Service Encounter Paper
To evaluate critical aspects of two distinct service encounters from your own perspective as a customer applying concepts discussed in class.
After creating a journal of service encounter entries (described on the following page), the purpose of the service encounter paper is to analyze two service encounters in detail. This paper (6-8 pages, double-spaced) will consist of two parts: First, you will write about the organization that provided you with the worst service of any organization you encountered this semester and, second, you will write about an organization that is doing an excellent overall job of applying services marketing concepts.
Journal entries. Students are to write up “journal” entries of 7-8 separate service encounter experiences on the form provided at the end of this handout (and available on the course web site). One of the journal entries should be identified as your best service encounter of the semester, and another should be identified as the worst service encounter of the semester. (See discussion on next page for more information about the journal entries.)
Discussion of worst service. The paper should begin by describing the organization that provided you with the worst service of any organization encountered this semester. Based on your reading of the textbook and issues we have discussed in class, diagnose what went wrong in the encounter. That is, from a services marketing perspective, what is the real cause of the problem? (Use concepts from class to diagnose why the firm did not deliver service that met your expectations.) Then, recommend the three most important actions management should take to improve service. Be specific in your recommendations (e.g., suggesting that employees “need more training” is not a particularly enlightening or useful recommendation). To demonstrate your understanding of course concepts, use concepts and strategies from the class to support your discussion and suggestions. Be selective and focus on the most important issues, as this part of the paper should be about three pages in length. A good paper will describe the problem(s) and present a specific, logical plan for improvement.
Discussion of best service. In the second part of the paper, write about an organization that, based on the service encounter you had with them this semester, appears to be doing an excellent overall job of services marketing. The discussion should include three most important actions management has taken to deliver such good service. That is, based on your reading of the textbook and issues we have discussed in class, diagnose what this firm is doing well. In your analysis you should demonstrate your knowledge of services marketing concepts by discussing what this organization does that makes it successful, using (and clearly labeling) concepts covered in class discussion and the textbook. This part of the paper is also expected to be about three pages in length.
Discussion of lessons learned. Finally, you should conclude your paper with 1-2 pages discussing what you learned from this experience and how you will apply it as you enter the business world. Be specific here; saying that you have learned “what good service is” does not provide much insight, nor does saying that you will “use what I learned when I enter the real world.”
The grading criteria used for evaluating your paper include your ability to relate material from readings and lectures to your paper, your ability to diagnose probable causes of problems and match them with appropriate solutions, depth and substance of your observations, and the quality of writing. You should use services marketing concepts throughout your discussion to demonstrate your understanding of these concepts, as this is the primary purpose of this assignment.
Your service encounter journal paper is due by Nov. 12, 2015. You should turn in both the paper and the journal entries completed earlier in the semester. (Your journal entries should be included as an appendix to your paper.)
Service Encounter Journal
To become more aware of critical aspects of the service encounter from a customer’s perspective.
We all have a number of such encounters each week, including (but not limited to) restaurants, banks, airlines, dry cleaners, doctors, dentists, libraries, photographers, travel agencies, theaters, pest control agencies, phone companies, automotive mechanics, insurance companies, attorneys, accountants, and copy centers. Students are to keep a “journal” of their service encounter experiences. The purpose of the journal is to make students more aware of sources of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with services.
The student is asked to complete 7-8 journal entry forms describing recent service encounters you have experienced (i.e., those occurring during this semester). One blank copy of a journal entry form is attached to this handout. Each entry will correspond to one service encounter that you have during the semester. Your journal may be written (if you have neat, clear, legible handwriting) or typed (an electronic version of the service encounter journal entry form is provided on Blackboard). You should enter descriptions of the service encounters as you experience them. Be sure to completely and thoroughly answer the questions on the journal entry form. If you make copies of the form and need more room to answer the questions, you may write on the back of the entry form or attach a page to the form. Your inclusion of the important details of the service encounter will help you in writing your service encounter paper.
You are expected to record an assortment of types of encounters from a variety of service industries (i.e., do not do all restaurants); about half of the journal entries should describe satisfying encounters and the other half very dissatisfying ones. The best way to complete your journal is to fill a form out immediately following a particular incident. If you try to do your entries from memory, or do too many at one time, the quality of the entries will suffer.
After collecting the 7-8 service encounter journal entries, you should clearly indicate which encounter is the worst and which is the best across the top of these two journal entry sheets.
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