VUSSC/Content/Tourism/Customer Care/Quality Systems
You will agree that the concept of quality and its management is rapidly moving into the whole range of services – including tourist services.
The internal and external challenges are forcing providers to change themselves towards improved performance. Accountability, transparency, customer friendly services, openness, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and people orientation are the buzzwords nowadays. All these are related to service quality. Now complete activity 3.
Although it is difficult to have one accepted definition of quality, we can identify the similarities in the various definitions.
- Quality applies to products, services, people, processes and environments.
- Quality involves meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
Thus we can say that 'Quality is a dynamic state associated with products, services, people, processes and environment that meets or exceeds expectations'.
Quality includes anything the customer expects and requires. You need to realise that this is ever changing. Quality is an ever-changing state (i.e. what is considered quality today may not be good enough to be considered quality tomorrow).
Customer service excellence implies looking carefully at both the quality of the
- services provided;
- processes used to deliver the services.
Delivering customer service excellence is about determining levels of service quality/standards that you can achieve; then promising and delivering that quality of service to all your customers.
According to International Organization for Standardization, ISO, standardisation is a process of formulating and applying rules for
- an orderly approach to a specific activity for the benefit and with the cooperation of all concerned and in particular;
- the promotion of optimum overall economy, taking account of functional conditions and safety requirements.
What is ISO?
This is also called the International Standards Organization. ISO is a non-governmental voluntary standards organization with worldwide membership. It has approximately 90 member countries. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The primary standards development activities are performed by volunteers from the member countries. ISO is not involved in the actual applications of the resultant standards to any business or national activity. It is the basic source for international consensus on voluntary standards.
There are eight key quality management principles as follows:
- Customer focused organization;
- Involvement of people;
- Process approach;
- System approach to management;
- Continual improvement;
- Factual approach to decision making;
- Mutually beneficial suppler relationship.
ISO has a number of clauses that help organizations to implement the quality standards related to both the products and the process. The process element is quite relevant to the provision of tour guiding services.
When it comes to tour guiding services, we need to think about an approach to customer service excellence. Let’s now examine a model which will help us to deliver service excellence in this area.