In the modern world of business, companies have to engage in stiff competition in order to survive in the market. This means that they should be able not only to effectively market the products and services which they propose for the clients but also to ensure that these products and services are of high quality so as to satisfy the customer. The current paper provides an analysis of two businesses: the supermarket of Woolworths, a low-contact service, and the hotel of Assured Waterside Apartments (Perth), a high-contact service. The personal experiences of the author of this paper are taken into account when assessing the quality of the service provided by these enterprises.
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Analysis of the Use of Unique Aspects of Services
Competitive Advantage and Differentiation
On the whole, the chain of Woolworths supermarkets has been utilizing the strategy of providing clients with products at lower prices while still allowing them to have a high-quality customer experience, for instance, by increasing the assortment of goods present in the supermarkets (AFN Staff Writers, 2015). This provides these supermarkets with a competitive advantage, for customers often wish to have a large selection of products to choose from (Anselmsson & Johansson, 2014). It is generally more preferable to visit a supermarket with a large assortment than one with a small assortment. Additionally, the capability to maintain low prices also gives the supermarket an edge (Kitapci, Taylan Dortyol, Yaman, & Gulmez, 2013).
The hotel of Assured Waterside Apartments provides its clients with the opportunity to stay in high-quality apartments located near the center of Perth at affordable prices (although the prices are often quite high, it is possible to book the serviced apartments in advance with significant discounts) (“Assured Waterside Apartments,” n.d.). The competitive advantages include proximity to the city center, the fact that clients live in their own apartments for the time of stay, and the relatively low prices. The features which differentiate the hotel from other similar businesses are both the location and type (serviced apartments) of the hotel.
The Roles of Intangibility, Inseparability, Perishability, and Heterogeneity
The intangibility of service in Woolworths stimulates the supermarkets to provide evidence of high-quality service and to build a good reputation. The inseparability of the service means that staff supply clients with service (Blut, Beatty, Evanschitzky, & Brock, 2014), which means that the supermarket has to choose professional, highly-trained personnel. Perishability means that the service vanishes once it is provided, and cannot be stored for future use (Baron, Warnaby, & Hunter‐Jones, 2014); thus, the supermarket has to employ the appropriate number of staff at different hours throughout the day.
Heterogeneity means that service is created specifically for a particular customer; however, it does not affect the range of services in Woolworths too much, because this is a low-contact service where clients rarely interact with the administration.
The intangibility of the hotel service means that the establishment also has to focus on the quality of provided service to enhance client satisfaction after the service was provided. The inseparability of the service means that it can only be provided on-site; clients can only use the apartments while living in the hotel (in this respect, hotels differ from supermarkets). The perishability means that the hotel has to care about the quality of service while the clients are using them but do not have to provide e.g., a long-term warranty. Finally, the heterogeneity means that each customer may have to be serviced in a different manner (Baron et al., 2014), even though the services proposed in the apartments are similar.
The Role of Process
In Woolworths, the process of provision of the service did not play a crucial role in the experience of being a customer, but it is still important. Generally, clients simply walk around the supermarket and choose whatever they wish to buy; however, being able to consult with shop employees, to easily find the needed goods (which means they have to be sorted and displayed in a certain logical manner), etc., are still important elements of customer experience (Anselmsson & Johansson, 2014).
In Assured Waterside Apartments, the process of provision of service is more important because the personnel interact actively with the clients (unlike what generally happens in a supermarket), and supply the services in a place which is one’s private home, even though for a short period of time.
Evaluation of Consumer’s Behavior in the Two Businesses
Consumer Decision-Making Model
On the whole, the decision-making model for choosing the supermarket of Woolworths as a place to shop for food and other goods was based on such factors as 1) the average prices of the goods provided in Woolworths in comparison with other similar supermarkets or retailers (Amorim & Bashashi Saghezchi, 2014); 2) the proximity of the nearest supermarket (Mohd Roslin & Rosnan, 2012); 3) the assortment of goods offered by the supermarket to its customers – the better the assortment, the greater is the chance to purchase exactly what one needs at the moment; 4) the quality of service provided in the supermarket – i.e., whether it is possible to get help in the supermarket when it is required, or to return the spoiled products or items broken due to a fault, etc.
Simultaneously, the decision-making process of selecting a hotel for stay (including the Assured Waterside Apartments in particular) differs significantly. Prior to choosing this hotel as a place in which to rent an apartment, a thorough evaluation of a large number of hotels available in the given area was carried out. The hotels were compared based on a number of criteria. These include
- the location of the hotel and its proximity to certain points of interest within the city;
- the quality of the service provided, as recommended by online reviews left by individuals who utilized the service of the hotel, and the availability of various facilities such as furniture within the hotel apartments or the presence of sport-centers;
- the price of stay in the hotel; etc. It is clear that the model of decision-making differs considerably for these organizations.
Customer Evaluation of Value Creation/Co-creation Activities Which Enhanced Quality of Service
To create value for its customers, Woolworths utilizes several methods permitting the clients to make purchases that are advantageous for them from many perspectives. For instance, the convenience of the store (its close proximity to one’s home or to the place where one is currently staying) adds a considerable amount of value to the goods which the supermarket provides (Mohd Roslin & Rosnan, 2012). The low cost of the goods offered by the supermarket, including specialty food, also adds extra value to the whole shopping experience, as well as the high quality of the purchased products (Calvo-Porral & Levy-Mangin, 2016). On the whole, Woolworths is able to provide a high value for its proposed goods or services for its clients.
Simultaneously, in the Assured Waterside Apartments hotel, the value which is supplied for the consumer is created through the provision of high-quality lodging, its safety, as well as the availability of the additional facilities such as the access to the Internet, the presence of sports centers nearby, the proximity of the hotel to the center of the city, etc. (Berezina, Cobanoglu, Miller, & Kwansa, 2012). In addition, the quality of service in the serviced apartments plays a pivotal role in the creation of the value for the hotel, for such service makes the customer’s stay in the hotel considerably more convenient.
Also, the presence of facilities around the hotel is not a factor on its own; in many cases, the convenience of these facilities, their quality, etc., also creates the value for the company in question. For instance, a hotel with a restaurant nearby, or a hotel which offers its own food from a menu with a wide assortment for a customer, will also have a greater value than hotels where similar facilities do not exist or provide low-quality service (Torres & Kline, 2013).
A Review of the Models of Satisfaction and Quality, and Ways of Their Measuring and Evaluation
On the whole, the satisfaction of clients of the supermarket of Woolworths can be measured by assessing the reviews of the customers of the shop, evaluating their overall opinion pertaining to the products and services that the supermarket supplies, etc. (Product Review, n.d.). Generally speaking, the criteria for evaluation are mostly based on the quality of goods sold, as well as on the quality of services provided (Clemons, 2017). The services are not often customized in the case of supermarkets, however (Ding & Keh, 2016). Importantly, the price of the goods which are offered in the supermarket also plays a pivotal role in evaluating the customer satisfaction with the goods and services shown, for both the price and the quality have an impact on the final judgment of the customer about their products.
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The evaluation of the quality of service in Woolworths can be done by employing, e.g., a variety of customer surveys. The supermarket may also ask its clients to evaluate the supermarket and tell whether or not it provides them with service, which causes their satisfaction (Clemons, 2017; Product Review, n.d.).
As for the satisfaction of the clients with the Assured Waterside Apartments hotel, its evaluation is based on such criteria as the overall quality of the lodging supplied for the guests, the availability of additional services such as free Wi-Fi, free parking, the degree to which one can feel comfortable (or “cozy”) while staying in the apartments, the safety levels of the hotel, etc. (Berezina et al., 2012; Trip Advisor, n.d.). On the whole, customers are usually asked to assess the quality of service in hotels and their satisfaction with it by rating the hotel in question on some scale, such as a 5-point scale (1 = poor, 5 = excellent).
Customers also often leave messages describing their experience of staying at the hotel or apartment (Trip Advisor, n.d.). While the rating provided by one particular client does not show the quality of the lodging, the ratings are given by numerous customers, as well as their comments related to the quality of service may better reflect the degree of customer satisfaction with a particular hotel (Rauch, Collins, Nale, & Barr, 2015). It is also useful to consider the assessment of this service in relation to other similar services in the proposed area (Aksoy, Hogreve, Lariviere, Ordanini, & Orsingher, 2015).
Recommendations and Conclusion
On the whole, it is possible to provide a number of recommendations aimed at improving the quality of service at both the supermarket of Woolworths, which is a low-contact service and at the Assured Waterside Apartments hotel, which is a high-contact service. When it comes to the supermarket, it is clear that Woolworths should work on the manner in which they respond to customer concerns, for there existing clients who are greatly unhappy with the service that they received (Product Review, n.d.).
However, as a low-contact service, Woolworths should also keep focusing on the provision of clients with the high-quality shopping experience, permitting them to select what to purchase from a wide array of goods of different types; as well as on proposing affordable prices so as to stimulate consumers to purchase the goods from them instead of their rival shops and retailers (Amorim & Bashashi Saghezchi, 2014).
As for the Assured Waterside Apartments hotel, as a high-contact service, it should focus on the quality of services and provisions that its guests can enjoy (Yee, Yeung, Edwin Cheng, & Lee, 2013). On the whole, the hotel does supply its clients with the opportunity to purchase high-quality food, utilize the Wi-Fi, and make use of the parking zone, which it should keep doing. However, due to some complaints about the noise coming from the street (Trip Advisor, n.d.), the hotel might wish to devote attention to soundproofing some of its apartments so as not to disappoint the guests whose desire is to rest while staying in it.
All in all, both enterprises in question have been instrumental in providing the author of the current paper with high-quality consumer experiences, and it is hoped that the quality of service in these businesses only improves further in the future.
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