Achieving improvements in customer service is now recognized as a major challenge facing manufacturing and service industries throughout the world. This challenge is particularly pertinent to the tourism and hospitality sector. Notions of quality in the tourism and hospitality sector have changed dramatically in the past 25 years: it was once synonymous with luxury and personalized service; it now counts at all levels of price. Service quality is often presented in the literature as primarily a marketing‐oriented concept; however, it has major implications for the quality of human resources and specifically for training and development activities. Focuses on the human resource dimension, specifically the behaviours which hinder and facilitate transactions between people in a service environment. Begins with a discussion of the concepts of quality, customer and service improvement, then considers the factors influencing interpersonal relationships and discusses alternative approaches to the development of interpersonal skills. Considers the nature of services and, finally, reports a study which evaluates the impact of an interpersonal training and development intervention on the quality of service provided by front‐office staff in a medium‐sized hotel.
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