|Author:||Chan, Yiu-wa Victor|
|Title:||A DBA research thesis on blueprinting as a strategic tool for managing service quality : a study of a retail bank in Hong Kong|
|Subject:||Banks and banking -- Customer services -- China -- Hong Kong|
Banks and banking -- China -- Hong Kong -- Quality control
Strategic planning -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
|Department:||Dept. of Management|
|Pages:||155,  leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm|
|Abstract:||Defining and delivering consistent service quality at desired levels can be problematic. The difficulties are mainly due to its complex and vague nature and the increasing demands of customers for higher levels of quality. Blueprinting is not a research method, it is a tool like Quality Function Development (QFD) which can facilitate the management of quality. The blueprinting technique is a standardized method used to encourage effectiveness by identifying the service delivery system and any failpoints it may have. A description of the research method used is provided, and a case study of its use in retail banking services is given. An attempt is made to show how fail points can be found and improved by making the customer process visible. This research analyzes the service blueprinting in the context of a retail bank in Hong Kong as a means of managing service quality. The study included personal (face-to-face) interviews with mortgage customers from different branches as well as senior management and frontline staff. The ultimate objective of this research study is to address the research questions (How can blueprinting provide insights about service quality issues? How can blueprinting provide a means of managing quality in services? How can blueprinting provide a means of controlling service quality delivery?) and find answers using the critical incident method to gain new insights into managing service quality. The new insights gained may be useful in developing a framework which can then be used as a strategic tool in managing service quality in sustaining competitiveness in the marketplace. The blueprinting results provide very specific information about problems experienced by customers. Sixteen specific steps were identified in the value delivery process where unnecessary costs were incurred or where opportunities existed for enhancing important benefits to the customer. Analysis of these individual steps led to a redesign of the entire delivery system. Significant systemic changes in value delivery included (1) increasing the number of customer contact points from 5 to 10, (2) follow-up to the customer/loan officer meeting to answer questions and demonstrate understanding of unique needs, (3) utilization of new computer software to prompt proactive loan status reports, (4) systematically-including real estate agents in the value delivery path, (5) implementing new procedures for tracking lost leads, i.e., initial inquiries that did not materialize, (6) post-closing interviews and surveys to determine customer satisfaction with services rendered, and (7) redesign of information systems enabling easier access by all employees in the value chain. The preponderance of indications of gap 3 problems reinforces the susceptibility of this gap to service failure and occurs when there is a difference betweeen service specification and delivery. Inconsistencies of service delivery are influenced by inexperience, the perceived lack of importance placed on the role of front-line personnel and the need to develop further awareness of the internal customer-supplier chain. While staff clearly understood its importance, the potential vulnerability of service delivery could be reduced by building teamwork and shared values in order to enable the component parts of the customer-supplier chain to become more congruent. Customer contact is not seen as valued: "...everyone sees it (counter service) as like a lower down job..." and conflict between front and back office staff was frequently felt: "...staff need educating as to what the service centres (back office) do and service centres need educating as to what branches do". Although concentration on a single product for a retail bank inevitably raises quesitons about generalizeability, the process/technique used to identify and select the improvement areas may be defended as a reliable and valid analytical procedure for the identification of improvement areas. The research process does create a more revealing and generalized technique for discerning quality improvement areas in service sectors. A diverse theoretical perspective of managing service quality, supported by the reviewed literature and conceptual framework offers both methodological and practical contributions. Based upon stated argument that blueprinting can be used as a strategic tool for managing service quality, a new perspective in facilitating the management of quality may now emerge. Within this research setting the three research quesitons can be answered in the affirmative. It is likely that those affirmative answers can be generalized across many service environments.|
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