Customer Service Care: Tool For Effective Human Relations Management In The Service Industry (A Case Study Of Selected Hospitality Establishment In Akwa-Ibom State)

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Customer Service Care: Tool For Effective Human Relations Management In The Service Industry (A Case Study Of Selected Hospitality Establishment In Akwa-Ibom State)


Abstract


The current study sought to investigate the customer service care as a tool for effective human relations management in the service industry using a case study of selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state. This study adopted a survey research design. The target population for this study is the staff and customers of Rosmohr Hotel and Suites, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. Non-probability sampling was used and 200 respondents were selected for the study. From the findings, customer service care improves knowledge about the hotel’s services (73%), the level of individual attention and keeping the provision of customers’ interest at heart improves satisfaction (81%), communication style influence on customers’ patronage of hotel’s services (80.5%), staff friendliness influence on patronage intentions (83.5%), professionalism influence on customer retention (81.0%), and staff responsiveness influence on hotel patronage (90.5%).The result shows the barriers to include poor recruitment and selection practice (83.0%), resource constraint (87.0%), lack of training (80.5%), and lack of technical and administrative support (89.5%).From the findings, it could be noted that key features that customers need as self-reported by sampled customers were staff showing empathy towards customers, being responsive to customers need and acting professionally as they serve these varied clients who are mostly people with professional skills in industries. On the contrary, customer service quality features such as customer reward and employee having full knowledge about the products and services the organization has to offer at any time was perceived to be minimal critical factors. In conclusion, this study re-emphasizes the increasing need for training of employees on the various dimensions of customer service care for the effectiveness of the hotel in achieving the hotel’s mission of providing customers with exceptional service in the hotel’s stately elegance facilities. It was recommended that other hoteliers should consider assessing their customer service care so that they can examine their service performance as shared by customers, employees and management.

 


Table of Content


Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Customer Service Features
  • 2.2.1 Friendliness
  • 2.2.2 Responsiveness
  • 2.2.3 Professionalism
  • 2.2.4 Product Knowledge
  • 2.2.5 Empathy
  • 2.2.6 Rewarding Customers
  • 2.2.7 Communication Skills
  • 2.3 Customer Satisfaction
  • 2.4 Customer Retention
  • 2.5 Influence of Customer Service on Human Relations Management
  • 2.6 Theoretical Framework

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population
  • 3.3 Sample and Sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Instrument for Data Collection
  • 3.5 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.6 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Result
  • 4.2 Discussion of Findings

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Globalization has impacted all forms of human endeavour including businesses in the hospitality industry. The many interventions by the governments of Ghana to boost tourism cannot be over emphasized. Hotels are critical component of the hospitality industry. However, the main difficulty facing most businesses is the ability to provide excellent customer service to satisfy customers, retain them and remain both competitive and profitable. Most hotels find themselves uncertain about the influence customer service features has on their customer retention (Lu, Berchoux, Marek, & Chen, 2015). People travel from their places of habitation to other locations for various reasons which may require them to lodge in a hotel. Some of the reasons people travel include; to attend seminars, conferences, and summits to meet existing business partners or explore new business opportunities, to inspect, handover, commission projects, take up appointment in places other than where one lives or in foreign lands and for vacations or holidays (Aziz &Ariffin, 2009). Customer service is an organisations ability to supply their customers’ wants and needs. It is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase which enhance a customer’s experience to recommend to others (Goodman, 2019). Ettore (2001) is of the opinion that focusing on a customer’s information can and ought to be obtained to better understand their view of the service provided by a firm.

Customer service can be expressed in personal and interpersonal skills such as communicational skills, professionalism, friendliness, responsiveness, product knowledge and assurance, empathy and rewarding customers. These constitutes the features of customer service. According to Jeng and Bailey (2012) customer retention refers to customer engaging in a contract, either formal or informal, over a period of time, which includes repeated transactions. In loyalty literature, retention means the number of customers who stay with the provider in the course of an established period, for example a year (Dawes, 2009; Kaura, Durga Prasad, & Sharma, 2015). Customer retention is ‘customers’ intention to stay loyal with the service provider especially in the context of switching cost (Edward &Sahadev, 2011). The difference between companies that grow and those that don’t is customer retention. The more customers that can be kept and continual sales made to, the more likely business goals is to be achieved (Kulbyte, 2019).

According to KPMG (2017), customer retention is the biggest revenue driver. Existing customers who stay with an organization’s brand over time spend 67% more than new customers (Trust Barometer report, 2018). Studies have indicated that an increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by a large margin (Alshurideh, 2016; Kumar &Reinartz, 2016). Rosmohr Hotel and Suites has customer service as one of its pillars on which the hotel operates and this research seeks to find out whether the service features being provided has an influence on its customer’s retention.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The core issue to be addressed with the study is to bridge the gap of customer service care as a tool for effective human relations management in the service industry using a case study of selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state. Customer service care has been gaining increasing attention from the researchers and practitioners as a recognized field of scholarly study and is a fundamental tool used by service industries for enhancing human relations management, customer satisfaction and retention and ultimately organizational performance and profitability. The importance of customer service care cannot be overlooked because happy customers are like free advertising for an organization as they are more like to recommend the organization’s service to others in their social network (Kierczak, 2019). A lot of studies have been done on the influence of customer satisfaction on customer retention, but little has been done on the influence customer service features has on customer retention. Recommendations from expert, scholars and consultants on current trend for businesses is to become highly customer-centric, that is to put the customer at the centre of business in terms of strategies, actions and processes. Despite this fact, most companies have ignored the influence these customer service care have on human relations management, believing that customers will patronize their services regardless of the services provided. Such organizations are always shocked when customer base erodes and their existence is threatened resulting from poor sales and cash flow for such firms that downplayed the significant influence of customer service quality (Allan, 2016). It is common to think that if you have a great product or service, then customer retention will naturally follow. And while this might be the case in some instances, the truth is that it’s a short-term strategy. Sooner or later, customers’ feel that you don’t care about them and eventually leave (Kulbyte, 2019).


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to investigate the customer service care as a tool for effective human relations management in the service industry using a case study of selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state. Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. To evaluate how customer service care influence human relations management at a selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state.
  2. To identify if there are some barriers to the customer service care provided at a selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state
  3. To examine other customer service care that customers’ need to enhance retention of customers at a selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. How does customer service care influence human relations management at a selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibomstate?
  2. What are some barriers to the customer service care provided at a selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibomstate?
  3. What are other customer service care that customers’ need to enhance retention of customers at a selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • HO1 There is no significant influence of customer service care on human relations management at a selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state
  • HA1 There is a significant influence of customer service care on human relations management at a selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state

1.6 Significance of the Study

Human relations management is one of the ways to increase customer loyalty, retention, revenue and organizational profitability, hence the need to find out if the customer service care being employed by the selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state has an influence on human relations management. This work will therefore provide information regarding customer service care and its influence on human relations management.

This work will be available to management of the selected hospitality establishment to enable them to know the perception of their customers on the customer service care being provided by the hotel and help improve satisfaction.

The importance of the findings of the study is to bring to the fore the relationship between customer service care and human relations management that the hotel provides. This study, apart from contributing to knowledge on the concept of customer service care, will also provide information for the stakeholders in the service industry on the influences the services rendered to their customers have in keeping them in or out of business. It will also guide the management of the hotel to identify training needed by the staff of the hotel. Policy makers and stakeholders may be guided by the outcomes of this study in formulating and making certain decisions that will enable them to keep their existing customers.


1.7 Scope of Study

The study is limited to Rosmohr Hotel and Suites in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. The context scope of this study is limited to investigating customer service care as a tool for effective human relations management in the service industry using a case study of selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

The limitation of the study is that it only catered for osmohr Hotel and Suites in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. It would be difficult to generalize the findings of this study or to capture the variables of the study among other organizations in the service and hospitality industry. Also, time constraint during the time for this project work is short. Financial resources is a limitation encountered in the course of this research work.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Customer:

Is the recipient of a good, service, product or an idea – obtained from a seller, vendor, or supplier via a financial transaction or exchange for money or some other valuable consideration.

Customer Service Care:

Is the process of building an emotional connection with your customers, whereas customer service is simply the advice or assistance your business provides them. Customer care is less quantifiable than customer service and is more concerned with one-to-one customer interactions.

Human Relations Management:

Is a premise of organizational psychology from the early twentieth century, which suggests that employee productivity and motivation can be increased through positive social bonds in the workplace and acknowledgement of the worker as a unique individual. It holds that improved working conditions (empowerment, participation, positive treatment) lead to increased productivity.

Service Industry:

A business that does work for a customer, and occasionally provides goods, but is not involved in manufacturing.

Hospitality:

Is the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with some amount of goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.


1.10 Organisation of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding it is broken down as follows:

  • Chapter one kicks off with the introduction, which consists of the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research hypothesis, scope and significance of the study.
  • Chapter two begins with the conceptual framework on which the study is based, the theoretical literatures and also the empirical literature and thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design, the population of the state used as a case study, the sample size and the sampling techniques used, the data collected, data analysis and the limitations of the method used.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis, interpretation and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The study was carried out to investigate the customer service care as a tool for effective human relations management in the service industry using a case study of selected hospitality establishment in Akwa-Ibom state.

From the findings,

  1. Customer service care improves knowledge about the hotel’s services (73%), the level of individual attention and keeping the provision of customers’ interest at heart improves satisfaction (81%), communication style influence on customers’ patronage of hotel’s services (80.5%), staff friendliness influence on patronage intentions (83.5%), professionalism influence on customer retention (81.0%), and staff responsiveness influence on hotel patronage (90.5%).
  2. The result shows the barriers to include poor recruitment and selection practice (83.0%), resource constraint (87.0%), lack of training (80.5%), and lack of technical and administrative support (89.5%).
  3. The key features that customers need as self-reported by sampled customers were staff showing empathy towards customers, being responsive to customers need and acting professionally as they serve these varied clients who are mostly people with professional skills in industries. On the contrary, customer service quality features such as customer reward and employee having full knowledge about the products and services the organization has to offer at any time was perceived to be minimal critical factors.

5.2 Conclusion

Service quality is an important component in the service sector. The hotel industry continually has new entrants joining the space for the scant customers who patronize hotel services. This indicates that existing hotels should adopt other relative but lower cost strategies to ensure higher retention of existing customers and even attract new clients to the hotel as other hard approaches such as increase in infrastructure and redevelopment of facilities are capital intensive and long-term strategies. Customer service care including responsiveness, empathy, professionalism, friendliness, product knowledge, customer reward and communication were all found to be critical features to ensure the retention of customers. These soft skills strategies should be enhanced at Rosmohr Hotel and Suites so that greater value will be obtained from employees engaged and clients’ experiences will be positive. The infrastructure at the disposal of the research settings, Rosmohr Hotel and Suites is adequate and makes the hotel the most endowed and thus a ‘go to’ four-star hotel if an individual seeks for comfort in a serene environment. The findings from this qualitative study re- emphasize the increasing need for training of employees on the various dimensions of customer service care for the effectiveness of the hotel in achieving the hotel’s mission of providing customers with exceptional service in the hotel’s stately elegance facilities.


5.3 Recommendation

The responses and results from the study can be used by Rosmohr Hotel and Suites to determine dimensions of customer service features they are performing very well and even beyond the expectations of customers as well as know dimensions that need urgent intervention to make service provision great in the hotel. Thus, from the dimensions of service quality assessed by the current study, they are perceived by customers as unique and a hotel’s performance in one aspect of the dimension should not be perceived by management as providing good overall services. For instance, if Rosmohr Hotel and Suites employees exhibit professionalism, it does not warrant that their employees are responsive as these are two separate forms but complimentary features by which customers view overall service quality. Hence, management of Rosmohr Hotel and Suites should take a holistic view in developing and maintaining their service provisions to customers by providing adequate training opportunity for employees in customer service delivery. This will minimize imbalance in service quality perception scoring by customers as customers perceives services as the whole to be greater than the sum of its individual parts.

The study revealed that Rosmohr Hotel and Suites is meeting customer service quality but must work on a few dimensions as well. The hotel’s current practices on friendliness, professionalism and communication domains are in line with the hotel’s customer service mission to offer customer- focused services which is rooted in the value of ensuring that they exceed the expectations of every customer at every single time they reach out to the hotel for service. The other domains, customer reward and responsiveness needs to be improved. The findings demonstrate a positive linkage between service quality on retention and intention to recommend the hotel as self- reported by customers who were sampled for the study.

Moreover, other hoteliers should consider assessing their customer service care so that they can examine their service performance as shared by customers, employees and management. This will help identify qualities and areas which need management’s attention to ensure that customers’ expectations on hotel services are met. Thus, this study adds to the utility of customer service care of hotels as this will help them to address the gap in service delivery features to meet stakeholders need. In addition, it was found that there is a business case in investing in the provision of customer service features to ensure that customers become satisfied. When customers are impressed with a hotel service, they even act as strong agents in recommending the hotel’s services via word of mouth and positive reviews on social media platforms. These have implications in attracting more customers to the hotel to increase sales, goodwill, productivity, performance and profitability. This will guarantee the perpetuity of the hotel to be in business for long a period of time as posited by the Going concern principle in management where a business is expected to operate into the foreseeable future time


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