Understanding the Gaps

There are five gaps in the service quality gap model. For a business to be able to close these gaps and deliver excellent customer service, you first need to understand the gaps, what causes them and how to deal with them. Travelling Mystery Guest guides you through these five gaps:

  1. The customer gap: The gap between customer expectations and customer perceptions

Customer expectations are the things customers expect to receive and are influenced by factors such as lifestyle, personality, demographics, advertising and experience with similar products. Customer perceptions are based on the interaction of the customer with the product or service. (Touch points, as discussed in our Customer Journey Mapping workshop). In an ideal world, the customer’s expectation should be exactly the same as their perception. Although customer expectation is largely influenced by things you have no control over, one way to prevent this gap is to avoid false advertising. Do not advertise a service or product you can’t deliver, not only will the customer be disappointed that you can’t provide; they will also be angry that you misled them. Be sure to deliver what you promise.

2. The Knowledge Gap: The gap between consumer expectation and management perception

This gap is basically the difference between what the customer expected to receive and how the management thought they wanted it. Usually this is because companies are trying to meet the wrong needs. This can be solved by going back to the basic step of market research. Your company’s target market should be clearly defined and their needs should be researched extensively. Post-service-research must also be conducted. Management should ask:

“Were our predictions correct?”

“Did we satisfy our customer?”

“If needed, how must we change?”

Only the customer can answer this.

3. The policy gap: The gap between management perceptions and service quality       specification

According to Kasper et al, this gap reflects management’s incorrect translation of the service policy into rules and guidelines (standard operating procedures and training) for employees. A simple example would be that the kitchen staff is not allowed to use their cell phones in the kitchen area, but this rule is not clearly communicated and may result in bad customer service because of hygiene problems. This problem is very unnecessary and management should provide all rules, even if they seem self-explanatory.

4. The delivery gap: The gap between service quality specification and service delivery

This is basically bad employee performance. Management may know what the customers require, but if the employees (who work directly with the customers) are ill equipped to manage customersneeds, bad service comes to light. This is also an unnecessary gap that can be prevented by proper training, which should be implemented from the start. Bad service reflects poorly on management. Having good human resource policies is also very important for regulating your staff.

5. The communication gap: The gap between service delivery and external communications

A good example of this is false advertising. Never promise anything you can’t deliver. The prevention of this gap is solely the responsibility of the business. You are setting a high level of expectations for your business just to create customer disappointment all by yourself. Rather be efficient and subtle when advertising and exceed customers’ expectations. For example: Don’t advertise your pool as a ‘luxury swimming center with temperature control and amazing views’, rather say, we have indoor and outdoor swimming facilities, then provide a photo of both and be sure the pool is clean. Through this you are not setting the customer up for unrealistic expectations. 

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

Brainmates [online], also available from: brainmates.com (accessed 25/02/2017)

 

 

 

 

 

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The Customer Journey

It’s all about touch points.

Subconsciously we all rate our experiences all the time. Whether it is the drive to a destination, the arrival, an activity at a destination or even the departure, there’s always a score attached to it. Not necessarily a mark out of ten, but definitely a “yes, I’ll do that again”, “next time I’ll do it differently” or “no, I’ll never do that again!”

This is exactly what goes on in customers’ minds during visits to a specific destination. Every part of a customer’s experience adds to the overall assessment of their customer journey. The customer journey consists of different touch points where the destination has the opportunity to either impress or disappoint. These touch points often interlink with one another, like for example:

During the arrival phase of a customer’s journey, the ideal would be to be greeted and guided to the parking and reception by the security guard at the gate. This would be the first touch point between the customer and the destination (not omitting the previous post-stay touch points, i.e. visiting the destination’s website to find directions). If the security guard failed to live up to what the customers expected when arriving, this touch point would have been a negative experience. This is only one touch point within the customer’s journey, hence you understand how many opportunities a customer journey consists of for the destination to impress and exceed customers’ expectations.

Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping

The journey continues throughout the customer’s visit, whether it is a lunch at the restaurant or a stay over. The customer journey also does not end when the guest departs. Follow up phone calls, email communications, social media posts, likes and shares and Tripadvisor reviews all form part of the post-stay phase. This is why it has become very important for destinations to be just as active and pro-active online as their customers. The customer journey is not just face-to-face experiences anymore. It now includes telecommunication, written (and e-mail) communication, verbal and non-verbal communication, social-, digital and print media (marketing) and more. Therefore, it is very important for different departments to understand the customer journey, as these departments tend to interlink with each other on a regular, minute-to-minute basis. Reservations, sales and marketing work hand-in-hand to provide customers with the best possible deals. Front office, reception and security work together in ensuring that the check-in process runs smoothly. Marketing and food and beverage work together closely when it comes to the menus, specials, etc. Understanding the customer journey assists the different departments in helping each other to exceed customers’ expectations and to eliminate gaps within the customer journey where touch points are exposed to possible disappointment.

Travelling Mystery Guest offers workshops on customer journey mapping. Mapping out your destination’s customer journey will assist staff to understand their roles in the different touch points and to roll out the process on paper to see what a customer expects at certain times and places within the customer journey. No destination’s map will ever look the same, as not one destination offers the same experiences. Different customers will also lead to different customer journey maps, as no customer has the same expectations. Hence, during Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshops, the destination’s main type of customer is used as a prototype.

If you would like to learn more about your destination’s customer journeys, contact Travelling Mystery Guest today!

CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING WORKSHOP

Travelling Mystery Guest

Travelling Mystery Guest (Pty) Ltd

Knowing your customer’s expectations is a difficult task. Often it seems almost impossible. It’s very rare to find two customers whose expectations are exactly the same. Still, there are certain expectations that are inherent to a customer’s experience, which is why a customer journey map is so ideal!

A customer journey map helps you to:

  • Think like a customer
  • Get to know the different customers
  • Understand the importance of interlinked departments
  • Look at things from both sides
  • Identify gaps in the customer’s experience
  • Fix the gaps in the customer’s experience
  • Identify additional ways to improve the customer’s experience
  • Stay on your toes
  • Motivate line staff

We offer customer journey mapping workshops all over South Africa (and even abroad) to assist hotels, guesthouses and restaurants to improve their customers’ journeys through your destination.

Interested? Contact us on (+27)82 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za and we’ll come to you!

Workshop Feedback

As you know, we hosted a workshop in Pretoria this past month, called CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING. We wanted to share some of the feedback that we received with you – perhaps you would like to book your seat for the same workshop taking place in Johannesburg (21 October) or in Bloemfontein (4 November):

Excellent!!!

You are doing a great job! Excellent, thanks!

You are doing a good thing. Keep it up.

This was a very enjoyable and informative day. Thank you.

I enjoyed the workshop, because the presenter was presentable and understandable.

The presenter was very professional.

Come back!!!

I liked everything about the training. One learns a lot and it makes you aware of the small details that we normally don’t think about. Excellent!

I would like to attend more workshops to gain more experience. It was excellent.

I have learned a lot, it’s a very nice thing you guys are doing – showed me that you will never know enough in this industry. We need to listen to our advisers.

Keep up with the marvelous job!

Excellent training – eye and mind opener.

This would be ideal if all departments can attend the workshop.

Something to go for!

Wonderful visual presentation.

A lot of information / topics we needed were covered. A very good facilitator – keep it up!

It was really fun – everybody participated.

Information is relevant – I am happy.

Book your seat for the next Customer Journey Mapping Workshop on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za

CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING WORKSHOP – Back by popular demand

We all dread it when customers confront us about a bad experience. Whether it is a mistake from our side or due to unforeseen circumstances, an unhappy customer is a customer we don’t want.
Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshop, Customer Journey Mapping, is back by popular demand and the company will be hosting another three of these workshops at different venues in South Africa before the end of the year. The first will take place in Pretoria on 2 September 2015 at the CSIR, just off the N1. On 21 October 2015 the workshop will be held in Johannesburg at Eagle’s View Guesthouse, followed by a visit in Bloemfontein at De Oude Kraal on 4 November 2015. Bookings can be made by contacting Renate de Villiers on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

More about the workshop:
The workshop focuses on teaching delegates to create a map of the customer’s experience through their company, whether it is a restaurant, hotel or other service provider. Mapping out the customer’s journey assists line staff and managers to understand the customer’s way of thinking, eventually teaching employees to think like the customer. This leads to staff being able to think further than the here and now and encourages them to go the extra mile. It decreases customer frustrations, motivates staff and creates innovation within the workplace, because employees need to think out of the box in order to get into their customer’s shoes.

The Customer Journey Mapping Workshop helps employees to think like a customer. It helps them to understand why customers often react in certain ways and provides employees with a tool to prevent certain gaps within the customer’s experience. It might also even instigate a few new ideas and standard operating procedures within the customer’s journey that could improve the customer’s experience.
Get to know your customers on a whole new level by attending this exciting workshop. For bookings and more information, contact Renate de Villiers on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.
IMPORTANT: These workshops can take a maximum of 15 delegates and therefore companies and individuals are urged to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Follow Travelling Mystery Guest on Facebook (facebook.com/TravellingMysteryGuest) and Twitter (@TravellingMG) to stay up to date with their latest workshops and travels.

Upcoming Workshop Dates

After receiving great feedback from our last delegates, we’ve decided to host another series of CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING workshops.

The next dates and locations have been set aside for our Customer Journey Mapping Workshop:

Wednesday, 2 September 2015 – PRETORIA

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 – JOHANNESBURG

Wednesday, 4 November 2015 – BLOEMFONTEIN

More information regarding ticket sales will be communicated via our social media channels, our blog and our newsletter. Be sure to follow us on these platforms to stay up to date. Find these platforms via our website: Travelling Mystery Guest

Our best workshop yet!

It’s been a blast hosting Travelling Mystery Guest‘s Customer Journey Mapping Workshop at the HPC‘s (at the University of Pretoria’s sports grounds, LC de Villiers) conference venue this past week. Not only did the HPC offer the perfect workshop environment, they also offered some really yummy snacks, more than enough coffee and tea and a delicious cooked meal for lunch.

Customer Journey Mapping Workhsop #HPC

Customer Journey Mapping Workhsop #HPC

The workshop itself seemed to not only inspire the delegates, but it also made them aware of gaps in their customers’ journey at the different establishments. The delegates were from all over the industry, including hotel management, restaurant hosts and cashiers, as well as guesthouse owners and managers. Next time around, we’d like to see all HOD‘s from these companies attend, as it will assist them in understanding the roles of the different departments within a customer’s journey.

We’d like to thank the HPC for their comfortable and professional facilities, as well as the delegates who made it such a positive day.

 

Some of the comments received:

“You’re doing a good thing. Keep it up!”

“You are doing a great job. Excellent. Thanks!”

“Excellent!”

This was a very enjoyable and informative day! Thank you.”

If you’d like to attend this workshop, feel free to contact Renate de Villiers on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za and we’ll make it happen!