Sample Case Study on Hotel Customer Service Policies

Hotel Customer Service Policies: Case Study Marriott Hotel

Introduction

This paper provides a summary of research into customer service in the global hotel chains in the United Kingdom. In particular, the paper presents and discusses why the customer service policies are being used in this industry. It seeks to find and provide reasons for various customer services policies used in the hotel industry. The paper evaluates the reasons why global hotel chains in the United Kingdom regularly evaluate their customer services. It also establishes how the evaluation of customer service assists in the future development and training of hotel staffs. Marriott Hotel was used as a case study for this significant research.

Marriott International is a global group of hotels that has a strong market presence in the United Kingdom. It is a flagship brand of all full-service chain of global resorts and hotels. The company is headquartered in Washington DC. In 2009, Marriott Hotel was voted as the best group of hotels to work for in the United Kingdom. It has many branches globally. In 2013, there were 505 hotels and resorts being operated under Marriott’s brand name globally.

As explained by Dawson (1996, p. 44), customer service is the activity of providing friendly, efficient, and quick service to the company’s clients. It can also be considered as a process of establishing a stable and strong relationship between the company and its customers. In essence, it entails handling the customer’s queries, complaints, and issues promptly. On the other hand, Dawson (1996, p. 48) defined customer service policy as a written document that outlines the procedures and protocol of dealing with customers in an organization. In particular, it focuses on dealing with customers who are not satisfied with the company’s services and products. Customer service policy contains elements of ethical and operational procedures used by the company.

AC1.1: Reasons for Using Customer Service Policy

Arguably, it is hard to deliver good customer service without using customer service policy. Therefore, all the reasons for using this policy are pegged on this argument. To deliver good customer service, the company must know its clients. This is exactly what the customer service policy achieves for the organizations. For example, the primary customers for a waiter are people who present themselves at the table in the hotel. Every employee in a hotel business must clearly know its customers. There are many reasons for using customer service policies in the hospitality industry. These reasons are discussed as follows:

It is important to use a customer policy because it helps the business finds out existing gaps in their service delivery. This helps the organization remodel its service delivery strategy to guarantee maximum customer satisfaction and high profitability. The customer service policy can also be used by the organization to draft strategies for overcoming existing gaps in its service delivery. For example, to achieve this goal, the Marriot International designed its customer service policy to include information that are related to service animals, intent, temporary service disruption, assistive devices, training, as well as support person among others.

One of the core reasons why companies in the hospitality industry use customer service policy is to give an overview of their organization. Crouch G et al. (2004, p. 34) pointed that in the hospitality industry, people wants to know at least some few useful information about the company before joining as clients. They can only do this if they have an overview of the company. By using good customer service policy, an organization effective expresses itself to the prospective clients. The policy explicitly gives the overview of the services offered by the company, the nature and courtesy of its staffs as well as their facilities.

By the use of a customer service policy, an organization can effectively reach out to its current and prospective clients. This is used by the organization to attain their customer loyalty needs. Through increased customer loyalty, an organization can substantially increase its sales and profitability and eventually quarantine long-term business growth and survival in the market. Besides, customer loyalty implies no loss of customers and business to market competitors. Most traditional companies that have thrived in the hotel market thrived on improving their customer loyalty.

One of the primary purposes of drafting customer service policy is to communicate effectively with clients. Effective communication is essential in any business. In the hotel industry, effective communication is highly needed. This is because the industry is all about serving the needs of customers. Lattin (2002, p. 20) asserted that companies in the hotel industry use customer service policy to communicate to the client the type of services that they should expect. People want to have particular details of the products and services that they will have, and, it is possible to achieve this through effective communication between the company and clients.

Companies in the hotel industry also use customer service policy to provide to clients with details regarding various roles of their staffs. This is essential because the industry is all about providing care and kindness to people. Hotels have several employees, which have diferent job roles at the organization. It is essential for clients to know the role of staffs they will be dealing with. Also to this, companies such as Marriott International are using customer service policy this way to give details of the level of courtesy of their staffs. This helps clients determine the degree of courtesy they expect at the organization.

Another significant reason for using customer service policy in the hotel industry is to attain business goals. Every organization in the hotel industry has a distinct business goal it thrives to attain. For example, Marriott’s goal is to extend its network of activities to attain global presence. In addition, the company wants to serve all types of clients in the hospitality industry. After realizing the power of customer service policy, the company has realigned its policies towards achieving these goals important to its business. Chattell (1995, p. 66) asserted that every organization in this industry has particular goals that active as the driving force behind its business activities.

AC1.2 part: Purposes of Evaluating Customer Service

When an organization uses an excellent customer care policy, it can maintain a strong positive relationship with its clients. This is an essential element of success of the organization especially in the hotel industry where a customer is treated as a king. On the contrary, the use of a poor customer service policy leads to loss of clients and reduced profitability. Therefore, the organization should evaluate its customer service policy regularly for its long-term benefit. Most organizations in hotel industry lose customers due to inadequate customer service policy.

(a) To assess service delivery performance

The first purpose of evaluating a customer service policy is to determine if the program is meeting the customer’s perspective of the business. In essence, policy evaluation is undertaken to determine the performance level of the company’s service delivery. The assessments elicit opinions from the clients about the performance of the company’s service delivery. Through this assessment, the company can establish whether it is meeting its strategic objectives, goals, and plans for the provision of services.

(b) To make constructive changes in design

As illustrated by Hayes and Dredge (1998, p. 75), the latest research shows that companies in hotel industry keeps on losing their customers due to a poor service policy. Besides, it indicates that it costs companies five times more to gain new customers than keep existing ones. Evaluation of a customer service policy helps identify changes that are necessary to improve service performance. It also helps keep track of changes and their effects on the service delivery. Evaluation provides an effective way of improving performance and achieving better results.

(c) To provide input for reporting

Another purpose for evaluation a customer service policy is to provide inputs for reporting. In particular, the evaluation provides inputs for reporting on the allocation of resources, company results, and level of customer satisfaction and so on. These findings are useful for presenting the company’s business units to the external audience.

(d) To improve business strategies

One for the primary purpose of evaluating a customer service policy is to improve the existing business strategy. A business strategy is an important tool in the hospitality industry. It clearly defines how the organization wants to undertake its service delivery. Evaluation of the customer service helps identify weaknesses in the business and propose new changes for improvement. Evaluation of customer service can also be used as a tool for developing new business strategies.

(e) To improve employee motivation

Employee motivation is an essential element of success in the hospitality industry. This is why leading global chains of hotels such as Marriott have put strategies for ensuring maximum motivation of their employees. Marriott firmly believes that motivation makes employees productive. This is beneficial for the growth and profitability of the organization. As explained by Cole (2003, p. 99), employee’s motivation is influenced by the level of customer satisfaction. When customers are satisfied, they do not complain thus creating comfortable working environment for employees. This eventually leads to increased employees motivation.

(f) To Increase the business efficiency

Most organizations in the hotel industry evaluate their customer service policy to increase their business efficiency. Efficiency help guarantees the business of the maximum use of resources such as time and finances at minimum costs. Efficiency is important in hotel industry due to the limited nature of resources. Excellent customer service delivery comes with increased production at limited cost, which is beneficial for the organization. An efficient business process can lead to increased sales and revenue collection, thus, high productivity and profitability (Powers & Borrows, 2005, p. 80).

(g) To increase the level of business growth

Because Marriott hotel has a vision of having a strong global presence, it is using good customer service policy to ensure that it increases it the level of business growth. The business automatically grows when employees are offering quality services to their clients. This is because quality customer service leads to increased sales and revenues. When customers are satisfied with the company’s services and products, they will automatically express it to their friend and relatives thus creating additional sales point. This eventually leads to increased business growth.

(h) To reducing the risk of business failures

Another significant purpose of evaluating customer service is to reduce the risks of business failures. In this industry, businesses are exposed to various categories of risks that can lead to failure and fallout in the market. Evaluation of service provides the business with different potential sources of risks and weaknesses that could contribute to its failures and underperformances. Evaluating the policy helps identify critical areas in service delivery that needs amendment.

Future Training and Development of Staffs

It is of no doubt that, evaluation of customer service eventually assists in the future training and development needs of staffs. This makes them efficient in customer service delivery. As the hotel industry grows and becomes more competitive, it certainly requires more trained and developed staffs. This will certainly play roles that are more critical to the hotel staff requirements in the near future. Customer service evaluation certainly provides avenue for future training and development of staffs.

The hospitality industry has so many challenges associated with the constantly changing nature of work and workplace environment. For instance, there are rapid changes for the required set of skills, knowledge, as well as experience. For an organization to position itself better for the future in this industry, it must train and develop its employees. Evaluation of customer service helps identify key areas where employees need to be trained for the benefit of good customer service delivery. The evaluation also helps identify developing trends in the industry and knowledge requirement, thereby helping the company develop training strategies for future employees (Goodman, 2000, p. 45).

Over the next few decades, there will be a massive transformation on how organizations in the hospitality industry train and develop their staffs. These expected transformations will be occasioned by the changing nature of roles and client’s needs in this industry. This means organizations will need to transform their employees training requirements. Evaluation of customer service will contribute to future development and training of staffs by creating interactive training materials. These interactive training and development materials that help increase the employees’ potential and productivity through skills and experience. Through evaluation, organizations will make training materials that are not only interactive but also dynamic. In the future, the organizations will effectively use training materials with embedded videos, audios, and links to make them more vibrant. This tendency will enhance the staff training and development process.

Lastly, evaluation of customer service makes the organization embrace a new era of training. In the future, the employee training and development needs will be defined differently as the nature of hospitality industry changes. Evaluation of customer service provides unique training ideas that the organization can use to distinguish itself from other market players. In the future, organizations will use evaluation to implement just in time training. This will ensure that employees are trained ‘just-in-time.’ Tis will enable employees to have the right skills at the right time thereby contributing to the business success. Organizations can use ideas generate through evaluation to redefine how they will train and develop their employees in the future (Walker, 2003, p. 44).

Conclusion

Customer service is core to Marriott’s hospitality business. Just like most other organizations in the hospitality industry, customer service policy is used to maintain stable relations with clients. Because hospitality business is all about giving people care and kindness, good customer care cannot be ignored. Organizations in the hospitality industry, such as Marriott are using customer service policy to describe their strategies and plans for caring and looking after their clients. Because of its great significance in this industry, the policy is designed to emphasize on the values of customers to the organization.

Marriott group of hotels is using customer care policy to describe the values that it has placed on its clients. They use this document to make customers ‘kings’ to their business activity. This research has revealed that customers are the kings in the hospitality industry. That is why every organization in this industry design customer service policies that would make customers kings. In the hospitality industry, one of the essential goals of using customer service policy is to increase the feeling of care and value amongst customers. Besides, it aims at increasing the level of customer satisfaction. This ultimately ensures increased customer base thus high growth and profitability.

Therefore, it is essential if staffs working in the hotel industry understand the customer service policy of their organization. This will help staffs understand the benefit of offering excellent customer service, which is essential in this industry. Marriott, as a leading chain of international hotels, regularly organize specialized training for all their staffs. These training are meant to equip employees with right skills for good customer service. Similarly, other organizations in this industry offer specialized training courses for their employees on a regular basis. In summary, excellent customer service is vital in the hospitality industry. This is why Marriott International takes its customer service policy serious

References

Chattell A., 1995. Managing for the Future. London: Saint Martin’s Press. ISBN 0312124317

Cole G., 2003. Management Theory and Practice. New York: Thomson Learning. ISBN 1844800881

Crouch G et al., 2004. Consumer Psychology of Tourism, Hospitality, and Leisure: Volume 3. London: CABI Publishing. ISBN 085199749X

Dawson S., 1996. Analyzing Organizations. Manchester: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0333660951

Goodman G. S., 2000. Monitoring, Measuring and Managing Customer Service. London: Jossey Bass Wiley. ISBN 0787951390

Hayes J. & Dredge F., 1998. Managing Customer Service. Chicago: Gower Publishing. ISBN 0566080052

Lattin G. W., 2002. The Lodging and Food Service Industry. Colchester: Amer Hotel and Motel Association. ISBN 0866122354

Powers T. & Borrows C. W., 2005. Introduction to Management in the Hospitality Industry. London: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471706388

Walker J. R., 2003. Introduction to Hospitality Management. Manchester: Prentice Hall. ISBN 131112937