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)

 

 

 

 

 

How to improve your company’s customer satisfaction

 

Customer service is the main focus of any hospitality business. Whether you manage a hotel, guesthouse or a restaurant, if your customers aren’t happy, they won’t return. Here are some skills required to improve customer service:

  1. Patience

Patience should be exercised on every level when working with customers. Some people are very hard to work with. Nevertheless, handling them with patience enables you to better understand your customer’s problems and needs. One moment of patience can build a lot of respect towards your entity, not only from the person you are currently assisting, but any other observer that sees the way you treat your clients.

  1. Attention

It’s true that you won’t understand your customers if you’re not paying attention to them. When helping a customer, they can clearly see whether you are paying attention to them or not and that is a big indicator of good or bad service. It’s also wise to pay attention to what customers are not telling you verbally. Some people are very shy when it comes to giving feedback, so observing their body language and subtle responses will enable you to determine their true feelings towards your service.

  1. Training

Knowledge is power and when customers come to your business, they expect a certain level of knowledge about the service you provide. Money spent on training will definitely not be wasted. There is, of course, theoretical knowledge that can be learned, but improve your worker’s skills by giving them practical knowledge and skills. Expose them to stress factors and difficult situations before sending them into the industry. This will be very useful when they are facing a difficult client.

  1. Communication

From personal experience, it is really upsetting when a customer informs a staff member about a problem and the staff member refrains from responding immediately. When staff members discuss the problem with one another in a language the customer can’t understand and only give explanations 10 minutes later, the customer feels uncomfortable and uninformed. Every minute you leave the customer wondering what is going on, is a minute for them to decide they are never coming back. Teach your staff to communicate clearly and within the required time. Even when they don’t have the solution, they should keep the customer informed by indicating that they will make an effort to find out.

  1. Determination

Customer service is not something you can slack on. If a customer walks away from your business saying “the product we received was great, but the service was terrible”, then they are not satisfied even though you partially fulfilled their requirements. Bad service is something the customer always remembers and which inevitably determines their final experience. If something goes wrong in your daily schedule, customer service is what will save you from bad reviews.

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

 

Ciotti, G. 2016, 15 Customer Service Skills that Every Employee Needs, [online] also available from: www.helpscout.net, accessed 13/02/2017

 

 

 

TMG Package

We are running a special until 1 May 2016 which includes a customer journey evaluation, destination review and a few destination marketing photos. Book now!

For more info, contact Renate on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za

TMG Package April 2016

Honeymoon Travels

I’ve come to realize that the saying comparing the world to a book, explaining that those who don’t travel, read but a page, is so very true! In the past few months I’ve been blessed with travel opportunities beyond my wildest dreams, starting with a visit to some of our top clients within the BON Hotel Group and ending off with champagne on the beach at the Kempinski Seychelles Resort.

Yup, I got married! And our honeymoon was one for the books. I was taken by surprise with how well my man knows me, kicking off our travels with a visit to one of my favourite parts of South Africa: the Freestate. Many people describe this part of the country as boring, flat and as a place with nothing to do. But that’s just it! Within its “nothingness” lies so many stories, small, beautiful things and the most generous and humble people I know. We stayed at Woudzicht Guest Farm, just off the N3, and what a treat! It is a typical Freestate home with the kind of hospitality we now try to bring back and teach. From “soetkoekies” (sweet biscuits like my grandmother would bake them) and a complimentary bottle of wine, to a delicious cheese platter with the wide, open fields behind us, to a delicious home-cooked stew for dinner and a colourful plated french toast breakfast – this was the ideal kick-off for what was to come.

Woudzicht

On the airport I was informed that Amsterdam was our next stop! I loved the mystery of it all – not knowing where we were going next. We stayed at the Ibis Hotel Amsterdam Central, which was conveniently located and offered good service. In this lovely city we had beer, walked through the red light district, stood in awe of the ‘Oudekerk’, shared fondue, visited a local market, went on a canal cruise and much more.

Amsterdam

Bruges was our next stop and one of my favourites from now on! Lace, chocolate, swans, cobble stone roads – it was the perfect romantic spot. We ate ‘Boem-Boems’ and delicious tomato soup, took a stroll to the lovers’ bridge, wished we could stay in one of the houses bordering the canal, visited the chocolate museum and saw the “Madonna and Child” by Michael Angelo. It might not be so big, but Bruges has a lot to offer!

Bruges

From there we went to Paris. Now, this place boomed with tourists and it was busy at all times, but still an unforgettable and beautiful experience! From the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Coeur and the Moulin Rouge to the Louvre and many other buildings and structures of which the hours and years of workmanship I just couldn’t grasp.

Paris

The end of our honeymoon was an absolute statement of love and happiness: Seychelles. Although it was quite expensive (almost R200 for a glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc) it was still an experience I would not trade for anything. We beach-hopped from the one white stretch of sand to the next. We lay low at the Kempinski Seychelles Resort, reading, snorkeling, sleeping. We hired a car and explored the island on our own. We dined like royalty. It was a feast and definitely a place to visit again.

Seychelles

6 Extraordinary Places Hiding In South Africa

Don’t you just LOVE South Africa?

Above And Beyond Travel

Are these places really in South Africa?

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Photo Blog: La Vie Lente Urban Farm

Feast your eyes on the perfect replica of a slower life! La Vie Lente Urban Farm is a daytime bistro and function venue in Pretoria East. We had so much fun reviewing this place and couldn’t help but share a few extra photos with you!

Also take a look at our review on them here: Life’s a blessing at La Vie Lente

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10 Steps to creating your own customer journey map

Just an idea of what our upcoming workshops in September, October and November will include…

Travelling Mystery

Do you sit with information about your guests, but you don’t know how to use it? Do you sometimes wonder which areas of service you should focus on? We’ve got the solution for you!

Customer Journey Mapping Customer Journey Mapping

A customer journey map is a tool which will assist you in identifying what your customers experience at your establishment, what their likes and dislikes are, and which areas of customer service you should focus on. It’s something that any company in the tourism and hospitality industry should spend time on, as that is the one thing that will help you to get to know your customers better. You will be able to identify the different touch points between the guest and your establishment and the guest’s experience at each touch point. The ideal get-to-know-your-guest tool.

Here are ten easy steps put together by Travelling Mystery Guest to…

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