How should Optus have handled this complaint? What is considered to be an ideal complaint handling procedure?
The management and sales executives should have acted in a timely and professionally responsible manner in handling the complaint by the customer. Timeliness, active listening abilities, and good communication skills are core competencies of professional service providers. These elements should have been incorporated in handling the complaint (Lovelock, Patterson, & Walker 2007).
Sales agents and company representatives should have made an after sales follow up and updated the customer on the turn of events, making the customer feel valued and satisfied. In addition, company executives should not have placed false promises on what they were unable to deliver to the customer as that could have detrimental effects on customer confidence. They should have provided an alternative service leading to customer confidence and satisfaction.
Illustrated in the case study were the correspondences the customer entered into with the company representatives. These included three letters written to the customer relations department, Customer Solutions Manager and Optus DSL team leader. However, representatives of Optus mobile service provider paid little attention to the dissatisfaction of the customer.
Lovelock (1991) argues that justice and fairplay are fundamental elements to consider in service provision activities and compensation plans should have been integrated into the system in the event the company failed to deliver products requested by the customer. In addition to that, distributive justices should have been an important asset in the administration of justice (Lovelock 1991).
What could Optus do to prevent similar problems recurring?
The company’s management should put in place performance enhancement plans outlining standards and expectations from employees. It should also incorporate employee education on the need and value of quality service provisions and should closely monitor their productivity in line with the standards and quality expectations. If these were incorporated in their work, efficient and effective utilization of resources could be realised (Gordon 2008). In addition, internal communication could be vital to avert bureaucratic scenarios and negative employee attitudes.
Of importance was the need for the company’s staff to communicate effectively. With appropriate communication skills, customer complaints could have elicited an immediate response from the support staff.
To further avoid scenarios where a system is installed but remains non- functional, the technical team should be trained on all aspects of software installations and trouble shooting techniques. Highly trained and skilled personnel should be assigned duties that require skilled and specialised manpower. These included employees like Rafi, well skilled in broadband and other communication technologies.
Interdepartmental communication could be further enhanced if an information system is installed that links all business departments within the company.
Customers remain a key asset in any business organization. It’s through customers that an organization generates profits and sustains itself. Therefore, the company should enhance its service deliveries by integrating customer friendly services such as talking with them and providing incentives (Gordon 2008). In addition to that, the company should provide factual information on what they offer and how they offer what they have. These could inspire customer confidence and maintain customer loyalty. According to Lovelock (1991), the company executives should be trained on appropriate marketing, management, and leadership skills.
Management should effectively integrate upward and downward communication to ensure regular reports and feedbacks are made available by organizational employees.
In what ways does the Gaps model fit into the company’s procedure, why, and how, and what are the important areas to address?
Based on the Gaps model, a close study and analysis of the case study indicates that the company has not integrated good communication plans between the internal market planning and service provision in the context of external service provision. Services provision remains fundamental parts of a service provider.
The model indicates the existence of a gap between customer expectations and perceived services. According to the case study, all the departments ought to identify the gaps that exist between them and close them in relation to consumer needs. A good communication link should exist between customer driven service design standards, company perceptions, and consumer expectations (Marketing Teacher 2000).
Where Does Optus fit or not fit into the SERQUAL Model?
Company employees are not active listeners and do not give individual attention to customers thus lacking empathy. This is coupled with lack of confidence in company transactions and assurance. According to Burnett (1996), Optus offers services which are not physically tangible with a high degree of unreliability. It continually fails to provide the customer with the desirable product on time. Another disqualifying factor is the failure of the company to act responsively and promptly in the provision of services.
If the company integrates these elements as outlined in both models, there shall be a turn around in service provision that could lead to customer satisfaction and retention. These could lead to an improved company image that could in turn lead to high profit generation and a sustained business.
What quality service model does the company use?
The quality service model the company uses is characterised by reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness. Service delivery should be reliable to avoid a scenario of a customers making after sales requests for a service that should have been provided at the point of sale. In addition, customers should be assured of product and service delivery to inspire confidence in them. Tangibles should be appropriately delivered by the sales representatives at the appropriate time, empathy should be the cornerstone in the business transactions of the organization, and responsiveness should be firmly integrated in day to day business transactions of the Company.
The case study problem started on 9th January, 2006 when a customer who had been using Optus mobile for 10 years ordered a bundle home phone and broadband internet services from Optusnet DSL. However, when the service was not delivered on time though it was paid for, the customer entered into various correspondences with company representatives, but received false promises until February when a stater kit was finally delivered. Inspite of writing three letters for an after sales software installation, little was done. This was in addition to additional charges, 20 $, and poor complaint handling procedures.
Burnett, J.J. (1996). Journal of Service Marketing. What services marketers need to know about the mobility- disabled consumer. Volume 10. MCPUP Ltd.
Gordon, K.T (2008). Marketing. Tips for Marketing Your Services. Web.
Lovelock, C.H., Patterson, P.G., Walker, R.H. (2007). Services marketing: an Asia-Pacific and Australian perspective / Christopher H. Lovelock, Paul G. Patterson, Rhett H. Walker. (4th ed.) NSW: Pearson Prentice-Hall.
Lovelock, C.H. (1991). Services marketing / Christopher H. Lovelock. (2nd ed).Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey : Prentice Hall.
Marketing Teacher. (2000). Services Marketing and the Extended Marketing Mix (7P’s). Web.