Exploring service quality in bank customers’ face-to-face experience

1. The observation is very important when a research is conducted, especially if the research aims at the finding out the customers’ experience or the quality of services provided by an organization to customers. In such a context, the decision of Hannah to become a complete observer can be justified because the observation is an essential condition of the reliability of her study of the customers’ experience. In actuality, Hannah can justify her intention to become a complete observer by objectives of her study and its outcomes, which can have a positive effect on the bank. What is meant here is the fact that she needs to observe the work of the staff as well as behavior and reactions of customers on the work of employees. In such a way, she can learn whether customers are really satisfied with the quality of services provided by the bank’s employees for them.
At the same time, she cannot focus on a few branches only, because she needs to make complete observations in order to get more information on the quality of services and customers’ experience. In fact, if she focuses on a few branches only, she can miss problems customers can have on other branches. Obviously, the bank functions as a solid mechanism where either branch matters. Therefore, it is impossible to make an overall assessment and analysis of the work of the bank’s employees, if some branches are not observed.
2. On the other hand, Hannah is not really adopting the role of observer as a participant. In actuality, what she does is actually the observation, which bears some elements of control over the work of employees of the bank. To put it more precisely, Hannah is not a neutral observer, who could perform the role of an observer as a participant. She is interested in the research of the quality of the services provided for customers because she is working in the bank and, therefore, her attitude to the work of employees can be biased. At any rate, she can hardly be an objective observer-participant. In addition, Hannah needs to verify her findings in order to make objective conclusions that means that she may have some difficulties with such evaluation of her findings if she becomes an observer-participant. However, she is not really an observer-participant because she is not directly involved in the process of delivery or receiving services. In other words, she distances from what she observes because she is supposed to sit and observe. In order to make her approach more like an observant-participant, she needs at least communicate with both employees and customers, but she apparently fails to do it in her plan. Therefore, it is unlikely that she will be able to become a participant. In fact, without the communication with employees and customers she will be unable to adequately understand and assess the quality of services supplied by employees to customers.
3. Furthermore, Hannah’s presence can produce a considerable impact on the data she collected. First of all, employees will know they are being observed. Therefore, they are likely to change their normal, regular behavior in order to produce a positive impression on the observer. Moreover, even if they did not know that Hannah is an observer, they would grow nervous seeing a person sitting in the bank branch and observing the routine work of the staff. In such a way, the behavior of employees will differ from the norm that affects the data collected by Hannah dramatically. In addition, she attempts to observe all the branches in the bank that means that consciously or not she will compare them to each other that can increase the risk of errors in the process of data collection, though the use of photographs can help to solve this problem partially. On the other hand, photographs can make the personnel nervous even more, while customers can also be disturbed by the fact of being photographed in the bank.
4. Basically, the recording form developed by Hannah seems to be good, but still it can be improved. To put it more precisely, her form seems to be a bit rigid and deprived of flexibility. For instance, during her observations she can have some new ideas to add, but, according to her plan, she strictly sticks to research objectives, which being important, still deprive her of an opportunity of introduction of some changes in the form and in the observation at large. For instance, Hannah can reveal an important problem which needs to be researched, but if it does not meet her original objectives she, according to her form, will ignore this problem, even though it may indirectly affect her findings. In addition, it is possible to introduce some questionnaires to ensure that the observer has managed to interpret adequately the reaction and responses of customers to services they receive. In other words, questionnaires can be used to assess the level of customers’ satisfaction with the quality of services.

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