Service Delivery Strategy Term Paper

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Service Delivery Strategy

The reliance on service delivery strategies in travel and hospitality industries is becoming more pervasive as customers become more attuned to being part of the service delivery process, and as employee training programs become more focused on how to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction as well. In conjunction with the higher levels of customer efficacy or participation in service delivery (McKee, Simmers, Licata, 2006) there is also the challenge of managing the supply chain of services as well (Anderson, Morrice, Lundeen, 2005). The intent of this paper is to provide insights into how service delivery strategies of the leading companies in the travel and hospital industries are increasingly relying on the employees' and customers' roles in service delivery, in addition to the managing of service supply chains to ensure customers' expectations are consistently met or exceeded. For purposes of this analysis the call center functions within the Hilton Hotel chain, Southwest Airlines, and Avis rental cars. The typical business traveler interacts with service delivery strategies that encompass these businesses. The needs of business travelers are therefore used as part of the analysis of service delivery strategies in this paper. Inherent in this analysis is the ability to quickly translate the entire set of reservations and then optimize them for the specific service locations, strata of offerings, and tailoring to individualized requirements (Anderson, Morrice, Lundeen, 2005).

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TOPIC: Term Paper on Service Delivery Strategy Assignment

Call centers are often the first contact point business travelers have with their hotel, airline and car companies of choice. As a result there continues to be ample training with regard to training employees how to interact with customers so that the brand's key values are preserved (King, Grace, 2005) (Mattila, Mount, 2003). Just as pervasive are empirically derived studies that show the impact of customer efficacy and the sense of mastery that is gained as being part of the service delivery process (Hsieh, Yen, Chin, 2004) and (McKee, Simmers, Licata, 2006). Given the intensity of training to call center agents and the self-efficacy of customers to contribute to the service process, one would expect high levels of productivity and performance over time (Hartline, Ferrell, 1996). What is in fact happening is that customers are becoming so engrained into service processes that often confusion over roles happens (McKee, Simmers, Licata, 2006). There is also uncertainly of how to optimize the value chain of a services business based on the role confusion impacting demand forecasts (Anderson, Morrice, Lundeen, 2005). Paradoxically however studies show that despite self-efficacy causing confusion employee's roles within a service organization, there is a significant reduction in customers' stress and their motivation to positively influence the outcome of the service experience (Hartline, Ferrell, 1996). Further, the opportunity for customers to participate with a high level of self-efficacy also influences significant perceptions of value as well (McKee, Simmers, Licata, 2006).

Recommendations

In analyzing how hotel, airlines and car rental companies each rely on automated and personalized forms of service, it's clear that training of the call center representative son the mechanics of how to keep the supply chain of services working well is easily taught and comprehended (Anderson, Morrice, Lundeen, 2005). The underlying systems that tie together service assets and the call center representatives make it possible for these companies to effectively manage demand and capacity. Where the challenges begin are in first defining the roles of employees relative to customers. Second, the better definition of roles will lead to more accurate demand and capacity forecasts. Third, self-efficacy on the part of customers, especially in the airline reservation process, has lead to significant cost savings. To capitalize on this aspect of self-efficacy is critical for customers to have a greater sense of contribution, and therefore satisfaction, of the entire service delivery strategies.

SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGY

Background and Introduction

Main Conclusions

Recommendations

TURNING SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGIES INTO a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Defining the roles of Employees vs. Customers

Developing More Effective Demand Forecasts with Role Clarification

Making Self-Efficacy Work Rather Than Hinder Service Delivery Strategies

Future Trends

Limitations, Conclusions and Recommendations

Turning Service Delivery Strategies into a Competitive Advantage

To be effective, service delivery strategies in the travel and hospitality industries need to foster and nurture self-efficacy on the part of customers while at the same time keep the role of employees more clearly defined. The challenge many self companies have, from Hilton Hotels to Southwest Airlines, is to continue the successes obtained in getting customers involved in the service process yet not confusing internal employees about their relative role. In the case of Avis, the division of labor between employee and customer are well-delineated and the supply chain is well defined through a reservation program. Yet for Hilton and Southwest, the challenges of continuing to build on the gains made in customer participation and service that lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction need to be managed to ensure consistent levels of self-efficacy opportunities as well (McKee, Simmers, Licata, 2006). As much empirical research has shown that the higher the level of participation the higher the level of "ownership" on the part of customers, employees are often unsure which part of the process they should also take responsibility and accountability for (Hsieh, Yen, Chin, 2004).

Presented below are the recommendations for ensuring service delivery strategies are turned into competitive advantages.

Defining the roles of Employees vs. Customers

The excellent research completed by McKee, Simmers, Licata (2006) includes hypotheses proven through empirical research showing how the greater the clarity and shared ownership of service outcomes by employees, the greater the self-efficacy that customers pursue. There is a definite class of customer who has a sense of self-mastery at being able to contribute to the delivery of exceptional service and its experience - even if it is for a group of customers apart from just themselves. This egalitarian approach to self-efficacy has been cited as one of the primary reasons for self-service strategies, eventually transferred to the Internet, being successful (Hsieh, Yen, Chin, 2004). The clarifying of roles between employees and customers also has a major effect in being able to better manage the supply chain of services as well (Anderson, Morrice, Lundeen, 2005).

Developing More Effective Demand Forecasts with Role Clarification

The greater the clarify of roles the more precise the demand forecasts completed (McKee, Simmers, Licata, 2006), and the converse is also true as there is more conflict and confusion over roles and the result is less of an accuracy of supply chain performance (Anderson, Morrice, Lundeen, 2005). This second recommendation requires the greatest level of synchronization between components of the employee and customer systems and strategies. Any service delivery strategies' effectiveness is actually measured in the fulfillment of this second recommendation.

Making Self-Efficacy Work Rather Than Hinder Service Delivery Strategies

For Hilton Hotels the need of having the customers with high self-efficacy have avenues to contribute to their own reservation process often makes the difference between their relative level of satisfaction in the entire hotel service process. Correspondingly there is also the need for ensuring Hilton Hotel call center representative learn how to deal with those customers who participate through complaining, looking for self-efficacy through their own contributions, whether communicated positively or negatively (Mattila, Mount, 2003). Therefore the need for structuring service delivery roles to allow for the highest levels of customer flexibility, especially in the case of Hilton Hotels, who attracts a specific type of self-efficacy consumer, is critical for their success. The use of strategies not so much for resolving problems but for re-directing self-efficacy issues is critical for example (Mattila, Mount, 2003). In the case of Southwest Airlines too, where the entire brand has been orientated to attract those consumers with a very high level of self-efficacy, the need for managing these trade-offs while retaining enthusiasm is critical. The bottom line of this recommendation is that the role of the customer needs to be precisely defined and encouraged to keep momentum on this critical attribute of a service delivery strategy, yet also managed to the specific roles of employees as well.

Future Trends

The trends in service delivery strategies are centered first on the synchronization of employee role, customer role and the managing of demand and capacity throughout a services organization. Particular attention to the role of call center training is also important, and will become even more so as customers look for assurances of their roles first, and resolution of their problems second (Mattila, Mount, 2003). There is also the challenge of moving customers from one channel of self-efficacy to another. The overwhelming trend is to move then online to websites that have self-service channels and opportunities to gain mastery of the processes required. This is certainly the case with Hilton, Southwest and Avis when it comes to online booking and reservation systems. Additional future trends center on the role of employees in recruiting the right type of customer to assist in self-efficacy-based jobs throughout the service delivery process.

Limitations, Conclusions and Recommendations

Clearly Hilton, Southwest and Avis grapple daily with the confusion over… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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