Title

Utilizing the Service Transaction Analysis Method in a Real-World Service Operations Project

Document Type

Article

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Request a copy of the paper from the author: Angela M. Wicks

Request a copy of the paper from the author: John K. Visich

Abstract

This paper describes a new method to link theory and practice using a real-world, two-part, group service project for Operations Management (OM) courses. In Part 1, students determine the mission statement, competitive priorities and antecedents of customer satisfaction for the fast food industry. The students also identify the order winners and order qualifiers related to the competitive priorities and antecedents of customer satisfaction. In Part 2, students conduct a field study of a fast food restaurant selected by the instructor. The service transaction analysis technique introduced by Johnston (1999) is used to evaluate the service process for two visits to the restaurant. During one visit, students use the walk-in service; during the second visit, students use the drive-thru service. A formal written report is required where students compare their views from Part 1 with the outcomes from Part 2, identify the most positive and negative messages received during the visits, determine the root cause(s) for the negative messages, and suggest ways to correct the problems in order to improve customer satisfaction. This project has numerous benefits. Students develop a deeper understanding of what they have learned in the classroom by applying the concepts to a real-world situation. They learn to prepare a detailed analysis of a service process that helps the students understand the importance of designing a service process that ensures customer satisfaction. In addition, the students can easily relate to the project. Students assume the customer role; all students have experience as customer, and the lack of work experience is not a detriment. For instructors, the project minimizes the problems associated with recruiting companies to work with the students. This is especially beneficial to new instructors who have not yet established local industry contacts. The project can be used in undergraduate, graduate, and elective programs, and the project can be adapted for Marketing and Computer Information Systems courses.

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