Most organizations today have integrated service encounter management in their daily operations. However, not all service industries have managed to fill in all the gaps between customer expectations and the perceived service. My personal encounter experience was in a restaurant where I felt that the services leading to the customer gap resulted from a lack of service designs and standards and failure to understand customer expectations. The service encounter was in person in an alleged five-star hotel while on vacation with my parents in the state of California. Arguably, my service encounter was below expectations, and I noticed that the number of customers in the hotel kept reducing with my future visits. Besides, most unsatisfied customers choose to look for alternatives rather than complain directly to a restaurant manager in most scenarios.
First, when we arrived at the restaurant, we noticed some unusual things we never expected in such a caliber of a restaurant. Despite a warm welcome at the reception, we expected everything to flow as we had paid handsomely for room service in separate rooms with my parents. My first encounter was rude remarks from an attendant who delivered my supper twenty minutes later after serving my parents. After serving customers, I took a walk and noticed that most attendants would meet in a high room where they were supposed to serve other clients as they arrived. Still, instead, they seemed to be laughing at some visitors, and some could get into an argument with them, especially when their supervisor was not around. According to Ferdous & Mim (2021), the term “administration quality” refers to the result of the customer’s expectation about the administration and their perception of how the management was carried out. As a result, I felt that the administration had failed in keeping to the standards promised by the restaurant, which the clients expect, compared to what they were offering to the clients.
Secondly, clients appraise the services supplied to them at the encounter level; hence the quality of the relationship between customers and service providers throughout is critical. After the incident, I decided to take a step the next day and report my previous encounter to the management. On approaching the branch manager’s office, his secretary was interested in what had happened as she had received similar complaints before. After talking to her, she explained that the hotel board was already discussing the level of dissatisfaction that some customers had complained that they were receiving. The management intent to take profound customer dissatisfaction on room services offered was critical. Consumers’ views of service failure are critical since they can affect clients’ future intentions to do business with them (Kostopoulou et al., 2019). Therefore, it was upon the management to take action on the dissatisfaction being reported by the clients who dared to approach management for the complaints. I would rate my level of dissatisfaction with this encounter as very dissatisfied as a five-star restaurant has the expectations that most clients look for, but they felt to meet. Insufficient relationship focus leads to the loss of some vital clients as the restaurant is chasing after transactions and making more profits.
Furthermore, like any other vital customer in the restaurant, I felt that critical factors led to the provider gap that made me feel dissatisfied. Lack of adequate service recovery, such as failure to make amends to already dissatisfied customers, creates a gap between the management and its customers (Gibson, 2017). Most customers usually expect to be reimbursed for their discomfort in the form of reimbursements, credits, discounts, or regrets if a service failure happens. Further, several provider gaps exist in this restaurant as the standards offered do not march the service delivery to the customers. Thus, I would attach it to “prices are not tied to customer expectations of value .”I was dissatisfied, but I noticed another client who an attendant shouted at because a coffee cup was knocked down by a young boy. The five-year-old boy, who I later learned from the receptionist, was innocently rushing to his grannie.
To increase the level of satisfaction among the customers in the restaurant, there are several measures that the management should consider. Such measures include ensuring that all attendants regularly attend in servicing and pieces of training to retain the proper standards of delivery. Also, Understanding the factors that influence customers’ decisions to return to a restaurant for another meal is critical for the hospitality industry (Ferdous & Mim, 2021). These characteristics make it possible to meet customers’ needs and prevent them from leaving, resulting in several benefits for the restaurant. Arguably, “service quality is a very crucial point for company’s success as it has a significant influence on customer’s satisfaction and loyalty.” (Ferdous & Mim, 2021). Such a restaurant should focus on eliminating the gaps with its customers. Also, customer dissatisfaction is handled by their likeliness to visit the same place for another service, in my case am somewhat unlikely to visit the same restaurant. Thus I would only visit to confirm if service delivery has improved, and that would only happen if I would be unable to find the same level restaurant in the area that does not have any empty rooms.
In conclusion, in most service industries, any customer visiting them has a level of expectation from them. However, in most of them, service gaps exist, and if not handled appropriately, they lead to loss of loyalty, trust and repeat customers. However, there is a range of tolerance given mainly by the clients but varies with different customers service and can positively or negatively change. The service industry should cater to personal needs while reducing the gap between desired service and adequate service. For my service encounter, I believe that the management can counter such dissatisfaction by ensuring that no repeat incidences happen and that the hurt customer is talked to and the manager apologizes on behalf. Ensuring that a service industry sets standards that they can maintain is a key to gaining customer loyalty, which turns to repeat customers and thus higher revenues.
Ferdous, M. A., & Mim, S. (2021). Factors Influencing Customers Satisfaction in Hospitality Industry: Fine Dining Restaurants. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1530554/FULLTEXT01.pdf
Gibson, J. (2017). Service Failure and Service Recovery. Whittaker Associates https://whittakerassociates.com/service-failure-and-service-recovery/
Kostopoulou, S., Gaki, E., Parisi, E., & Lagos, D. (2019). Tourist Satisfaction With Island Destinations: An Investigation On Visitors To The Ionian Islands, Greece. Tourism, 14(2), 57-95. https://doi.org/10.26215/tourismos.v14i2.572