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Showing posts with label hotel management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hotel management. Show all posts

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Measuring Service Quality Beyond Metrics



Service management within the hotel industry is vitally important for raising perceived customer value. The more value an organization develops the more likely customers will experience a positive impression of the business. This impression has dollar and cents value. Despite this knowledge many hotels have a difficult time implementing new customer service programs that further their strategic interests. Part of the problem may lay in the culture of the organization, improper metrics, and a misaligned perception of total service quality. 

Let us assume for a minute that a new program to reduce checkout speed failed after implementation. The decision-makers trained the front desk representatives and measured the amount of customers they have attended to within the metric time-frames. Even though the speed increased the level of service declined as employees attempted to meet the service metric and ignored fundamental service expectations. 

Even though management has pushed for this speed they failed to see the fundamental value of a positive experience that lays in the total customer experience. Employees focused closely on the metric but ignored all other variables in an attempt to fulfill the requirements. This is an example where a seemingly concise strategy failed because it only partly represented the customer’s needs. 

To develop a stronger service culture and a higher level of customer satisfaction requires a proper focus on a service culture that continually reinvents itself based upon the needs of their patrons. The essential issues exist within the pro-active attitudes and the way in which employees view their job responsibilities. Is their job defined as the quality of service or is the job defined by the metric? Allowing for greater awareness of the fundamental aspects of customer service allows for a higher level of employee performance beyond short-term gains. 

To create this greater awareness it can be beneficial to understand the local culture and how employees view the concept of service management. For example, a study analyzing the influence of culture and service found that national cultural values impacted the overall personal perceptions of service quality dimensions (Dedic & Pavlovic, 2011). Knowing how employees and managers are perceiving customer service helps in developing stronger methods of improving customer service delivery. 

To understand the differences between employee perceptions and customer perceptions can be furthered by using an employee survey that assesses employee customer service perceptions and comparing the results to customer’s expectations of quality service. Where there is difference there will be a misalignment of service delivery. Better alignment can come through stronger training programs that help bridge the misalignment between employee’s understandings and customer understandings. 

The organization should develop a customer centric approach to its service metrics, employee training, and program implementation. Companies that have developed winning cultures place emphasis on customer service, business growth and employee development (Bradt, 2008). Positive growth is found in customer satisfaction, the expansion of successful services, and the development of employee skills and perceptions. 

 Fundamentally, customers have a variety of factors that constitute a positive experience and focusing simply on a speed metric may miss the other aspects that are inherent in patron retention. Such customers want a friendly attitude, competence in the expected service, and have their issues handled promptly. Failing to understand the totality of the service limits the likelihood of successful program implementation.

The next time you or your management team implements a program that appears to have unintended effects on customer service quality consider the type of metrics being used and ensure that they meet customer expectations in the widest possible sense. Furthermore, ensure that employees’ understandings and definitions of customer service are comparable with customer perceptions of quality service. Where there are differences, consider improving training to bring these two perceptions into alignment and redeveloping metrics to create a more beneficial measure of performance. 

Tips:
-Ensure metrics actually measure what is important to customers.
-Avoid having service quality defined exclusively by the service metric.
-Focus on the total customer experience.
-Develop training programs that increase both skill and perception.
-Ensure that the latent culture is customer versus organizational centric.
-Ensure that customer service programs actually align with strategic approaches. 

Bradt, G. (2008). 5 simple steps to build a winning corporate culture. Supervision, 69 (3). 

Dedic, G. & Pavlovice, D. (2011). A taleof two nations-empirical examination of influence of national culture on perceived service quality. International journal of management cases, 13 (3).

Monday, May 6, 2013

The HRM Practices that Lead to Hotel Performance


Human resources management practices can have a large impact on the overall success of hotel operations. These functions may appear to be subtle but influences nearly every aspect of human capital that makes its way into the customer service experience. It also impacts the ability of an organization to weather changes and develop to market realities. New research helps define which aspects of human resource management impact hotel success and which do not. Human resource administrators would be wise to take into consideration this research.

First, it is necessary to define human resource management. Proper human resource management entails the practices that encourages the organizations knowledge, skills and abilities to contribute to business outcomes (Huselid, et. al, 1997). In other words, it manages and fosters those human elements that make a business successful. This can include everything from recruitment to strategic training. 

Human resource management often entails a theoretical lens for understanding and studying its impact on the organization. According to Mudor & Tooksoon (2011) a conceptual framework of HRM practices includes supervision, job training and pay to foster understanding. The supervision is the practices and techniques managers use, job training is the enhancement of capital, and compensation is the pay practices. When each of these concepts are done well the entire organization will do well in terms of its employee management.

The study conducted by Nakhleh, Patel, & Dagarwala (2012) brings to light which type of HRM practices have the largest impact on hotel performance. Surveys were sent to all three star hotels in Vadadara based upon the website Cleartrip.com. The target group consisted of managers, assistant managers, and reception heads of 13 hotels. The researchers sought information on the independent variables associated with HRM such as selection, staffing, training, performance appraisals, performance rewards, employee relations and internal controls. The dependent variable was the hotel performance in the form of effectiveness, efficiency, quality, satisfaction and occupancy rate. 

Results:

-Selection, staffing, training & development, performance appraisal and performance reward had an association with hotel performance. 

-Employee relations and internal communication had a weaker association with hotel performance. 

Analysis and Business Application:

The results help show that the people we recruit and their development have a positive impact on hotel performance. Once strong employees are selected it is the accurate feedback that allows employees to gauge their ability and find areas where they can emphasis improvement. Such motivation is maintain through the use of adequate rewards. Such rewards are an external appreciation for an internal experience. In alignment with studies discipline isn’t a major detractor to performance as long as it is perceived to be just and fair. Relationships are fostered primarily through the immediate manager and this takes precedence over more formal communication strategies. Organizations would do well to consider this when designing their own communication approaches.

Huselid, M.. (1995), The impact on human resource management practices on turnover, productivity, and corporate financial performance. Academy of Management Journal, 38(3)

Mudor, H. & Tooksoon, P. (2011),Conceptual framework on the relationship between human resource management practices, job satisfaction, and turnover.  Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, 2 (2).

Nakhleh, H., Patel, N., & Dangarwala, U. (2012). The effectiveness of human resource management practices on hotel performance. International Journal of Research in Commerce and management, 3 (3).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hotel Management and Service Improvement Through Job Embeddedness



Casa del Mar
Hotels and resorts hire a higher percentage of service employees and are constantly seeking ways to improve on service delivery. To create seamless service it is necessary to have stronger performance the moment the bell person takes the customers bags to the server who delivers their order. Research in job embeddedness helps to highlight how training, empowerment, and rewards can lead to higher levels of performance by service workers. Yet this research also indicates that rewards and training may not be the most important consideration.

Job embeddedness is a concept that refers to, “the combined forces that keep a person from leaving his or her job” (Yao et. al, 2004,pp. 159). This concept can include compensation, organizational fit, personal abilities, management style, etc… The concept is closely associated with employee satisfaction in terms of how and what employees feel about the organization.

Turnover rates and poor performance can be expensive for organizations. In many low skilled positions turnover rates can be excessive costing both time and money for recruiting and training. Higher absenteeism, resistant behavior, and poor customer relations can take a toll on a company’s profit margins. Understanding and improving upon job embeddedness will also improve upon the human relations and performance within the organization.

Job embeddedness theory indicates that when there are strong links and proper organization fit between employees and organizations, employees will be more motivated to display strong performance (Lee, et. al, 2004). This performance has a whole range of important improvements for organizations. Consider a few of the following:

-Stronger service and service recovery.
-Lower turnover rates and improvement costs.
-Less resistant behavior.
-Higher human efficiency and performance.
-Higher customer return rates and impression.

As you look through the list above you might be able to figure that each of the costs are associated with poor employee embeddedness. When customers have a poor impression of the organization they are not likely to return and this can limit present and future sales. Resistant behavior and poor performance can cause mistakes within the workplace and an inability to improve upon operations as employees avoid change and direction. As organizations are socio-economic groups these concepts are central to a well-run business.

According to a study conducted by Karatepel and Karadas (2012) job embeddedness has a huge factor on organizational success. They collected sample data from 7 hotels ranked in the four and five star resort area of Poiana Brasov region of Romania. All participants were direct front-line workers hired as desk agents, food servers, door attendance, guest representatives, bell attendants and bar tenders.

-Training, empowerment, and rewards enhance front-line employee job embeddedness.
-Association of empowerment and service recovery.
-No association between training and service recovery.
-Training and empowerment increase extra-role behavior.
-No association of rewards and extra-role behavior.
-Job embeddedness as a concept increase service performance.

Analysis:

The concept of job embeddedness entails the perception of employees and their positions within the organization. The study has encouraged a better understanding of how training, empowerment, and rewards can improve upon this perception and increase overall performance. Since training was not associated with service recovery while empowerment was associated employees should feel free to find unique ways to meet customer needs. This would be difficult if were not allowed to go outside necessary procedures when necessary. Furthermore, since training and empowerment also increased extra-role behaviors of employees it would be a beneficial focus of management leaders. Together the concepts of training, rewards, and empowerment enhance embeddedness which has a tangible result on extra-role behavior and overall service recovery.

Lee, T. , Mitchell, T., Sablynski, C.,  Burton, J.& Holtom, B.(2004). The effects of job embeddedness on organizational citizenship, job performance, volitional absences, and voluntary turnover, Academy of Management Journal 47(5): 711–722.

Yao, X., Lee, T., Mitchell, T.& Burton, J. & Sablynski, C. (2004). Job embeddedness:
current research and future directions, in Griffeth, R.; Hom, P. (Eds.). Understanding Employee
Retention and Turnover. Greenwich, CT: Information Age, 153–187.

Karatepel, O. & Karadas, G. (2012). The effect of management commitment to service quality on job embeddedness and performance outcomes. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 13 (4).