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Q1. Write short notes on flexible services and standard services .

Services need to be flexible to meet the needs of a heterogeneous market. Service providing firms cannot have a standard service process or procedures for all customers as the requirements of customers are varied. Heterogeneous markets are the ones which have different market maturity levels, demand patterns, local skills available, and differences in human attitudes.

In simple terms we can say that one size does not fit all and this can be applied in the context of services also. A standard model for delivering services is not practical. Firms prefer to have some form of standardisation in order to achieve some form of consistency and profitability. Highly individualised services are not cost effective for the service companies to provide
Flexibility and standardisation needs to be maintained at optimum levels. The level of flexibility of service must be determined by the firm that provides the services. For example, consider the case of a beauty salon; here, it is important for the service provider to provide unique and individualised attention to each of the customers.

Meeting Customer Defined Service Standards
Firms need to take the necessary action to meet the customer defined service standards. The following steps can be used to meet the customer defined standards:

· Identify existing or desired service encounter sequence: Firms need to identify the manner in which customer prefer to do business with the firm.

· Translate customer expectations into behaviours/actions: This involves research on customer expectations. The ultimate decision should be made by an inside department or research firm by gathering information on behaviours.

· Select behaviours/actions for standards: This step is concerned with prioritising behaviours and actions. Focus is given to what is important to customers and customer defined standards.

· Set hard and soft standards: It involves deciding if soft or hard standards should be used to determine the behavioural action.

· Develop feedback mechanisms: Feedback mechanism ensure that the performance is captured from the customer’s point of view.

· Establish measures and target levels: This involves the company setting certain standards for establishing target levels.
· Track measures against standards: Processes are continually checked and measures are taken to improve their performance.

· Provide feedback about performance to employees: The company provides immediate feedback to employees based on what the companies expect and their performance levels.

· Update target levels and measures: This involves upgrading the target level, meeting, customer requirement s and targets and keeping up with their expectations.


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