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SERVICE MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF SINGAPORE

Oct 23, 2018 | 0 comments

Oct 23, 2018 | Essays | 0 comments

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SERVICE MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF SINGAPORE

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

SERVICE MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF SINGAPORE 1

SERVICE MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF SINGAPORE 3

LO1: critically evaluate the case study’s country service classification and assess the service triangle and its relevance 3

Market segment 3

Degree of tangibility 3

Service provider skills 4

The service provider goals 4

Labour intensiveness degree 5

Service Triangle Assessment 5

Internal marketing 6

External marketing 6

LO2: systematically reflect the case study country on how different services require different approaches in managing the service standards 7

Consumer expectation and management perception 8

Performance standard models 8

The delivery model 9

Communication model 10

LO3: Assess the appropriate concepts and principles of service management applied to the case study’s country context 10

Principle 1: understanding what organisations get from excellent service 10

Principle 2: deploy platforms for service management 11

Principle 3: management of the entire life cycle 12

Principle 4: make service management an outcome of organisational culture 13

LO4: recommend the strategies to create a service advantage in raising the country’s service standards 13

Building customer loyalty 14

Feedback 14

Set customer expectations at the earliest opportunity 15

Focusing on the customer experience 15

Evaluate the service advantage process 16

REFERENCES 17

SERVICE MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF SINGAPORE

LO1: critically evaluate the case study’s country service classification and assess the service triangle and its relevance

A service is the performance or the act provided by one party to another party. The performance is intangible despite the fact that the process sometimes can involve aphysical product. Davidow (1991) indicated that services provide benefits to the consumers and creates value at specific places and times by bringing about the change desired. According to Gucer (2009), services can be classified in multiple ways depending on different aspects/features such as degree of tangibility, market segment, service provider skills, service provider goals, labour intensiveness degree, regulation degree, and customer contact degree.

The country in the case study is Singapore and services are classified depending on different features. From the case study, it is evident that In Singapore, the services have been classified on the basis of the following features/aspects:

Market segment: in Singapore, the services are classified depending on the market segment that are catered. Therefore, from the case study, it is evident that there are service catering to the end user consumers such as hotels, organizations dealing with tourists, hospitality sectors, catering sector, retail sectors, and general business that offer services to the customers

Degree of tangibility: services are also classified in Singapore from the case study into degree of tangibility. These can either be tangible or intangible offerings. For instance, from the case study, there is evidence of rental goods from the hospitality industry such s hotel rooms, holiday centres, tourist camps, motels and boarding houses for the tourists. Moreover, the tangible goods are owned goods within the service industry in Singapore and they include the business owner’sestablishments in the hospitality industry for the provision of refreshments and meals for the tourists and institutional and industrial caterings such as schools of higher education, factories, hospitals, exhibition and conference centres among others. Lastly, under the degree of tangibility, there exists the intangible goods in Singapore as depicted from the case study. They include e the tourism information officers, tourists’ guides, college education, and travel agencies

Service provider skills: in the service industry, the services can be offered by the unskilled and highly skilled labour. Applying the context in Singapore as depicted in the case study, it is evident that service provider skills also forms a basis of service classification. From the case study, it is evident that there are professional or the high skilled labour who offer services in the service industry and they include the hospitality professionals, the educators who impart knowledge to the students on the relevant course of hospitality and tourisms in colleges and other institution of higher learning, executives of major hospitality industry players such as Arthur King, policy makers, business owners and management and other major tourism industry players

On the other hand, the non-professionals in the service industry in the case study include the taxi operators who offer transport services to the tourists, the workers offering cleaning services in the hotels and other hospitality and tourismestablishments, the security among others

The service provider goals: From the statement of Arthur Kiong, it is evident that Singapore from the case study has classified their services also in accordance to the service provider goals. The services have been differentiated based on the goals the service providers pursue. That is whether their goals are for making profits or for non-profit making. It is evident that Mr. Kiong thinks that many business owners in Singapore are majorly concentrated on making profits for their business. Some of the business that has goals for making profits include business that deal with tourists and also in those in the hospitality and catering sectors

Similarly, the non-profit making service providers in Singapore include the government and the non-governmentorganizations who create conducive business environment and encourage service business in the country. Other non-profit service providers in Singapore include the religiousorganizations and the public services such as the public libraries.

Labour intensiveness degree: services offered In Singapore are people based and equipment based from the case study.The people working in the service industry in Singapore include the unskilled, skilled and professionals. The equipment based services in Singapore as brought out in the case study include the services that are automated such as the ATMs and the vending machines, the skilled operators and the unskilled operators. Both people based and equipment based service classifications differ based on the labour intensiveness degree. From the case study, it is evident that in Singapore, of late the service industryhas become labour intensive and this has made the new graduates to shy away from joining the sector. This has also resulted to labourcrush and decreasing number of the arriving tourists.

Service Triangle Assessment

According to Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons (1998), service marketing triangle gives emphasis on three elements; external marketing, internal marketing and the interactive marketing. The service triangle is premised that when organizations attend to their employees, the workers are more likely to diligently work and attend to the clients who got attracted to the firm through external marketing. On top of the triangle is the company and at the bottom on the two corners arethe employees and the customers who interact

Internal marketing: this is the triangles side between the employees who offer services to the clients and the company on top. Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons (2003) indicated that the marketing issues under internal marketing include proper training on the techniques of customer satisfaction services and services to be delivered. Furthermore, internal marketing requires the business owners to get involved with the employees for them to understand the problems facing the business and the goals. It can also incorporate employees reward systems for those who provide customer service properly. In Singapore from the case study, internal marketing is very low and is poor. Mr. Kiong indicated from the case study that standards of services in Singapore has sunk. He thinks that may be the industry players or the business owners does not understand the concept of internal marketing or that they are not convinced that customer satisfaction is related improved services. Many people are also not embracing the service industry because of low payment

External marketing: this is the triangles side between the customers and the company on top. It involves traditional business marketing such as advertising and social media marketing. From the case study, external marketing by businesses is not clearly shown but given that the service sector is vibrant in Singapore, definitely many business does external marketing

Interactivemarketing: this is the triangles side between the employees and the company’s customers. Interactive marketing depends on how the employees of the company provide services with the goal of having customers who are highly satisfied, and who become repeat and long term customers. From the case study, it can be concluded that interactive marketing is very poor in the service industry. Going by the poor service standards from employees, lowremuneration and poor internal marketing by most business in Singapore, interactive marketing is at its lowest standards

LO2: systematically reflect the case study country on how different services require different approaches in managing the service standards

Understanding service standards requires that entrepreneurs within Singapore understand the difference between the expected performance and the actual performance of the country in the service sector. Such aim can be met when the curriculum for training within the colleges takes into account the efficiency of the operational processes. As students are encouraged to take part and take up employment within the hospitality and tourism industries, training also needs to include valid and reliable service performance. Valid service performance according to Hurwitz (2009) is a situation where the consumer gets the exact kind of service that they were seeking. Tourists coming to the country are looking for an excellent environment for relaxation, properly organised tours, excellent accommodation and tastes of local cuisines. When such consumers are able to get exactly this, the country can state they have valid service. On the other hand, reliable service is the process where the consumer is able to get the same service consistently over a period of time. Singapore has often been criticised for lack of consistency. Guests coming to the country during a particular time are able to receive excellent service while at another time they are completely disappointed. Furthermore, whereas services at the main airports and transportation maybe excellent, services at the hotels and tourist spots maybe less than proper. Consistency ensures that the customer receives excellent and quality service from the beginning to the end of their interaction with the country. This ensures and creates a base of fundamentally loyal clientele.

The gap model developed in 1985 is an excellent way through which the country can determine the various models that can be put in place to ensure excellent service standards. The gap model measures or shows the five areas where consumers are likely to become unsatisfied with services. Once these gaps have been dealt with, Singapore can develop models which are ideal for customer satisfaction. The five gaps include:

Consumer expectation and management perception: the prime minister of Singapore expressed concern that business owners may not be aware that excellent and quality service is the one way through which they can maintain the customer share in an exceedingly competitive market. Sometimes, business owners are likely to ignore the needs of the consumers and rely on their own perception of what the consumer wants. Normann (1991) states that understanding the customer and the target market is the first step towards ensuring success in service provision. Service industries are sensitive, because they interact directly with the consumer. There is therefore need to be completely in touch with the needs of the customer otherwise failure is imminent. When management and business owners fail to perceive exactly what the client needs, they are likely to provide the wrong service which in turn leads to unsatisfied and disgruntled customers.

Performance standard models: perhaps the one place the country has failed as a whole in terms of policies and policy setting is in the performance standards. In an effort to increase investment and encourage entrepreneurship which is an indirect route towards increasing GDP, the country has developed lax performance standards. Business owners are therefore comfortable with mediocre standards. Grönroos (1990) in his research for example found that majority of the hotels in Singapore sailed to meet even the basic standards set in other countries. The performance standard model encourages businesses to maintain a particular standard. When they are expected to meet a standard, there is likelihood that they will even operate at a higher standard than expected. However without a standard to adhere to they are most likely to maintain low service quality.

A particular level of standards must be defined in order for training measures and curriculum development to be put in place. This ensures that the work force coming to the market has the skills and knowledge to maintain the required standards. Customers are most likely to enjoy the services when their expectations of quality are met before. According to Bowen et al (1990) this gap does not necessarily end at standardisation of service, it also covers the failure to maintain and continually ensure high standards of service to the customer. The result is that tourists, investors and other stakeholders seek similar services in other countries, an issue that has adversely affected the income of Singapore.

The delivery model: as indicated Singapore has had major problems when in it comes to employees. Young students with excellent knowledge and the ability to improve the service industry often desire to work away from the service industry. The result is that the country has been forced to rely on poorly trained and an inadequate work force. This produces a glaring difference between the required standards of service and the actual delivery. Employees are often poorly equipped to deal with the various customer needs that present themselves. Customers in the service industry are often diverse with a diverse range of needs, requiring excellent knowledge, training and skills from the employees to meet the same. Singapore faces three specific challenges in this area that can be addressed with an excellent delivery model investment:

  • There is a lack of employees trained and with knowledge to deal with customer issues and inquiries. As students in the service industry are trained, encouragement and excellent pay packages need to be put in place to attract a better skilled work force. Organisations can also invest in training staff that is already experienced in the service delivery.
  • The main issue with Singapore is that the service industry sports the poorest and weakest human resource policies. Grönroos (2000) clearly states that with good human resource policies, organisational attract the best talent and are able to maintain the same. The problem may not be the lack of work force but also the lack of excellent human resource policies with good pay and attractive benefits for the service staff.
  • Once the employees are in place, teams of excellence can be put in place. These are individuals within an organisation whose main objective is ensuring high customer service. With excellent team work, organisations within the country can achieve the high standardisation of services.

Communication model: often as has been the case in Singapore, entrepreneurs rely much in advertising raising the customer expectations. Through advertisements companies often promise much more than they are able to deliver. Unfortunately when they fail to deliver, the customers who came in droves move to the competition. Such customers can rarely if ever become convinced to try out services by the company once again. It is therefore important to ensure that the companies have in place structures through which they can meet the customer expectations as advertised.

LO3: Assess the appropriate concepts and principles of service management applied to the case study’s country context

Service management includes several principles which need to be put in place for the country to enjoy quality in the best way. While some of the principles are already in place others need to be set up with managers and business owners being made aware of such principles to ensure that service management within the country is a success.

Principle 1: understanding what organisations get from excellent service

As the prime minister pointed out, it seems that managers and business owners do not understand what they need and can get from excellent service management. There is need to understand:

  • What organisations need in order to deliver quality service. Service management requires investment in the right resources and services. Whereas the country may score highly in terms of advertisement when it comes to the actual delivery there is little to be desired.
  • Majority of the organisations often focus on ensuring quality service presentation, however few take time to investment in the process of delivery, (Looy et al 2011). There is very little advantage to be seen from having an excellent service yet the process of reaching the consumer is either non-existent or poorly structured.

The ideal service management model will ensure that the infrastructure of the business and the services are interrelated. This means that the infrastructure invests and ensures that excellent service provision is possible. On the other hand, the excellent service allows for an increase income which in turn leads to improved investment in the infrastructure. Such organisations are therefore transformed from being just providers of services such as accommodation, transport and tour ventures into being fully fledged service providers. The transformation comes from increased reliance of customers on the organisations for the same service over a period of time.

Principle 2: deploy platforms for service management

Over the past decades Singapore’s organizations have brought together different management tools for running services. The experimental method was directed at determining whether particular skills could bring in fresh blood and ideas in the service management industry. However, without the right processes in place; managers have often lacked the right information to make the best decisions for the improvement of the service industry. For example new CEO’s responsible for rolling out change within an organisation are probably not aware of the priority situations within the organisation. Platforms for management ensure a more integrated approach which in turn leads to better decision making. Through these platforms, information can be centralised and work flow collaborated so that the organisations are able to work force effectively while at the same time increasing efficiency in service delivery. With a properly designed platform for service management, organisations will be able to achieve excellent results; results that they were unable to achieve before. Such platform will be based on a reference, which is a clear desired state for service management. All efforts, activities and information gathered are directed at such reference. Investment is therefore no longer haphazard but instead directional and purposeful.

Principle 3: management of the entire life cycle

The life cycle of a service is often more pronounced and defined than the common both to death cycle. A service life cycle includes the creation of the service, changes and challenges over the active life of the service until retirement when consumers no longer require the service. In Singapore, business owners are often adept at determining the reasons behind the creation of a particular service. However once they have deployed the service, management of the same ends here. This is the main issue behind poor service performance. There is often a lack of understanding that the cycle needs to be well managed and taken care of to ensure success in delivery and management. Management of the life cycle includes the following steps:

  • Business owners react to customer requests by determining a gap in the service delivery. This gap is an opportunity for business and excellence in meeting customer needs. Once the gap is identified, they determine if such gap is worth the investment and resources that will be directed towards turning the idea into an income generating service. The investment should be able to produce profit over a reasonable duration of time.
  • The second step is ensuring that such service can be deployed that is, it can transformed to what the customer requires. Lewis (1998) indicates that a service should be able to roll out flawlessly. This step gets the service ready for production and delivery.
  • During the deployment stage several challenges will come into place, they need to be addressed to ensure excellence in service. Ignoring challenges often means poor service delivery even where the service is excellent in and of itself. The service must be scaled up and down to ensure that it is available when needed and maintains performance standards.

Principle 4: make service management an outcome of organisational culture

To ensure sustainable standards, the organisation itself and the culture within needs to undergo changes. High excellence and standardised service delivery becomes ingrained into the organisation as desired and rewarded behaviour. This means investing in excellent and sometimes intense service audits. These audits point out not just the weakness in the service management system but also opportunities that are yet to be explored in the process of determining excellence in delivery. Service management should be able to capture what’s being done, where it’s being done and who is responsible for what is being done.

LO4: recommend the strategies to create a service advantage in raising the country’s service standards

In the current market customer acquisition costs for Singapore are generally increasing. With such high costs, there is need to create service advantages so that maintenance is guaranteed. The current markets are such that without excellent customer satisfaction, middle and small income businesses are likely to lose out. Yet, it has been noted that such businesses are often the driving force behind income generation and economic growth of a country.

Building customer loyalty: With many available service providers all over the world, it is important to understand the value of customer loyalty to a business. Clifford (2010) cites that getting a customer to try out a particular service is not the difficult part, maintaining that customer usually is. Majority of the businesses within Singapore are often more focused on creating customers. Once the customers have come through the door of the business, they fail in ensuring strategies to maintain the customer. This means that business owners and stakeholders in the service industry need to keep in touch with what customers want at different times. It is important to note that customer needs are often changing, and customer satisfaction is derived from the organisation’s ability to manage and address the changing needs at different times.

Feedback : Perhaps, the country’s inability to meet standards of service excellence stems from the mistakes that organisations often make when it comes to feedback. Feedback is an important and vital way to keep in touch with the needs of the customer. It highlights areas which customers seem to think improvements can be made and systems can be strengthened. It also highlights the strengths of the country’s organisations as opposed and compared to those of the competition. Prime Minister Loong established that few if any tourists and locals could indicate Singapore as an excellent service provider. However as (Drucker and Maciariello 2008) show no single business is immune to dissatisfied clientele. Even with the best efforts, he indicates at least 9% of the customers are going to remain unhappy. However, it should be noted that for Singapore the number and percentage maybe higher and this is because:

  • Managers and business owners are prone to ignoring customer feedback. There are requests made for suggestions and feedback from clientele. However all information and data gathered is neither implemented nor even considered. The result is that businesses often lose clients to competition where their ideas are not only sought, they are actually considered.
  • There are times when managers are prone to taking customer feedback as personal criticism. Feedback is information with regard to the performance of your service, and is not meant to be taken as personal praise or insults.
  • Finally, for those businesses in Singapore that have began taking customer feedback; the surveys implemented are often long and monotonous. Customers feel that too much time is required to complete the surveys. It is important to note that customers rarely if ever want to take part in surveys.

Set customer expectations at the earliest opportunity: the difference between customer expectations and actual delivery is often the issue is service standards. Excellent service standards are often those that supersede the customer expectation. Such customer is likely to return for a long time to the same business. Collier (1994) states however, that businesses often wait until it is too late to set customer expectations. As such, they are unable to put in place structures that will ensure that they can meet the customer needs. As Mr. Kiong stated, success and growth in business comes from excellent customer satisfaction. Time has come for the country to invest in the customer, to ensure that the customer remains the boss of the business. With the customer as the boss, entrepreneurs are forced to operate under the standards demanded by the customer, to anticipate the needs and expectations of the customer and to work hard towards meeting the said needs.

Focusing on the customer experience : Entrepreneurs within the country have become more focused on the increasing the profit margin at the expense of the customer experience. The Singapore service industry offers nothing unique and exciting for which the customer can go back to when choosing and electing between different service providers. The customer experience allows the customer to identify with and create a connection between themselves, their needs and the country’s service providers. Successful business offers a quality customer experience. The first and most important step is ensuring that structures have been put in place ensuring that quality can be measured and delivered. This ensures that value is added to the customer experience, that is, customers are able to get something extra from their interaction with service providers. As stated by Haksever and Render (2013) whereas focusing on the customer experience can be costly to the business, the rewards come in the form of a loyal clientele base which provide recurring business opportunity and income.

Evaluate the service advantage process: Evaluation gives an opportunity for the company to understand the challenges in the market and the opportunities which can give better advantage. Evaluation includes the following steps:

  • Understanding the resources: there is no service advantage which can be created without the right resources. Existing resources in themselves offer an advantage which can be stream lined before further investments can be considered.
  • Establishment of goals: consistent growth comes from setting and working towards clear goals for creation of service advantage. Without clear goals the companies are likely to engage in haphazard investment which in turn translates to loss and increased costs.
  • Competition: majority of Singapore customers are looking for alternate service providers. It is important to understand what advantage is being offered by these competitors. This ensures that companies can meet the client needs to avoid loss of customers.

References

Bowen, D. E., Chase, R. B., & Cummings, T. G. (1990). Service management effectiveness: Balancing strategy, organization and human resources, operations, and marketing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Clifford, D. (2010). ISO/IEC 20000: An introduction to the global standard for service management. Ely, U.K: IT Governance Pub.

Collier, D. A. (1994). The service/quality solution: Using service management to gain competitive advantage. Milwaukee, Wis: ASQC Quality Press.

Davidow, W. H. (1991). Service management. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

Drucker, P. F., & Maciariello, J. A. (2008). Management. New York, NY: Collins.

Fitzsimmons, J. A., Fitzsimmons, M. J., & Fitzsimmons, J. A. (1998). Service management: Operations, strategy, and information technology. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Fitzsimmons, J. A., & Fitzsimmons, M. J. (2003). Service management. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

Grönroos, C. (1990). Service management and marketing: Managing the moments of truth in service competition. Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books.

Grönroos, C. (2000). Service management and marketing: A customer relationship management approach. Chichester: Wiley.

Gucer, V., & International Business Machines Corporation. (2009). End-to-end service management using IBM Service management portfolio. United States: IBM.

Haksever, C., & Render, B. (2013). Service management: An integrated approach to supply chain management and operations.

Hurwitz, J. (2009). Service management for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub.

Lewis, L. (1999). Service level management for enterprise networks. Boston: Artech House.

Looy, B. ., Dierdonck, R. ., & Gemmel, P. (2011). Service management: An integrated approach. Harlow, England: Pearson.

Normann, R. (1991). Service management: Strategy and leadership in service business. Chichester: Wiley.

 

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