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

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Your Customer Service Excellence System (CSES) needs to draw from the relevant theories and approaches regarding 'quality' that will help you achieve and maintain service excellence in your organisation/agency.

Traditional quality systems aimed at minimising negative quality such as poor products and inconsistency. You will realise that so far the best that these approaches can achieve is to 'get nothing wrong'. However "Nothing Wrong DOES NOT IMPLY Anything Right"

You will agree that getting nothing wrong is just not enough (not good enough). So as well as minimising poor service, we also need to maximise positive qualities such as excitement, luxury, fun etc. In other words, we are looking to giving added value to our customers. Your CSES

  • aims to maximise the positive quality of customer satisfaction.;
  • looks for both the spoken and the unspoken needs and requirements of your customers;
  • helps customers to understand and express their requirements. It helps you to determine their unspoken needs and desires. Thus you can optimise those aspects of your service to delight your customers.
  • looks to balance customers' perceptions of the value of your service with their own need for that service. Then it attempts to exceed the customers' expectations by delivering service excellence and to surprise them!

We must remember that we cannot afford to waste limited resources – human, financial, time etc. – on delivering service or embellishing a service in a way that customers don't want. In customer service excellence the customer is the driver!


The characteristics or dimensions of service excellence can be developed based on stated and implied needs (and any extra to delight the customers). Customers look for these dimensions of service excellence. We mentioned some of these earlier. They can be identified as follows:

  • Time – How much time must the customer wait?
  • Timeliness – Will the service be provided as promised?
  • Completeness – Is the service complete?
  • Courtesy – Do front-line staff greet each customer cheerfully, politely and with respect?
  • Consistency – Are services delivered in the same fashion for every customer and every time for the same customer?
  • Accessibility and convenience – Are the services easy to obtain?
  • Accuracy – Are the services performed right the first time?
  • Responsiveness – Can the service personnel react quickly and resolve unexpected problems?

Anything else! You can add extras to this list! We can also look at customer service excellence differently from four different perspectives.

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE - FOUR PERSPECTIVES Our approach to customer service excellence can also be viewed from four perspectives:

  • The information perspective
  • The service delivery perspective
  • The accountability perspective
  • The efficiency perspective

The Information Perspective – As a tour guide you are a major provider of information. The major factors affecting the service quality are

  • Access to information;
  • Easy and systematic availability of information;
  • Timely availability of information;
  • Notification of changes in any of the information.

As a tour guide you rely a lot on information accurate and up to date information for service excellence. Without information you cannot

  • talk;
  • answer questions;
  • develop relationship with tourists;
  • sell the product/service;
  • be an effective tour guide.

Service Delivery Perspective- Customers expect timely and prompt service. You must always realize that their time is very precious.

  • Minimum red tape and forms to fill in;
  • Prompt information on delay, waiting times.
  • Prompt information on status of request;
  • Courteous behaviour.

Accountability Perspective - This is the perspective which has been gaining importance in the last few years. This is because of the pressures for your services to be more open, to be more transparent and to be more accountable for your behaviour and actions. Secrecy can lead to malpractices, abuses and even corrupt behaviour.

Efficiency Perspective- Your performance has a direct bearing on the efficiency of financial, material and human resources you use to provide tour guiding services. Ultimately your performance impacts on your organization/agency, the image of the country as a tourist destination, the tourist industry and the national economy.

Tour guiding service excellence rests on the responsiveness, response time, the standards of performance and a customer service excellence culture.

Creating the service excellence culture

In focusing on service delivery you have also to focus on the need to develop conducive internal work environment. This will ensure all employees act in a way that delivers high quality service. The creation of a customer service excellence culture is therefore one of the challenges facing tour guiding services as they focus on service delivery issues.

It is important that you develop a vision of service excellence that could permeate its culture. Tour guiding service mission, values and principles are important in guiding your behaviour and developing this culture. We’ll examine the importance of code of ethics and customer charters in developing customer service excellence in Unit 2.

Most of the improvements that the tourists would like to see can be undertaken at your level - things such as a smile, treating them with respect and being honest when providing information and apologizing if things go wrong. These are not a matter of additional resources - they are a matter of adopting different standards of behaviour!