A STUDY ON THE ROLE OF FRONT OFFICE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CUSTOMER EXPECTATION

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A STUDY ON THE ROLE OF FRONT OFFICE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CUSTOMER EXPECTATION

ABSTRACT

The study was intended to investigate the relationship between customer care and customer satisfaction in the hotel industry a case study of Sheraton hotel. The objectives of the study were to examine to examine customer care strategies used by Sheraton hotel, to establish the customer care service level at Sheraton hotel, to examine the relationship between customer care services and customer satisfaction

To achieve the above objectives, the researcher collected primary data and secondary data. The researcher used descriptive analysis and SPSS and used a sample of 100 respondents, 50 hotel customers and 50 Sheraton hotel employees who were selected using purposive sampling and simple random technique. The research findings showed that customer care services and activities at Sheraton hotel are generally good. Activities such as parking space, security, front desk services, hotel guides, and customer attention services increase customer care satisfaction.

It’s concluded that there exists a strong relationship between customer care and customer satisfaction. It’s recommended that employee motivation and employee training should be increased to improve customer care services and so customer care satisfaction

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

This chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, scope of the study and the significant of the study

1.1 Background of the study

Customer care was defined by Kotler (1998) as a service that one can offer to another which is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything but brings about customer delight and satisfaction. In other words, customer care is a service that seeks to acquire new customers, provide superior customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty. As times change so do customers care aspects. The hospitality industry is one that is constantly undergoing change and because of this, the customer care service programme must be kept constantly updated as well.

Customer care services in organization include reliable services, security, parking space, front desk services, attractiveness, speed in service delivery, after sales services, customer attention and sensitivity to their needs, honesty, and good attitude towards customers. Customer care services are focused on making the customer comfortable, creating memorable interaction in the minds of the customers and making them feel better, satisfied than they were before the transaction and stimulate customer retention. The motive of any business is to create and serve their customers, but the biggest challenge is how to satisfy them for the life time of a business Businesses should always look for ways to serve their customers more than they expect. In doing so, it helps them to know you care and it will leave them with the feel “Feel Good Factor”.

Customer care plays an important role in an organization’s ability to generate income and revenue therefore customer care should be included as part of an overall approach to systematic improvement. A customer service experience can change the entire perception a customer has of the organization.

Customer care includes putting systems in place to maximize customers’ satisfaction with the business. It should be a prime consideration for every business because sales and profits depend on keeping customer happy. Customer care is more directly important in some roles than others, for receptionist, sales staff and other employees in customer facing roles, customer care should be a core element of their job description and training a core criterion when you are recruiting.

A huge range of factors can contribute to customer satisfaction but customers both consumers and other business are likely to take into account the following;

  • How well your service matches to customer needs
  • How well you keep your customers informed
  • The professionalism, friendliness and expertise of your employees The after sales service you provide.

Customer satisfaction is a measure of how products or services supplied by a company meet customer expectations. It refers to the extent to which customers are happy with the products and services provided by a business. Gaining high levels of customer satisfaction is very important to a business because satisfied customers are likely to be loyal, make repeated orders and use a wide range of services offered by a business.

The need to satisfy customer for success in any commercial enterprise is very obvious. The income of all commercial enterprises is derived from the payments received for the products and services to its external customers. Customers are the sole reason for the existence of commercial establishments. For customer satisfaction, it is necessary to establish and maintain certain important characteristics like quality, fair prices, good customer handling skills, efficient delivery and serious consideration of customer complaints.

The best way to find whether customers are satisfied is to ask them. What you ask the customers is important and how when and how often you ask these questions is also important. However, the most important thing about conducting a customer satisfaction survey is what you do with their answers.

Sheraton Hotel also emphasizes good customer care services and has established a customer care desk for its customers demand and guidance. The hotel has a customer care service policy that caters for customer activities. The activities for which the policy was designed include efficient and timely delivery of services, hotel guides, security, customer attention, parking space, 24 hour front desk services, sensitivity and attention to customer needs.  However, with the existence of all efforts to ensure the best services for its customers, the hotel continues to lose customers to its competitors like Serena and creation of new customers is below target. (Report by Anna Mugenyi,Marketing manager in 2009). The Report revealed that, the customers have complained of high prices for accommodation and customer neglect. This situation has led to customer dissatisfaction and as a result, they are shifting their demands and loyalty to other organizations providing similar services in a manner that meets their expectations.

1.2. Statement of the problem

The Hotel industry is characterized by presence of many hotels which present a wide range of customer care services to their customers. Customer care is considered as a major tool for customer satisfaction (Kotler 1998).However, Sheraton Hotel is still not perfect at certain customer care service for example in 2005 number of customers reduced from 70 percent to 65 percent in aspects and has not made it on international standards hence cannot fully compete with other hotels on both local and international scene. This made it necessary for immediate intervention to save the hotel from losing its customers.

1.3. Purpose of the study

The study is aimed at establishing the relationship between customer care and customer satisfaction in the hotel industry a case study of Sheraton hotel.

  1.4. Objectives of the study

  • To examine customer care strategies used by Sheraton hotel
  • To establish the customer care service level at Sheraton hotel
  • To examine the relationship between customer care services and customer satisfaction

1.5. Research questions

  • what are the customer care strategies used by Sheraton hotel?
  • What is the level of customer care level at Sheraton hotel?
  • What is the relationship between customer care services and customer satisfaction

1.6. Scope of the study

1.6.1. Subject scope

  The study is focused on customer care as the dependent variable and customer satisfaction as dependent variable and effect of customer care on customer satisfaction.

1.6.2. Geographical scope

The study will be conducted at Sheraton hotel Kampala located on Ternan Avenue in central division Kampala district

1.6.3. Time scope

The study focused on the operations between 2000-2010, a period of 5 years                                   

 1.7. Significance of the study

  • The study will help to build on the researcher’s knowledge and understanding of the study variables. It will also help the researcher to gain more skills of conducting research and this will be important to the researcher while in office or pursuing further studies. It will also help the researcher to appreciate the concept of customer care services.

 

  • The study findings will help to identify and highlight the weaknesses in customer care of Sheraton hotel and how customer care influences customer satisfaction and how to design an appropriate customer care service programme. This will help Sheraton hotel to recover its customers after implementing the necessary customer care services and it will be able to compete fully with other hotels both local and international.

 

(iii)The study findings will help to build on the body of the existing literature and knowledge. This will help to provide reference for future researchers and they will be able to carry out research with ease since this study will provide secondary data to the researchers.

(iv) The study is also expected to add knowledge on the existing knowledge about customer care services to the public. This will help the public recognize and appreciate customer care services. The public especially customers of the hotels will be able recognize certain customer care services they are supposed to receive from service provide

A STUDY ON THE ROLE OF FRONT OFFICE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CUSTOMER EXPECTATION

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