The service concept is critical and central in managing service operations. It has become increasing important in defining what the corporations are selling and the customer buying or using. It can be used to design and improve the services. “The service concept is something that is more emotional than a business model, deeper than a brand, more complex than a good idea and customers and creates a business advantage.” (Johnston.R and Clark.G, 2008) The selected service organisation is Morrison, which the UK’s fourth largest food retailer by sales with an annual turnover in excess of £15bn.
Morrisons has 425 stores across Britain, ranging in size from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet. (Morrison’s annual report, 2010) The purpose of this report is to describe the Morrison’s practical applications with the service concept.
This report will first demonstrate the five elements of the service concept and how the company achieve these five elements. Then it will assess the company’s implementation of the service concept. At last, the report will give some recommendations on how the company’s service concept might be improved.
2. Description of the service concept
The service concept is something very significant to companies such as Morrison. According to the Johnston and Clark (2008), there are five elements consisted in the service concept which are given below.
2.1 The Organising Idea
The organising idea is very significant to the service concept. The organising idea is the essence of the service which is bought or used by the customer. Morrison has a good organising idea which organised as “Food Specialist For Everyone”.
(Morrison, 2012)This means they really understand the food and provide food with great value not only just for special days but also for every day.
2.2 The Service Experience
The service experience concentrates on the customer’s direct experience in the process of perceiving the service. It is based on the expectations of the customers. (More information can be seen in Appendix 1 and 2). Morrison has the following service experience:
* Large car parks * Long queue at tills during peak time * Polite staff * Range of food and drink products * Products with discount price * Free bags * Kids eat free offer in Cafe * Best service on disabled or children facilities * No online shopping
2.3 The Service Outcome
The service outcome is the result of the customer service which includes benefits, emotions, value and intentions and judgements. Morrison has the following service outcome:
* Calm shopping trip * Car parking is extra * No time wasted * Fun emotion
2.4 The Service Operation
The service operation is related to the resources and processes provided by the company to the customer. The resources and processes that Morrison provides are:
* Clear product signs * Self-help checkout machine * Different ways to pay * Wide aisles to improve flow
2.5 The Service Value
The service outcome includes the service value. The price is a service value. It could be its monetary value, the financial price or its comparative value. “Value-of-service pricing is a method of setting utility prices.”(Energy Dictionary, 2012) Morrison has the following service value:
* Good value for money * Food reasonably priced * Many promotional products * Car parking
3. Explanation of the role of operations
There are many Morrison’s operational contributions to the functioning of the service concept. This section will explain how Morrison achieves the five elements in detail.
The organising idea of Morrison is “Food Specialist For Everyone”. Morrison really understands food. They know where it comes from and pack it and make it in their factories. They employ craft skills in every store. They focus on the provenance, quality and freshness of food served by experts. They provide food with great value not only just for special days but also for every day.
Morrison has many achievements on the element of service experience. For example, Morrison provides large car park by expanding the range of the parking lot. There is staff training system so that the staff in Morrison is very polite. The range of food and drinks are all-sided as Morrison has many suppliers. There is a cafe in the supermarket which has Kids eat free offer. Morrison spends money buying disabled or children facilities.
Morrison also achieves the element of service outcome. They do not play music in the supermarket so a calm shopping trip can be guaranteed. The customers may have a happy emotion as Morrison provides a good shopping environment. There will be no time wasted as Morrison put the articles for daily use in the most conspicuous places for customers to find.
On the element of service operation, Morrison makes clear product signs to make customers shop more convenient by writing the signs with different colour and big characters. Morrison put many self-help checkout machines beside the tills to solve the problem of long queue during peak time. Morrison also allows many ways to pay, such as paying by debit card, credit card or cash.
On the element of service value, Morrison provides free car parking to maximise the benefits to the customer. The food is priced reasonably by comparing with the industry competitors, such as Tesco and Sainsbury. According to the sales volume of each product, Morrison will termly provide many promotional products to promote their sales.
4. Assessment of the implementation of the service concept
In this report, two methods have been used to assess the implementation of the service concept of Morrison. They are the methods of interview and observation. By the method of interview, I write an email to the manager of the department of customer service of Morrison. In the email, I ask the efficiency of their performance on the service concept. The manager gives me some positive answers. With regard to the observation, firstly, I get information from the official websites of Morrison. Secondly, I went to the Morrison supermarket located in Leicester to ask their efficiency of performance on service concept. Through using the methods of interview and observation, it can be concluded that the service concept has been implemented well by Morrison. The details about the Morrison’s efficiency of performance on service concept are given below.
Morrison has adapted and originated to Total Quality Management (TQM) (Damon B., 2008) which instils the service quality throughout the company. (See Appendix 3 for all supermarkets’ TQM success) “The service quality is defined as the degree of fit between customer’s expectations and the customers’ perception of the service.”(Azhashemi. M , 2012) TQM has internal and external dimensions. The internal dimension is that Morrison buys some self-help checkout machines to solve the problem of long queue at tills. But during peak time, the waiting time for customers are still very long. The staff are very polite and helpful when customers have problems on buying food. The staff provide attentive, energetic and warm service. The external dimension is that Morrison can satisfy the needs of customer, the manager tells me that they have the customer service advisor.
The manager said that Morrison has the service capacity planning. (Appendix 4 decribes the Three Steps for Capacity Planning) Capacity is very significant in the organization’s choice of technology. (Referenceforbusiness, 2012) Morrison provides a variety of food and drink products and calm shopping environment. The customers are satisfied with their service delivery as they meet the customers’ demand. But Morrison may excessed capacity as expanding the range of the parking lot may make a high cost to expenditure.
Morrison has a good supply chain management but still has some problems. (Appendix 5 shows Hierarchy of Supply Chain Decisions) Morrison supply chain managers only focus on the internal supply chain. They may also ignore the impact of uncertainties such as suppliers’ delivery times, the quality of incoming materials and manufacturing process time.
5. Recommendation: Suggested improvements
According to the problems discussed in the section4, some suggestions of improving the performance of service delivery can be provided. Firstly, there are some suggestions on the problems of service quality. There is no online shopping for customers, so provide online shopping is in need to satisfy customers’ needs. Provide more check out tills and self-help checkout machines to save customers’ time of paying. The shopping cart always does not work well. When people insert the coin into the cart, the cart is still not moving. Therefore, repairing them or changing some new carts is quite necessary.
Secondly, there are some suggestions on the problems of service capacity. The staff training system should be strengthened. There is a rule that the young who are under 18 years are not able to buy alcoholic drinks. So when they pay at the tills, they ask their friends who are beyond 18 to buy the alcoholic drinks for them. Often the staff will not restrict on it. This is obviously wrong. So staff training should be strengthened to prevent these things happen again.
Thirdly, some approaches to solve the problems of service chain management should also be provided. To prevent the uncertainties, Morrison should find some suppliers which are not far from the supermarket to save suppliers’ delivery times. Make a “time compression” to make flows quicker. For example, Morrison should make schedules and make the product or service develop faster. In this way, the operational efficiency can be improved. (Azhashemi. M, 2012)
In conclusion, this report has discussed the service concept of Morrison. The five elements of service concept are quite important for the organisations. The explanation on how Morrison has achieved the five elements has been described. The assessment of the efficiency of Morrison’s performance on service concept is demonstrated. Morrison has done well but still has some problems in service concept. Therefore, some suggestions have been given at the end of this report. Morrison overall has developed a good service concept. Performing well in the service concept for Morrison can be increasingly significant. And this will make them more successful in the future.
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