Written by: Rakauskaite, Ieva
Abstract: Customer satisfaction does not fall short in previous literature, nonetheless studies focusing on frontline workers and what contributes to their drives to reach such satisfaction has been neglected in research today, this study will explore those characteristics.
Keywords: Frontline Workers; Job Satisfaction; Customer Satisfaction, Training
The World Tourism Organization reported that just alone in 2015, 1.8 billion tourists spent at least one night abroad; the sixth consecutive year of above average growth for the international tourist arrivals (UNWTO, 2016). It is safe to say, amongst those travellers a great part of them expect some level of customer satisfaction whilst inducing in leisure, business or some kind of other involvement reason (WIT, 2014). One in ten people work in the tourism industry, equivalent to 12 million people employed by the sector just in the European Union (Eurostat, 2017).
A report identified that a sheer number of customers are demanding that frontline workers should not be serving with the purpose to be paid, but rather because they genuinely want to give exceptional service (Harmer and Kuhn, 2012). Physiological studies have examined before achieving customer satisfaction a frontline worker must first initially achieve job satisfaction. This article addresses Yeh (2013)’s hypotheses that to attain job satisfaction, a frontline worker must build a base for tourism involvement and sustain work engagement to reach any sort of satisfaction in the workplace. This article further addresses that along with heavy tourism involvement, training efficiencies are what initially get a frontline worker to have any engagement in their work and coworkers.
Literature and sample interviews from frontline workers argue that to achieve customer satisfaction, a frontline worker must be able to in vision themselves as the people they are serving (Yeh, 2013); in order for that state of mind to achieve such a goal, one must be relatively involved in tourism activities outside of work. As it is only the foundation leading to job satisfaction, frontline workers have stated hands-on-training must be provided for a sheer number of reasons such as confidence in real work situations, to gain knowledge of the industry and most importantly for emotional labour.
Once a frontline worker has the interchanging relationship between involvement in tourism activities and training only then can he or she engage with their tasks, coworkers and management effectively (Hickey, 2018). Yeh (2013)’s hypotheses claimed as for this reason, work engagement plays as the mediator between tourism involvement and job satisfaction. The same hypotheses claimed that job satisfaction resulted to a frontline worker showing commitment to the sector and workforce, arguably indicating that satisfied employees have satisfied customers.
This study tests the hypotheses from Yeh (2013)’s article and the findings conclude, there is a positive relationship between tourism involvement and work engagement. There is also a positive relationship between work engagement and job satisfaction. A distinct relationship between tourism involvement and job satisfaction and that work engagement is the mediating effect of tourism involvement and job satisfaction. Training efficiencies tested to be reluctantly important to the correlation between all the factors in the second half of the article provided by a sample interview and literature (Baum, 2006).
Amongst a few other researchers, Spinelli and Canavos (2000) argued there is a clear and cohesive connection between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction; this study further justifies the reasons for the case addressing that tourism involvement, training efficiencies and work engagement are all contributing major factors of achieving job satisfaction and sustaining quality service and customer satisfaction.
The contribution of this study addresses the levels of frontline workers achieving customer satisfaction, as satisfaction is key to any person’s reason for leisure. Furthermore, it is somewhat inexplicably important to address the issues as to why such a topic is relevant in today’s literature. The average length of a hospitality worker to stay in the same job is from 6-12 months (Fourth Analytics, 2016). Reportedly the nature of the period is due to becoming disengaged from work, inefficient training, lack of tourism involvement or lack of interest in the industry or no recognition from management or empowerment (Baum, 2006).
As highlighted, there are contributing conditions that enable a frontline worker to achieve customer satisfaction; it is therefore recommended that more research be done into the relationship between tourism involvement, training efficiencies and work engagement be central to exceptional service in the hospitality industry.
Baum, T. (2006) Skills and training for the hospitality sector: a review of issues. Vocational Education and Training, 54(3) 343-364.
Spinelli, M.A. and Canavos, G.C. (2000) investigating the relationship between employees satisfaction and guest satisfaction. Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 41(6) 29–33.
Yeh, C.M. (2013) Tourism Involvement, Work Engagement and Job Satisfaction among Frontline Hotel Employees. Annals of Tourism Research, 22, 214-239.
Firstly, it is clear, that the author of this discussion paper highlighted, that in order to achieve the customer satisfaction, there are few elements to it. Those are to make them involved with tourism, train them efficiently and they should engage with the work. Furthermore, it can be stated, that this topic is very relevant as the tourism sector is growing rapidly, which has been mentioned in the introduction of the paper. The issues previously mentioned were used quite frequently in the first part of the paper. Nevertheless, in the second part author mentioned two different areas of improving satisfaction. Those were no recognition from management or empowerment. Those can be areas which could be discussed in further researched. Interesting article to look at in order to get more familiar about topic of empowerment is an article from Hechanova, Alampay and Franco (2006). The topic was combining psychological empowerment, job satisfaction and performance.
Moreover training as a mentioned factor of how to improve the customer satisfaction can be further researched with concertation to different areas. Those could be relationship between the employer and the trainings and if this relationship is positive or negative or if they think trainings are important. It is stated that trainings can be overlooked by the authorities because of the vast expensive. Training attitudes can be researched from article from Becton and Graetz (2001) concentrating rather on small businesses within the tourism and hospitality industry. This can be followed by question of what kind of training to offer and what would be the outcome of those trainings. There should be some pattern found of what trainings are beneficial in relationship to employee satisfaction. Then should be the tourism involvement taken as a part of training? Overall, trainings have lot of difficulties in tourism and hospitality as mentioned in Poulstons (2008) article describing the challenges of those trainings. This could be area to look at in the future. The information that the hospitality industry is lacking the skill to retain the employees makes one wonder about many additional topics which can be following this discussion paper. For example the relationship between the employee satisfaction and job retention should be researched. It is said that retaining employees can lead to business success, this would lead to employee satisfaction and that could lead to customer satisfaction.
Overall, this paper brings lot of areas to look at in the future. The paper is discussion very interesting topic which should be further researched because of its important nature in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Hechanova, R., M., Alampay, R., B., A. and Franco E., P. (2006) Psychological empowerment, job satisfaction and performance among Filipino service workers. Asian Journal for Social Psychology, 9(1), 72-78.
Poulston, J.(2008) Hospitality workplace problems and poor training: a close relationship. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 20(4),412-427.
Becton, S. and Graetz, B. (2001) Small business- small minded? Training attitudes and needs of the tourism and hospitality industry. International Journal of Tourism Research, 3(2), 105-113.