VUSSC/Content/Tourism/Customer Care/What is a Service - A Recap

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You will remember we gave a definition customer and customer service earlier. Do you recall the definitions?

Definition of service

According to the Oxford Compact English Dictionary a service is:

“An action or process of serving” or “An act of assistance”

Most people whose work involves customers provide a number of services. It is common for people to forget that what they are doing is providing a service and just think that they are doing their job. This can lead them to forget about meeting the needs of the customer and just concentrate on getting the job done. For example,

Ben is a waiter in a restaurant. He understands that he is providing a service to his customers when he brings their food, drinks and the bill to the table. However, he tends to forget that most of the other aspects of his job have a direct impact on the standard of care and service that his customers receive.

He has to

  • lay the tables;
  • greet his customers and show them to their tables;
  • make sure that the right menus are available;
  • take orders;
  • check that everything is to his customers’ satisfaction;
  • clear away after each course;
  • take his customers’ payments.

All of these things form part of the service that he provides. If any of them is neglected he can spoil the customers’ experience in the restaurant. Now complete activity 28.

Activity 28

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Think about the job that you do and the aspects of it that forms part of the service that you provide to your customers. Make a list of the services that you provide to your customer.

Customer care and customer service excellence are essentially about making it easy for customers to “enjoy” the experience of dealing with you and your organisation/agency. Therefore it concerns

  • the manner in which customers are treated;
  • how easy it is to get information;
  • providing what customers require, not what you want to provide;
  • how convenient it is to select, order, receive and pay for services;
  • the quality of follow up service.

You want to build a good reputation for you and your organisation/agency. How can this be achieved? This comes from ensuring that customers are pleased with what you offer – not just the service but the whole process of receiving it from you.

What makes you delighted with a service? The answer will vary according to the service but essentially the same factors come into play each time – those sometimes intangible things which are referred to as emotional factors. These may include

  • convenient opening hours for them;
  • friendliness of staff;
  • prompt, courteous attention;
  • keeping promises.

In fact a whole range of attributes which may have little to do with the service or the price charged.