Developing and maintaining a service culture

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Developing and maintaining
a service culture
Chapter 4
© Hudson & Hudson. © Hudson & Hudson.Customer Service for Hospitality & Tourism Customer Service for Hospitality & Tourism
Developing and maintaining a
service culture
Chapter 4
Topics covered
o A definition of internal marketing
o The four-step internal marketing process
o Establishing and maintaining a service culture
o Developing a marketing approach to human resource
o The importance of disseminating marketing
information to employees
o The way to implement a reward and recognition
‘At Your Service’ Spotlight:
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
The Golden Rule
Focus on managing mid-sized luxury hotels
Service more important than fixtures and fittings
• Value-added extras
External quality control audits
• 300 operating standards
Strong internal service culture
• Staff recruitment, perks, awards and internal promotion
Customer base
• Repeat guests, willing to pay, recommend to friends
Recognition and Awards
• Five Diamond Award, Fortune’s Hall of Fame,
Great Place to Work® Award, Robb Report ‘most exclusive brands of all time’
Internal marketing
…marketing aimed internally at a company’s own employees
o Enables employees to deliver brand promise and satisfy guests
o Ensure consistently high service
o Four-step process:
• Establish a service culture
• Develop a marketing approach to human resource management
• Disseminate marketing information
• Implement reward and recognition system
o Too few organizations apply the concept
o Corporate distraction (boost revenues, cut costs)
o But growing awareness that internal marketing will lead to profits
Link between internal marketing
and profits
1. Service Culture
2. Marketing approach to HRM
3. Communication
4. Reward & Recognition
GAPS model
Service Quality
Figure 4.1
Establishment of a service culture
o Organizational culture
• Formal and informal guidelines, actually activities
• Shared values and beliefs, behavioral norms
• Individuals understanding of organizational functions
o Marketing culture
• Unwritten policies and guidelines and behavioral norms
• Defines importance of marketing, manner of execution
• Particularly important for service organizations
• Strong link between type of marketing culture and profits
Service culture
….a culture that supports customer service through policies,
procedures, reward systems, and actions
o Culture must support customer service
o Leaders crucial for transmitting, preserving culture
o Commitment from management
• Positive attitude toward customers and employees
• Time and money transmitting value system
• Properly trained employees respond appropriately
• Empowered to do so by the organization
o Establishing a service culture may have regional characteristics
The importance of empowerment
….the act of giving employees the authority to identify and solve guest
problems or complaints on the spot, and to make improvements
in the work processes when necessary
o Impacts customer perceptions of service quality
o Essential aspect of internal marketing
o Involves decentralized decision-making
• Demonstrated trust, respect for employees’ judgment
o Gronroos’s interactive marketing concept
• Empowered front-line employees
• Control over task performance
o Contingent on variability of customer needs, task complexity
o Not suited to all employees
Empowerment and disempowerment:
tourism and hospitality operations
Benefits of Empowerment Drawbacks of Disempowerment
More responsive service Limited authority to meet service needs
Complaints dealt with quickly Complaints dealt with slowly
Greater customer satisfaction Higher level of costs in generating new customers
More repeat business Fewer loyal customers
Well-motivated staff Poor motivation and low morale
Less turnover of staff High turnover of staff
Increased productivity Low productivity
Lower labor costs Low wages but high labor costs
Increased profits Low profits
Table 4.1 (Source: based on Lashley, 1995)
Marketing approach to human
resource management
o Involves the use of marketing techniques to attract and retain
good employees
• Thinking creatively attracting qualified employees
• Understanding the employee market
• Building a positive company image
o Assist with employee motivation, incentives, training
• Changing behaviors difficult, costly post-recruitment
• Right type of training can reduce ambiguity, and improve
service delivery
o Continuous training can improve morale and reduce turnover
• Hospitality industry turnover double that of other industries
Developing employee pride
o Pride motivates people to excel
• More effective than money or position
o Pride builders accomplish this by
• Setting aspirations that touch emotions
• Pursuing a meaningful purpose
• Cultivating personal relationships of respect
• Becoming a person of high character
• Injecting humor along the way
WestJet : Fostering a caring culture
Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Culture
o Airline loved by consumers, media and travel trade
o Pride in product intrinsic to WestJet’s success
o Internal service as important as external service
• Employee empowerment fundamental for spontaneity
• 4 Kudos program
• CARE department – Create A Remarkable Experience
• Sense of ownership, profit sharing
• Hire for attitude and train for skill
• Consistently profitable
Dissemination of marketing
information to employees
o Frequency, quality, accuracy of communication
• Moderates ambiguity
• Increases job satisfaction
o Communication mechanisms
• One-to-one
• Company meetings
• Training sessions
• Newsletters, emails, reports, videotapes
• Blogs (e.g. Southwest)
Southwest’s blog for
customers and employees
Employee exclusion from
the communication cycle
o Many companies exclude customer-contact
employees from communication cycle
o Managers or supervisors fail to convey information
o Frontline employees should be informed of
• Promotions and new products
• Changes in the service delivery processes
• Action steps in marketing plan
o Poor internal communication a service quality risk
• Customer-contact employees not able to deliver
advertising promises
Implementation of reward
and recognition systems
o Employees should be made to feel happy and proud of their jobs
• Canadian survey – being made to feel valued important motivator
o Organizations should
• Communicate performance objectives
• Provide relevant training
• Provide feedback
• Provide recognition (non-cash rewards)
• Tailor rewards to the interests of the employees
o Employee dissatisfaction may lead to bad publicity
Case Study:
Micato Safaris – simply the best in the world!
o Serving more than 5,000 clients a year, Micato programs deliver
experiences and lodgings in destinations throughout East Africa, Southern
Africa and India.
o Micato has a well-deserved reputation for giving guests an experience that
goes far deeper than any other tour, with access to sites rarely open to
tourists, while supporting the local economy in myriad ways.
o It is the family touch that drives Micato’s differentiation, but the company
has also had to adapt more recently to new consumer demands.

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