VUSSC/Content/Tourism/Customer Care/Customer Service Excellence

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When we experience excellent service it is not always easy to quantify or describe the separate components that make up our impression of high quality. It has something to do with added value, with receiving more than we expected. Customer service excellence is about shocking the customers, surprising them and delighting them. How?

Customers are delighted when they

  • are made to feel special;
  • are treated with care, courtesy and respect;
  • get more than they expect and their problems are solved in a timely manner;
  • interact in a clean, safe and secure environment.

These are just some of the circumstances! Now complete activity 1.

Activity 1

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Why is it so easy to complain about poor service?

Describe a situation where you have encountered poor service and list below the faults as you see them.

Now try to describe a service which has delighted you with its excellence and efficiency. Try to list the reasons why.

Which list is longer?

Which is the easier task to accomplish?

The answer is probably the former – the poor service, not the good one. This highlights some of the problems we encounter when we try to define excellence within our own organisation and attempt to work out how we can best deliver service excellence. Now complete activity 2.

Activity 2

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You will recall in activity 1 you described a situation where you encountered poor service.

(i) What were the shortcomings in the service delivery?

(ii) What were the possible causes?

(iii) What were your expectations?

(iv) How did you feel?

Poor service delivery may be associated with

  • Exceptionally long time taken to get the service;
  • Poor attitude of staff providing the services;
  • Inaccurate information;
  • Office looks disorderly, dirty and cluttered;
  • Getting information in the absence of concerned person is impossible;
  • Staff are not fully aware of their duties;
  • Inputs come on a piecemeal basis;
  • Decision making process is too lengthy.

When you encounter with poor service, the experience is disgusting. Poor services lead to

  • Material & psychological losses;
  • Dissatisfaction;
  • Criticism & cynicism;
  • Bad image;
  • Poor reputation.

What happens when tour guiding services are poor? Reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you happy with this?
  • Is the customer happy?
  • Who are the losers?
  • Who is responsible for this?

The above activities have helped you to reflect on the features of poor service and resulting feelings of customers. You are now in a better position to put yourself in the shoes of tourists when you are delivering tour guiding services.

The words 'quality' and ‘excellence’ are bound up with ideas about service. Service excellence is the keystone to a successful tour guiding services. You will realise that customer service excellence requires your commitment, time and some planning.

You must have heard of a useful saying 'there is only one constant in this life – change'. In order to commit to improving quality, you will have to change attitudes and change working practices. It is easy to recognise how quickly even the most everyday aspects of our lives are changing – are constantly changing. So why should our services and systems stay the same? Anticipating change and directing change are important if we are to continuously improve the quality of our tour guiding services.