Service Marketing


This assessment is designed to get you thinking about and applying theoretical constructs in your everyday activities. It is a two stage process. You are asked to record individual service encounters over a period of time as described below. You are then asked to produce a report analysing these encounters using a range of appropriate theoretical constructs. You are required to submit via Blackboard an electronic copy of the report and appendices by 23:59pm on Monday 21st October 2013
Distribution date to Students: Week 1 – 1st seminar
Date for Submission: Monday 21/10/13 ? (Monday Week 6)
It is vital that you submit by the deadline. No extensions are allowed. If you are late, your work will not be considered this semester and will only be considered as a re-sit for next semester, and depending on your reasons this may or may not be capped at 40%. But either way it will only be considered next semester. Do not be late!!!
Rationale for Assignment
The goal of the service journal is to help you understand and evaluate the service encounter (i.e. the customer/client – service provider interaction; or, for example, the service interaction between two departments within an organisation). The journal is designed to help you record information about service encounters ranging from satisfactory to unsatisfactory.
Learning Outcomes to be met by the Assignment
A10, B10, C8, C10, D9
Knowledge and Skills to be assessed
Synthesis of theoretical constructs
Reflection on experiences
People have a number of service encounters each week, both at work and in their own time, with different service providers such as restaurants, banks, haircutters, utilities, government agencies, emergency services and so forth. You are required to record information about two service encounters, based on your own first-hand experience, each week for four weeks (so 8 encounters in total). These encounters could be from any country, but most are likely to be UK based. The important thing is that you record details as soon as possible after the encounter.
Collect a variety of types of encounters. Try to include at least one not-for-profit organisation. Record only experiences that you are willing to share with the class. Do not record personal or sensitive topics. Record your information on the attached entry form. One blank copy is attached – make copies for yourself. Each entry will correspond to one service encounter in a given week. Journal entries should be typed so that they can be submitted electronically.
Record at least two encounters that were very satisfying and two encounters that were very dissatisfying. Be specific. (e.g., if the service encounter was by telephone, were you put on hold? How many times? For how long? What message/music was played? Etc.) The best way to complete a journal entry form is to fill it out immediately following a particular incident. If you try to do your entries from memory or do too many at one time, the quality of the entries is likely to suffer.
Develop two copies of a report in which the service encounter journal entries are analysed. Use relevant course concepts in discussing your encounters (e.g. ‘PZB’s’ gaps model, servicescapes, customer loyalty cycle etc. ). Be specific in your references to your service encounters (e.g. employee actions). Service encounters can be from any country (i.e. does NOT just have to be UK)
In your report identify the sources and actions that seem to account for satisfaction (or effectiveness) or dissatisfaction with services.(e.g how would you describe yourself as a service customer/user?) Also, how would you describe yourself as a service provider? Refer to course concepts concerning the psychology of customer/user satisfaction. (e.g. what were your expectations regarding the different service encounters? What elements of the service seem to be most important for creating satisfaction? How do service operations and IT systems work together in these encounters?)
Assess the causes of performance problems in the services you encountered or delivered. What are the benefits to the organisation, customer/user and employee of correcting the performance problem? What are the costs of failing to take action? What are the alternative ways to improve service delivery? How difficult/costly would these changes be? What other information would be useful to assist in making improved decisions with regards to these service encounters?
Remember : We are looking for analysis of the encounters, with application of appropriate theoretical constructs. Students who spend most of their time and effort describing the encounters are missing the point, and will not score well.
The typed report should not exceed 3,000 double-spaced words, with the journal entries as appendices.
Comments on the report
The main part of the report is where you draw the lessons you have learned from reflecting on all your encounters. What things strike you once you look back on all of them as important. Is it, Service Recovery, the role of front-line staff, the importance of the Servicescape etc. I suggest that you should pick 4-6 points and show how some of your encounters map onto them.
So for instance if one of your issues was the importance of Service Recovery, you could say what you thought it important, and then draw links to say a Restaurant encounter where it was done well (the waiter offered the desert for free ?.) and another encounter (e.g. the Bakerloo line !!!!) where it was bad because ?.
You do NOT need to link ALL of your encounters to each of the 4-6 things that you have identified, but you are illustrating how some of them link (and hence your basis for identifying it as an issue in the first place
My suggestion is that you do NOT structure the report explicitly round the Gaps model per se, with each of the 5 gaps being one of the 5 issues you have ?found?. While some people have done this approach well in the past, most students who have tried doing it this way seem to have got lost in the detail, and ended up not doing very well. I am not stopping you doing it, just advising that many of your colleagues have found this a difficult way of doing it.
Whatever way you do it, you should identify some recommendations as to what particular service organisations, or service marketers in general, should do following your experiences
You may have to read ahead in the book to use appropriate tools and techniques to cover your particular encounters (i.e. don?t assume that the only tools and techniques that could be useful will have been covered in class prior to hand-in of the report)
The focus of the main report is NOT about describing the encounters ? the journal entries in the appendix do that. What you are trying to do is stand back from the detail of the particular entries to see what broad things you have found, in part by applying appropriate tools and techniques and then using selected examples from the encounters to flesh out the technique or point under discussion.
To encourage early participation, and to make sure that you are on track, all students should be prepared to give a progress check in class with examples of journals they have already captured