The differences between a customer and a client
While the majority of individuals in modern societies think that a customer is also a client, the notion is untrue. Apparently, a customer is a person who purchases goods from a certain outlet in a single instance or regularly. However, a client refers to someone who buys services and professional expertise from service providers. Furthermore, while customers may not be loyal to a particular outlet, clients, on the other hand, are loyal and make their purchases from outlets that provide personalized services. In the words of Khalifa, clients require services that address their individual needs (948). Therefore, it is common in several instances to see service providers working hard to ensure that their services match what their clients expect. Conversely, unlike clients, customers receive standard services that have fixed prices. In this vein, it is important to note that personalization and loyalty are among the main factors that differentiate customers from clients.
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The difference between a customer and a consumer
The difference between a customer and a consumer is one that requires careful study on the purpose of the product purchased and its use. Principally, customers can purchase a product with the intention of reselling it to another entity. However, consumers, on the other hand, purchase products with the primary or sole purpose of using them. Concisely, consumers are the end-users of a particular product (Akman 29). For instance, a wholesaler can purchase products from the store with the intent of reselling them to retailers and make some profit. The retailers then sell the products to the end-users who eventually consume the product. In this scenario, consumers become the end-users of the product. Therefore, when individuals purchase a product with the purpose of using it, they become consumers. It is important to note that the differences do not relate to the number of individuals involved in the purchase or consumption of the product. Organizations and individuals can pose as customers or consumers in relation to the nature and purpose of the product being purchased.
Consumer protection and product standardization to meet consumer and societal expectations
To ensure that consumers are protected from the companies that they are in business with, there are a number of state and private agencies that regulate the nature of operations between them and business entities. Zhang and Bing state that the objective of consumer protection agencies is to ensure that consumers receive goods or services in their expected qualities and quantities (45). Moreover, the agencies shield consumers from fraudulent practices that could otherwise take place in the absence of regulation. Malpractices such as the provision of false or misleading information about a product comprise some of the issues addressed by the agencies.
Maureen explains that organizations such as Federal Trade Commission are among the key players that help address issues that arise between consumers and business entities (8). Consequently, to ensure that products match consumer and societal expectations, the agencies work together with business entities and consumers. These agencies look into the complaints, suggestions, and consumer feedback before making a decision concerning a product. Assessment of complaints, suggestions, and consumer feedback helps the agencies make an informed decision.
Role of internal organizational culture in service quality
An internal culture of an organization determines the quality of services that it delivers. The components outlined by the culture revolve around the vision, mission, communication, conflict resolution, and nature of the operation. These components are very crucial in dictating the overall performance of employees and management in an organization. Well-defined internal culture leads to high-end performance and timely resolution of issues that hamper effective service delivery. As such, employees work together to achieve the main goals of the organization. Internal culture also helps employees understand their respective roles in the organization. In cases of challenges, issues get to the required departments and receive the requisite redress. According to Ahmed, smart leaders focus on the development of excellent internal culture within organizations because they understand the role that it plays in service quality (41). It is important to explain that an exceptional internal culture is a good ingredient that propels organizations to higher levels in relation to their competitors.
Personal experience and lessons
Last year during the holidays, I decided to visit one of the hotels around my hometown to have lunch and relax. After checking into the hotel, the staff quickly directed me to the reception, where I was assigned a room and given the key. With the help of a porter, I checked in to the room and came down after refreshing to have lunch. At the restaurant, the waiter came after I had read the menu, took my order, and served me within a short time. Afterward, I went to the swimming pool, where I received timely service and attention from the hotel stewards. The attention and positive service continued for the three days that I stayed in the hotel.
One of the factors that I observed during my time in the hotel was the conducive working environment. The employees, supervisors, and their managers communicated freely without intimidation. Moreover, there were instances when I received services from the managers, who took my orders and served me. The nature of service delivery right from my arrival to my departure was very encouraging and inspiring. The services rendered to me led to the development of a positive post-consumption experience. Moreover, due to the quality of service and the attention I received from the employees, the hotel gained my loyalty.
Some of the major takeaways that I will practice as a service provider comprise the creation of a conducive working environment and ensuring that the employees work together as a team. To create a good working environment, I will focus on the development of a good internal culture amongst the employees and the management. Bureaucracies that at times delay the passage of information are some of the factors that I will address. The essence of dealing with bureaucracies is to ensure that employees receive attention and issues get solutions on time. Owoyemi states that several facilities that provide services to their consumers succeed or fail because of the nature of communication and the time taken to relay messages from one department to another (170).
I will also encourage the employees to practice flexibility and encourage managers to get out of their offices and be part of service delivery. It is important to note that when managers leave their offices, they get first-hand experiences and understand the challenges that the junior staff go through in delivering services. Besides understanding the challenges that junior staff go through, the managers also interact with them at a personal level and engage in a productive exchange of ideas. Good communication and interaction between junior staff and the management is a vital ingredient that I will employ to ensure that consumers who walk into the organization enjoy the satisfaction and pleasure that I enjoyed during my stay in the hotel.
Ahmed, Saima Shafiq. “The Impact of Organizational Culture on Organizational Performance: A Case Study on Telecom Sector.” Global Journal of Management and Business Research, vol. 14, no.3, 2014, pp. 22-52.
Akman, Pınar. ”Consumer’ versus ‘Customer’: The Devil in the Detail.” CCP Working Paper 08-34, vol.1, no.1, 2008, pp. 1-32.
Khalifa, Ali Haj. “Customer-Oriented-Marketing Approaches: Similarities and Divergences.” International Journal, vol. 2, no.1, 2014, pp. 943-951.
Maureen, Ohlhausen. “Privacy Challenges and Opportunities: The Role of the Federal Trade Commission. Journal of Public Policy& Marketing, vol. 33, vol.1, 2014, pp. 4-9.
Owoyemi, Ekwoaba. “Organisational Culture: A Tool for Management to Control, Motivate and Enhance Employees’ Performance.” American Journal of Business and Management, vol.3, no.3, 2014, pp.168-177.
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Zhang, Xiaoxia and Bing Li. “Organizational Culture and Employee Satisfaction: An Exploratory Study.” International Journal of Trade, Economics and Finance, vol. 4, no.1, 2013, pp. 31-48.