Operations Management

Topics: Customer service, Customer, Management Pages: 9 (2698 words) Published: August 3, 2013
QUESTION 1

The issues with poor customer service, resulting in customer complaints that come from a wide range of aspects about the centre and its staff are causing concern. You need to understand why it is happening and where the problems occur. Current complaints are pointers to the problems, but don’t give the required detail.

Present your plan which details complaints, assists in identifying problems and how to find a solution to increase customer satisfaction.

The Northstar HyperMall is the new development of a shopping mall, which has opened up in the UK. Currently all shopping malls developed by Northstar are operating across Europe. With the new development of the HyperMall, a number of problems and issues have arisen.

One of the major issues was that customers are simply not happy. There are concerns with poor customer complaints and staff complaints. After reviewing the current problems, it is essential for Northstar to highlight where these problems are evolving from. Some problems which have been identified through the case study include the initial development and operation of the malls through Europe. With this being an issue, it is likely that the market within the UK for this type of development may have not been particularly well researched. It is vital that Northstar addressed the issue of market research and penetration, as customers within the UK and Europe are likely to have different needs and market trends.

Customer service is an important aspect to any business, as it is a means of identifying and satisfying consumer needs. This is an additional problem Northstar is experiencing due to staff issues, and as a result are receiving various customer complaints. These complaints are mainly linked to the quality of customer care delivered by staff around the shopping mall. Once reviewing the staff issues, the General Manager of Northstar was able to identify that the complaints were derived from the ‘Help Staff’. The role of the staff is to provide friendly and helpful information to shoppers throughout the shopping centre. It is likely that some staff may not provide this information to shoppers, and may not deliver the expectation of customer service required. As a result customers are unlikely to feel comfortable asking for help or approaching members of staff, due to their behaviour or body language.

Within the first 3 months of opening, the GM established that the cause of complaints and issues were from different areas within the centre and as a result of this, it was apparent that the centre would have to be reviewed and improved. As Northstar is a franchise and the general operation of the shopping mall has been replicated in the UK, it is indefinite if customers will respond to the mall in the same way European customers will. Various issues from security, catering and sales staff were a cause for concern. Shoppers within the HyperMall were discontent with the way they were treated by security staff, as the staff did not seem to understand the concept of ‘Window Shopping’. The quality of the catering facilities was also under scrutiny by customers, poor quality of food and minimal selection caused further concerns for Northstar.

In order for Northstar to address these issues, a number of methods can be implemented in order to find a potential solution to help increase customer satisfaction. Some of these include the use of customer service training, questionnaires, market research, diversity of staff, range of stores, employee empowerment, regular updates of quality assessments, application of Total Quality Management (TQM), benchmarking etc.

Firstly, customer service training programs provide an ongoing training service, which enables employees to focus on customer service by role-playing scenarios of all types of customer interactions. E.g. customers may direct foul language at the employees and these programmes facilitate the staff to deal with worst-case scenarios. When...

Bibliography: Hollins, B & Shinkins, S (2006). Managing Services Operations. London: Sage Publications Ltd
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http://pmcrunch.com/project_management_process/market-research-the-benefits/ (Accessed 15th February 2010)
http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/InfoKits/risk-management/ishikawa-diagram (Accessed 15th February 2010)
http://www.gaebler.com/How-to-Improve-Customer-Service.htm (Accessed 17th February 2010)
http://www.thecqi.org/Knowledge-Hub/Resources/Factsheets/Total-quality-management/ (Accessed 20th February 2010)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_Improvement_Process (Accessed 24th February 2010)
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