MKTG7504 Service Strategy

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Task Description:

This project report involves studying and critically analysing the service strategy of a service organisation.

Guidelines for selecting the service firm:

  • Must be well-established with over several years of existence
  • Must have a functioning website through which the firm make sales to customers
  • A smaller service firm will be better for this assessment as such firms generally have service strategy issues that may interest Larger service firms generally have established service processes with frequent service quality controls, and you may not find any issues to study and report!
  • The owner/managers must be willing to be interviewed by you. Normally smaller service firms would like external help to understand their issues and recommendations for service You may promise them to provide your completed/assessed report or recommendations.

If you have any doubt about the firm you have selected, please feel free to talk to the course coordinator.

OVERVIEW

  • This assessment will allow you to acquire a deeper understanding of one service firm and the industry in which it operates (hopefully one you are interested in and/or hope to work in) and provide a set of recommendations to improve overall service strategy of the firm.
  • It will allow you the opportunity to use the service strategy concepts and frameworks that were discussed in seminars to critically evaluate the service strategy of a real- world service organization.

REPORT FORMAT

The following eight sections (listed below) are to help you demonstrate your understanding of the concepts from class and ability to apply them to the chosen service firm.

You must include the following sections in the main body of your report. The points listed in the sections below offer a framework for the content of each of the sections (i.e., you do not need to answer each question sequentially - the questions are a guide for you to think about what should be included in the section).

(1)  Introduction

The intended purpose of the report.

  • Name of the firm:
  • Web address:
  • Name/s of the manager/employee/s interviewed:

(2)  Industry Analysis

  • Indicate the industry that the firm is operating in and provide a broader discussion on the industry covering current trends, extent of competition, use of technology.
  • Where would you locate this industry on the “tangibility” spectrum? Why?
  • What are the unique services marketing challenges this industry faces?

(3)  The Service Offering and The Customer Gap

  • Briefly introduce the firm (provide a very short background).
  • Describe and critically analyse the firm’s service you have chosen (use services marketing theory and concepts as well as secondary research sources).
  • Who is the intended target market (the customer) of the firm's service?
  • Include a brief discussion of "The Customer Gap" (this could be based on your personal experience).
  • How well does the company understand customer expectations of service quality?
  • How well does the company understand customer perceptions of service quality?

(4)  Service Provider Gap 1: Listening Gap

  • Market Research Orientation
  • The amount and type of market research (formal and informal) that has been undertaken and is it adequate to understand customer expectations of service?
  • Does the company use this information in decisions about service provision?
  • Upward Communication
  • Do managers and customers interact enough for management to know what customers expect?
  • Do contact people tell management what customers expect?
  • Relationship Focus
  • To what extent does the company understand the expectations of different customer segments?
  • To what extent does the company focus on relationships with customers rather than transactions?
  • Service Recovery
  • How effective are the service recovery efforts of the organisation?
  • How well does the organisation plan for service failures?

(5)  Service Provider Gap 2: Service Design and Standards Gap

  • Systematic Service Design
  • Discuss service development/design as it pertains to your firm's
  • How effective is the company’s service development process?
  • What new service innovations have been introduced in this firm/industry? (Use appropriate illustrations and/or examples.)
  • Discuss the success/failure of this/these innovation(s).
  • Presence of Customer-Defined Standards
  • Discuss customer defined service standards as they pertain to your firm's service
  • How effective are the company’s service standards?
  • Are they defined to correspond to customer expectations?
  • How effective is the process for setting and tracking service quality goals?
  • Appropriate Physical Evidence and the Servicescape
  • Are the company’s physical facilities, equipment, and other tangibles appropriate to the service-offering?
  • Are the company’s physical facilities, equipment, and other tangibles attractive and effective
  • What role does physical evidence and the service-scape play? (Using images may be helpful here.)
  • How might the service-scape be used as a source of competitive advantage?

(6)  Service Provider Gap 3: Service Performance Gap

  • Effective Human Resource Policies
  • How effectively does the company recruit, hire, train, compensate, and empower employees?
  • Is service quality delivery consistent across employees, teams, units, and branches?
  • What are the roles of employees in co-producing the service?
  • Effective Role Fulfilment by Customers
  • What are the roles of customers in co-producing the service?
  • Do customers understand their roles and responsibilities?
  • Effective Alignment with Service Intermediaries
  • If relevant, discuss service delivery channels including intermediaries and electronic
  • How well are service intermediaries aligned with the company?
  • Is service quality delivery consistent across the outlets?
  • Alignment of Demand and Capacity
  • Discuss how this firm may be managing demand and
  • How well is the company able to match supply with demand fluctuations?

(7)  Service Provider Gap 4: Communication Gap

  • Integrated Services Marketing Communications
  • Analyse and discuss service marketing communications as they pertain to the firm's
  • How well does the company communicate to customers about what will be provided to them?
  • Does the company avoid overpromising and overselling?
  • How well do different parts of the organisation communicate with each other, so that service quality equals what is promised?
  • Pricing
  • Analyse and discuss pricing of the firm's
  • Is the company careful not to price so high that customer expectations are raised?
  • Does the company price in line with customer perceptions of value?

(8)  Service Quality Outcomes: Customer Satisfaction & Customer Loyalty & Profits

  • Discuss customer satisfaction and service quality as it pertains to the firm's
  • Which types of customers are loyal to this firm? Why?

(9)  Services Marketing Recommendations

  • Based on your analysis, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this firm’s service and services marketing approach?
  • Based on your analysis, what opportunities and threats do you see for this service firm?
  • Based on your analysis, what recommendations would you provide to the firm for future success?

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