MA Case Report: A Bite in the Night
Service operations in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industry are a sensitive area that requires professionalism and meticulous efforts in execution of duties and responsibilities. In Allman and Schrier’s (2016) Bite in the Night case study, a scenario of service failure leads to notable recovery efforts at Mountain Peak Inn. The present report presents an analysis of the staff’s service recovery efforts, looks at what was done correct and what needs improvement, offers a predictive assessment of the customer’s next steps, suggestions to reduce customer dissatisfaction, and recommendations on future service recovery effort improvements. Ultimately, service failure may lead to loss of business and a poor reputation, especially in the current age of electronic word of mouth through social media and digital platforms.
Analysis of Mountain Peak Inn Employees’ Service Recovery Efforts
In the course of providing services, dissatisfaction is likely to occur due to intentional or unintentional actions. Service recovery efforts, defined by Ruiz-Molina Fayos-Gardo, and Moliiner-Velazquez (2020) as a correctional process to try appease dissatisfied customers, attempt to identify and fix the issue or make amends to the best of management’s abilities and for the benefit of the customer. The hotel staff, led by Craig and Hannah, attempted a service recovery plan relating to the bedbug issue encountered by Charlie during his overnight stay. Upon reporting the issue, Hannah’s response was interpreted by the customer as passive and lacking compassion. Her decision to contact the manager, keep Charlie waiting (albeit for five minutes), and to continue serving other guests further escalated the issue. Hannah’s actions further aggravated the situation leading to more dissatisfaction from Charlie’s point of view. Craig’s quick thinking and the decision to remove all charges from Charlie’s hotel folio and to pay for dry cleaning services eased the situation, but the customer was not satisfied. The service recovery efforts were not as effective from the customer’s standpoint.
Craig’s decision and show of compassion were done correctly because they assured Charlie that the issue was being taken seriously. Additionally, Hannah’s decision to involve top management was also done correctly because it served to show the customer that the issue needed more attention. However, the above actions were the only actions that were done correctly. According to Xu, Liu, & Gursoy (2019), effective service recovery actions are aimed at turning furious, disgruntled, and frustrated customers into loyal and happy ones, assuring them of the issue as an isolated case and a regrettable mistake, and taking actions that are reflective of their valued contribution to the organization. Hanna’s passive attitude was not proper in the situation because it increased the customer’s dissatisfaction. By attending to other customers while Charlie waited, Hannah showed no compassion and somewhat diminished the concerns of the customer. She failed to anticipate Charlie’s needs, acknowledge the current feelings, apologize and own up to the issue, offer a conversation to reassure the customer, and attempt to explain that the manager was going to look into the issue and make amends. In addition, Craig’s efforts need improvement because the Charlie was left dissatisfied with the actions taken. A better approach would have been to offer Charlie the three options that Craig was considering; assistance with his medical treatment, removing the room charges and providing a gift voucher for a future fully paid stay and a fully paid meal, and removing the fines and a catering for dry cleaning services. By allowing Charlie to choose the best option for himself, he would have felt more involved in the process and taken what was best for him. Therefore, these areas need improvement.
Predictive Assessment of the Customer’s Next Steps
Dissatisfied customers feel that the services received were not up to expected standards. For recovery efforts, continued dissatisfaction indicates poor quality and may lead to strong customer responses in retaliation (Mody, Lu, & Hanks, 2020). Assuming the customer remains dissatisfied with Mountain Peak Inn’s service recovery effort, there are a number of steps. The most likely step is that Charlie would take the deal and quietly decide never to use Mountain Peak Inn again. The decision would mean that he takes no further action. Often, this step is indicative of minimal dissatisfaction without a desire to follow up. The only consequence would be a decision to discontinue using the services provided. However, Charlie may decide to not only never use Mountain Peak services again, but also give a poor review followed by a strong narration of what happened online. This decision would involve engagement with negative word of mount communication to other customers. The customer may decide to use popular digital platforms such as TripAdvisr, Facebook, and Google’s Explore. It is also likely that Charlie would use all of the three digital platforms and also leave a negative review on Mountain Peak’s website for other customers to see. In an industry that relies on recommendations to gain more customers, negative reviews on digital platforms would negatively impact Mountain Peak’s ability to attract first-time patrons. Charlie may also choose to complain to the consumer court and report the issue as a health hazard to the relevant authorities and bodies setup for such issues. A decision to involve other regulatory bodies would often lead to legal proceedings, including suing the organization in regard to the issue. Lastly, Charlie may decide to use all of the above strategies to include a decision to avoid the establishment in the future, negative communication on social media and other digital platforms, and reporting the matter to the authorities for relevant actions. Charlie has a lot of options available to air his dissatisfaction and may decide to use either of the above to make sure that Mountain Peak Inn understand the extent of his dissatisfaction.
Reducing the Likelihood of Elevating Dissatisfaction
From the foregoing section, it is very likely that Charlie’s next steps will include elevating his dissatisfaction and taking actions that may hurt the organization. To reduce this likelihood, Craig must track the complaint by following up on the customer. By making a follow up call to Charlie, Craig would convey a message of genuine concern. The phone call should indicate the steps taken after Charlie’s departure, including a truthful confession of the reasons leading up to the event, a breakdown of the measures taken to eliminate the problem, and a suggestion for the customer to go through a list of possible compensatory alternatives. Kim and Oh (2012) assert that customers want to see an assurance of real effort to meet their demands, and in case of a complaint, they need to see real efforts to bring about satisfaction. Therefore, Craig task is to ensure that Charlie not only receives what was promised, but also gets an explanation on how the issue was resolved to avoid future issues. Craig can invite Charlie for a free stay as a way to assure him of the confidence that the management of Mountain Peak Inn has on the mitigation of the issue. Additionally, a package that includes a free medical checkup, a free meal, and a combination of these would develop a relationship with the customer. It would also help if Craig is involved in the entre process to show the seriousness and value of customer satisfaction to the establishment.
Mountain Peak Inn has the opportunity to resolve the matter before it escalates and stand a chance to establish a relationship with Charlie. Customers who have had satisfactory resolution to an issue are likely to be loyal to a business in comparison to those that have had no problems (Morgeson, Hult, Mithas, Keiningham, & Fornell, 2020). Charlie’s problem, once effectively resolved, would not only eliminate the chance for escalation but also bring deep satisfaction to the customer. With this perspective in mind, Mountain Peak Inn should follow up on the problem, by engaging the customer and providing the recommendations made earlier to ensure that they are fully satisfied. I tis important that the packages chosen do not appear as a bribe for Charlie to quiet down. Instead, they should complement a genuine effort to resolve the matter, not just for Charlie but also for other customers using Mountain Peak Inn’s services. In the follow up communication, Craig must ensure that this position is properly conveyed, allowing Charlie to see that the hotel was unaware of the problem and that it has done everything possible to ensure that it does not reoccur. The emphasis must be on creating a relationship with Charlie to guarantee that he becomes a repeat customer, and that he gives positive feedback to other customers. Therefore, Craig has a series of decisions to make in an effort to create a relationship with Charlie, including providing an explanation on what occurred, a description of the measures taken to resolve it, a follow up on Charlie’s satisfaction, and the package deals to complement the efforts.
Recommendations on Future Service Recovery Effort Improvements
No matter the processes and efforts put in place by an organization to provide service recovery, the actions are implemented by employees, whether in the management or subordinate levels. Service recovery efforts are executed by employees and, therefore, there is a need to ensure that improvement efforts begin in the hiring process (Boukis, Gounaris, & Lings, 2017). Mountain Peak’s hiring process requires an overhaul to ensure that their staff are well-informed and trained on how to handle customer complaints and effectively perform service recovery with effectiveness. The advantage of equipping the employees to handle service recovery is that they would understand the benefits of recovered clients, improved service recovery efforts, and other internal gains. Improvement of the hiring process goes hand in hand with internal marketing, a process that promotes the objectives of a project to the employees. Internal marketing for Mountain Peak Inn should involve promoting the service recovery objectives to all employees, with a goal to ensure that future service recovery efforts are improved to effective levels. Scholars recommend best practices for hospitality payers to improve internal marketing such as performing training and education for employees in regard to handling of situations, simulating incidences, and crafting strategies related future service recovery efforts (Morgeson et al., 2020; Boukis et al., 2017). Emphasizing on the values and goals of service recovery efforts, boosting employee input on customer satisfaction, and allowing innovative strategies would help the future of service recovery efforts for Mountain Peak Inn.
In summary, service failure leads to loss of business and a poor business reputation for businesses in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industry. The customer has a number of tools at their disposal to bring about negative consequences. For example, electronic word of mouth through social media and digital platforms, can be used to spread the word on poor customer services. Mountain Peak Inn has a responsibility to make selective hiring, train all employees, and utilize internal marketing to ensure that service recovery efforts are improved to create loyalty and satisfaction.
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