Cross Cultural Analysis of Service Expectations
How many times, did we hear about cultural problems affecting industries? But, it is still not being given much attention by some instead they continue to strengthen their process as well as implementing technological advancement, just to find some effort that could replace human service in the organization. Take for instance manufacturing industries, where robotics and systems are primarily the one that performs in the production line. Companies would find it more efficient and has high quality results that having to assign humans in the process.
But, this is may not be applicable in service oriented companies, where people are still the most vital part of its operation. It is also in service oriented company where great deal of quality service and customer satisfaction are two of the most important key factors that is being considered and may give companies a leverage against the competition. Take for instance, in the restaurant industry, which would be the main focus of this paper.
Understanding how these industries faced challenges that brought out by cross-cultural, may not be an easy task to do. Many service oriented industries may focus actually may vary from developing effective and highly efficient personnel, with a promise that it will be enough and of course with the use of best processes is essential. Others may however focused or creates their core strategy in managing their customer effectively, like providing discounts, free services or any other things that customers most likely will appreciate.
Like in the case of EKS&H Company, a service oriented company where its strategy mainly revolves only to its hardworking people and loyal clients. This type of culture has made the company be known and continue to sustain good revenue results as well as satisfying both its employee and their customers. Another key actions that was done by the company, just like most multi-national companies is that it involves itself in the community, having to participate in some meaningful programs with a cause, has made the company being well appreciated.
Its core values involves:
- Integrity and high ethical standards,
- Direct, open and honest communication,
- Commitment to client,
- Product quality and reliability,
- Continual self-improvement / self-renewal,
- Having fun,
- People are the source of our strength,
- Team orientation/Commitment to each other,
- Creativity / Innovation / Risk-taking, and lastly,
- Strong work ethic.
These core values have put the company in a high level of standard in its service to its clients that is somewhat unmatched to some or hard to achieve by many. Since the company was driven by a passion for its culture, they have provided a guarantee for best service for their clients by providing the following commitment to any work that they will do for their most precious clients: Services that exceed their expectations, Timely service, Service at the highest quality standard, A team of experts who assist them by providing creative counsel, Personalized services and products built on business relationships, A networking base in the business community that serves their needs. . It is also true that services standards may vary from one place to another or one region to another. And that will be carefully discussed by understanding the standard service done in the US, Europe as well as in the Middle Eastern region. Just like in any other place in the world, US also has faced tremendous challenge in providing better service for its customers, most especially those culturally bond ones. As based from the standard of living by most Americans nowadays or even during the latter part of the 19th century.
It shows that the US is very much put more attention on convenience and play. Most of its standard service oriented company would focus on the desire to serve its customer more on the unconventional way and not that very much focusing on the very formal approach. But there are still some industries that may adopt to it, but these may be challenge a lot by the many convenient and easy to go to establishment, where Americans are used to. Americans are typically would always find a way to serve its customers not only in a fast and convenient way but also efficient as well.
What is more lacking in the standard service was the genuine touch, which is however much common to Asian counterparts, where they value more on the traits and how they can really show genuine feeling towards their jobs, the only problem really is being too sensitive. Take for instance, one of the well known American entertainment and cafe establishment, Hard Rock Cafe, which the main reputation was a fun and never ordinary experience that is being offered to its customers.
The main objective of the business is to offer a unique but fun service as well as relaxation for its valued customers. These value approach or strategies being used by the establishment have also been applied through its recruitment process, where they only hire dynamic and jolly looking and light hearted individuals in order for the new staff to easily adapt to the current processes the company is using. The company also had shown a very unconventional approach of introducing new and innovative ideas through “trial and error”.
The establishments even have implemented eight unique cultures in its operation. Train the employees in their language and style, Assist your staff in creating a volunteer philanthropy group, enforce standards, but give out “permission slips. ” Create as many plusses as possible to make mental shelf space, means “Guest arrive using the reality versus expectations scale,” Treat each customer like he/she was a guest in your home, the CEO of the company or your first date.
“We emphasize that employees need to deliver the vision-excellence is our standard, nothing else will do; memorable experiences will be created for every guest; and always err in favor of the guest-plus one,” Treat employees like they are volunteers, Flawlessly execute one initiative in each area of the Employee Life Cycle, and lastly, Do what you say you will do (values + methods=culture).
Based on research, still in the US most high performing service-oriented companies have shown focus on customer-centered. But still, most number of companies continues to have a steady decline in customer satisfaction. This is due to lack of focus on customer culture and percentage would go between 50% to 70%, even though most companies have provided highly customized customer service training. But still, the result was failure.
The reason being is that many staffs are not serious enough in doing their job, for them it is just a day in at work and even they do greet loudly their clients or customers but the real showing of genuine feeling is not there, which can easily be felt by customers. (Building a Service Oriented Culture, 2005). In the Middle East, the service standards are commonly driven by safety by its customers. Not to mention the many security issues that the region is facing has made safety as one of the main importance of service by most companies in the Middle East.
Managing safety in the workplace, but what made Middle East service popular in the global standard, is through its combination of luxury touch and quality service. It is known for a fact that Middle East is one of the richest regions in the world, with most of the world’s oil reserved is located, and has made the region made a number of companies or establishment that is an envy of many because of its very aristocratic and very expensive architectural buildings and highly expensive entertainment venues.
That is why the type of service that will be experienced is more of a “royal class” type. But what made Middle east business “boom” in this present time, is by the region employing highly effective and values oriented Asian people, which adds more cultural way of providing service, which is known for most Asian people who normally shows genuine heart and honesty towards work and they would even do all their best to work very hard not only for their serviced company but more on the money they would earn for their family back home.
That is why in this service approach that is happening in the Middle East have just made the business to grow and will be expected to grow more in the coming years and much opportunities will also be available for the neighboring Asian counterparts. While in Europe, it is somewhat a combination of Middle East and US approach. Where the region has focused more on the convenience of its people as well as security, where they treasure more now these days.
This even shows in most of their department stores and other service oriented establishments, like it has curfew time and limited hours are only being given to its public in order to prevent such irregularities or terrorist attacks. The region, most especially with the spearheading of the European Union Council, it provides a careful study on the security issue, which gives its people the well needed attention, which caters mainly on the welfare of its people and peace and prosperity across the region. Most services are mainly focuses in this idea.
European services also shown great importance to information technology, which can also be shown on how common business works and this gives a lot of savings in their operations. Like the one developed by Denmark, the electronic invoicing is just one good example that gives 5o million euros a year savings for the business and at the same time given taxpayers another savings of 120 to 150 million euros each year. With these latest trends, it provides the company a bigger savings and d at the same time efficient and accurate services.
These may also be the trend that will go on for the European region. But as the European service industry is working primarily in employing technology and other innovative ideas, there are still reports that culture will still be the competitive edge of Europe against the other region. This is because the Europe is managed by their own union, where implementation of such new ideas would not be hard to realize. The Europe’s unique ability to unite culturally could be the driving force in the future.
With the standard policy making and practices and guidelines being followed, there will be no doubt that service standards could easily be achieved. (Europe’s competitive edge: culture, 1995). But to focus primarily in the restaurant industry, how these three regions may differ on how they provide service to cross-cultural customers. To start with the United States, satisfaction of customers is not the only one that is well experience, but satisfaction from the staff themselves as well.
It maybe not known for many that the approximate amount of 42 billion US dollar annually for tips given to food industry is quite a big amount to say the least. This is how much food services establishment receives every year may truly be an enticing development for the food service industries. In this study conducted, usually customers received quality service when they give nice tip to the staff. In this article, it was look into as a bad tradition to follow, but in the US, this way has given quality service for its customers, it also gives not only excellent customer service but also allows to avoid costly monitoring of workers.
This was easily been estimated because as based from the US Census Bureau, 2006) summing the numbers gives sales of 222. 2 billion USD which is enough to see how tips can be taken from this huge sales from food industries. In fact study showed that the average tip of $6. 52 for every $34. 67 was studied. Many US restaurants for example when serving for large parties with added plates for its service is enough to say that they have offered a good service for their clients. But in fact that the cost of the tip was actually been charged but it turns out to be a sign of gratuity for the customer.
Another reason for tipping was also the culture that foes along in the establishment like in a particular restaurant where customers are used of giving tip in replace of quality service. (Azar, O, 2005). In the Middle East, the adaptation of “smart casual” is becoming a trend to most restaurants and food industries in the Middle East, since the growing standard of culture where people are always on the go for either at work or at school has made the region adopting the same approach from the US.
Currently as based from the latest trends in the restaurant industry in the Middle Easy, with the right values being practiced and the two different types of food industries like, for smart casual and formal aristocratic type of dining is what the region is employing. (Smart Casual, 2007). In Europe more urban nature and cultural tradition, their grouping of full-service restaurants offers the destination value that a multiplex cinema offers, providing a range of choices associated with high-quality food, presentation and service.
This only shows that because of European known for quality foods and exemplary service, their approach to their customers will always be a satisfying experience. This shows on how they treat customers well. In other words, quality of service and quality foods are common to most restaurants in Europe, and they even continually do some studies and creating new ideas on how they improve the business is very common. (Retail Districting, 2007). To compare the three regions as to how they provide service to their customers, most especially those cross-cultural clients.
For Americans, it shows that the drive for excellent quality service for its customers, may come customer’s recognition by giving tip is essential, and it was proven that the company performance is also reaching higher grounds. While on the other hand, for Middle Eastern type of service, with the region financial capabilities, it has created a service oriented process that works on both on hiring highly efficient staff and the luxurious setting in its restaurant has made the service a more satisfying and at the same time worthwhile experience.
It also focuses on safety, which needs to be implemented in all its workplace and restaurant industries. Lastly, for the European service, the priority of safety and convenience is what it matters the most, with the proper implementation of Information Technology, not to mention that Europe is already known for best service and quality foods and best ambiance, has made the region still one of the best place to go to. And has even earned the region a better appreciation from most of its clients.