We recently published Service Encounters in Tourism, Events and Hospitality by Miriam Firth. In this post the author tells us what to expect from the book.
Satisfying customers and management is not enough. What do the staff think and feel when creating service encounters in tourism, events and hospitality?
The industries of tourism, events and hospitality require service encounters to offer customers intangible products. The service encounters form customer opinion on the business and are often referred to when evaluating service quality and customer satisfaction. But what are the staff perspectives on completing these? Where is the TripAdvisor for staff who want to complain about customers who do not behave appropriately? How does the front/back of house culture affect the service? What culture shocks does an Asian staff member have when serving a European customer in a UK business? These are some of the questions students can consider when using this book. Staff voices are presented in storied incidents from graduates working as staff in businesses associated with these industries to enable understanding and reflection on staff positions when creating service encounters.
In the book I present an examination of existing key terms often taught in programmes management in further and higher education: service quality, soft skills, intercultural communication/sensitivity, emotional/aesthetic/sexualised labour, co-production/-creation, humour use, and legal frameworks are all discussed and aligned to graduate/staff storied incidents for students to consider the staff perspective. When using these stories in my own classes students naturally open up further discussion of their own stories, or opinions on the stories. I have found that these stories enable easier access to theory by considering how and where these manifest in ‘real life’ situations and support critical examination in a more approachable frame. Rather than showcasing a case study of industry, this book offers insights from the staff creating the industry.
Within the discussion presented I question the validity of consistent focus on ‘management’ and ‘customer,’ or how management can support staff to do more, or how staff can listen and work with customers to offer more. I also expand current models on service encounters to include colleagues, management and suppliers and question the large cultural positions taken in contexts of transnational flows of people (including the staff themselves).
As a former worker and manager from these industries I often think of my own stories and incidents when serving customers. The people are what make these industries a fantastic and enjoyable location to pursue a career within, but these experiences are mostly created by the staff, not the customers nor management. This book praises the work completed by staff delivering service encounters and outlines the armoury of skills and knowledge utilised when delivering an intangible product. It also shows ways in which individuals and small cultures form the experiences and how the staff not only create, but educate management and customers within these contexts.
For more information about this book please see our website.
If you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism and Humour by Philip L. Pearce and Anja Pabel.