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The chosen organization that shall be analyzed is Thringstone Supermarket, a well run, off license/newsagent located in a village called Thringstone, based in Small Heath. The organisation is owned by a married couple named Mr and Mrs Varu who are the sole proprietors. They sell a variety of products and ensure that customer needs and wants are met.
Thringstone Supermarket has many regular customers, as this is one of the main Supermarkets as you enter in to the village. The supermarket is one of the local stores that are recognized by its entire local people as it offers a great variety of products. Within the Supermarket many products are sold including:
Foods such as dairy products
Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
2.0 DESCRIPTION OF THE SERVICE CONCEPT
The service concept “is the way in which the customer perceives the organizations services” (Johnston and Clark 2001). There are four key elements that form the service concept:
ï¿½ The Service Experience – Customers encounter different experiences which may vary from time to time when using a particular service. Mr. and Mrs. Varu can contribute to the service concept by delivering a friendly customer service experience, to make customers feel welcomed, this is what they expect. The customers want to do their shopping in a stress free, friendly environment and this is what Mr and Mrs Varu aim to achieve.
Customers also like the noise level to be kept to a minimum when shopping so that they are not easily distracted and so that they can talk amongst themselves.
ï¿½ The Service Operation – Mr. and Mrs. Varu and the staff have a personalized basis with there customers, they recognize the majority of there customers and are on a first name basis. There is a trusting relationship between the customers and Mr. and Mrs. Varu and staff, therefore can guarantee that they can ask for assistance when needed without any negative attitude, therefore Mr. and Mrs. Varu provide assistance when required in a friendly manner to help deliver the service successfully.
ï¿½ The Service Outcome – This is the result the customer has received from the service provided. Mr. and Mrs. Varu aim to provide customer’s requirements by delivering there service and products successfully without any problems i.e. queues, no stock available, therefore customers can tell their friends and family by word of mouth that they ‘received high quality service at Thringstone’s.
ï¿½ The Service Value – Shoppers value the experience and outcome in any organization, therefore the value must be cost effective otherwise customers will go elsewhere. Mr. and Mrs. Varu need to ensure that there customers are receiving a value for money service. Mr. and Mrs. Varu ensure that no out of date stock is displayed because customers only want to purchase goods that are to date and having out-of-date stock will give Thringstone’s a bad reputation which will send customers elsewhere because they are not receiving value for money products.
Also, as they are situated in a village, and its miles to the nearest town centre, there ATM must be working at all times so customers can access their money easily instead of having to make journeys into town.
The design elements for Thringstone Supermarket is available in appendix 1
3.0 The Servicescape
An organizations servicescape describes the physical and informational surroundings of the delivery of the service provided. “To secure strategy advantages from the servicescape, the needs of ultimate users and the requirements of various functional units must be incorporated into environmental design decisions.” (Bitner 1992).
* The physical appearance can determine where all products are kept. This can be identified as the process layout, where all similar products are put together, i.e. freezer foods are kept in one place.
* The physical appearance of Thringstone’s also creates an impression to the customers. The letterhead is in white lettering with a red background. This makes Thringstone’s stand out and therefore inviting due to the bright and bold letters.
* Customers require baskets to out there shopping in to, which allows the customers to shop comfortably and without difficulty.
* Thringstone’s is located in a small village, which is easily accessible to customers; therefore the physical location of Thringstone’s is ideally suitable for customers.
* The layout of the shop can help customers, access products easily. The aisles are kept clear and clean at all times in order for customers to gain access to products.
* Health and Safety for customers is very important, i.e. if there is a wet floor, a ‘wet floor’ sign is there for customers. Mr. and Mrs. Varu ensure that security cameras are placed around and outside the shop.
* Mr. and Mrs. Varu use an automated stock control system which informs them when stock is low. This can keep control on the availability of products in stock.
3.1 Influencing customer behavior
Mr. and Mrs. Varu believe customer’s behavior can be determined by the servicescape.
* The freshness, clarity, and lightness influences customers’ behavior in the way they
shop at Thringstone’s . If Thringstone’s has boxes of goods and baskets around the store this will influence the customer to shop in another place.
* Products are neatly presented at Thringstone’s so that they are attractive to look at. Special displays are set out for the best presentation. A messy environment will make customers think twice about where to shop.
* Availability of goods is always there i.e. if customers require a certain product that is not in stock, Mr. and Mrs. Varu can make sure that he orders it in so that it is made available for the customer the next time round.
* Long queues will make customers uncomfortable, especially if they are in a hurry.
Mr. and Mrs. Varu could loose money due to this.
4.0 Process Mapping
The service process map “combines the insights of flowcharting the service delivery process with the power of multivariate data analysis techniques” (Collier 1991).
The design of the service is important because the customer is directly and immediately involved in the delivery transaction. The customer is present and involved and they may even serve themselves. Appendix 2 provides a service process map for Thringstone’s.
4.1 Analysis of Process Map
A method for analyzing the process map is by answering a set of questions to derive maximum advantage from it, these questions are obtained from Johnston & Clark (2001).
* Does the process support the strategic intention?
Mr. and Mrs. Varu’s main objective is to provide a high quality service for there customers. Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Varu must ensure all customers are able to purchase the relevant stock by firstly checking there stock availability and secondly by ensuring there shelves are fully stocked otherwise delays will be caused by staff having to get the stock from the back office.
* Does each activity provide added value?
At Thringstone’s added value activities are existent such as providing baskets, carrier bags and freezer bags. If these were not available customers would have to use there hands to carry their shopping, therefore Mr. and Mrs. Varu would be losing a lot of money due to customers purchasing limited goods.
* Who owns and has responsibility for the process?
Mr. and Mrs. Varu as well as the customers are responsible for the service process. Without either of them the process would not exist. Appendix 4 identifies the roles and responsibilities for the staff and customers.
* How can the process be improved?
Mr. and Mrs. Varu must ensure that stock is available at hand for customers, in order to meet there requirements.
To maintain that customers can continue to shop in a clean and relaxing environment
To ensure staff are fully trained to provide high quality customer service, and are able to deal with all types of customers in the correct manner i.e. difficult customers.
If customers are waiting in long queues then Mr. and Mrs. Varu must realize that a new till may be required so delays will not take place.
To provide a service where another member of staff packs the customers goods, this will speed the process up in the queues.
* How efficient is the process?
The process is very efficient as it aims the meet the organizations objectives. However this can only be achieved by ensuring that there is a continuous customer flow without any delays. Delays cause inefficiencies, which lead to dissatisfied customers, therefore Mr. & Mrs. Varu are not fulfilling there business objective, which could cause a loss in profits.
5.0 The Service Quality Gap Model
The service quality is the gap between a customers expected service and perceived service. A service quality gap model for Thringstone’s is available in appendix 3, and appendix 3.1 provides an analysis of the Service Quality Gap Model.
6.0 Job Design
Mr. & Mrs. Varu empower there staff for them to obtain the initiative to make decisions without consulting them first. Empowerment makes employees feel recognized and motivated as empowerment increases employees morale. Therefore empowering there staff will increase there productivity, reputation and provide a better service encounter.
Appendix 4 provides the five dimensions to empowerment for Thringstone’s
7.0 Suggested improvements/recommendations
Overall Mr. and Mrs. Varu’s Supermarket is an operation, which is customer orientated, like any other business operation he wishes to make as much profit as possible and at the same time keep customers satisfied by meeting their requirements. However, like any other business there is still, room for improvement and with the help of such policies and strategies, productivity and profit can be achieved for his business. This can be implemented in three was:
1. Increasing the number of tills in the shop
2. By introducing a Computer Bar coding system
3. Staff can be trained to be multi-skilled
By increasing the capacity of tills, by adding in a further till can help in reducing the queuing system. As capacity is linked to time, many customers are not prepared to wait and maybe forced to shop elsewhere, this will lead to a reduction in sale and profit. Therefore by adopting this approach Mr. and Mrs. Varu can result in happier customers, and increase in productivity and even profits maybe achieved.
Another area for improvement could be that a barcode system could be implemented, because at present Mr. and Mrs. Varu are running on a manual tilling system whereby they type in the price by hand and this is also another indicator of time wasting, thus leads to frustration for customers. This bar coding system could be implemented by scanning products through a computer which informs them what stock is in and it can also speed up the process dealing with all the customers without them having to waste time in queues.
By using the computer bar code system this can help implement the Just – In -Time Process. Instead of Mr. and Mrs. Varu going to the cash and carry, he can check on the computer of the goods, which are running low, and have them delivered by the cash and carry, this will result in less money being held in stock and also lead to extra space saved by not having unwanted stock, which can instead be converted into extra shop floor space.
Thirdly, staff are to be trained so that they are multi-skilled. This will enable them to carry out a variety of jobs rather than just the ordinary replenishing of stock. For example, if they are till trained then the delivery system will be faster and this will lead to customer satisfaction.
Overall, Mr. and Mrs. Varu can have competitive advantage over other newsagents in the area, as they will be using the more traditional approach and therefore by saving storage space, they can convert the back office area into shop floor space, which means they can sell extra products and will mean that customers are happy with the delivery of the service.
Johnston, R and Clark, C (2001), Service Operations Management, Financial Times Prentice Hall
Galloway, L, Rowbotham, F and Azhashemi, M (2000), Operations Management in Context, Butterworth – Heinemann Oxford
Lecture Two Job Design in Services
Lecture Five the Design of Service Operations
Bitner, M.J., “Servicescapes: The impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees”, Journal of Marketion, vol.56, April 1992, pp. 57-71.
Gurdarshan Mudhar – P01070281