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Book part
Publication date: 19 August 2016

Brian Ott

Service work is often differentiated from manufacturing by the interactive labor workers perform as they come into direct contact with customers. Service organizations are…

Abstract

Service work is often differentiated from manufacturing by the interactive labor workers perform as they come into direct contact with customers. Service organizations are particularly interested in regulating these interactions because they are a key opportunity for developing quality customer service, customer retention, and ultimately generation of sales revenue. An important stream of sociological literature focuses on managerial attempts to exert control over interactions through various techniques including routinization, standardization, and surveillance. Scripting is a common method of directing workers’ behavior, yet studies show that workers are extremely reluctant to administer scripts, judging them to be inappropriate to particular interactions or because they undermine their own sense of self. This paper examines a panoptic method of regulating service workers, embodied in undercover corporate agents who patrol employee’s adherence to scripts. How do workers required to recite scripts for customers respond to undercover control? What does it reveal about the nature of interactive labor? In-depth interviews with interactive workers in a range of retail contexts reveal that they mobilize their own interactional competence to challenge the effects of the panoptic, as they utilize strategies to identify and adapt to these “mystery shoppers,” all the while maintaining their cover. The paper shows the limits on control of interactive workers, as they maintain their own socialized sense of civility and preserve a limited realm of autonomy in their work.

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Research in the Sociology of Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-405-1

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Jacqueline Douglas

The purpose of this paper is to examine what mystery shopping is, why it is used and how mystery customers are trained and how the information collected is fed back to the…

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1797

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine what mystery shopping is, why it is used and how mystery customers are trained and how the information collected is fed back to the client organisation.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach was to use an online survey of mystery shoppers compares the reality of the situation with the best practice identified from the extant literature.

Findings

The main outcome was that results identify good and bad practices in all areas of the process and guidelines for the recruitment, training and monitoring of mystery shoppers are proposed including in-depth training in all aspects of the job.

Research limitations/implications

A sample of 85 mystery shoppers was used and only in the UK. It would be interesting to widen this out internationally.

Practical implications

Mystery shoppers are used worldwide by services to evaluate the performance of their front-line people and processes but are their evaluations valid and reliable? This research identifies good and bad practice which should help managers to design their training for mystery shoppers.

Originality/value

The paper addresses a gap in the literature on the perceptions of mystery shoppers.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Chih-Hsing Liu, Sheng-Fang Chou, Bernard Gan and Jin-Hua Tu

– The purpose of this paper is to develop a research framework to explain the relationship between overall restaurant quality and customer satisfaction.

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4902

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a research framework to explain the relationship between overall restaurant quality and customer satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

To test this model, the authors deploy 48 mystery shoppers to evaluate 496 Taiwanese restaurants. Further, the authors performed two different regression models and performing the Baron and Kenny (1986) procedure to test the hypotheses.

Findings

This study investigates whether restaurants are susceptible to the quality and level of restaurant service, and the restaurant’s physical atmosphere. Further, this study investigates whether these two constructs are likely to improve customers’ perception of restaurant quality, and whether such a strategy may also lead to customers’ satisfaction and facilities word-of-mouth recommendations.

Practical implications

The evidence suggests that the construct of “restaurant service” and “physical atmosphere” are strong determinant of improving customers’ perception of overall quality of restaurant. That is, there is a tendency to innovate when restaurant managers prioritize customers’ satisfaction. Further, managers who believe that service and physical atmosphere issues are top priorities will also improve the overall quality in their restaurants.

Originality/value

Measuring the relationships between Michelin star evaluation criteria via a large observation sample is rare in the present literature. As far as the authors know, this is the first paper to exam the relationships between Michelin star evaluation criteria.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1995

Ruth A. Schmidt and Roger Sapsford

Using two complementary ideographic approaches, investigates theimpact of the servicescape on women′s experience of the public houseservice encounter. Preliminary findings…

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2161

Abstract

Using two complementary ideographic approaches, investigates the impact of the servicescape on women′s experience of the public house service encounter. Preliminary findings from both the focus group and the in‐depth interviews conducted indicate that women perceive their desired pub experience as diametrically opposite to that provided by the traditional male‐dominated pub. In the latter, barriers to enjoyment arise from the dynamic interplay between the physical environment and the behaviour of staff. The latter, unless carefully managed, can act as reinforcement of the behaviour of other established male customers, whose actions have the effect of signalling to women that they are unwelcome. These barriers are seen to be particularly strong on entry, when getting served and when being seated. Explores how publicans can make use of these crucial stages and shape the servicescape to facilitate a more satisfactory encounter, thus enhancing loyalty among female customers.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1995

Martin Fojt

That someone can make you feel good is a quality in itself. There has been much talk within British government circles, for example, about “the feel‐goodfactor”, which is…

Abstract

That someone can make you feel good is a quality in itself. There has been much talk within British government circles, for example, about “the feel‐good factor”, which is constantly reminding us that it is just around the corner! Whether or not we can believe in this is another matter, but it certainly displays an awareness that making other people feel good can have positive benefits for you also. How this can be achieved will differ depending on your particular line of business. Having a good quality product does not in itself guarantee success as service quality must also be taken into account. This is where the feel‐good factor comes into play. It is all very well, for example, going to a restaurant to have a top‐class meal (in that the food was good), only to have it thrown at you. Quality, therefore, must not be seen as a separate entity, but more as a package deal.

Details

Library Review, vol. 44 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1995

Martin Fojt

That someone can make us feel good is a quality in itself. There has been much talk within British government circles, for example, about “the feelgood” factor, which is…

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1711

Abstract

That someone can make us feel good is a quality in itself. There has been much talk within British government circles, for example, about “the feelgood” factor, which is constantly reminding us that it is just around the corner! Whether or not we can believe in this is another matter but it certainly displays an awareness that making other people feel good can also have positive benefits for ourselves. How this can be achieved will differ depending on our particular line of business. Having a good‐quality product does not in itself guarantee success as service quality must also be taken into account. This is where the feel‐good factor comes into play. It is all very well, for example, going to a restaurant to have a top‐class meal (in that the food was good), only to have it thrown at you. Quality, therefore, must not be seen as a separate entity, but more as a package deal. Service quality is important if you wish to retain your customer base as acquiring new customers can be both time‐consuming and costly. It quite often takes very little apart from good manners to keep customer loyalty as in the case of the restaurant. Other factors can, however, start creeping into the framework such as efficiency, timeliness and good communication. Is there, for example, a time limit on how long you can reasonably be expected to wait for your meal before it arrives at the table, and if there is a delay is this communicated to you? In other words, we all have expectations as to what is acceptable and what is not. The clever part is for the organization to learn by what criteria the customer judges its service quality performance.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1992

Ron Garland

Electronic scanning check‐out systems now operate in most NewZealand supermarkets, and three‐quarters of all grocery products boughtby New Zealand households are optically…

Abstract

Electronic scanning check‐out systems now operate in most New Zealand supermarkets, and three‐quarters of all grocery products bought by New Zealand households are optically scanned. With the introduction of optical scanning technology at point‐of‐sale comes the debate on price accuracy. Based on a sample of 18.129 products bought in 86 New Zealand supermarkets, the level of pricing errors and the monetary value of pricing errors are examined. Previous research in the USA has suggested that consumers suspect pricing errors may disadvantage them rather than the retailer. However, the monetary consequences of price inaccuracy resulted in a net average undercharge to the consumer of 31 cents in every NZ$100 spent; half of this net average undercharge resulted from uncharged goods, that is, goods free to the consumer. Price inaccuracy in the New Zealand supermarket industry is disadvantaging the supermarket retailer. Extrapolation of the results of this research shows that this industry could be losing nearly NZ$18 million per annum from pricing errors. Recommends detection of pricing errors and greater emphasis on staff training and supervision for check‐out operators and for those responsible for price changes.

Details

Logistics Information Management, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6053

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Article
Publication date: 26 October 2012

Hansruedi Müller and Philipp Berger

Swiss destination management organizations (DMOs) are usually to a substantial portion supported by public funds. In order to establish political majorities for such…

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1216

Abstract

Purpose

Swiss destination management organizations (DMOs) are usually to a substantial portion supported by public funds. In order to establish political majorities for such public financing, some proof of the impact of the use of these subsidies must be of interest. The main goal of the case study presented in this paper is to develop a comprehensive tool for measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of DMOs.

Design/methodology/approach

By using the structure of the Business Excellence Model of the European Foundation for Quality Management, the tool is mainly based on a system with 80 to 100 indicators. Selected DMOs are examined by a multi‐level methodology. Available information is collected within a document analysis. Subsequently, the directors of the DMOs are interviewed. Collected data are also consolidated by building and calculating comparative budget key figures and by conducting efficiency computations. Two benchmarking phases are conducted in order to develop and test the tool. In a first pilot phase four Swiss cities' DMOs are benchmarked. After an overview and revision of this first phase, a second phase with Swiss Alpine destination DMOs follows.

Findings

Both pilot phases were successfully completed. The two conducted phases of the benchmarking clearly showed that the choice of indicators guarantees a holistic view of the situation of the DMOs. The tested benchmarking tool can be labeled as qualitatively valid.

Originality/value

With the research project as a whole a new and tailor‐made benchmarking tool for DMO could be successfully implemented.

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Philip Calvert

To explore and evaluate the evidence about the effectiveness of “mystery shopping” as a technique for service evaluation in the public library system of one country.

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4203

Abstract

Purpose

To explore and evaluate the evidence about the effectiveness of “mystery shopping” as a technique for service evaluation in the public library system of one country.

Design/methodology/approach

A critical summary and review of the literature in this field. Interviews with public librarians in New Zealand who have used mystery shopping.

Findings

Demonstrates that there were three major reasons for using this method of customer service evaluation in the libraries under consideration: improving process, improving staff behaviours, and benchmarking with similar organisations. In practice, objectives were mixed, with some data being used for process improvement, and other elements of the mystery shopping used to assess library staff performance. Staff reactions were initially negative, but changed after they saw that the assessment was positive.

Research limitations/implications

This examination of a particular form of service evaluation shows that it offers a narrow, very specific description of customer service that can be used in conjunction with broader forms of assessment such as customer satisfaction surveys. Offers insights into the value of this particular form of research methodology at the same time as showing the need for it to be used in conjunction with broader research techniques.

Practical implications

The paper can be used for thoughtful and practical guidance on the use of a specialised but powerful tool for library and information service evaluation.

Originality/value

This paper acts as a useful source of information for practitioners with a commitment to using research techniques for real‐life service enhancement, while also establishing that there is a sound academic basis for this research method, if implemented appropriately. The suggestions for how mystery shopping can be used to best advantage by the profession in future are of particular worth.

Details

Library Review, vol. 54 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Margaret Erstad

Mystery shopper programmes are defined as a tool for evaluating and improving customer service. The development and implementation of a mystery shopper programme is…

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7717

Abstract

Mystery shopper programmes are defined as a tool for evaluating and improving customer service. The development and implementation of a mystery shopper programme is discussed as a sequence of related steps closely linked to human resource management and employee involvement. The process begins with setting the objectives of the programme and ends with rewarding behaviour and implementing change. Employee participation is seen as paramount to the success of the programme in all stages of its development. This involvement avoids shoppers being seen as spies by employees. Employees need to know what points they will be evaluated on and the expected company standards of performance. The results of shopping programmes should be used to provide diagnostic information on service delivery rather than as performance appraisals of individual employees.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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