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How Customers Perceive Service

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Customers perceive service in terms of the quality of the service and the satisfaction they derive from the overall experience. A company puts its image on the line even in the most casual of encounters with customers. Whenever an employee encounters a customer (internal or external), he/she creates an impression that can determine whether the customer will continue to do business with the organisation. Each meeting or encounter is a vital moment to win or lose business, based on how the company is perceived in terms of service and quality.

Customer Expectation Factors

Four factors shape customer expectations. Let us identify them in terms of an example:

You have planned a weekend away at a luxurious guest lodge. The following will probably influence your expectations of your stay and the service at this lodge:

Explicit service promises - what you read about the lodge; what are promised in the lodge’s advertising material.

Implicit service promises - what the chalets at the lodge look like; the appearance of the staff at the lodge; the rates charged.

Word of mouth - what friends, colleagues or family have told you about the lodge; other people’s personal experiences at the lodge which they have shared with you.

Past experience - maybe you stayed at the same lodge a couple of years ago and the memories of that experience shape your new expectations.

So, what is the bottom-line? As service providers, we are responsible to live up to those expectations!