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Service Quality (02 May 2007)


Competitions in all market sectors are keen. While small and medium enterprises are threatened by the possibility of a shrinking market share, consumers are given so many choices with confusing messages that they are at a loss, too. A customer may switch to another brand under the influence of advertisements and salespersons. Thus small and medium enterprises must maintain their relations with customers by visible and invisible means – improvement in products and service. In today's market, it is service that makes a crucial difference. There are seven elements in the marketing of the service sector: Products, price, promotion, place, staff, service process and substantial evidence. If one can make good use of them, it is much easier to succeed. In this episode, we are going to visit three different businesses to see how the enhancement of service quality can lead to a 3-win situation for the customers, staff and boss.As tourism prospers in Macau, shops selling souvenirs are more popular and at the same time, facing more rivals. The third-generation man-in-charge of Choi Heong Yuen, a 70-year-old bakery, decided to invite an international certification body to design a service enhancement project for the company so that the shop could stand out from the rest. After a year of improvement and training, the hygiene standards, furnishings, labels and service attitude have all improved. The enhancement in the qualities of their products and service has brought them a service certification, which stands as a milestone in their development. Now the shop is more popular among customers. As their staff work more devotedly, the sales figure rises as well.The second business we visit, a dental clinic group, is also awarded a service certification. Their clinics are furnished with special themes like ocean or beauty salon with rooms visible from the outside. Their comfortable and spacious lobbies have alleviated customers'fear of dental surgeries. Apart from a pleasant environment, professionalism is also very important; this means dentists, advanced equipment and quality service are all vital. The group has achieved mutual understanding among all parties, making sure that customers are satisfied with their performance.Competition among boutiques is keen in Hong Kong. Giordano has made quality service its selling point since the 90s. Its success in offering quality service relies on the enthusiasm and the unity of their staff and the reward the company offers, which is not necessarily material. The company has once arranged a surprise party for a staff member with excellent performance, and invited her husband and daughter to the party. The management also gave her a phone call to congratulate her achievements. Instead of proper training sessions,there are sharing sessions between new and senior staff members. In doing so, the company has not only made good use of team spirit, but also provided chances for staff members to shine. Their staff's belief that the best service must be provided out of one's own will, and customers also appreciate it.To conclude, service can be divided into two aspects, hardware and software. Hardware refers to the facilities, while software is service attitude and professionalism. Increasing the quality of the hardware only is not enough, as both are important elements in enhancing the service provided. Quality service in the service sector does not merely rely on the frontline workers, the management and the logistic support must work as a team.

Wins on Marketing
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
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