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An Evaluation of the impact Service on local Buses in Manchester Effect Service on Buses in Manchester Introduction service is the manner in which a company delivers its services or products to meet customers’ needs (Small Business, n.d. ). Customers’ needs are considered in the operations of a company to ensure that they remain loyal to the company’s services or products. Customer loyalty serves to ensure prolonged business between the organization and customers, where both parties benefit. When a customer is not satisfied, they are bound to share their experience with other potential customers.

Most companies face more costs in gaining new customers than retaining old customers. However, if companies deal with complaints immediately, in most cases the disgruntled customers will come back (TRB, n.d. ). Customers benefit from better services from the company while the company enjoys profits arising from increased or prolonged business from loyal and impressed customers. This proposal shall investigate the effects that customer service has on buses offering local transport services in Manchester, a city in the United Kingdom. AIM The aim of this study is to find out the effects that customer service has on the bus service in Manchester. Objectives To investigate how important customer service is in the transport industry to all stakeholders To investigate the impact that customer service has on Buses offering service in Manchester To find out the different customer service practices that buses in Manchester can adopt to satisfy their customers Research Questions The following research questions will guide the direction of this research study: 1.

What is the importance of customer service to local bus services operating in Manchester? 2. What are the effects that customer service has on customers in Manchester? 3.

Are there any ways that customer service can be improved on buses in Manchester? Rationale The rationale for this study is to find out the importance of customer care to bus companies operating in Manchester and the effect that customer service has on bus services in Manchester. Further, this study proposes a few steps that bus service companies operating in Manchester can take to improve on customer service in order to enjoy the benefits attached to customer retention and loyalty (Pantouvakis & Lymperopoulos, 2008). By implementing the proposals provided in this document, companies have the opportunity to improve their relationship with customers, therefore improving business prospects (Small Business, n.d. ). Literature Review The bus service in Manchester has attracted investment by many companies.

Manchester has a wide bus transport network. Many residents of Manchester prefer travelling by bus because of the safety conditions that these buses provide and the structured time schedule that they offer. In that regard, bus transport has become popular among Manchester residents. However, with the number of operators having increased, customers have begun choosing among the companies for the one that offers them the best service (Pantouvakis & Lymperopoulos, 2008).

The availability of options has led to bus transport operators to develop customer service strategies in order to be ahead of the other companies competing with it. In order to develop customer service strategies, the companies have to assess the needs of customers both collectively and individually (TRB, n.d. ). Finding out the collective needs of customers helps these companies to develop attractive advertisement campaigns that would captivate the attention of customers. Finding out the individual needs of customers forms the basis of customer service, since companies get to know what every customer prefers.

Such knowledge gives these companies ideas on offers that would attract more customers to subscribe to their services. We can assess the effect of customer service on buses in Manchester in two parts. The first part is the effect that customer service has had on the bus companies. It is evident from the number of people who use the bus service that this means of transport has grown in popularity.

More people opt to use buses for their daily transport than before, therefore attracting more bus operating companies to Manchester. Customer service involves informing customers of the services that a company is offering. With customers satisfied that they receive information when they need it, a company can embark on delivering on its promises. If a customer is satisfied by services offered, they prolong their engagement with the company, which is good for business (Pantouvakis & Lymperopoulos, 2008). The second part is the effect that customer service has on customers. Customers inquire about any information that they may not have.

With customers in the know of services offered by an operator, they find it easier to decide on whether to subscribe to these services or not (Small Business, n.d. ). Customer service improves the relations that customers have in a brand. Customers may acquire information about a bus operator in Manchester through advertisements and online by going through its website. The better the customer service that a company offers to a customer the longer the customer will subscribe to the services of a company. When a customer is satisfied with services offered by a company, they develop loyalty to the company.

This loyalty places them in a good position to receive bonuses and discounts from these companies (Conner, 2006). Bus service operators in Manchester can improve Customer service in several ways. One way of improving customer service is through establishment of better communication channels between them and their customers (TRB, n.d. ). Bus companies can ensure that customers receive updates on offers and discounts on a real-time basis. These companies can improve communication through establishment of a toll-free telephone line for enquiries.

Further, these companies can interact with customers through new technology such as on social networks. These sites enable instant communication between companies, enabling them to respond to customer queries and concerns immediately. Another way to improve customer service on buses in Manchester is through offering better services during the journey (Small Business, n.d. ). These companies can put in measures to ensure that their customers are comfortable throughout the time of the journey. This can involve the provision of proxy services such as wireless internet and sockets on their buses.

This can work to assure customers that they will continue to enjoy internet connectivity as they travel. These methods, together with effectiveness in operations, will improve customer experience. Methodology For this research, both primary and secondary data collection were appropriate. Customers who use the bus service answered a few questions concerning their experience with bus companies in Manchester. They provided answers on how they benefited from these services and their level of satisfaction (Conner, 2006). Aside from that, this research used information from research previously undertaken on bus transport in Manchester.

Information from the websites of the bus companies operating in Manchester also provided part of the information gathered. The collected data would then be analysed through both qualitative and quantitative analysis methods. Quantitative data analysis will help in providing the figures associated with customer service, such as the number of times a customer uses a service and the approximate number of times they have raised complaints concerning services. Qualitative data analysis will assist in offering an insight into the degree of satisfaction with the services provided by the bus services among other topics of interest.

Resources The bus companies would each offer skilled personnel to assist in the research work. Any expenses that would be incurred during the research work such as transportation costs and the costs involved in purchasing of materials would be cost shared by the organizations. The data interpretation and analysis would be undertaken by the employees from each of the companies with the skills to undertake such analysis. This would be important when implementing the recommendations from the study. Plan of action Action Indicator Timeline Introduction of the Customer Care Charter and publication of the Customer Service Plan, visible at the front offices of the bus companies and on the company websites Existence of customer service displayed prominently in all appropriate places Immediately, for bus companies without the customer service Charter Evaluation and Monitoring of the standards of quality service as set in the Charter and the Action Plan Regular conduction of surveys; provision for feedback on the websites; publication of the outcomes of surveys Surveys to be undertaken annually Report on the progress on Customer Service Any progress reported in each of the companies’ annual report. Annual Increasing and promoting awareness of the Standards Quality Service among all employees of the bus companies Putting up of posters in all notice boards of the bus companies Training of staff Ongoing Ongoing Coordination with local authorities to improve customer experience Promotion of best practices in customer service Ongoing Continued improvement of environmental performance and publicity of the industry’s commitment to the same Engagement in corporate social responsibility activities Ongoing References Conner, P.

(2006). Customer service: utility style: proven strategies for improving customer service and reducing customer care costs.

Tulsa, Okla. : PennWell Corp. . How to Improve Customer Service in the Transportation Industry. (n. d.). Small Business. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from http: //smallbusiness. chron. com/improve-customer-service-transportation-industry-2071.html Pantouvakis, A., & Lymperopoulos, K. (2008). Loyalty and satisfaction of Customers in the eyes of new and repeat customers: Evidence from the transport industry. Service Quality Management, 18(6), 623-643. Transit: development and planning, performance and management, fare policy and marketing and quality of service capacity. (2004). Washington, D.C. : Transportation Research Board.

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