Friday, January 10, 2014

Improving Upon Customer Control Initiatives

Service can be an elusive concept that is not only difficult for customers to define but also for the companies that offer such service. The authors Sichtmann, et. al. (2011) have developed a facilities–transformation–usage framework of service provision by drawing from control theory. It is important for decision makers to understand and focus on the overall process of service exportation in order to increase sales and customer satisfaction rates. 

Cultural considerations play a part in the overall service delivery processes. As the nation increases in exportation of services it is important to understand how culture can impact the perception of service delivery. The exportation of services includes the total concept of service exportation under different times, places, conditions and cultures. 

As service design will require a higher level of customer integration the options may create a little more difficulty in control when compared to simpler designs. However, this does afford the opportunity to create greater service impact and effectiveness. The authors use three concepts that include facilities, transformation and usage. 

Facilities: The facilities stage includes all of the company’s resources such as knowledge, employees, facilities, and technology that make service delivery possible. 

Transformational Stage: The stage in which the company resources are combined with customer resources to create transformation within the service process.

Usage Stage: The stage in which the customer takes ownership of the resources and determines their quality without company influence. 

Their model also uses control to enhance the credibility of their arguments. This includes 1.) input and 2.) process control. Input control regulates the antecedents to performance that include knowledge, values, abilities and motives of employees. Process control regulates the transformational processes through company action to ensure that performance of the elements is at their maximum. 

The researchers found that quality control initiatives would benefit from facilities, transformational, and usage stages as well as input and control processes within their theoretical frameworks. The use of the framework helps organizations manage their customer service exportation better as well as ensure that there is strong management of the customer service elements. It is through fostering greater service development that customer satisfaction raises.

The report does help highlight the concept that customer service strength is necessary to encourage repeat customers. Customer service is an actual strategy that requires understanding the company’s resources, putting in place proper processes for fulfilling that service, and ensuring that customers are happy with the results. The entire process should be checked at various intervals to ensure that it is working and managed properly for effectiveness.

Sichtmann, C. (2011). Service quality and export performance of business-to-business service providers: the role of service employee- and customer-oriented quality control initiatives. Journal of International Marketing, 19 (1).

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