Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Question: How would you set service standards for intangible services?

The role of service standards is shortened form of the phrase “standards of service”. It is typically to answer questions such as how often will the service be provided, how long should it take to receive the service, and what does service provider do when one service not satisfy by customer. Thus, service standards inform people about what kind of service they can expect from an organization. This is usually done in the form of a statement that describes what level of service will be provided to consumer.

In essence, a service standard is a criterion adopted by an organization in order to define how they should behave with respect to their customer. Intangible services will be defined as services that are giving directed at people’s mind and intangible assets. The intangibility can consist of both mental and physical dimensions (Lovelock & Wirtz, 2011). The mental intangibility cannot be easily visualized and understood such as education and psychotherapy. While physical intangibility cannot be touched or experienced by the other senses such as accounting and banking service.

How to set service standards for intangible services? Organizations that want to set service standards for their service should know about the type of indicator. A service standard is a type of indicator. National Treasury (2004) defines an indicator as a measure of "how well an expenditure programme (or main division of a vote) is delivering its output and contributing towards meeting the outcomes that organization wants to achieve." In other words, an indicator is a measure or signal or benchmark that indicates the level of achievement or performance of the service itself. Indicators are what we observe or measure in order to verify whether, or to what extent, progress is being made (United Nations Development Programme, 1999).

There are five steps that will be apply in order to set service standards for intangible services which are defined the quality that the organizations want, set the target group, define the target area or place, set the quantity and lastly set the time period. For example, to set standards for student registration courses service that given by university must define the quality of service first which is accurate and correct courses must be register. Then, set the target group of the service which is accurate and correct courses must be register for new student in the university. The next steps is to define the target area or place which is the accurate and correct courses must be register using online systems at university website. Lastly, set the quantity or time period of the service which is the accurate and correct courses must be register at university website system within 2 weeks after student registration.

Other than that, the service standards that developed by an organization should incorporate five different aspects. Those aspects are description of the service, service pledge or commitment, delivery target, the cost of the service and reference to the relevant complaint and redress mechanisms. The description of the service is referring to the detail of the service that the organization wants to produces to the customer such as guest check-in procedure in a hotel. The service pledge or commitment refers on how hotel guest will be treated and describe of the service delivery that hotel promise to meet such as our front office staff must be knowledgeable, courtesy, friendly, and responsive. Delivery target refers to the performance of the hotel in deliver their service such as guest will be check-in to their room within less than 10 minutes. The cost of the services is referring to the fee such as the hotel provides room rate at reasonable price. Lastly, the reference to the relevant complaint from the guest will be deal as soon as possible and if need to follow up; the hotel will be response within specific time.

As a conclusion, there are many ways in order to set service standards for intangible services. The main point in setting service standards are the organization must know their main target or goal that they want to achieved. They must set the service standards based on their service type and target market. All the service standards that establish by an organization must be following by their staff in order to satisfy their customer regarding service that delivers to them. Customer satisfaction is very important to the service provider because they are deal with people with many character and behavior during service encounter. The more customers satisfy with the service, the better quality of the service itself.

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