark, 2001). A supporting example to this concept could be the famous theme park Wonderland, located in Garhoud, Dubai. This famous theme park stared off with thrilling non-water rides and loads of attractions. Their Service concept was to provide their customers with an exciting day and enjoying thrilling adventurous rides at affordable prices. The location was convenient for people and the prices of the tickets were reasonable compared to other competitors, which increased the customer’s expectations.

Wonderland studied their target market and with the help of the Service Profiling tool, they strategized to change their Service Concept to meet the expectations of the Customer. Customers wanted to enjoy the thrilling waterless rides of Wonderland, and also have a day out at the Water Park at the same time, and this led to the creation of “Splash Land”. Splash Land is a Water based park which is located inside the grounds of Wonderland. Now customers do not need to choose between a Theme Park and a Water Park, as Wonderland offers both at the same place with affordable prices, which gives wonderland a strategic advantage over its customers.

Service Concept Profiling is a multipurpose tool. This tool also helps Organizations conduct a competitive analysis about their competitors. The competitive analysis is done based on the Service concept of an organization and its competitors. With the help of the profiling tool, Organizations can know the pros and cons of their competitors and provide with better service concepts to their customers in order to get higher number of customers, giving an organization a competitive advantage over their competitors. A supportive example could be the competition between Samsung and Apple. Both are at a level of fierce competition with each other in the mobile industry. Using the help of the 4 elements of Service Concept, competitive analysis of Samsung v/s Apple is explained below by plotting a Capability map:

Even after Service Concept Profiling being a tool to explain an organization’s opportunities and competitive analysis, it brings along some challenges along with it for the organization. Measuring the performance is difficult. This is because you have to collect customer feedback and many times customers answer quickly even without knowing what they are answering, lacking quality in the answers provided. This also leads the Accuracy. Organizations must make sure they are being provided with accurate feedback of the service concept, or else it will lead to the organization making a false “required service concept” based on the feedback of the expectations provided. One more challenge brought forward is the assessment. Assessment of the Service Concept needs to be done, in order for the service concept to show high accuracy.

SERVQUAL Model:

SERVQUAL model is a structure model of Service Quality that was developed in 1980’s by Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Berry (Chingang, D., 1996). This structure model is the means to measure the level of Quality in different Service regions. Service Quality is said to be the complete valuation of a Service by its Customers and measures the difference between Customer Perceptions against Customer Expectations which helps to reduce the gap between firms, customer expectations and perceptions. If the Service which the customer received is below their expectation level, they evaluate the Quality to be low, whereas if the Service which the customer received surpasses their expectation level, they evaluate the Quality to be high. Service Quality also looks into the difference between Customer expectations and Customer perceptions. Customer expectations are what the customer predicts or want their Service to be, whereas Customer perception is the actual experience of the Customer of the particular service. Example: When a Customer purchases a Blackberry Phone, The Customer expects the battery life of the mobile to be high and expects a great deal with the mobile but the Customer perception of the mobile after purchasing the mobile is that the mobile was expensive compared to other substitutes and the battery life of the phone was very low.

There are 5 characteristics that combine to create the SERVQUAL Model: (Parasuraman et al., 1988) 1) Reliability: To what extent the service is being performed appropriately. 2) Assurance: The knack of employees to build confidence and faith. 3) Tangible: It involves understanding the aesthetic value of equipments/tools and appearance of staff. 4) Empathy: Showing interest and care towards the customers by giving each of them individual importance. 5) Responsiveness: Making available services straightaway to customers when they require it. SERVQUAL empowers the Service Organization to assess and analyse different gaps which could be completely removed and handled after achieving the results of the SERVQUAL Model. The gap models are: 1) GAP 1 – This is the difference between the service expected by the customers and the perceptions which the managers have about the customer’s expectations. Also known as the “Management Perception Gap” (Douglas and Connor, 2003) 2) GAP 2 – This is the difference between the manager’s perception of customer expectation and the specifications of service quality of the customer’s expectations.

Also known as the “Quality Specification Gap” (Douglas and Connor, 2003) 3) GAP 3 – This is the difference between the actual delivery of the experience and the specification of the experience. Also known as the “Service Delivery Gap” (Douglas and Connor, 2003) 4) GAP 4 – This is the difference between what is communicated to customers and the delivery of customer experience from the Organization. Also known as the “Market Communication Gap” (Douglas and Connor, 2003) 5) GAP 5 – This is the difference between the perception of the service quality and the expectation of the Customer. Also known as “Perceived Service Quality Gap” (Douglas and Connor, 2003) SERVQUAL model is widely used to determine the Customer’s Expectations and Perceptions of the Service Quality offered by the organization.

But it has come to notice to the organizations, that the service quality can only be experienced, it cannot be touched (Francis Buttle, 1996). Due to frequent change in the attitudes of customers, it is relatively challenging to determine the perceptions and expectations of customers on a regular basis. Also the SERVQUAL model has a lot of questions and at times the questions are not to point. Thus it is necessary for organizations to add a physical component to help understand the expectations and perceptions of the customer which in turn will also increase the knowledge of the customers of the service they inherit.

One of the leading supermarket chains in the UAE is Carrefour. Carrefour is located in different malls over the UAE and it happens to be one of the most crowded stores for consumable items and necessities. Every Department in Carrefour is necessary for Customers in its own way, mainly the department of frozen foods, eatables and drinks. It is vital for Carrefour to know the perceptions and expectations of their customers in such departments, to keep the customers satisfied as competition in the market is very high with similar ideas.

Even though it has been noticed that Service concept, profiling and the service quality model have quite a few challenges, Organizations yet continue to adapt them. The Service Concept of an organization should match the expectations of their customer. If it does not match, then the Service Concept Profiling tool comes in action to evaluate and change the service concept to get equal with the expectations of the customer. After the Service Concept expectations are met, the SERVQUAL model helps measure the level of quality and assesses the customer’s expectations and perceptions. If quality is low then once again the capability mapping tool is used to make the service concept match the expectations of the customer. On the whole, all of the above concepts, tools and models are equally appropriate for an organization and must be critically looked at for understanding the perceptions and expectations of their customers.

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