SERVICE ENCOUNTER PAPER 7
My shopping experience at Victoria’s Secret was the worstservice I encountered. I visited the store because I needed to get anew pajama, but after the experience, I wished I had not shoppedthere.
The first problem is that the store does not match to expectations.While reviewing Victoria’s Secret online, one is guaranteedof the best services. However, upon arriving at the store, it is agood thing that an employee approached me and asked about what Iwanted to shop, after which I was directed to the pajamas area.However, after one is directed to the shopping area, no assistance isprovided to the customer to help in choosing one’s size. Thisaligns with Gap 4 in the Gaps Model of Service Quality. The store andemployee are quick to welcome customers to shop, which enhancesexpectation that the shopping experience will be pleasant. However,Gap 4 is evident because the customer service promises does not matchthe performance. The fact that nobody is willing to assist inchoosing the right pajama size failed to meet my expectations of aformerly advertised great shopping experience.
The second problem is that many Victoria’s Secret storesconsider sale assistant as a customer privilege. Thus, the customeris required to approach the sales assistant whenever they need moreassistance, after being directed to where one would like to shop. Myexperience was awful because I had to look for the employee all overthe store. In addition, even after finding a sales assistant I almostbegged to be assisted in getting my pajama size. The problem is anillustration of Gap 3 as explained in the Gaps Model of ServiceQuality. It is a delivery gap, which manifests as a weakness in theperformance of the employee. In the encounter, the sales assistantfailed to deliver to service standards as well as designs. Theassistant was unwilling to assist, which is a serious setback,considering that employees are supposed to market the store throughtheir services.
Gap 3 was also evident when paying for the item. The store had justtwo cashiers, who were unable to handle the overwhelming number ofshoppers. As a result, there was a long queue. While waiting in line,I noticed that one of the sales assistant was inappropriatelydressed. The store has poorly trained personnel who are lessconcerned about how they portray themselves to the customers. Thefact that there were only two cashiers is an indication of thestore’s incapability or lack of will to deliver quality service.
There are many reasons why employees may fail to offer the neededassistance to customers. The main one being that they aredissatisfied by their employer. According to the Service ProfitChain, when the workers of an organization are satisfied, thecustomers are also content and vice versa. Hence, the management ofVictoria’s Secret should begin by improving their internalservice. This refers to how the store relates with its employees.They should be treated as a valuable asset to the organization, whichwill also ensure that the workers treat customer’s in the same way.Once employees feel valued, they are able to express their happinessby readily assisting customers.
It is evident that the store uses transactional marketing. This isbecause more emphasis is placed on sales as compared to customersatisfaction. As a result, customers have a bad service experience,which reduces the possibility of shopping in the store again. Theproblem can be solved by shifting from transactional to relationshipmarketing. The latter involves establishing a connection withcustomers. Instead of merely focusing on what the customer wants tobuy and how to pay for it, the store should focus on ensuring thatthe customer is assisted in selecting the right item, and issatisfied with the item, prior to paying for it. This way, thecustomer feels special and is likely to shop in the store again.
My shopping experience at Central Market was an excellentexperience. I visited the store to get drinks and barbecue foods, andafter my service encounter, I am sure that I will go back to shop atthe same place.
The greatest satisfaction from shopping at Central Marketderives from the fact that the employees are knowledgeable. They knowabout the products they are selling, which makes it easier for theshopper to buy. It also ensures that they make products, which meetor surpass customer’s expectations. It is obvious that theorganization has invested in employee empowerment. When employees areempowered, they have more knowledge about the product they areselling. It also ensures that they are able to handle all customerdemands. Bearing in mind that a customer might enter into a store, topurchase something they have little knowledge about, it is always agood experience when the customer encounters an employee who properlyand effectively explains about the product.
Central Market practices some of the marketing activitiesadvocated for in the service marketing mix P’s. These are people,process as well as physical evidence. The people refer to theworkers, who are capable of handling the customers’ demands. Theorganization utilizes a process that ensures fast and qualityservice. For instance, the store I visited had hanger steak, theyhave pre made kabobs, which are easy to prepare and delicious. Inaddition, the kabobs are premade and marinated, so the buyer is onlyrequired to toss them on the grill. This demonstrates anunderstanding to the needs of customers who seek easy to preparefoods, which the store has made readily available. In regard tophysical evidence, the organization has made efforts to appeal toclients. The store is always clean and they always decorate thestores depending on the season. For instance, during Christmas theymake fruit chandeliers decorated using lights around them. At thetime of the visit, the store had attractive little Christmas treespositioned outside the front door.
The organization has ensured that the gaps in the Gaps Model ofService Quality have been closed. For instance, the store deliversits services and products in manners that portray their employees ascompetent. As such, Gap 3, which is an indicator of employeeperformance weakness, is closed. Also Gap 2 that is signified by abusiness, which lacks the appropriate service standards, is closed.Based on my service encounter at Central Market, has the bestservices that are in line with expected standards. For instance,because the store sells food, it is necessary to maintaincleanliness, as a service standard for all food stores, and CentralMarket is the cleanest compared to other stores.
As a consumer, I have learnt that every organization has its uniqueway of handling customers. There are organizations that have salesassistants who are friendly and willing to assist customers choosewhat to buy. On the other hand, there are employees who choose todistant themselves from helping buyers. In instances when I did nothave a good customer service encounter, I was quick to judge thesales assistant. However, this assignment has made me realize thatthe type of customer service delivered by employees is as a result ofan organization’s internal service. The problem begins with howmanagement relates with its employees. In most cases, workers lackenthusiasm to assist clients because they are dissatisfied by theiremployer.
In order to become a better manager, I have learned the significanceof relationship marketing, which insists that for an organization tomake profit, it ought to pay attention to the issues, which have animpact on service satisfaction. As a manager, I must work towardsbuilding a relationship between the customers and employees. Althoughthe main objective of every firm is to make profit, it is importantthat the profit is made in ways that attract and retain clients. Thisis because, as markets become more competitive, customers are notonly concerned about buying goods and services, but a good customerrelationship (Wang & Hsu, 2012). In addition, the assignment hasenhanced my knowledge on how to improve customer satisfaction. Irealize that in the service industry, the ability to retain customersdepends on the type of service delivered. Services that meet customerneeds enhanced the likelihood that a customer will shop in the samestore again, and vice versa.
Wang, C. H., & Hsu, L. (2012). How do service encounters impacton relationship benefits. International Business Research,5(1), 98-109.