The sphere of service businesses expands every day, as more and more service organizations are being created. While manufacturing businesses and retail stores concentrate on the quality of their goods, service companies focus their attention not only on the service quality but also on the customers – the main participants of any transaction. In this case, customer satisfaction becomes the primary goal of any service business.
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To reach out to a client, service organizations provide customer service, which can be either of the low contact or high contact type. Low contact services, such as the car repair company that is discussed in this paper, provide services without or little physical contact between a customer and a service provider (Lovelock & Patterson, 2015). Businesses with a low degree of customer contact focus on the technical side of the service.
On the other hand, high contact services revolve around constant face-to-face communication between a client and a service provider. Thus, the importance of an established relationship between the two parties grows significantly. In this paper, a hairdressing salon is an example of high contact service. This report examines and evaluates the service quality of two businesses: a car repair company and a hair salon, and discusses the author’s satisfaction with both services.
Service Marketing Analysis
It is important for every organization to establish its unique place on the market to be chosen by customers. By focusing on the right niche and finding the best marketing strategy, a business can quickly rise to the top. To assess the marketing strategy of the firm, one must look at the company’s competitive advantages and evaluate the roles of intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability, and perishability of the services the business provides. The role of the process should also be considered.
Car Repair Company
The discussed car repair business has a broad target audience, which allows the company to appeal to the general public. However, this company’s competitive advantage is in its breadth of service offerings, which is limited to the body repairs for light motor vehicles. By focusing on exterior maintenance, such as dent straightening and rust removal, the company can provide its customers with a particular set of services and high-quality materials. This particular car repair business does not interfere with the market of interior repairs, choosing a unique and non-general approach.
The result of the services after a car repair is rather tangible because the company provides services for the cars’ exterior. Thus, the marketing strategy of this business is based on visual materials, such as photo and video comparisons of a car before and after the service. Secondly, the heterogeneity of the services is present in this business because every customer’s situation is different. Therefore, the company’s owners have to focus on providing the best materials and having the most qualified personnel.
The marketing strategy of this company highlights the experience of its employees. The point of inseparability is not as applicable in this situation as in other service businesses, because the car repair business focuses on physical products rather than interactions with a customer (Izogo & Ogba, 2015). The communication between service providers and clients is indirect and minimal. The results of the service are not highly perishable because the repair’s effects usually last for a long time. Finally, the customer’s experience is not significantly impacted by the process because it happens without the client’s presence.
The competitive advantage of the discussed hairdressing salon is not based on a certain niche of services. This salon has a broad audience because it has hairdressers, hairstylists, and barbers to provide services for men and women. However, this parlor enters a competitive niche by offering not only hair cutting but also hair treatment. This high-contact business offers consultations with a professional trichologist, who can assess the hair’s condition and advise further treatment.
The other personnel members are also equipped with knowledge regarding hair health, as they can consult the clients on proper care methods and products. The salon’s marketing strategy relies on the topics of healthy hair and skin. In the marketing campaigns, this business differentiates itself from other salons by assuring the customer of the medical knowledge of its employees and by offering a range of high-quality hair care products. It is interesting to note that this salon does not want to appeal to customers as a medical facility instead of concentrating on people that want to maintain their hair health.
The services of this establishment are tangible because most of the procedures provide visible results (Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016). The marketing heavily relies on the visual aspects of the services, showcasing the results of medical treatment as well as hair styling and hair cutting.
Moreover, this salon focuses on relationship marketing because of the service results’ perishability. According to Jones et al. (2015), most customers reply positively to this type of marketing. The results of the services for this business are not only perishable but also heterogeneous. Moreover, a client plays a significant role in the process because most of the services are performed according to the customer instructions.
In this case, the customers are involved in co-production, according to the principle of inseparability (Jaakkola & Alexander 2014). Therefore, the role of the process is rather significant for this service because clients and service providers have to interact during the procedure.
Consumer Role and Behavior
Consumers often actively participate in the processes of a service business. Although the consumer’s behavior before choosing a business stays important, the consumer’s role during the interaction with a service provider becomes equally essential. However, the importance of a consumer decision-making process differs from business to business.
Car Repair Company
The role of a customer in the operations of a car repair company can change according to a particular case. For example, some situations require a longer interaction with a client to ask him or her about the expected results. In my case, the repair was primarily connected to the technical improvement of the car’s bumper. Thus, it did not require me to make any decisions that would significantly influence the end product of the service.
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Some of these choices can be made by looking at the company’s website because it offers information that introduces a customer to some operations and services. According to Maity and Dass (2014), this car repair company makes a logical decision to restrict the amount of content for their web sources because the company acknowledges that the type of services that the employees provide is rather heterogeneous. A simple look through the website allowed me to determine if the company’s services were right for me and assured me that this is the best company for my particular situation.
Following that, it was easy for me to connect with service providers and explain the kind of service I am expecting. Thus, by giving customers the necessary information, this car repair company allows clients to feel more confident in their decisions, which in turn leads to better service quality (Gross, 2014). Although a customer’s role in the process of a car repair is not very important, this company provided resources that contributed to customers’ trust (Foxall, 2013).
A hairdressing salon is a high contact service, which requires a client to be present for the entire process. This type of service is drastically different from a low contact service. Thus, the customer’s role is also rather different. First of all, the service providers have to present the clients with information about the services and tell them about the range of used products. Kaura, Durga Prasad, and Sharma (2015) note that every operation of this particular service business is discussed with a customer, which greatly influences the outcome and client’s satisfaction. In this case, the consumer’s role remains significant even after the service is completed because the client becomes a visual representation of the salon’s quality of service.
According to Alavi, Rezaei, Valaei, Wan Ismail (2016), this representation can impact the other customers’ decision-making process, build customers’ trust, and showcase the perceived benefits. Thus, the behavior of clients and service providers is crucial to the service and quality. Customers engage in co-production or co-creation, which grants them permission to influence the final product significantly (Jaakkola & Alexander 2014). In my case, service providers of the discussed hairdressing salon offered their advice and continued the communication throughout the process, which positively impacted the quality of the result.
Models of Satisfaction and Quality
According to Oliver (2014), the satisfaction of a consumer is a foundation of customer loyalty, and the main reason personal marketing exists. There are many models of evaluating satisfaction available to the companies to achieve better service quality. However, most models focus on a number of points. First of all, many customers review their experience with a service provider according to their initial expectations.
Second, according to Jahanshani, Hajizadeh, Mirdhamadi, Nawaser, and Khaksar (2014), satisfaction can be measured by the parameter of needs fulfillment. Technical service quality, fairness, external influences, such as mood and emotions, also can be considered in the evaluation of overall satisfaction (Lee, 2013). Businesses can choose various ways to monitor satisfaction. Currently, many service providers focus on online-reviews because more and more customers start to base their choices on these ratings. According to Zhang, Zhao, Cheung, and Lee (2014), the main factors that determine the success of these reviews are informativeness and persuasiveness.
Car Repair Company
The discussed car repair company only recently started to cultivate its online presence. Therefore, there are no online reviews to represent clients’ satisfaction. However, the company’s website actively informs its visitors about the ways to contact the service providers and leave positive or negative feedback. This approach allows this business to evaluate clients’ satisfaction and reflect on the information. Although the company offers some ways of communication to its customers, the best recommendation that can be given to these service providers is to encourage the clients to leave reviews about the services online.
An online presence can significantly affect the business’ popularity and increase customer trust. Moreover, the repairs that this company does are relatively perishable, which allows the company to use an approach of personal marketing to build a loyal customer following (Gummesson, 2014). According to Teehan and Tucker (2014), customer feedback is important in improving customer satisfaction. For example, according to Verleye and De Keyser (2016), some client’s engagement in the online sphere can come in the style of an interactive survey or quiz to attract more customers to leave a review.
The salon’s online presence is rather developed because this business has online reviews and ratings that can assure new customers of its quality. However, because the company provides highly heterogeneous results, the reviews are influenced by the subjective reasoning of the clients. According to Fisk, Grove, and John (2013), the recommendation for this salon would be to find a way to evaluate the service quality with an objective set of questions to create a sound basis for measuring customer satisfaction.
It is hard for this salon to respond to every review with a change in services because the service providers are not able to consider this information in full. Some researchers suggest encouraging customers to participate in content or product creation and allowing clients to have more control over the services’ operations (Verleye & De Keyser, 2016).
Service organizations engage differently with their customers. Low contact businesses rely on the technical side of their service, while high contact companies place a lot of responsibility into the hands of their employees. The role of a customer differs from service to service. Some organizations restrict the influence of a client to short and indirect communication. Other businesses allow a customer to become a participant and co-produce the final product.
The ways of monitoring satisfaction for these companies also differ on the basis of their services. All in all, it is possible to have positive experiences with businesses of different types if these companies correctly evaluate their strategy and position.
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