Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and a business professor.
Tom: Thanks for seeing me, Professor Jackson.
Professor Jackson: Sure, Tom. What can I do for you?
Tom: I’m gonna do my term project on service design, oh, what you see as a customer—the physical layout of the building, the parking lot. And I thought I’d focus on various kinds of eateries—restaurants, coffee shops, cafeterias, so I’d also analyze where you order your food, where you eat, and so on.
Professor: Wait, I thought you were going to come up with a hypothetical business plan for an amusement park. Isn’t that what you emailed me last week?
Professor: I could’ve sworn. Oh, I’m thinking of a Tom from another class. Tom Benson. Sorry, sorry.
Tom: No problem. I did email you my idea, too, though.
Professor: Oh, that’s right. I remember now. Restaurants, yeah.
Tom: So, here’s my question. I read something about service standard that kind of confused me. What’s the difference between service design and service standard?
Professor: Service standard refers to what a company employees are ideally supposed to do in order for everything to operate smoothly. The protocol is to be followed.
Tom: Oh, okay.
Professor: So, backing up. Service design is um, think of the cafeteria here on campus. There are several food counters, right? All with big clear signs to help you find what you’re looking for. Soups, salads, desserts. So you know exactly where to go to get what you need. And when you’re finished picking up your food, where do you go?
Tom: To the cash registers.
Professor: And where are they?
Tom: Um. Right before you get to the seating area.
Professor: Exactly. A place you would logically move to next.
Tom: You know, not every place is like that. This past weekend was my friend’s birthday and I went to a bakery in town to pick up a cake for her party. And the layout of the place was weird. People were all in each other’s way, standing in the wrong lines to pay to place orders. Oh, and another thing. I heard this bakery makes a really good apple pie. So I wanted to buy a slice of it, too.
Tom: There was a little label that said apple pie where it’s supposed to be. But there wasn’t any left.
Professor: And that’s what’s called a service gap. Maybe there wasn’t enough training for the employees or maybe they just ran out of pie that day. But something’s wrong with the process and the service standard wasn’t being met.
Tom: Okay, I think I get it. Anyway, since part of the requirements for the term project is to visit an actual place of business, do you think I could use our cafeteria? They seem to have a lot of the things I’m looking for.
Professor: Well, campus businesses like the cafeteria or bookstore don’t quite follow the kinds of service models we’re studying in class. You should go to some other local establishments I’d say.
Tom: I see.
Professor: But just call the manager ahead of time so they aren’t surprised.