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Service Management: Shopping Experience and Discussion

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Service Management: Shopping Experience and Discussion

Have you ever walked into a business with a certain standard of expectations although leaved with a different perception due to the level of customer service? As the 21st century businesses grow so to have the different levels of customer types, there are higher levels of quality gaps and also a higher expected level of service perceived by customers.

This encounter of a level of service had been put under inspection as a business had been chosen out of Manly and trialed as to whether they met the certain level of expectation, being a naïve expert customer. Including which area of the service quality gap which was missing as this encounter had taken place.

During the course a ‘Manly Encounter' had taken place to apply knowledge and assess the ways of which a certain type of business applies its policies to minimize quality gaps, including serving to the perceived idea which the business may portray example policies, and a level of service.

In this encounter 3 ICMS students had come together to trial and encounter a well known business in Manly. The business which had been chosen was Coles, located in the center of the shopping complex in Manly, during this encounter the customer, which was an ICMS Student, had asked for assistance on a certain type of stocking which she had needed for her uniform although there were several types of stockings within the business which lead to the required assistance.

An employee within the business was quite difficult to come by although within a few minutes of waiting a Coles employee had come to assist with any questions. The question was asked about the product range and the knowledge of the product which the employee at the time did not know; gender may have been the difficulty as the employee was male and may not have understood the products.

The customer was then re-directed to the store manager who had also no product knowledge as gender had become the issue as he was too a male. This was then repeated as the customer service representative was a male as well and did not have product knowledge. The customer then had waited 15 minutes until a female employee came to assist with the queries of the product.

This encounter had a negative impact on the customer as it lacked in many areas and created several quality gaps. Being a naïve expert customer of other Coles from other suburb it created a certain level of expectations. There are 4 customer types which include, 1) The economizing customer, 2) The ethical customer, 3) The personalizing customer, 4) The convenience customer.

Customer satisfaction with a service can be defined by comparing perceptions of service received with expectations of service desired. There are 5 primary dimensions of service quality, which are in order specifically to the comparative importance to customers; 1) Reliability, 2) Responsiveness, 3) Assurance, 4) Empathy, 5) Tangibles. (Fitzsimmons, 2001)

**FIGURE 3.3 SERVICE QUALITY GAP MODEL**

Through these service qualities comes ‘quality gaps' which is generally caused from lack or miscommunication between the management and the customer. There are 4 Gaps which may arise Gap 1 arises from the managements lack of full understanding about how all customers devise their expectations from a number of sources such as personal needs, past experiences, and word-of-mouth. Gap 2 results from management's inability to put together certain levels of service quality to meet customer expectations and interpret these to practical specifications. Gap 3 also known as the performance gap because delivery of service does not meet with the specifications from management and finally Gap 4 is the inconsistency between the service delivery and exterior communications caused by a lack of information provided to contact personnel.

The importance of ‘quality gaps' in a business's service culture is crucial as it evaluates the ways the business delivers its service in comparison to the customer receiving it in a way which they believe is acceptable. It is important for the business and its employees to have a full understanding of all 4 Gaps and the 5 service qualities because it helps reduce the risk of these gaps arising.

Correspondingly it is perceived that Coles, Manly does not implement these service quality gaps seeing as more than one gap had arise at the one encounter, i.e. the lack of product

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