The purpose of service experience diary is to understand customer expectations and the reasons that customers are satisfied or dissatisfied with the service experience. This report provides an analysis and evaluation of one own experiences, in reference to the theories and techniques of service marketing to determine what is necessary to satisfy a customer. The first section of this report gives details of the personal background of the customer, the process of her pre-purchase stage and her service experience encountered at a local piercing shop, Attic Jewelry and Piercing. A satisfaction rating for the overall service experiences is provided in the end of this section.
The second section of this report draws attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the service experience, as well as the opportunities and threats the store may encounter in the future. This report also evaluates customer expectations, satisfaction and service quality of the store. The report finds the service quality of the store in its current position is not outstanding. There are some areas of weakness require improvements. Recommendations discussed include: emphasize knowledge of piercing in their staff training, pay more attention in developing customer relationship and redesign the piercing room. Background
My name is Michelle Ng. I am 21 years old and living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor Degree in Marketing at Victoria University, Sunway. Pre-purchase Stage
When I was a teenager, I have always wanted to get my navel pierced and I thought they looked fashionable. However, I did not have any information regarding the process of navel piercings or the courage to go through with it at that time. Until two months ago, I saw some photos of a friend of mine who just had her navel piercing done plastered across her social networking website. It looked really great on her and certainly aroused my interest in getting one. The only issue was finding a safe and reliable piercing shop. After talking to that particular friend and doing some research on the internet, I had found out most of the people recommended piercing shops which located in Golden Triangle. Even so, due to the terrible traffic condition around that area, I have decided to visit Attic Jewelry & Piercing, located in Sunway Pyramid shopping mall. Although I have never been to the shop, my cousin who had been there recommended it and there is a fair amount of photos of customers after getting their piercing done appeared on their Facebook page.
In addition, the fact that it was in close proximity to my university makes it my final choice. I planned to visit Attic after I finish my class in university. The shop is just five minutes’ walking distance away from my university therefore I planned to walk over there. My expectations of the visit were: the shop and the piercer should be very clean; the shop has separate areas for piercing; the equipments used for piercing should be properly sterilized; the piercer is professional and knowledgeable which able to provide me after-care instructions. Moreover, I was expecting to spend approximately RM200 and the process of navel piercing would take me no more than half an hour. Navel piercing undoubtedly involved some risk and uncertainty since the service is complex. The perceived risks can be infection and cause pain if the equipment used is not properly sterilized. Also, improperly positioned belly ring might lead to nerve damage if the piercer is inexperienced. Documentation of experience
I went to Attic Jewelry & Piercing with my best friend on Friday, February 21st at 12p.m. We walked in the shop and were greeted right away. I let the young female staff who stood behind the counter know I wanted to get my navel pierced and made enquiries about the process and price. She answered all my questions with patience. During the conversation, I found out that she is the piercer. Then, she gave me a form to fill out and brought me a case filled with variety of navel ring to choose from. After I have picked my navel ring, she brought me to the piercing room and talked me through the procedure while my best friend waited outside. I noticed the room is dim and there is only a chair, a small table with mirror and a washing sink in the room. She washed her hands in the sink and put on a clean pair of gloves. She proceeded to ask me pull up my shirt and made a mark for the placement of my navel piercing.
I looked in the mirror and gave her the permission to continue with the procedure. She cleaned the piercing area with antibacterial solution and I was required to stand during the procedure. At this point, I was feeling excited and scared at the same time. I could feel my body was shaking and sweating excessively. She placed the clamps on my navel and pushed the needle through. I felt a small pinch for a moment. She slid my navel ring into place, screwed on the ring and that was that. I was so surprised because I thought the pain would be worse and the whole procedure would take me longer. We headed out of the piercing room after she gave me ointment and after care instructions. The navel piercing costs me RM160 and my piercer agreed to give me 10% discount on another navel ring I planned to purchase.
I paid at the counter meanwhile a staff approached me and asked to photograph my piercing so that they can upload to their website, however I refused. Before we left, the piercer gave me a name card and told me I can call if I had any problems with the piercing Two week later, I started to notice my piercing area was swollen and pus was coming out from my belly button. I was worried that it might be infection so I have decided to visit Attic again on March 11st. The piercer was there so I talked to her about my concern. She helped me to check my piercing area and told me that it was normal as the healing process usually lasts six months. I questioned her about what should I do next, however she did not provide any suggestions or advices but simply told me not to worry. Rating
Source: www.franandrowena.com/files/373274/Premier_Service_Quality_Service_Certifed.htm Based on the scale of customer satisfaction rating demonstrate above, a satisfaction rating related with this service experience will be provided. With regard to the cleanliness of the store and piercing room, the satisfaction rating is a 4. I was satisfied but the piercing room should be more presentable. As for value for money, the satisfaction rating is a 5 due to the price for the piercing service fell within my budget range and seems to be cheaper than other shops. For the customer service, the satisfaction rating will be 3, neutral as I felt like the piercer should be more caring and personable when attending me during my second visit. Above all, I would rate the overall service of Attic a 4 –satisfied, and would recommend to my friends or family for jewelry and accessories buying, but not for piercing services.
The location of Attic Jewelry & Piercing is easily accessible since it is located in Sunway Pyramid shopping mall, one of the most popular shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur. Unlike many shops that only provide ear piercing service, Attic provides variety of body piercing services such as tongue piercing, lip piercing, eyebrow piercing and more, which is an attribute that distinguish them from other piercing shops in the area. Furthermore, the staffs employed are friendly and able to provide help during consumer purchase stage. The shop is clean and the piercer also follows standard of practice for piercing by using gloves and clean equipment as piercing services involve high-contact, cleanliness is highly valued. Weaknesses
The size of the shop is one of the major weaknesses for Attic. It is too small and therefore during the peak hours which usually filled with people, it creates a certain level of discomfort among the customers. In addition, the lack of brightness in the service environment especially the piercing room makes Attic a less than ideal environment to perform piercing procedure. The piercer should also attend customers’ problems during the post-purchase stage in a more proper manner to avoid customers feeling he or she is unprofessional or unsatisfied with the experience. Opportunities
The location of Attic in the shopping mall might increase the opportunity to have potential consumers doing impulse buying or sudden desires to do piercing when pass by the store, especially since shopping malls are normally crowded with people. Moreover, body piercing is starting to become popular and increasingly mainstream due to the rapid advancements of internet, Attic marketing strategy of advertising on Facebook would most likely resulted in growth of market and customer base. The edgy decorations of the shop and background music also create an inviting environment that would be able to attract young customers. Threats
Attic was facing heavy competition as they were newly established and there were many piercing shops in Kuala Lumpur that have high reputation and better advertising strategy. As the internet is growing, people depend on the internet to find information and reviews before making a purchase or visit, Attic should have market themselves on the internet more actively in order to compete with others. Nevertheless, negative word-of-mouth and lawsuits might be a threat for Attic due to the possibility of dissatisfaction with the piercing or infections to the extent that affect health on a customer.
Customer expectations are the “desires or wants of consumers i.e. what they feel the service should offer rather than would offer” (Teas, 1993). Different customers hold different type of expectation about service. The highest can be termed desired service: the level of service the customer hopes to receive – the ‘wished for’ level of performance. Desired service is a blend of what the customer believes ‘can be’ and ‘should be’ (Wilson, 2012). For instance, the expectation for Michelle was the shop and piercing room should be clean and the piercer should be knowledgeable and experienced. These expectations were formed based on the recommendations of her cousin and the information she found online.
When a customer is contented with either the product or services it is termed satisfaction. Satisfaction can also be a person’s feelings of pleasure or disappointment that results from comparing a product’s perceived performance or outcome with their expectations (Kotler & Keller, 2009). Customer satisfaction is the disconfirmation approach which explains that “the customer is satisfied when he or she feels that the product’s performance is equal to or more than what was expected (confirmation). But if perceived performance falls short of his/her expectations (disconfirmation), then the customer is dissatisfied” (Oliver, 1980).
In this particular case, Michelle experienced simple confirmation, indicate the perceived performance just meet her expectations. There are four customer satisfaction drivers: price, core service quality, customer service and brand. The service performance of Attic in this four aspect falls within the zone of tolerance of the customer and therefore the customer was merely satisfied with the experience (Lovelock, 2011).
One of the most used methods to evaluate service quality is The SERVQUAL framework developed by Parasuraman et al. in 1988. Parasuraman et al. (1988) came up with five dimensions to measure service quality, which are tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. Using a five-dimension scale composed of 21 service attributes, the SERVQUAL survey measures the gaps between customer perceptions and expectations. (Harr, 2008)
Dimensions of Service Quality
(1)Tangibles can be described as the appearance of physical elements such as facilities, equipment and staff. Tangibles are used by firms to convey image and signal quality (Zeithaml et al., 2006). The piercing shop’s decorations, the condition of the piercing room, the cleanliness of equipments used and the appearance of piercer are going to affect the service quality. (2) Reliability is the “ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately” or “delivering on its promises” (Zeithaml et al., 2006). In the piercing services industry, reliability can be interpreted to mean piercer performs the service accurately without causing negative skin issue on the customer, or deliver the promises that provide after care services. (3) Responsiveness means the willingness to help customers and provide prompt service” (Zeithaml et al., 2006).
This dimension is concerned with dealing with the customer’s requests, questions and complaints promptly and attentively (Harr, 2008). (4) Assurance involves service employee’s knowledge and courtesy, and their ability to convey trust (Parasuraman et al, 1988). For the piercing services, assurance is an extremely important dimension the customers will look at in choosing a shop or a piercer for the service. The trust and confidence may be represented in the personnel who links the customer to the organization (Zeithaml et al., 2006). (5) Empathy is defined as the “caring, individualized attention the firm provides its customer (Zeithaml et al., 2006). Empathy can be achieved by knowing the customer’s name, his preferences or in the context of piercing shop, provide after care service which might be helpful in create customer loyalty. High service quality generally leads to high levels of customer satisfaction. However, due to the fact that there were no SERVQUAL surveys conducted for this report, the service quality of Attic’s Jewelry & Piercing is hard to define and measure. Recommendations
With reference to this service experience, it is clear that the five dimensions of service quality were crucial for piercing service industry, which could contribute to the raise of customer satisfaction level. Customers will feel that the shops provide high service quality when piercers and staff have good knowledge about piercing and are able to provide post and after-care instructions. This indicates that Attic should emphasize knowledge of piercing in their staff training. Even more importantly, Attic should pay more attention in developing customer relationship by providing after-sales service, personalized care and concern which could lead to earning customers loyalty and keep their business. Piercing shops should also bear in mind that the appearance of the shops, piercing rooms or even the piercers are one of the factors affecting service quality. Attic should redesign the piercing room by making it looks more presentable to ease the tension and fear their customers might be feeling during piercing procedure.
List of references
1. Alan Wilson (2012) Services Marketing (2nd European Edition). 2nd Revised edition Edition. McGraw Hill Higher Education. 2. Oliver, R. L. (1980). A cognitive model of the antecedents and consequences of satisfaction decisions. Journal of Marketing Research, 17(November), pp.460-469. 3. Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V.A., & Berry, L.L.(1988). SERVQUAL: A multiple-item scale for 4. Teas, K. (1993). Expectations, performance evaluation, and customers’ perceptions of measuring consumer perceptions of service quality. Journal of Retailing, 64(1), pp.12-37. quality. Journal of Marketing, 57(4), pp.18-34.
5. Zeithaml, V.A., Bitner, M.J., & Gremler, D.D. (2006). Services marketing: integrating customer focus across the firm (4th ed., pp.117) 6. Harr, Ko King Lily, “Service dimensions of service quality impacting customer satisfaction of fine dining restaurants in Singapore”(2008).UNLV Theses/Dissertations/Professional Papers/Capstones.Paper 686. 7. Kotler, P. and Keller, K. L. (2009) Marketing management (13th end). New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc, Upper Saddle River, pp. 789 8. Lovelock, C.H., Patterson, P.G. and Wirtz, J. (2011) Service Marketing: An Asia-Pacific and 9. Australian Perspective, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest.