National jewellery retailer
We have been engaged as consultants by H. Samuel. H. Samuel is a national jewellery retailer in UK and we are required to critically review their service quality. H. Samuel has over 430 stores nation-wide and is part of Signet Group plc, the world’s largest specialist jeweller. Firmly established as the UK’s favourite high street jeweller, H. Samuel brings together an unsurpassed range of quality gifts at exceptional value. Customers will find an extensive collection of fashionable and traditional classic diamond, gold and silver jewellery, as well as the most popular top watch brands.
The process of reviewing the service quality includes examining their service quality in their shops. We will use the result of the research to compare with the service quality theory and what kind of service are customers expecting from them. Moreover, internet shopping is getting popular nowadays, so we have decided to check what kind of service they are providing in the internet as well. We have spotted that there are lots of improvements should be made by H. Samuel after we have gathered all the information
The importance of service quality cannot be overestimated, as its effect on the perception of the whole experience of purchasing goods or level of service is extremely important on the consumer. Consumer loyalty is one of the most important aspects of retailing as it ensures customers would buy the products regardless of the price. Retailing is a fusion of goods and services. According to the book Retail Marketing Management by Gilbert, retail can be broken into two sections, tangible and intangible.
The tangible features of retail involve the interaction the customer has between the physical environment, staff and features such as the displays and merchandise. This interaction between the physical components makes the quality of goods as important as the service by the staff. It is known as a channel service. The intangible aspect of retailing are more in tandem with pure service’s such as banking, insurance, tourist operators and investment services, rather than the goods and service mixture. The two categories can be explained even further by using the comparisons of transactions with merchandise and transactions without merchandise.
The transactions with merchandise can be separated into three sections, owned-goods service, rental-goods service and service with bought goods. Owned goods service is the usual purchasing and ownership of a good from a retailer. The rental-goods service is concerned with the use of a good such as a car, but there is no ownership so it has to be returned. Moving on to transactions without merchandise, this is about service without goods. This is pure service such as a travel agent to hairdressers. There a numerous models relating to service quality but one of the most useful is the service quality delivery model (Parasuraman et al 1985).
It claims that the consumer judges the service quality as the result of gaps between perceived and expected service. There are five gaps that could lead to poor service. The first is the ignorance of customer expectations and could be a result of a lack of understanding of what consumers want. The second gap is called the requirement for service design standards. This gap is between management perceptions and service quality specifications. The management may not have set a clear and attainable service standard.
On the other hand the standards may be clear and attainable but the management may not be committed to trying to achieve them. The third gap represents the between service quality specifications and service delivery. The delivery of the service quality may be poor because of badly performing staff. Gap four is service delivery and external communications. Promotional messages by the service provider affect the expectations of the consumer by making promises to them. Marketers must pay attention to the service they promise and the one that is actually implemented.
The final gap is between perceived service and delivered service. This arises when one or more of the other gaps occur, and staff must ensure that they close or reduce the gaps if needed. The main characteristics of service that have to be looked out for are as follows. The experience the consumer has with tangibles such as shop staff, facilities such as store cards to changing rooms and other customers within the service facility. Another is reliability of staff, which entails charging the correct sum of money, keeping the right records and performing the service at the right time.
Moreover the response of staff in aiding customers is important. This includes replying to customers as quickly as possible, and mailing a transaction slip straight away. Making sure that the consumer has confidence and your trust is conveyed to them properly through the skills and knowledge of the company. Staffs are required to listen to customer needs and explain the desired product or service. Empathy is also a key aspect as staffs are required to recognise regular customers, anticipate their needs and provide individual customer service. Service quality research review We have pretended to be customers and went to the H.
Samuel in Guildford to exam their service quality. We have also examined two other different jewelry retailers within Guildford in order to compare the difference of their service quality. The retailers we have picked are called Leslie Davies and Gold Smith. There are several different jewelry retailers in Guildford. The reasons we have picked Leslie Davies and Gold Smith was because they all have different range of price and products. H. Samuel has a wider range of products (i. e. picture frames and decorations) and their price range is lower compares to the other two jewelry retailers.
Leslie Davies has less range of jewelries and their price ranges are slightly higher than H. Samuel. Gold Smith seems to be a higher class jewelry retailer compares to H. Samuel and Leslie Davies. The customers shopping in the three shops seem to be different class as well due to the difference in the price. The type of customers in H. Samuel seems to be more wide range but mostly are elder people. In Leslie Davies, we found out that their products are more fashionable and their customers are mostly young people. The price range in Gold Smith is much higher than H. Samuel and Leslie Davies.
It might be because most of their jewelries are branded. The customers in Gold Smith seem to be higher class of people and most of them are female and elder couples. Moreover, the employees in the three retailers are different as well. In H. Samuel, their employees seem to be older than other two retailers. (The reasons that I have mentioned those differences will be explained in the customer expectation) However, the following is the result of our research: We pretended to be a customer who is looking for a Valentines Day gift in the shop to exam their service quality. We went to three different jewelry shops which has different class.
The following are our conclusions: H. Samuel – When we walked into the shop, one shop assistant came to ask whether we needed help but we answered no. Another shop assistant came to us again to ask whether we needed help after about five minutes and we said no. After another 5 more minutes, we asked the third assistant for help. She asked us to read the catalog instead of answering our questions. We did not find the service helpful. The reason she did not help us was may be because she did not know how to help us. She is a elder shop assistant and she might not know what kind of things young people would like.
But it would be helpful if she could ask other assistant to help us instead of asking us to read the catalog. Leslie Davis – No one came to help us when we walked into the shop until we asked for help. The shop assistant took us around the shop to show us what we were looking for. The shop assistant was a young female assistant. She knows what we were looking for and she even advised us by telling which product is more popular. We found the service really helpful. Goldsmith – No one came to help when we entered the shop although two of the shop assistants were doing nothing.
One assistant did help me when I asked for help. He asked how much money were we willing to spend and he showed us some range of product which was within our budget. We did not find the service useful because he did not show us what we were looking for. He was more concentrated on the price instead of what we asked for. We pretended to be a customer to enter the shop again but this time we brought a broken watch to ask them what the problem with the watch was. We went to the three jewelry shops which we examined last week to ask for help. The following are our conclusions with the research this time: H.
Samuel – It was busy time when we went in, so we waited until our turn came. We asked if the watch was not working because of the finished battery or else. The shop assistant examined the watch for about a minute and told us the problem was because of broken parts within the watch. He advised us to send the watch to where it was made. It was quite a good service although we have found out that what he has told us was wrong later on. The man was supposed to be the technician of the shop, but it seems that he doesn’t know much about watch. Leslie Davis – One shop assistant came up to us when we entered the shop and asked whether we needed help.
We asked the same question as what we did before. He told us the reason the watch is not moving was because of the finished battery which was different as what we have been told before. He did prove to us that the part actually works but the technician in H. Samuel told us it was broken. He advised us to send it away to get it repaired. He told us there are two places which would repair the watch and the difference between the two places. It was quite a good service and we did get some good advices. Goldsmith – As soon as we went in the shop, a shop assistant came up to us and we told them our problem.
Two of other shop assistants came over and examined the watch very carefully. They told us that it was not possible to tell the reason why the watch has stopped working and advised us to send it away with further details. It was quite a good service although we didn’t really get much help from them. After the examining the service quality of the H. Samuel in Guildford, we have decided to check their website and visit their other branch to see if there is any difference in their service quality. We went to their web site (www. hsamuel. com) and send an E-mail to ask them some questions about their services.
Unfortunately, they replied the next day and answered us that they can not answer our question and wanted us to find the information by our self from their website. This is exactly what the shop assistant did in the shop. After examining their web site, we went to another H. Samuel branch in Broadwalk Shopping center, which is in Edgware London to check if the service quality is different. Their staffs are mainly female and the result was different as what we get in Guildford. We went to shop and told them we were looking for mother’s day gifts. They did show us around the shop and gave us some useful advises. Consumer expectation
It is indispensable to satisfy customer’s expectation for any retailers to increase or maintain their sales figure. It is argue that running a retail business without giving careful consideration to the point of consumer expectation will simply be reckless challenge. Usual expectations from consumers that apply to the most of retailers are such as appropriate amount of stock holdings to meet customer’s demand, lower price settings and wider range of product. These factors cannot be improved much with only giving careful consideration but it also involves large amount of capital and a lot of time will be consumed.
One of the factors which doesn’t consume as much capital and time as the others do to be improved or making significant difference from competitors, is service. Retailers need to take into account of various expectations of different age groups of customers have different preferences. Young people do not like pressures from the shop assistant. They prefer shopping without having the shop assistant giving advice unless when they need it. Unlike elder customers, they prefer to have a shop assistant to give them advice all the time.
In this case, the shop assistant in the shop is a very important role. Customers would prefer someone who understands them to help them. Younger customers would prefer younger shop assistants to help them because they would understand more what young people want. Same to elder customers, they will want someone who understands what they want to help them. Moreover, the gender of the assistant is important as well. In jewelry shop, it tends to have more female customers. In this case, male assistant would not help much since they don’t understand what female customers prefer.
Customers from oversea will prefer different service as well since their English may not be as good as English people. They would prefer the assistant to be more patient because they might not understand what the assistant is saying. Conclusion In conclusion, there are lots of improvements that H. Samuel should make in order to satisfy their customers. After the service quality research, we have spotted some weaknesses and strengths of H. Samuel. Their weaknesses are that in some of their branches, they provide unsuitable service towards different groups of customers and the staffs has poor knowledge of their job.
Their strength is that they are actually providing the right service to their target customers. Their customers are mostly elder people and their shop assistants are old as well so they understands what kind of things does the customers want and what kind of services they would prefer. We suggest that H. Samuel should provide right services not only towards their target customers, they should consider more for other customers as well. In addition, they should employ staffs with the knowledge of their job. Customers will not like it when they get the wrong information or wrong help from the assistant.
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