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Service Management Principles in Singapore

Dec 23, 2022 | 0 comments

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Dec 23, 2022 | Essays | 0 comments

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

Service is the performance or the act provided by one party to another party. The performance is intangible, even though the process sometimes can involve physical products. Davidow (1991) indicated that services benefit consumers and create value at specific places and times by bringing about the desired change. 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, labor 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 based on the following features/aspects:

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

Degree of tangibility: services are also classified in Singapore from the case study into the 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 centers, tourist camps, motels, and boarding houses for 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 catering such as schools of higher education, factories, hospitals, exhibition and conference centers among others. Lastly, intangible goods in Singapore exist under a degree of tangibility, as depicted in the case study. They include e-tourism information officers, tourist guides, college education, and travel agencies.

Service provider skills: in the service industry, unskilled and highly skilled labor can offer services. Applying the context in Singapore as depicted in the case study, it is evident that service provider skills also form a basis of service classification. From the case study, it is evident that professionals or highly skilled laborers offer services in the service industry. They include hospitality professionals, educators who impart knowledge to the students on the relevant course of hospitality and tourism in colleges and other institutions of higher learning, executives of significant hospitality industry players such as Arthur King, policymakers, business owners and managers, 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 hotels and other hospitality and tourism establishments, and the security, among others.

The service provider goals: From the statement of Arthur Kiong, it is evident that Singapore, from the case study, has also classified its services according 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. Mr. Kiong thinks that many business owners in Singapore concentrate on making profits. Some of the business that has goals for making profits include a business that deals with tourists and also those in the hospitality and catering sectors

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

Labor 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. As brought out in the case study, the equipment-based services in Singapore include automated services, such as ATMs and vending machines, the skilled and unskilled operators. People-based and equipment-based service classifications differ based on the degree of labor intensity. From the case study, it is evident that in Singapore, the service industry has become labor-intensive and has made new graduates shy away from joining the sector. This has also resulted in labourcrush and decreasing number of arriving tourists.

Service Triangle Assessment

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

Internal marketing: this is the side of the triangle 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 to understand the business’s problems and goals. It can also incorporate employee reward systems for those who provide customer service properly. In Singapore, from the case study, internal marketing is very low and poor. Mr. Kiong indicated from the case study that services standards in Singapore have sunk. He thinks that maybe the industry players or business owners do not understand the concept of internal marketing or are not convinced that customer satisfaction is related to improved services. Many people are also not embracing the service industry because of low pay.

External marketing: this is the side of the triangle 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, many businesses do external marketing.

Interactive marketing is the side of the triangle between the employees and the company’s customers. Interactive marketing depends on how the company employees provide services to 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, low remuneration, and poor internal marketing by most businesses 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 require that entrepreneurs within Singapore understand the difference between the expected performance and the actual performance of the country in the service sector. Such an aim can be met when the curriculum for training within the colleges considers the operational processes’ efficiency. Training also needs to include valid and reliable service performance as students are encouraged to take part and take up employment within the hospitality and tourism industries. According to Hurwitz (2009), good service performance is when the consumer gets the exact kind of service they seek. Tourists coming to the country are looking for an excellent environment for relaxation, properly organized tours, excellent accommodations, and tastes in local cuisines. When such consumers get this, the country can state they have a valid service.

On the other hand, reliable service is the process where the consumer can get the same service consistently over time. Singapore has often been criticized for its lack of consistency. Guests coming to the country during a particular time can receive excellent service while they are completely disappointed at another time. Furthermore, whereas services at the main airports and transportation may be excellent, services at the hotels and tourist spots may be 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 will likely become unsatisfied with services. Once these gaps have been dealt with, Singapore can develop models ideal for customer satisfaction. The five gaps include the following:

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 one way to maintain customer share in an exceedingly competitive market. Sometimes, business owners are likely to ignore the needs of the consumers and rely on their perception of what the consumer wants. Normann (1991) states that understanding the customer and the target market is the first step toward ensuring success in service provision. Service industries are sensitive because they interact directly with the consumer. There is, therefore, a need to be completely in touch with the customer’s needs; otherwise, failure is imminent. When management and business owners fail to perceive precisely what the client needs, they are likely to provide the wrong service, leading to unsatisfied and disgruntled customers.

Performance standard models: perhaps the one place the country has failed in terms of policies and policy setting is in the performance standards. The country has developed lax performance standards to increase investment and encourage entrepreneurship, which indirectly leads to increasing GDP. Business owners are, therefore, comfortable with mediocre standards. Grönroos (1990), in his research, for example, found that the 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 the likelihood that they will even operate at a higher standard than expected. However, they are most likely to maintain low service quality without a standard to adhere to.

A particular level of standards must be defined for implementing training measures and curriculum development. This ensures that the workforce coming to the market has the skills and knowledge to maintain the required standards. Customers are most likely to enjoy the services when their quality expectations are met. According to Bowen et al (1990), this gap does not necessarily end at the standardization of service; it also covers the failure to maintain and continually ensure high service standards 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 country has been forced to rely on a poorly trained and inadequate workforce. This produces a glaring difference between the required standards of service and the actual delivery. Employees are often poorly equipped to deal with their various customer needs. 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 knowledgeable 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 workforce. Organizations can also invest in training staff already experienced in 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, organizations attract the best talent and can maintain the same. The problem may not be the lack of a workforce but 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 implemented. These individuals within an organization aim to ensure high customer service. With excellent teamwork, organizations within the country can achieve a high standardization of services.

Communication model: As has been the case in Singapore, entrepreneurs often rely on much in advertising to raise customer expectations. Through advertisements, companies often promise much more than they can deliver. Unfortunately, when they fail to deliver, the customers who came in droves move to the competition. Such customers can rarely become convinced to try out services by the company once again. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the companies have in place structures to 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 that need to be implemented 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 successful.

Principle 1: understanding what organizations get from excellent service

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

  • What organizations need to deliver quality service. Service management requires investment in the right resources and services. Whereas the country may score highly in terms of advertisement, there is little to be desired when it comes to the actual delivery.
  • The majority of organizations often focus on ensuring quality service presentation. However, few invest time in the delivery process (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, excellent service allows for an increased income, leading to improved investment in the infrastructure. Such organizations are transformed from just providers of services such as accommodation, transport, and tour ventures into fully-fledged service providers. The transformation comes from the increased reliance of customers on the organizations for the same service over some 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 determined whether particular skills could bring fresh blood and ideas to the service management industry. However, managers often lack the right information without the right processes to make the best decisions for improving the service industry. For example, new CEOs responsible for rolling out a change within an organization are probably unaware of the priority situations within the organization. Platforms for management ensure a more integrated approach leading to better decision-making. Through these platforms, information can be centralized, and workflow collaborated so that the organizations can work force effectively while at the same time increasing efficiency in service delivery. With a properly designed platform for service management, organizations can achieve excellent results they could not achieve before. Such a platform will be based on a reference, a 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 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 creating 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 service delivery. This gap is an opportunity for business and excellence in meeting customer needs. Once the gap is identified, they determine if it is worth the investment and resources to turn the idea into an income-generating service. The investment should be able to produce a profit over a reasonable duration of time.
  • The second step is ensuring that such a service can be deployed. That is, it can be transformed into 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 service excellence. 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 organizational culture

To ensure sustainable standards, the organization and culture need to change. High excellence and standardized service delivery become ingrained into the organization as desired and rewarded behavior. 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 yet to be explored in 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 a need to create service advantages to guarantee maintenance. The current markets are such that middle- and small-income businesses are likely to lose out without excellent customer satisfaction. Yet, it has been noted that such businesses are often the driving force behind a country’s income generation and economic growth.

Building customer loyalty: With many available service providers worldwide, 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 difficult; maintaining that customer usually is. Most businesses within Singapore are often more focused on creating customers. Once the customers have come through the business door, they fail to ensure 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 organization’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 organizations often make when it comes to feedback. Feedback is vital to keep in touch with the customer’s needs. It highlights areas where customers seem to think improvements can be made and systems can be strengthened. It also highlights the strengths of the country’s organizations 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 that at least 9% of the customers will remain unhappy. However, it should be noted that for Singapore, the number and percentage may be 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 are neither implemented nor even considered. The result is that businesses often lose clients to a competition where their ideas are not only sought, they are considered.
  • Sometimes, managers are prone to taking customer feedback as personal criticism. Feedback is information about 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 begun 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 customer expectations. Such customer is likely to return for a long time to the same business. However, Collier (1994) states that businesses often wait until it is too late to set customer expectations. As such, they cannot put structures in place to meet customer needs. As Mr. Kiong stated, success and growth in business come from excellent customer satisfaction. The 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, anticipate the customer’s needs and expectations, and work hard towards meeting the said needs.

Focusing on the customer experience: Entrepreneurs within the country have become more focused on increasing the profit margin at the expense of the customer experience. The Singapore service industry offers nothing unique and exciting to which customers can return 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. A successful business offers a quality customer experience. The first and most important step is ensuring that structures have been put in place, ensuring quality can be measured and delivered. This ensures that value is added to the customer experience; customers can 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 from a loyal clientele base that provides recurring business opportunities and income.

Evaluate the service advantage process: Evaluation allows the company to understand the market’s challenges and the opportunities that can give a better advantage. Evaluation includes the following steps:

  • Understanding the resources: no service advantage can be created without the right resources. Existing resources offer an advantage that can be streamlined before further investments can be considered.
  • Establishment of goals: consistent growth comes from setting and working towards clear goals to create service advantage. Without clear goals, the companies will likely engage in haphazard investment, which translates to loss and increased costs.
  • Competition: the 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’s needs to avoid loss of customers.

References

Bowen, D. E., Chase, R. B., & Cummings, T. G. (1990). Service management effectiveness: Balancing strategy, organization, 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 the service business. Chichester: Wiley.

 

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