This is one of a package of 15 different assignments that comprise the Elements of Service, which you will study this term. For this assignment, you will observe elements of service in almost any particular service establishment. A few examples of service establishments would include, but not be limited to these: Hotel, resort, private club, restaurant, airline, cruise line, grocery store, doctor’s office, coffee house, and scores of others. Your answers to this assignment will all focus on the particular service element that appears in the above template title (Body Language), which also corresponds to those listed in your textbook and Power Point slides.
Here is a list of the 15 Service Elements that I am asking for you to observe and, by answering a set of questions provided in each assignment, critically analyze. While the question templates all ask for you to answer the same questions, each assignment’s set of questions focuses on a different Service Element (15 in all):
02 Incremental Flow
05 Customer Feedback
07 Supervision and Organization
08 Body Language
09 Attitude: Tone of Voice
12 Naming Names
14 Selling Skills
15 Gracious Problem Solving
Here are a few tips for successfully completing the assignment:
Your 11 Questions Begin Here (remember to answer these 11 questions focusing on the particular service element that appears in the template title):
I. Category. If you were looking up this service establishment on Google, what words would you use in your search? (Examples: Restaurant, Grocery Store, Private Club, Hotel, Dry Cleaners, Doctor’s Office, etc.)
Category. Begin Your Answer Here:
II. Name of service establishment.
Examples: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop, Hilton Waterfront, Sawgrass Country Club, CVS Pharmacy, Trader Joes, The Fairmont Hotel, Watson Real Estate, Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Target, Starbuck’s, Delta Airlines Reservations, Dr. Larry Porter’s Dental Office, etc. As is evident from the examples, almost any type of service establishment can be observed using this system.
Name. Begin Your Answer Here:
Examples: Rancho Cucamonga, Chicago, Claremont, West L.A., Malibu, Charlotte, etc. I don’t need the street address or phone.
Location. Begin Your Answer Here:
IV. Describe the situation in which you observed this element of service. Examples: While I was at the front desk checking in, while I was waiting to see the doctor, while I was waiting for the check to be closed at the restaurant, when I couldn’t find the aisle for coffee, etc. Notice that some examples take less description than others. Provide enough description so that a reader will be able to envision what it was that you were doing (the contextual situation) when you made the observation.
Situation. Begin Your Answer Here (Three or four sentences):
V. Definition. Assume that no definition exists for this service element. Based on the category, name, location, situation, your expectations, and other experiences, how would you define this element of service in your own words (do not use wording from any of the examples or slides)? If a definition of this element does exist at this location (and this will not be the case often), then write how the establishment could effectively define this element.
Example definition: The time that it takes the product or service to get to each customer.
Definition. Begin Your Answer Here (Two or three sentences):
VI. Benchmark (what?). Benchmarks are also sometimes referred to as service standards – our aim and ideal way of performing this service. Referring back to your definition (so stay within this context), past experience, and reasonable expectations what is it that this establishment should ideally do to perform this element correctly? Think for a moment. If you were in charge of the employee training at this organization, what is it that your employees should, ideally, always do in performing this service standard element of service correctly? The best benchmarks provide objective measures (counts and times), to help ensure that all staff members better understand the level of service desired by the establishment. A count might be how many times something will occur. A time might be how long a particular service element may take or at what point in service contact an item should occur.
Example benchmark: The seater greets and makes first contact with arriving guests within 30 seconds. (Notice that the Benchmark relates back to the Definition.)
Benchmark. Begin Your Answer Here (Two or three sentences):
VII. Actual (how?). Overall, and not using any specific example, during your time there, how was this particular service element actually performed (in summary form)? What did you observe? Provide an answer that describes both how the service element was performed (overall) and whether or not it met your expectations (based on your definition and benchmark above). Be sure to tie it contextually to your definition and benchmark.
Example actual: Usually customers were greeted within the 30-second benchmark. When Frosty’s Ale House was particularly busy, customers had to wait for a greeting for as long as 2-3 minutes. This occurred primarily because the seater also has responsibility for bussing and table set up. (Notice that the Actual relates back to the Benchmark.)
Actual. Begin Your Answer Here (Three or four sentences):
VIII. Strength(s). Despite whether you were left (overall) with a positive or negative impression of this service establishment, think about one or two particular incidents during your time there that were enjoyable relative to the benchmark of this service element and describe it (them) in detail. Be sure to include details such as date, time, service person’s name, and details. In formulating your answer, imagine yourself as a secret shopper. The idea is for you to capture enough detail, so that if you were reporting details to a manager, he or she could go back to that person and thank them for their effort.
Example strength: On July 23, at approximately 8:30 PM, I arrived at the establishment. Macy, the seater, not only greeted me immediately upon arrival, she also opened the door and warmly welcomed me into the restaurant with a smile.
Strength. Begin Your Answer Here (Three or four sentences):
IX. Weakness(es). Despite whether you were left (overall) with a positive or negative impression of this service establishment, think about one or two particular incidents during your time there that were underperformed relative to the benchmark of this service element and describe them in detail. Be sure to include details such as date, time, service person’s name, and details. In formulating your answer, imagine yourself as a secret shopper. The idea is for you to capture enough detail, so that if you were reporting details to a manager, he or she could go back to that person and counsel him or her on what was observed compared to what was expected. When counseled properly, these service failures can become learning opportunities for improvement in service and growth opportunities for the service providers. Even if you are observing at a Four Seasons Resort, there is always room for incremental improvement in service. If you write that there were no weaknesses, then that means that you weren’t observing closely enough and you will lose points.
Example weakness: On February 22, at approximately 11:45 AM, I arrived and there was no one at the host/check-in station. I waited for 3 minutes and 45 seconds before Willard came back to get menus and seat me. There was no welcome – just a “sorry for the delay, we have to bus and re-set tables now, as well as seat. I don’t know how they expect us to do all of this.”
Weakness. Begin Your Answer Here (Three or four sentences):
X. Armchair. Now that you have experienced the actual encounter (refer back to your summary in VII), revisit your benchmark. If you were in charge of the employee training at this organization, what details would add to your benchmark to help make service even better and more consistent? Think for a moment. Even if service in this element met your benchmark and expectations, what details would you modify in terms of expected times and or counts that would help ensure an even higher level of service? Refine and improve the details of your benchmark in this question. This is good practice for you for the future. Discuss.
Armchair. Begin Your Answer Here (One or two paragraphs):
XI. Effect. As a result of your experience with this element, are you pleased, okay, unhappy, or somewhere in between? What is the likely effect this element of service will have on you returning to this establishment and or what you will tell others about your experience? Discuss.
Effect. Begin Your Answer Here (One or two paragraphs):
Now, look back over your answers and ensure that you have provided thoughtful, insightful, and detailed observations. Run spell and grammar check, do an additional save, make sure that you are happy with the document and ready to upload the entire completed assignment template (including the front-end instructions and tips), and then upload. Now you can relax a bit. Learning how to do this type of observation and detailed analysis will help make you a more perceptive, effective, and successful leader.
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