Case Study

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On checking into a 5 star hotel in Bangalore recently, Anand was impressed by the courtesy extended to the visitor in the front office - polite, friendly and efficient. The checking in card was filled and ready, just waiting to be signed. He walked upto the room and his bag arrived at the same time. A few minutes later, the bearer came in with a welcome drink - which was "on the house". It was certainly an excellent start. Later when he settled down, he discovered that there was no table lamp in the room and this made it difficult to read. The press button for the shower did not work, so one had to bend down and keep it pressed right through a shower. The wash basin became easily clogged and was virtually unusable. A complaint was made to the housekeeping department and they said they would certainly attend to it. Nothing happened for a whole day. The next day, a complaint was given to the reception desk. They said they would surely look into it. In the evening it was discovered that only the basin had been attended to, but the floor was littered with some screws and nails lying in a pool of dirty water. Another complaint was lodged the following morning at the Reception desk, but again it remained unattended to by the evening. But the unkindest cut of all was inflicted the following morning when the girl at the reception desk (who was a new recruit, perhaps wrongly selected and obviously inadequately trained) crowed in her most pleasantly sarcastic manner: "Good Morning, Mr. Anand, any further complaints today? I am all ears!” At that moment, the hotel lost a customer. The back room services rendered by the hotel were poor and she compounded the problem with poor front office service. She had forgotten or perhaps never been taught that in the marketing of a service, the focus is not just on delivering goods, button satisfying the reasonable expectations of paying customer.

Q.1. What were the moments of truth (indicate various interactions). Ans: From the customer’s point of view, the most vivid impression of service occurs in the service encounter or “Moment Of Truth,” when the customer interacts with the service firm. This is the foundation to “Satisfaction of Service Quality” – it is where the promises are kept or broken. This concept was put forth by Richard Norman, taking the metaphor from Bull Fighting. Most services are results of social acts, which take place in direct contact between the customer and the service provider. At this stage the Customer realizes the perceived service quality. Every Moment of Truth is Important – according to Scandinavian Airlines, each one of their 10 million customers come in contact with 5 employees. Thus the airlines say there 50 million moments of truth – each one is managed well and “They prove they are the BEST”. However some encounters are more critical. The encounter cascade refers to a series of encounters right from the time a customer comes to take the service. The encounter cascade can be important as any encounter can be critical, as it determines customer satisfaction and loyalty. If it’s the first interaction of the customer then the initial interaction will be the first impression. So, these interactions have to be given importance, as they are critical and influences customer’s perception of the organization. The moments of truth in the above case are: 1. Reception conversation: When Mr.Anand enters the hotel, he finds hotel impressive and excellent. The physical evidence was impressive. The formalities were quick and he had to just sign and get the room keys. The luggage was transferred to his room by room service. 2. Welcome Drink: When Mr. Anand reached at his room, he was presented with a welcome drink and that was an excellent start. 3. Complaint at House Keeping Department: The next moment of truth was when Mr. Anand saw that there is no table lamp and the shower is not working properly and a wash basin was clogged and became unusable. His complaint was not well taken and nothing was done for the whole day.

4. Complaint at Reception: As Mr. Anand noticed that the complaint has been unattended and same problem exists, he thought to complain at reception so fast action would be taken and he got again assurance that work will be done soon but nothing was actually done. 5. Rude conversation of Receptionist: At last when Mr. Anand saw after complaining there is no proper action taken nor the work is done and cleaned properly. He thought than no us of complaining again. So he was just going out for a work and was one of them in the crowd at lawn. At that time receptionist called “Mr. Anand so now any complaints I m on ears”. At that time, hotel lost one customer.

Q.2 Highlight the critical and non-critical incidents? Ans: The non - critical incidents are as follows: 1. Impressive services at welcome: when Mr.Anand just entered the hotel, he was impressed by infrastructure and other facilities, so when he contacted receptionist for keys, all formalities was ready and just had to sign it. Then Mr. Anand got room keys and was provided a welcome drink.

2. Impressive infrastructure: As when Mr.Anand entered the hotel, he got impressed by the looks and infrastructure of the hotel, this created a positive impact in the minds of the customer. The critical incidents are as follows: 1. Unattended Complaints: After making complaints at housekeeping department and again a complaint at reception, but the complaint remain unattended in 1st time. The next complaint had just attended the wash basin and that too not cleaned and all screws were present in dirty water so these complaints were unattended which created a negative impact on the customer.

2. Receptionist rude conversation: When Mr.Anand was going out for some work, receptionist which was new in hotel called specially Mr.Anand from a crowd and said “I am on ears, any complaints”. At that time, the hotel lost one customer. The rude conversation had created a negative impact on the customer. 3. Necessary Facilities missing: the necessary facilities as per the standards of a 5 star hotel were missing. In fact being a 5 star they were not able to satisfy customer’s primary needs and were not able to attend the complaints well. The facilities like table lamp, shower button and wash basin are must in every 5 star hotel which were missing and in spite of complaining remained unattended. 4. False assurance of complaints: when Mr.Anand complained about the wash basin and shower button to housekeeping department where action should be taken fast but was left unattended and then Mr.Anand had to complaint again to reception for the same cause. 5. Poor front office service: As by viewing the quality of the staff compared to the standards of hotel are very poor, they are not able to satisfy the customer not they are able to convince the customer for their next visit which will surely lead to the loss of customers. 6. Unaware of marketing skills in the staff: As the front office and back office don’t know the marketing techniques to attract the customer. By the behaviour of staff it can be easily told that they don’t care for the customers and unaware with marketing skills of the hotel industry.

Q.3. Which were the supplementary/ peripheral services missing in hotel? Justify their importance? Ans: The supplementary services which are missing in the hotel are as follows: 1. Table Lamp: As the table lamp is not necessary in every hotel but as per the qualities of standard of 5 star hotels, surely there would be a premier class people so over there the table lamp is a necessity in the hotel.

2. Usable wash basin: Wash basin is the primary utility and so it should be cleaned but in the hotel, wash basin was clogged and when the complaint was attended, it was just tried and not the work was complete and all screws and nails were lying down in the dirty water. 3. Proper information: As when the complaint was made twice, the staff did not take any efforts to at least inform the problem and hence increased the time taken to attend his complaints.

4. Marketing skills of front office: By hearing the conversation between the front office employee and the customer, it seems that the receptionist was not trained to interact with the customers. Being in a hotel industry the main thing to attract the customer is by providing services and satisfying the customer. So the marketing skills in front office and back office are missing. 5. Completion of the work of complaints: As after complaining twice when they attended only wash basin and that too was not done. 6. Satisfaction to the customer: Satisfying the customer is a must. In hotel industry, where there is a lot of competition, satisfying customer, especially the corporate who frequently visit such 5 star hotels is an inevitable but was missing in this hotel.

7. Training to the staff: As being in a 5 star hotel, there should be proper training or the selection of the staff should be strictly done by viewing the quality and skills of people to tackle the customer. The hotel staff should be trained as per the department they handle. As there are 2 cases one of the receptionist rudeness and another of the wash basin complaint. Q.4. What steps could be taken to resolve the problem effectively? Ans:

When the company fails to stand for its promises made to the customer on the basis they build expectation, it’s to be said that there is service failure. When service fail lure occurs, there can be again severe ramification. Customer is considered to be the bread and butter; hence retaining them is the biggest challenge. Service failure acts as an obstacle to it. In such failures, 1) The customer wants what they were promised. 2) Customer wants personal attention to their problems 3) Customer wants a decent apology when things goof up 4) Customers want that they should not be made to feel that they are the cause of the problem. There are again five steps involved in order to deal with service failure. They are mentioned as below: 1st step: Acknowledgement and apology for the mistake. 2nd step: Listen to the customers. Give the customers the attention they need.

3rd step: Avoid defending the company and give them a rational explanation. 4th step: offer some extra benefits and services to the dissatisfied customer. 5th step: have a proper follow up and make sure no mistakes this time, so that he can easily forget about the service failure and is retained. According to the problem given here, the following steps could be taken: 1. Apology letter to Mr.Anand: So many service failures and after leaving such a negative image on the mind of Mr. Anand the least they can do is apologize personally to Mr.Anand for the inconvenience and give him some extra benefits so that next time he visits there again. 2. Solving the complaint quickly: As it should be seen that the complaint and the floor should be quickly cleaned and must see to it that all complaints are solved properly and personal attention should be given to it. 3. Compensation: As for creating a good image of hotel and also some discounts in the charges and some additional facilities like free dinner or lunch should be provided. They must see to it that they can also give discounts on his next visit and assure that the mistake would not be repeated.

Q.5. In which areas do you think the receptionist and the backend personnel should be trained? Ans: According to me, the following are the areas where the training to the receptionist should be given: 1. The receptionist should be trained with the marketing skills to convince customer in any problem. 2. The receptionist should be trained to respect the customers. 3. There should be proper qualification and experience before appointing receptionist which is not present. 4. Receptionist should be able to tackle the customer problem and must quickly solve the customer complain. 5. She must be trained for the proper follow up and confirmation of the solved problem. 6. She must have proper information about the process of work to be done regarding complaints.

7. She must have ability to confirm with customer regarding satisfaction of complaints. 8. She must see to it that the problem has been solved and cleaned properly. 9. There should be proper and specific training given to receptionist. At last she is in the front office and can create good impact on customer. 10. She must be able to give some fringe benefits to attract customer for the next visit. The backend personnel should be trained in following areas: 1. Training should be given as per the position held for a specific department. 2. Proper and cleaned work to be done. 3. Special care to be taken while giving the room keys that all things are in proper order and working properly. 4. Special attention should be given to emergency problem. 5. When some customer places a problem in a specific department than care should be taken that work is done within time. 6. Follow up for solved or unattended complaints. 7. Proper quality should be maintained as per the standards of hotel. 8. The customer should not be given false assurance about duration of the complaint. 9. Work should be reported to higher authority. 10. Marketing and technical training should be given after a specific duration of time.

The End

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