If we wish measure the dining table it is necessary to take a centimeter of seamstress or a meter of carpenter and carry out the measurement. If we wanted to measure the width of our bedroom we would act in the same way. But if we wanted to measure the intangible, how would we do it? so the question is coHow do we measure the service? How to know if our clients are satisfied with our service or attention? How to know how satisfied are the tourists who came to our country with the service received?
The orientation to the satisfaction of also information It causes tangible and quantifiable benefits in the company, and even the survival of the organization may depend on it, but how do you know what degree of acceptance the customer has?
In recent years the focus «customer satisfaction» It has become a recurring expression in texts that talk about the relationship of the company and the members of its markets. Currently it is stated that it is not enough to satisfy customers, but it is necessary delight themAnd including amaze them.
Achieving full customer satisfaction is one of the most important goals of any company. The benefits of achieving that goal are as follows:
- A satisfied customer buys again.
- A satisfied customer communicates all his positive experiences with a product or service.
- A satisfied customer leaves out the competition.
- A completely satisfied tourist is willing to return and, above all, to pay more.
For customers to form a positive opinion, the company must more than satisfy all your needs and expectations.
TYPES OF CUSTOMERS USING THE SERVICES
Knowing the type of clients will allow us to identify the best strategy to implement; otherwise an adjustment to it will be required.
Conservative Client: person who is afraid to make the decision to buy a new product or service because they are convinced that "Things past or past were better".
Opportunistic Client: A person who seeks to obtain greater functionality of the product and service, therefore, has a habit of pressuring the service provider to obtain better advantages.
Shy Client: person who does not have enough confidence and self-confidence to make a decision, since they fear that the details of the product may cause future consequences.
Pessimistic Client: person with a negative attitude, lacking confidence, security and courage. For him everything is chaos, he thinks more about failures than triumphs.
Skeptical Client: person who is incredulous but has a good attitude of listening to his interlocutor.
Disgruntled Customer: is the person who has an attitude of disgust or displeasure, due to inadequate service or a negative past experience.
Talking Client: He is a person who speaks all the time and that his words stimulate him to continue speaking.
Obsessive Client: is a person who is persevering in excess for trying to achieve his goals
Bitter Client: inflexible person, reacts negatively, is very sensitive. Generally on the defensive, his conduct is based on previous negative experiences.
Silent Client: He is a very reserved person, does not easily express his tastes and seeks to experience a climate of trust.
Sarcastic Client: she is a mocking, ironic person, who has a high esteem of herself; he believes himself superior, blameless, hardly accepts criticism and when he receives it, he is obfuscated.
Know-it-all Client: self-sufficient, knowledgeable and experienced person.
Occasional Customer: he is a person who buys eventually.
Constant Customer: person who buys regularly.
So our service has to meet certain conditions to achieve customer satisfaction. Our task is to manage to classify tourists, and accordingly design strategies for sustained growth in the sector.
WHAT IS A SERVICE?
Over time, a series of definitions of services have been developed without any obtaining full acceptance in the academic environment due to the complexity of the service sector:
Definition 1. Service (Del lat. Servit-um) Action and effect of serving || Human benefit that satisfies some social need and that does not consist in the production of material goods || Activity carried out by the Administrator or, under a certain control and regulation of this, by an organization, specialized or not, and destined to satisfy the needs of the community1.
Definition 2. Services: activities, benefits or satisfactions offered for sale or provided in connection with the sale of goods2.
Definition 3. Services are separately identifiable and intangible activities that provide the desired satisfaction when sold to industrial consumers and / or users and that are not necessarily linked to the sale of a product or other service3.
Definition 4. The key distinction between products and services lies in the fact that customers typically derive value from services, without obtaining permanent ownership of any tangible item4.
Regardless of the discrepancies of the different authors on the definition of services, some of the following positions are usually adopted on the concept of service as an object of exchange.
a) Goods and services under the same globalizing concept. Under this approach, it is considered that neither goods nor services are marketed, but rather products that encompass a series of tangible and intangible elements that make up a whole.
This position presents a product as a whole consisting of:
Generic product: Basic resources.
Expected product: minimum expectations required.
Increased product: additional benefits to increase the attractiveness of the product.
Potential output: everything potentially feasible to attract customers.
When do we say that a service is successful? When the user has a perception of the service received that is higher than the expectation he had prior to the time of purchase or consumption. When is a service bad? If the perception of the service received is less than the expectation that it had prior to consumption. When is a service indifferent to the customer? If he Insights of perception equals expectation for the customer.
b) Goods and services as opposite concepts. Under this approach, goods are defined as objects of tangible exchanges, and services as objects of intangible exchanges.
c) All are services. Under this position, it is considered that there is no difference between the marketing of goods and that of services because they are all services. This position is supported by the fact that companies do not sell products or services but satisfy needs.
d) Goods and services as a continuous concept. Under this approach, products are considered to have tangible and intangible components in different measures; consumer or industrial goods are accompanied by services to increase their value, in the same way as most services incorporate tangible elements that accompany their commercialization.
CLASSIFICATION OF SERVICES
Academic research has several proposals to classify services, which highlight the heterogeneity of activities that comprise services. Below are the classifications considered most representative:
a) Nature of the service. According to the nature of the service activity and the beneficiaries of the services, they can be classified into:
Processing of Persons. Refers to services through which people go through the process and take tangible action on them.
Mental Stimulation Processing. It refers to services through which people go through the process and intangible actions are exercised over them.
Processing of Things. Refers to services directed to physical possessions in which the object that requires processing must be present, but the client does not need to be present.
Information processing. Refers to services in which the direct participation of the client may not be necessary and intangible actions are exercised on intangible assets.
b) Nature of demand and supply. Another classification criterion refers to the characteristics of demand and the flexibility of supply to adapt to fluctuations in demand.
c) Relationship of the company with its customers. The relationship with clients can be occasional (a cinema) or continuous (banking services), while formal (insurance company) or informal relationships (a theater) can be established with clients. The existence of formal relationships as well as continuous services allows us to know who the clients are and has important implications for establishing Prices.
d) Degree of personalization of the service. There are services that tend to be developed to measure, such as health services or individualized education, and others that tend to standardization, such as restaurants of fast food.
e) Service provision method. There are services that are provided remotely such as financial services, while in others the client must go to the service company, as is the case of an airline. The service company can also travel to where the client is, as is the case of gardening services. The location of the service can be simple, in a single location, or multiple.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SERVICES
The services have a series of characteristics from which the uniqueness of service marketing is defined.
The main characteristic of the services is their intangibility. Services are actions, satisfactions, benefits and experiences mainly; the service cannot be seen or touched, smell or taste.
Intangibility generates the following consequences:
- Higher perceived risk in the pre-purchase phase, due to intangibility it is difficult for the buyer to get an idea of the service before purchasing it.
- It is more difficult to display a service and achieve its differentiation, because it is only possible to refer to tangible aspects such as comfort, pleasure, tranquility, etc., because the service itself does not have attributes that allow the user to identify and distinguish it by objective characteristics on which its differentiation is based (size, color, quality of materials, design, etc.).
- It is more difficult to justify the price of a service, because the services have fewer objective characteristics than the clients can value, which generates greater difficulty when justifying the price to be charged for them.
The services are a whole process, therefore no part of them is independent, they are consumed while they are carried out. The inseparability of services not only makes it difficult to control the level of quality, but also adds uncertainty and variability to the process, since it incorporates as part of a new participant: the client.
The main implications of inseparability are:
- High interaction with contact personnel, which requires high training of personnel in terms of their technical quality and functional quality
- Influence of the physical environment of the place where the service is provided. This includes aspects of decoration, light, cleanliness, the behavior of other clients.
Service standardization is impossible since each service unit is somewhat different from the other (airline, travel agency, club, restaurant, hotel, etc.). The industrialization of the service is proposed, that is, the replacement of labor-intensive technologies by technologies, trying to reduce the participation of the human factor.
The proposed technologies can be:
- Hard Technologies, that is, replacing the human factor with technology; for example, ATMs or answering machines
- Soft Technologies, that is, organized systems of division of labor as is the case of restaurants of fast food.
- Hybrid Technologies, resulting from the combination of equipment with standard work systems; for example, banks that use ATMs and personal services.
Expiration is a characteristic of both products and services, but in the case of services it is more immediate. If not used when available, the capacity of the service is lost.
This situation generates the need to find a balance between supply and demand, since it is not possible to take advantage of excess capacity at times of low demand to generate service inventories waiting for moments when there is excess demand.
CONCEPTUALIZATION OF THE TERM QUALITY
Many are the authors who have addressed the issue of quality and it has generally been defined as "How suitable is it for use"; some of these definitions are shown below:
- Quality is the result of comparing expectations and perceptions (Harrintgton, 1989, Zeithmal, 1991).
- Quality consists in satisfying customer demands (Espeso and Harvey, 1994).
- Quality is the set of characteristics that satisfy the consumer's needs (Juran and Gryna, 1993).
- Edward W. Deming states that quality is about exceeding the needs and expectations of customers throughout the life of the product.
In all the aforementioned definitions, the fact that quality is a function of customer perception is highlighted in one way or another. Experience shows that customers perceive quality much more broadly than simply perceiving quality in the product purchased, hence the need for companies to define quality in the same way that customers do. .
SERVICE QUALITY: FROM THE CONSUMER'S POINT OF VIEW
The rise of the service sector and increasing competition has made customer satisfaction the center of attention in the service marketing discipline. Given the characteristics of the services, their quality arises in the processes, simultaneous production, delivery and consumption of the service, in which the consumer also participates in the process.
The quality of the service has been traditionally conceived –from the point of view of the one offering the service– as the adaptation to the specifications established for the provision. However, currently the quality of the service is conceived from the customer's perspective. (See Graph 1)
It is stated that the perceived service depends directly on the so-called technical quality (what is given, relative to the result) and on the functionality (how it is given, kindness, courtesy) that have to do with the technical performance of the service provision and with the treatment provided to the user and in their interaction with service providers, respectively.
It is the level of a person's mood that results from comparing the perceived performance of a product or service with their expectations. And what is Customer Service? It is the execution of all possible means to give satisfaction for something that a person acquired. The service is a process that involves sequences, those that are previously developed internally and then transferred to the outside of the company. All production or service provision processes have customer satisfaction as their ultimate goal.
FEELINGS THAT INFLUENCE BEHAVIOR
- Expectations. (From lat. exspectâtum, looked at, seen) Hope to achieve or achieve something || Reasonable chance of something happening5. The person perceives something that is initially false or non-existent, and his own behavior helps that belief come true. Unless it is a new or unknown product for the consumer, it will be a reflection of other previous experiences in relation to similar products or services, as well as the good or bad references it has from other consumers.
- Perception. (From lat. Perceptiblis) That can be understood or perceived || What can be received or charged6. According to James Gibson, perception is the process by which the individual connotes the environment with meaning. It is a component of customer satisfaction regarding certain specific dimensions of the service such as tangibility, responsiveness, security, empathy, reliability.
- Values. (Del lat. Value, -ôris). Degree of usefulness or aptitude of things to satisfy needs or provide well-being or delight || Quality that some realities possess, considered assets, for which they are measurable. Values have polarity as they are positive or negative, and hierarchy as they are higher or lower7.
- Attitudes. (From lat. Actitûdo) Willingness manifested in some way8.
SCALES AND MEASURING TECHNIQUES
There are different ways to measure or quantify the answers to certain questions, mainly those related to feelings, attitudes, opinions and beliefs. This allows the information to be synthesized for efficient use and techniques for the wealth of information to be applied.
In the application of the scales it is necessary to evaluate three dimensions:
- Validity. Analyze whether the scale measures what the researcher intends to measure.
- Reliability. Analyze that what is being measured is done consistently.
- Capacity. Possibility that the scale can capture changes in the individual with respect to the measurement object.
The main scales are as follows:
a) Basic scales. They are the point of creation of the rest of the scales, from the nominal to the ratio, each of which offers greater precision in measurement (higher statistical measures) and in the subsequent use of the information
- Nominal. It is used only to identify different categories or response alternatives. The assignment of values to the different responses is arbitrary, they do not contain any meaning, they do not indicate order (Eg: Female, Male).
- Ordinal. It presents different response alternatives with different values that imply rank or order. The number associated with the intervals does not have any meaning, only a hierarchical connotation (eg primary, secondary, university, master's, doctorate).
- Interval. That presents different response alternatives with associated numbers. These numbers show an order and, furthermore, the difference between the scale values is constant and has meaning.
- Of Ratios. They have the characteristics of the previous scales and also allow obtaining ratios consistent with their values. The point of origin is well known and comparisons can be made with the different responses.
b) Comparative scales. Set of scales in which the evaluations are carried out from relative form, taking into account a reference element (set to compare). They are inconvenient when the individual does not have knowledge or experience.
- From Paired Comparisons. It is based on the presentation of the stimuli or elements to be compared in pairs, simplifying each of the choices as much as possible. Widely used to evaluate products already on the market.
- Classification. Also called a rank order ranking scale. It is based on asking the interviewee to order or classify a set of stimuli based on an attribute.
- Constant Sum. It is used to measure the relative importance that the interviewee assigns to the stimuli, since he is asked to distribute a fixed number of points (generally 100) among them (the reference point is zero).
- Of Classes or Similarities. Used to classify a high number of stimuli into a number of small subsets or groups, based on their similarity. It is usually used as a previous step to an ordinal classification.
- Verbal Protocols. It is a type of scale in which the opinion of the interviewee is asked, their position, in front of the stimulus, showing the possible responses in the form of verbal statements.
- From Guttman. It is used as a scalogram and is less reliable than the Likert scale.
c) Non-comparative scales. They are not based on the comparison between stimuli or variables, they are usually used to measure personal evaluations.
- Continuous Classification. Designed to measure the opinion of the interviewees, presenting a large number of response alternatives through a continuum. Numerical classifications can also be used. Likert scale. Usually used to measure attitudes. It consists of creating a set of statements for the interviewee to show their level of agreement or disagreement.
- Of Semantic Differential. Evaluate a stimulus based on various attributes, adjectives or bipolar sentences, separated by seven response categories. Both the total scores and the profiles obtained are analyzed. It can be used to analyze and compare various stimuli simultaneously.
- Thurstone scale. It is more laborious than the Likert scale, it includes equal appearance intervals.
- Stapel scale
d) Standardized scales. Developed for specific studies (own names). It has its origin in long and complex scientific investigations.
- Cetscale (Consumer Ethnocentrism). Scale developed to measure the level of ethnocentrism of the interviewees, consisting of 17 propositions with which the interviewee must express their degree of agreement or disagreement at one of the seven possible levels.
- Hunting (List of Values). Scale used for the identification of lifestyles, which aims to measure different values of the interviewees.
- Markor. Scale used to measure market orientation.
- Vals (Values and Life Styles). Scale used for the identification of lifestyles based, like the previous one, on a set of values and attitudes.
- Servperf It is a scale focused on measuring the perceived quality of services, through customer satisfaction.
- Servqual. Scale developed with the intention of measuring the quality of services, both expected and perceived. It is made up of 22 statements that are grouped into five dimensions, each of which is identified with different aspects related to the provision of services.
MEASURING THE QUALITY OF SERVICE
Our senses provide us with raw data from the outside world. These initial data are completely meaningless, so an interpretation process is required to find the relationship with us.
In service marketing research, different models have been recognized as instruments to measure service quality. The most studied are those of Servqual and that of Servperf. The first uses a scale based on perceptions and expectations, while the second uses only perceptions.
The Servqual model was created by Professors S. Parasuraman, Valerie Zeithaml and Berry, between 1985 and 1988. It defines service quality as the difference between real perceptions by clients. It is a multi-scale instrument that presents a high level of reliability and validity, which companies can use to better understand the expectations and perception that customers have regarding a service. The model includes two dimensions of expectations: desired expectations (what I would like to receive in ideal terms) and adequate expectations (the acceptable level of service expected).
Servqual has four parts:
- First. Refers to the measurement of expectations through the rating given by customers in terms of excellent companies (Measure of Service Superiority) or of the right expectations (Measure of Service Adequacy).
- Monday. Rate the perception of service quality of the analyzed company. For each one of these first two parts presents 22 items evaluated on a seven-point Likert scale.
- Third: You have eight questions and refer to the relative importance of the five criteria.
- Fourth part. Refers to the demographic partner data of the respondent.
The 22 questions referring to perceptions and expectations correspond to the five dimensions of Quality:
- Tangible elements. Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials (statements 1 to 4).
- Reliability. Ability to execute the promised service reliably and carefully (statements 5 to 9).
- Responsiveness. Willingness and willingness of employees to help the customer and provide the service (statements 10 to 13).
- Security. Knowledge and attention shown by employees (statements 14 to 17).
- Empathy. Skills to inspire credibility and confidence (statements 18 to 22).
To evaluate the quality of a service, it is necessary to calculate the difference between the expectations and perceptions scores. The score on each of the five quality criteria can also be estimated by obtaining an average of the individual scores, which are obtained in turn by rating their statements for each of the quality dimensions. Finally, unweighted measurements can be established, that is, they do not take into account the relative importance of the different criteria.
The proposed model has multiple applications. For example, it is possible to compare the variation in expectations and perceptions over time. Other of its applications are those of:
- Compare the results of one company with the results of other competing companies.
- Examine the customer segments that have different perceptions of quality analyzed according to their sociodemographic, psychological characteristics, the relative importance of the criteria in determining their perceptions of quality or the reasons for these perceptions.
- The instrument can also be applied to measure internal clients' perceptions of quality.
- The compilation and Insights of the information is done using the SPSS statistical processor
There are other models applicable to the Tourism Sector apart from Servqual and Servperf, these are:
- Hotelqual. This model takes the Servqual instrument as a reference. It is an adaptation to the hospitality sector of this tool.
- ogqual. It states that the best way to measure quality in the hotel sector is through the study of customer perceptions that make contact with hotel entities.
- Resortqual. Efficient in evaluation at a strategic level. With characterization of the destination and specifically the tourist pole in terms of the elements that compose it: tour operators and chains that operate.