Customer Service in the Telecommunications Industry

Research Methods

Introduction

Research and analysis of the factors that are responsible for the success or failure of any business indicate that good customer service plays an integral part in the success of any business (Goodman 23). Such can be attributed to the fact that the quality of a company’s products or service can be manifested in the quality of service the customers get from the employees of the concerned organization. Nevertheless, many organizations are yet to embrace customer service as an integral marketing tool. Research has showed that most of the companies that have worst customer service are in the telecommunications industry, with majority of the customers experiencing bad customer services from employees of such companies.

The telecommunications industry requires a lot of capital to make sure that its operations are smooth and effective. In addition, companies in the telecommunications industry are in need of massive client base for them to reach their break-even point. However, having a large customer base can be serving as both a merit and a demerit to the industry in the face of the changing world due to technological advancement. For example, in the recent years the telecom industry has experienced an increase in the rate of mobile data consumption among its customers because of the introduction of smartphones to the market. With wireless data becoming available, chances are that the consumption rate is likely to rise considerably.

While the industry is recording dramatic increases in consumption of data, and other telecommunication services, no equal dramatic improvement can be noticed in the aspect of telecommunication infrastructure. An upgrade to meet the changing technologies requires a lot of time and capital to be deployed. As such, many telecommunication customers are experiencing a decline in the quality of services that they get from network and telecommunication providers. Considering the increase in demand for such services, the challenges affecting customer service are likely to increase. This paper thus looks at the importance of customer service and the factors that might lead to poor customer service in an organization. Therefore, the primary focus is on the case study of Etisalat Telecommunications Company.

Etisalat is a telecommunication company that is based in the United Arabs Emirates. It is among the leading network providers and corporations operating in United Arab Emirates. The headquarters of Etisalat are in Abu Dhabi and such a location makes it possible for the company to serve thousands of customers from all parts of the country. The company has been known for its numerous outlets in the country. In addition, Etisalat has had the opportunity of deploying several, fixed and mobile innovative technologies in different parts of the country. The United Arab Emirates has been known to be a leader in ICT for many years now because of the technologies set up by Etisalat. Presently, Etisalat has the wildest coverage of fast mobile networks such as the 4G and 3G technology. In addition, the company has set up the FTTH Network (Fibre-To-The-Home), which provides homes in the United Arab Emirates with a very fast network.

Even though the company has been experiencing a tremendous growth that has enabled it to transform into a reliable provider of ICT solutions, the Etisalat is losing most of its customers because of poor customer service and high charges on products and services. Therefore, there was a need for the company to find out the factors that are responsible for its reduced quality of customer service among its employees and the subsequent reduction of customers. For this reason, this study prepared carried out a survey with a representative sample for the study drawn from its employees.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to find out the factors responsible for the reduced quality of customer service among employees of Etisalat Company. In addition, the study seeks to find out the reasons behind a reduced number of customers buying products and/or getting services from Etisalat Company.

Research Questions

Research questions in any study are used to guide the study in coming up with the solutions affecting a given organization. It is the duty of the management of any organization to ensure that all the operations of the organization run as expected. The management can come up with research questions that are designed to help eliminating a given problem within the management. The variability of the solution to the problem at hand is the fundamental factor in deciding the answer to pick.

In the case of Etisalat Company, the management was experiencing a reduction in the quality of customer service among its employees, as well as a low turnout of customers. Solutions to the problem should be in a way that improves the quality of customer service and number of customers that get service from Etisalat Company.

Thus, research questions can be considered suitable tools used by management and research to investigate the reasons behind a given scenario within the organization. Among all the situations brought forward, the management chooses the best result. The best method is the most affordable one and one that takes the shortest amount of time to implement. Research questions give a description of the actions to take in rectifying the problem and the advantages and disadvantages of the choice of actions.

The choice of action should provide solutions to eliminate any future chances of the problem reoccurring and ensuring the best results from the situation. With good research questions, the company will increase the number of people subscribing to their services, as well as improve the quality of customer service among employees.

The study therefore, was based on the following research questions.

  1. What are the factors responsible for the reduced quality of customer service among the employees of Etisalat Company?
  2. What are the reasons behind the drop in the number of customers in Etisalat Company?
  3. What measures can the management take to rectify the situation?

Design Analysis

Structure of the Project

The research study will follow a formal structure. In this case, research questions will be used as the basis for the research questions. For this reason, the target All through the project, the primary target will be answering the research questions.

Method of Data Collection

The research will make use of communication study, with interviews and questionnaires being the primary methods of collecting data from the respondents. These methods of data collection will help in getting the necessary answers to the research questions for the project.

Time Dimensions

The passage of time may at times dictate the results of any study. As such, it is suitable to factor in the time dimensions in the overall study results. To deal with influences of passage of time, repetitive studies will offer reliable results.

Topical Scope

The scope of the project will apply the case study approach. As such, drawing on conclusions in this study will be based on the opinions and results from the respondents. The quality of the data will help in developing a lasting solution to the problem of poor customer service and reduced customer turnout in Etisalat Company.

The Participants Perception of the Research

The study will ensure that all the participating employees are briefed on the requirements of the study. Such awareness is necessary before the start of the actual study since it prepares the respondents psychologically and gives them a hint on what is expected of them during the actual study. The participants taking part in the research will follow their actual routine during the period of the project. The purpose of the study is to understand the issues behind the ductile of the sales in the proper environment without interference with the pattern.

Experimental Effects

Ex-post facto study will be the choice of study in the experimental results. The study will make use of the results from the respondents to draw conclusions on the subject under examination. For this reason, all the analysis will be based on the results obtained from the study.

Literature Review

Customer Service

Customer service refers to any form of help that a customer gets from a given organization. As such, it is the act of an organization providing help in terms of addressing customer’s needs through professional delivery and provision of high quality services that is helpful prior to making any purchases, in the course of the purchases, as well as after satisfying the customer’s need. The success of any business depends on many things including sound and realistic strategies, outstanding marketing policies, and excellent customer service. Even though many people tend to categorize customer service along with marketing, research and analysis show that customer service plays a significant role in the success of any business.

Customer service thus is the concept that takes into consideration customer’s interaction in any business. As such, customer service can be seen as the image of any organization. According to Goodman (23), a customer is a valuable tool that any organization can use in its advertising. Such can be attributed to the fact that satisfied customer will often come back for more services or products. In addition, a satisfied customer will often refer other customers to an organization whereby they received excellent services. For this reason, good customer service should be founded on promptness, politeness, professionalism, and personalization. However, many organizations do not take into consideration the value of excellent customer service and the role it plays in the success of any business.

Job Satisfaction

In organizational behavior, the aspect of great interest is the general attitude of employees towards work of job, often referred to as the job satisfaction. As such, job satisfaction is a form of individual feeling, as well as the outlook that a given person has about a job that they are doing. In addition, job satisfaction refers to the perceptions that are likely to affect the level of confidence among employees in terms of the quality of work they are dong. As such, job satisfaction has an element of single concept whereby, a given individual can be either satisfied with a given job or dissatisfied.

Nevertheless, job satisfaction features a combination of particular attitudes towards the given job that are closely linked to several aspects of the concerned job. Job satisfaction can be measured through the assessment of several factors of a given person’s job: job supervision, promotion, pay, co-workers behavior and the work itself. It is thus evident that a person can be satisfied with one aspect of a given job but be dissatisfied with other aspects of the same job. Job satisfaction and customer service are directly related. Highly satisfied employees will often work to ensure that they deliver quality services to their customers. Lack of job satisfaction thus translates to poor customer service.

Dilemma in Management

Most of the time, organizations are faced with challenges and scenarios for which they cannot comprehend the causes or the reasons behind such scenarios. Goodman (123) considered such scenarios as management dilemma. As such, the circumstances that cause management dilemma in an organization are equally responsible for cases of reduced productivity, low performance, and reduced number of sales, and decrease in profit margins.

Usually, in any organization, the management plays the role of making sure that the operations of the organization are smooth, and that all policies are geared towards realizing the goals and objectives set by the organization. However, whenever a given company experiences management dilemma, it is likely that there will be adverse effects on one or many aspects of the organization’s strategies. Such a scenario thus has negative effects in the overall production of the concerned organization in aspects of production, performance, and profit generation.

Research and analysis show that several factors such as environmental factors are responsible for any challenges that an organization may face. Considering the changing needs of customers and employees, it is likely that there are numerous demands that employees of any given organization have. Some of these demands are critical in that they play a significant role in determining the overall level of job satisfaction among the employees. For this reason, it would appear that meeting the demands of employees of any organization would have a direct impact on the performance of employees and the general productivity of the concerned organization.

In the case of Etisalat Company, there was concern over the reason behind the increased reports of poor customer service among the company’s employees. Customer service was initially used in this company as a tool to woo back existing customers as well as to attract new customers to subscribe to some of the services provided by Etisalat Telecommunications Company. In the global age, many businesses are using online strategies to manage their client base. As such, as opposed to traditional approaches organizations can rely on leads generation and referrals to make sales. However, increasing the sales volume is only possible if the given organization is in a position to maintain its existing customers, as well as attract new ones.

Usually, companies are likely to have repeat customers from happy and satisfied customers. In addition, such customers will often recommend their friends and family members to organizations where they received quality services. On the other hand, if the services of any given organization are poor and of low quality, the organization is has a high chance of losing both existing and prospective customers. For this reason, organizations nowadays are embracing the power of good customer service as a marketing tool. The advent of technology and computers has provided many platforms that organizations can use to engage with their clients. Some of these platforms include emails and websites, where customers can make enquiries on particular services and products or even seek help about a given product of service.

Management Questions

It is the duty of the management in any organization to set up measures that are needed to solve an existing management dilemma within the organization. As such, the management should brainstorm on areas that are likely cause of the management dilemma in order to eliminate it efficiently. Usually, such attempts are aimed at increasing the chances of achieving the organization’s goals, and increasing its profit margin.

For this reason, solving any problem in an organization requires the management to explore various areas to pinpoint the cause of the problem. For this reason, the management ought to apply the necessary policies to enhance the productivity of the business.

Management dilemma in any organization serves as a force that pushes the organization to apply diverse policies to rectify the concerned situation of the organization. Therefore, management questions examines any possible opportunities that once exploited can increase the productivity and performance of any given organization.

In the case of Etisalat Company, the management question was based on measures that the company can adopt to improve customer service among its employees as a way of retaining its existing customers, as well as attracting new ones.

Methodology and Research Design

Introduction

The systematic planning of actions that are applied in the collection of information and subsequent analysis of data in a logical manner that help in realization of the purpose of any given study is called the study design (Creswell 29). Examples of the study designs include descriptive, cross-sectional, experimental, and explorative researches. Research methodology refers to the principles and processes that are applied to collect data that can be utilized in decision making, in business and/or social setting. This section of the paper will therefore concentrate on the research methodologies and design to be used in the research.

Research Designs

The research on factors responsible for low customer turnout and reduced customer service among the employees of Etisalat will focus on what has been achieved and the constraints faced by the customers and perhaps the employees in this company. The necessary information will be obtained through a survey and interviews on the employees of Etisalat Company.

The research will be comprehensive and combination of two study designs will be applied, they include descriptive and cross sectional. The descriptive research design will apply to this study, as it is very crucial in assisting to provide answers relating to how research problem has affected a given societal situation. For instance, in gauging the effectiveness of the customer service on customers’ purchasing power, there will be a need to describe the tangible effects so far and reasons behind the effects. In many occasions, the descriptive study is applied as a precursor for a quantitative. The descriptive study also gives indexes to the variables that need to be examined. In addition, the descriptive study leads to reliable data from which inferences and recommendations can be drawn.

The research on Etisalat Company in United Arabs Emirates will cover a small geographical area. Representative data will be necessary if the results are to be reliable and valid. Descriptive studies are appropriate in collection of reliable amount of data. However, there are obvious shortcomings of the descriptive study; for instance, the study is mainly depended on instrumentation of measurements and observation. There is thus need for a study design that will complement the descriptive study and ensure that quantitative data is obtained.

Target Population

Target population involves the entire people or units of which the study intends to collect information from and draw inferences. According to Creswell (29), the target population depends on the phenomenon to be studied and the data that is desired. The research will target the employees of Etisalat Company in the United Arab Emirates.

Sampling Design

A sample is a subsection of the target population. To arrive at a sample size, proper sampling techniques should be applied. A sample should be a representative of the target population. Sampling design comprises of the sampling frame, sampling techniques and sample size.

Sample

A sample is usually drawn from the target population. Sampling frame represents the working population that is to be utilized in the study (Denzin and Lincoln 20). According to Denzin and Lincoln (18) if a sample frame is taken correctly it will lead to a sample that can be used for the population as a whole. As such, the study will interview only three employees of Etisalat, and the results from the respondents will be used to represent the situation and opinions of all employees in this company.

Sampling Techniques

The sampling technique to be applied is the simple random sampling procedure. This method will allow the research to be very inclusive, bearing in mind that the study aims at collecting reliable data about poor customer service and the reduced customer turnout in Etisalat Company. The random sampling will give all the employees in the sample frame an equal chance of being represented in the sample.

Simple random sampling is very effective in getting a representative sample from a large sample group. The sample frame has many employees and all the employees should be given an opportunity to be included irrespective of the region, thus the simple random will be appropriate. Creswell (29) noted that the simple random sampling technique is free from human bias and avoids the classification errors, by giving each unit an equal chance of being selected. If correctly administered, the technique leads to highly representative sample population.

In addition to the simple random technique, a purposive sampling will be applied in the identification of the people to be interviewed. The purposive sampling depends on judgment of the researcher in the selection of the people to be included in the study. The purpose behind this sampling technique is to focus on particular aspect of the unit/population that will provide the answers to the research questions.

According to Creswell (29), purposive sampling is advantageous when specific information is required from specific people. In such a case, specific information will be required from the employees. A stratified purposeful sampling, which will target the groups of interest, will be applied. The combination of the simple random and purposeful sampling is expected to give comprehensive data for the research.

Sample Size

The determination of the sample size is depended on the number of replication that can be applied in drawing inferences about the population/units. The type of data required for the research normally determines the sample size. Sample sizes are important in determining precision of the research (Denzin and Lincoln 18). In a research, a sample size can be small or large; the researchers, resources available and the purpose of the research again dictate the sample size. This research by application of the random sampling will have a sample size of three employees.

Data Collection Methods

The research is aimed at determining the reasons behind the low turnout of customers in Etisalat Company and the subsequent reduced quality in customer service among the employees of this company. To find out the complexities that may be affecting the quality of customer service and reduction in number of customers’ subscription, there are study questions that will guide the research.

As a result, the type of data collection that will ensure that comprehensive data is gathered will be applied. According to Denzin and Lincoln (20), the method of data collection is normally influenced by the research strategies, the point of collection, and the person to carry out the research. The main types of data collection methods to be used in the study will include secondary sources of data collection.

Design of the surveys

The study adopted a causal explanatory format with the primary objective being to find out the factors that are responsible for reduced quality of customer service among the employees of Etisalat Company, and the subsequent reduction in customer in the company. The results from the study will help in answering the research questions and thus provide a lasting solution to the problem bad customer service and the subsequent low turnout of customers.

A purposive qualitative design will be employed in the study. In addition, the study will employ a small sample size considering that the primary aim of the study is on quality as opposed to a large sample size. For this reason, three individuals will be interviewed whereby they will be required to answer a list of five questions. Interviews are good research instruments that can be applied in collection of information in order to gain insights into attitudes and perceptions.

They also serve to explore personal differences, experiences, and outcomes. The interviews will be guided interviews, as they will probe to get specific information from the respondents. The three individuals will comprise employees of Etisalat Company since the employees have a direct contact with the customers.

For this reason, the employees have a high chance of influencing the purchasing power of customers based on how best they handle the customers. Along with the personal interview, the study will also make use of self-administered survey to collect more data on the company’s problem. The self-administered survey will have 20 questions, which will be designed to suit a qualitative approach.

The Actual Survey

The actual survey will have the following questions that will guide the respondents in providing the necessary information regarding the quality of customer service among the employees, and the reduction in the turnout of customers in the company.

  1. What are the factors responsible for the reduced quality of customer service among the employees of Etisalat Company?
  2. What are the reasons behind the drop in the number of customers in Etisalat Company?
  3. What measures can the management take to rectify the situation

Self-Administered Survey

  1. What are the factors responsible for the reduced quality of customer service among the employees of Etisalat Company?
  2. What are the reasons behind the drop in the number of customers in Etisalat Company?
  3. What measures can the management take to improve customer service among employees?
  4. What measures can the management take to increase the rate of customer turnout?
  5. Which advertising methods can work for increasing the customer turnout in Etisalat Company?
  6. Can reduction of the charges on services and products make a significant change?
  7. How can the management deal with the competition aspect in ensuring the restoration of sales?
  8. Can the improvement on the design of the service card meet the market expectations?
  9. Did the research conclusively review the course and cause of the drop in sales of the service cards?
  10. Were the measures taken by management sufficient in rectifying the issue of poor quality of customer service?
  11. Was there sufficient promotion of the products and services offered by the company?
  12. Can increase in employee satisfaction and the subsequent employee training and development make a significant impact?
  13. Can the recruitment of new employees bring a change in the quality of customer service?
  14. How did motivation of employees improve the quality of customer service?
  15. Can the reduction of cost of the products and services be a viable option in promoting the company?
  16. What are the benefits of a technological advancement pertaining to the quality of customer service?
  17. Did management employ the best measures in rectifying the customer service issue?
  18. Did the research employ adequate measures in the survey of the reasons for the reduced customer turnout?
  19. Did measures taken by management solve the impending problem?
  20. Are the solutions long lasting and implementable?

Survey Questions for the Three Respondents

  1. Were the measures taken to resolve the problem viable?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  2. Are the reasons behind the drop in the number of customers in Etisalat Company applicable?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  3. Are the measures taken by the management to improve customer service among employees viable?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  4. Did the measures the management took to increase the rate of customer turnout make any significant change to the situation?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  5. Did advertising increase the customer turnout in Etisalat Company?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  6. Can reduction of the charges on services and products make a significant change?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  7. Can the management deal with the competition aspect by improving the quality of customer service?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  8. Can the improvement on the quality of customer service and the reduction in prices meet the market expectations?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  9. Did the research conclusively review the course and cause of problem?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  10. Were the measures taken by management sufficient in rectifying the issue of poor quality of customer service?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  11. Was there sufficient promotion of the products and services offered by the company?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  12. Can increase in employee satisfaction and the subsequent employee training and development make a significant impact?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  13. Can the recruitment of new employees bring a change in the quality of customer service?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  14. Can the motivation of employees improve the quality of customer service?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  15. Can the reduction of cost of the products and services be a viable option in promoting the company?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  16. Are there any benefits of a technological advancement in improving the quality of customer service?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  17. Did management employ the best measures in rectifying the customer service issue?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  18. Did the research employ adequate measures in the survey of the reasons for the reduced customer turnout?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  19. Did measures taken by management solve the impending problem?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure
  20. Are the solutions long lasting and implementable?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Not sure

Results of the survey

What are the factors responsible for the reduced quality of customer service among the employees of Etisalat Company?

Lack of employee motivation 2
Lack of training 1
Inadequate resources 0

What are the reasons behind the drop in the number of customers in Etisalat Company?

Poor customer service 1
Competition from other providers 1
Expensive products and services 1

What measures can the management take to improve customer service among employees?

Employee motivation 2
Employee Training and Development 1
Recruiting new employees 0

What measures can the management take to increase the rate of customer turnout?

Improve customer service by ensuring high degree of employee satisfaction 1
Investing in promotion and advertisement 1
Reduction of prices on products and services 1

Responses from the three respondents on the survey questions were recorded as follows.

Were the measures taken to resolve the problem viable?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 1 1 1

Are the reasons behind the drop in the number of customers in Etisalat Company applicable?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 3 0 0

Are the measures taken by the management to improve customer service among employees viable?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 1 1 1

Did the measures the management took to increase the rate of customer turnout make any significant change to the situation?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 2 1 0

Did advertising increase the customer turnout in Etisalat Company?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 0 3 0

Can reduction of the charges on services and products make a significant change?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 3 0 0

Can the management deal with the competition aspect by improving the quality of customer service?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 3 0 0

Can the improvement on the quality of customer service and the reduction in prices meet the market expectations?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 2 1 0

Did the research conclusively review the course and cause of the problem?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 3 0 0

Were the measures taken by management sufficient in rectifying the issue of poor quality of customer service?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 2 1 0

Was there sufficient promotion of the products and services offered by the company?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 3 0 0

Can increase in employee satisfaction and the subsequent employee training and development make a significant impact?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 3 0 0

Can the recruitment of new employees bring a change in the quality of customer service?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 0 2 1

Can the motivation of employees improve the quality of customer service?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency

Can the reduction of cost of the products and services be a viable option in promoting the company?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 2 0 1

Are there any benefits of a technological advancement in improving the quality of customer service?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 2 1 0

Did management employ the best measures in rectifying the customer service issue?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 1 1 1

Did the research employ adequate measures in the survey of the reasons for the reduced customer turnout?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 3 0 0

Did measures taken by management solve the impending problem?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 1 2 0

Are the solutions long lasting and implementable?

Yes No Not sure
Frequency 2 1 0

Data Analysis and Conclusion

Summary of findings

The findings from the study showed that, 66.67% of the respondents cited lack of employee motivation as the major factors responsible for bad customer service. The rest of the respondents (33.33%) agreed that lack of employee plays a significant role in bad customer service among the employees.

However, as far as the reduction in the number of customers subscribing services from Etisalat was concerned, the respondents blamed the situation on poor customer service, expensive products and services, as well as stiff competition from other providers. For this reason, the findings indicated that enhancing employee motivation, training, and development could help increase the level of employee job satisfaction, which would in turn influence the quality of customer service among employees of Etisalat Company.

In addition, it was evident that for the company to restore its image and recover the lost customers it was required to improve customer service by ensuring high degree of employee satisfaction, invest in promotion and advertisement, as well as reduce the prices on its products and services. There was also the need to promote the products and services of the company as a way of wooing back customers considering that the company would reduce its prices. IN Addition to the above strategies, adopting the use of technology would help a lot in the general operations of the company. Majority of the respondents felt that such measures were long lasting and amendable.

Analysis of findings

From the findings of the study, it was evident that the needs of both customers and employees are very important for any given business to succeed (Goodman 23). It was also evident that the quality of customer service is tied to the level of employees’ job satisfaction. As such, if the employees are not satisfied with the work they do, perhaps due to lack of motivation, they will not be in a position to offer the best to the customers.

The following table summarizes the findings from the survey in terms of most positive answers, negative answers, and non-decided answers on particular issues.

Table 1: Summary of survey results.

Majority Yes Majority No No Majority
Viability of measures taken Yes
Application of the case of customer dropping Yes
Ability of management efforts to change the situation Yes
Advertising impact was positive yes
Price reduction was positive Yes
Market expects customer reduction Yes
Market expects improvement in customer service Yes
Research was comprehensive Yes
Adequate marketing took place Yes
Recruitment will be necessary Yes
Management solutions solve the problem Yes
Solutions are sustainable Yes

There is no substantial agreement or disagreement of whether the measures taken to resolve the problem are viable. On the other hand, there was an outright agreement by respondents concerning the reasons to drop out of Etisalat Companies, as provided by customers. A follow-up to the question was whether management is doing enough to improve customer service among employees, and the answer was not an affirmative or no. A majority of the respondents agree that the measures taken by the management to increase the customer turnout was salient and would change the situation, but a minority expressed opposition to the fact.

As a remedy, the management had the option of advertising, and it exercised it. Respondents disagree that the action increased customer turnout in the company. They also agree that reduction in prices will make a significant change in the financial performance of the company due to a rise in the number of customers. At the same time, they agree that management can effectively deal with competition by improving the quality of service rendered to clients.

The verdict is that the research conclusively reviewed the course and the cause of the problem. However, a minority of responses show that measures taken by management were not sufficient in rectifying the issue of poor quality of customer service. There was enough promotion of products and services by Etisalat Company. Besides that, there is hope expressed by all respondents that an increase in employee satisfaction and subsequent employee training and development will make a significant impact on the company. Besides, the recruitment of new employees will not bring a change in the quality of customer service, though a minority of the respondents was unsure of this claim. Nevertheless, a reduction of cost of the products and services appears as viable options for promoting the company although a minority was not sure of the option. Similarly, there was belief expressed in the abilities of technological advancements to improve the quality of customer service.

Management may not have employed the best measure in rectifying the customer service issue. On the other hand, the research employed adequate measures in the survey but the actions taken by management did not solve the impending problem. However, a minority of responses shows that management was effective in solving the impending problem. A majority of respondents also believe that the solutions are long-lasting, and they are implementable.

The findings from survey questions directed at three respondents in the study help to bring out an affirmative conclusion about the customer care problem. They also highlight interventions by the management in addressing issues. Each question provides a perception of a solution or expected solution to the main problem. Also, the responses help to clarify expectations of theoretical research and the reality, which here is offered by the company case. Some theories can help explain why management appears not to be fully able to reverse the situation. Also, the theories also contribute to explain why some interventions are considered viable while others are not. In many instances, the problems affecting Etisalat Company, regarding its quality of customer service and the resultant drop in its number of clients is a conventional one. Nevertheless, there are unique attributes only applicable to the company’s case.

For any company to stay profitable, it has to increase its number of customers per its growth. It also has to retain its existing customers and sell more to them. Companies fail in this aspect when they have poor service management and when they face unfavorable service recovery situations. Some customer retention activities that would be useful to any company, which is having problems with its customer care. It is important to see service failure management and service recovery as necessary measures that management takes to retain a company’s competitiveness. Therefore, looking at everything from the aspect of an external competitive environment should help management align its strategies well.

This study brings out the problems affecting the Etisalat Company. It also discusses solutions, whose implementation helps change the circumstances facing the company. Additional competition from rivals will arise. The company will best tackle the present and future problems in its quality of service delivery by creating a unique value proposition and working on ways to keep its value different and profitable compared to offers from rival companies.

Understanding Etisalat Company problems from a theoretical view

Irrespective of the efforts by service companies to retain, customers will lose their loyalty to an enterprise. Customers will experiment. They will purchase from competitors and will respond to product and service promotions from competitors. In the end, customers are looking for better prices and quality services. In this regard, it is not enough to concentrate on satisfying customers. A company must also consider building relationships with clients. Relationships will allow the company to have a personality that customers can relate. Even when they are buying from rivals, they will be able to associate certain qualities with the given company. This will be the pathway for recurrent engagement behaviour by customers on a business’s products.

In the case of Etisalat Company, service failure management is the critical thing to do. The service failure is the inability to meet the expectations of customers. This would be concerning a prescribed standard of delivery. Often, a company makes the standards by its marketing campaigns. It shapes the expectations of customers. In a typical marketplace, there are upbeat encounters with clients that need adequate management. On the other hand, there are dissatisfying encounters that also need appropriate management. It is wrong for management to expect a non-varied interaction process with customers over a given period. On the customer’s side, a service failure would be a situation that goes wrong about a service received.

The service failure is a reasonable thing for any service-oriented organization. Errors occur due to the human element of organizations. However, persistent and sometimes predictable service failure is not good for a company’s reputation. It can lead to massive change in customer loyalty. This negatively affects a company’s financial performance. Besides, the service offered, and the service providers are usually inseparable. Therefore, it is understandable when customers decided to drop from using Etisalat Company when they encounter poor quality of customer care. Customers do not have a persistent ability to differentiate between in incident of bad customer care quality and bad company reputation overall.

Moreover, interactions between clients and the services offered by Etisalat Company are many. Any failure, at any point, becomes as an overall company failure in the customer’s perspective. The eventuality of failures does not give management room to relax in its efforts to combat service quality deterioration. Management needs to handle quality of customer care properly from the beginning. It should not be concentrating on responding to issues once they emerge. However, it must have a technique that is appropriate for responding to issues of quality of customer care. Achieving the right quality of customer care will require identification of possible failure points in the service delivery process. It will also happen through the exploration of methods that prevent the failure points.

In Etisalat Company’s case, the failure points include employees at the point of interaction with customers. Overall, mishandling of customers is due to poor and inadequate training and negligence of customer care principles. Negligence could be attributed back to lack of motivation. It can also be due to laxity in enforcement of employee discipline while at work. Lack of performance-based measurements could also negatively affect the interaction of workers and customers in the course of delivering customer care services. Coming up with a documented report on failure points is a step forward for the organization. The report can be the basis of periodic reviews that ensure a minimum threshold of customer service quality persists.

The company, in its quest to seal loopholes in customer service quality, must request customers to provide insights into the causes of its problems. It must also be elaborate in the process, similar to this research, seeking to find all potential causes of the failures. Surveillance of employees is also critical. The company has the option of using self-reported surveys and outright recording and review of all employee and customer interactions. Monitoring of traditional feedback is also essential. The client intelligence report that would arise from these surveillance practices will assist the company to develop a comprehensive answer to the problem of poor customer quality service. This will then be applicable with the suggestions put in the survey on things that management ought to do to resolve the matter.

The suggestions about advertising and improvement in marketing point to the need for customers to experience the ease of use with the current offerings. It is important for the customer not to feel overwhelmed by offerings. They should assume control of their usage decisions, and this will allow them to partake in positive word-of-mouth communication. The company needs to market its products as part of its efforts to handle challenges posed by competitive rivalry in its industry. However, it also needs to have a unique approach that prevents its rivals from copying its strategies and taking up its market share. It needs to engage its customers in the process such that a combined effort that is hard to copy becomes valuable and sustainable as a competitive quality.

The physical surrounding would be an important part of analysing failure points, but most of customer service in the case of Etisalat Company is in remote interactions. Customers rely on telephone or electronic options to communicate with the company’s employees. However, there are points of physical interactions. These include the stores where Etisalat sells various merchandise for connectivity services that it offers. Examining the structure of interactions in these spaces would be the first step in addressing the possible failure points. After the physical environment, the company must also think about non-physical failure points. The critical ones are those that allow employees to interact with customers without supervisor overlook.

Moreover, as suggested by responses from the survey, training of workers will be an important aspect of ensuring that quality of customer care improves. Employees play a significant role in diffusing customer tensions. They can act as good ambassadors for a company and help it enhance its customer relations image. On the other hand, when employees feel inadequate and when management disgruntles them, they can use their opportunities for interacting with customers to even the score. Management should be on the lookout for such behaviour, and must ensure that it does everything possible to consider the demands and working circumstances of its employees as internal stakeholders.

The table below display the major insights of the findings and a summary of the analysis based on theoretical expectations of the case, and the reality presented according to responses and motivations by Etisalat Company.

Outlook of motivators and outcomes of actions taken now and in future by Etisalat Company to correct issues with reduced customer satisfaction from the quality of its customer care service.
Table 2: Outlook of motivators and outcomes of actions taken now and in future by Etisalat Company to correct issues with reduced customer satisfaction from the quality of its customer care service.

Preventing employee related causes of decline in quality of customer service

Poor communication or lack of communication between employees is one of the leading causes of service failure. Employees need to communicate among themselves and with customers. Any information that requires clarification should be availed, and conversations should flow to and from a particular employee. Communication will include employee voice. This refers to the interests and concerns that employees might have about their job. Employees should have a channel for talking about their concerns without interference from management. Being able to express concern and giving feedback to management will be significant in determining the interaction that an employee will eventually have with a customer.

Another cause of poor quality of customer service is multifaceted activities in the course of customer service delivery. Interconnected tasks for employees induce challenges that can become sources of service failure. It is important for management to break down all tasks into manageable components. This will allow employees to be accountable. It will also facilitate measurement of progress and serve as a source of employee motivation. Employees will become satisfied with their work when they can quantify their performance in some easy to document tasks. However, complex tasks that rely much on a coordinated effort by different employees can create problems. They can make it difficult for an employee to respond to a customer query within promised feedback duration (Cranage 212).

From a theoretical perspective, it is easy to focus on the points of service failures and address them. In reality, just as with any human-to-human interactions, there are some challenges that should be expected. The conditions for solving the problems identified may not be identical. At the same time, management often has performance pressures that it needs to respond. Moreover, the competition in the industry could be running marketing campaigns that make it necessary for Etisalat Company to respond to their efforts with similar campaigns. Thus, it is not always easy and straightforward to have management correcting the problems identified under service failure in a service-oriented company like Etisalat Company.

Besides the concerns highlighted above, and the scepticism that respondents expressed in the survey responses, management still has some options to use that can be fruitful. Management can always interview employees to determine the ones that have good communication skills. Those should be the ones in charge of customer interaction whenever it is necessary for a customer service setting. Having employees with excellent communication skills as empowered staff members who handle clients in a proactive manner will deliver a good brand image for Etisalat Company.

Another alternative of bringing the reality with theoretical assumptions on service delivery is by altering the organization structure. Sometimes, the structure handles failed communication. It can also handle employee disempowerment. Changing the structure can lead to better employee motivation. It can also lead to increased proactive behaviour by employees towards customer service delivery. This will assist in reversing the current drop in customer numbers. As alluded before, it is important to break down service tasks such that many employees can handle them interchangeably. Standardizing the tasks in customer service and providing guidelines for proactive employee behaviour will promote agility in the client service department of the company.

Agility is essential. The company can have spikes in customer service demand, and it should be able to respond with an increase in personnel without having to hire others. With divisible service tasks, it will be easy for management to redistribute workloads when there are spikes in demand. On the other hand, there must be adequate control and knowledge of all process. Managers at the middle level and senior level should be aware of what is happening in the various interactions that customers and employees have. Use of technology to improve communication surveillance would be a welcome initiative. However, the technology must only be a facilitating tool. Focus on management must remain in the organization of the customer service department and service delivery. Management has to keep score of its involvements and effect of its participation in employee motivation to express organization citizenship behaviour and proactive interaction with customers.

Recovering from the current problem

The recommended steps that Etisalat Company should follow to recover from its problem come from theoretical foundations and the observed and analysed responses from this research. The company needs to return to a state of customer satisfaction. It must come up with a winning strategy that brings back its valuable customers. It needs to plan for the recovery. In addition, it has to ensure that all problems of implementing the recovery strategy have potential solutions in place. Most importantly, a strategy for maintaining the recovery results should be in place. After elimination of the causes of the drop in quality of customer service, Etihad Company has to find ways that stop reoccurrence of similar problems. The following chart shows the opportunities available in correcting service failure at the company.

SWOT analysis of service quality of customer care at Etisalat Company.
Figure 1: SWOT analysis of service quality of customer care at Etisalat Company.

According to Zhu, Sivakumar and Parasuraman (497), service failure can be in two parts. First, it can be in terms of whether the failure is due to customer anticipation or whether the failure is in the process of service delivery. The second part is the threshold of failure. A business must have a service threshold that is aspires to maintain. If customers feel that the service is poor when the business is meeting its threshold, then customers have higher expectations. A business can remedy the situation by managing customers’ expectation or increasing its service quality threshold.

In the case of Etisalat Company, the company has a minimum service threshold. From the responses of the survey and the problem statement of the company, the company needs to issue apologies, define its personality and increase its threshold of quality for customer service. It can do this by motivating employees, subdividing tasks and increasing performance measurements for its customer care service delivery. An apology and a price reduction through a promotion campaign will help in dealing with less serious service failures. This explains why there was a minority of responses showing dissatisfaction with correction efforts by management. The interventions highlighted here only work in cases of minor service failures such as isolated incidents of customer care failure.

A persistent failure of customer care quality requires an elaborate response. Cranage (213) demand that a company should pay attention to customers who complain. They are likely to return to the company in future. Customers who fail to complain when service is bad are less likely to return, but they can spread the information to other people about service at the company being bad. However, the company can control the conversation about its service quality by being proactive in addressing complaints and ensuring that it does the right things to recover customers before and when they are spreading negative publicity. Customers express emotional bonds to the company based on their previous interactions and their expectations. Therefore, developing a tailored service that is sincere and owns up to mistakes will be the first step towards recovering (Zhu, Sivakumar and Parasuraman 500).

The aim of this first step is to solicit additional customer feedback and employee feedback that will help improve the recovery strategy. Management ought to listen to all stakeholders, especially customers and employees. At the same time, the size of customer bonds in inversely proportional to tolerance for service failure (Mattila 584). A hybrid strategy will suffice. It should deal with the emotionally bonded customers in a different way. It should also allow other customers to experience change and change their perceptions about Etisalat Company. The best approach would be for the company to have a training session for its employees that empowers them to provide solutions. Given that employees have the first experience in customer care, they should be able to highlight opportunities and challenges.

Recommendations

The management should use the outcomes of its training sessions to devise ways of monitoring and evaluation that build on what the company is already doing. It is important to avoid drastic changes that could bring out employee shock in the change process and cause resistance to the improvement program. Embracing a customer-desired personality will ensure that Etisalat Company can regain customer loyalty. However, the increase in customer services should also accompany improvements in overall service quality to limit complaints and other inconveniences (Mattila 586). The company should offer explanations for service failures, empower employees to be proactive when they are receiving complaints and make sure that employees that deal physically with customers have a professional presentation, and they are dressed in a way that represents the right image of the company.

The other recommendation is for Etisalat Company to conduct exit interviews with customers as they end their interaction. This can include asking for feedback in stores. It can also include instances when employees are handling customer queries. It should happen in a non-obstructive way. Customers can receive encourages on sharing their experiences with social media and other electronic gateway channels such as smartphone applications. These features allow customers to respond first to the company before they go on to share negative news about their frustration to their network of friends and acquaintances.

Conclusion

The drop in the number of customers at Etisalat due to bad customer service was enough proof that customer service is very significant in any business. For this reason, Etisalat should maintained high satisfied and trained employees, uphold quality customer service, and charge considerable prices for its products and services. Such approaches will help the company to maintain a large market share and wide customer base.

Works Cited

Cranage, David. “Plan To Go To Right: And Plan for Recovery.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 16.4 (2004): 210-219. Print.

Creswell, John. Research Design. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, 2014. Print.

Denzin, Norman, and Yvonna Lincoln. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2011. Print.

Goodman, John A. Strategic Customer Service. New York: AMACOM, 2009. Print.

Mattila, Anna. “The Effectivenss of Service Recovery in a Multi-Industry Setting.” Journal of Services Marketing 15.7 (2001): 583-596. Print.

Zhu, Zhen, Sivakumar Kuppusamy, and Parasuraman Amrita. “A Mathematical Model of Service Failure and Recovery Strategies.” Decision Sciences 35.3 (2004): 493-517. Print.