Sample Paper on Services Marketing – Indian Consulate (Embassy in Dubai)

Services Marketing – Indian Consulate (Embassy in Dubai)

Introduction

The success for-profit and non-profit organizations depend on how services are delivered to clients or customers. An irrefutable fact is that clients and customers are the pillars of organizations and companies, and without them, there is no reason for a company and organizational existence. Every individual is born ‘tabularasa’, and this implies that people have to learn to get experience and knowledge on various aspects of life. Similarly, clients and customers do not have information about organizations unless they are guided and informed on how various organizations go about their day-to-day activities. Essentially, organizations have the responsibility of ensuring that their clients and customers auger well with day-to-day organizational operations. A situation where clients and customers have no knowledge about the products or services provided by a particular organization would lead to a possible gap between organizational management and customers (Shah, 2005). In addition, if a gap were to develop between an organization’s management and customers, then the result would be the immediate closure or shout-down of such an organization. Several organizations strive to come up with ways and means of ensuring an effective delivery of services to customers and clients. This is underscored by the fact that several organizations have put in place customer care services that play an integral role in enhancing customer satisfaction (Shah, 2005). Moreover, other organizations have incorporated programs that give their clients and customers opportunities of being part and parcel of day-to-day organizational operations. It should also be noted that the recruitment of employees who relate well to customers is one of the ways of ensuring effective delivery of services. Customers have a right to satisfaction besides having a right to report incidences of mistreatment or abuse in organizations. In most countries, governments are strict on how organizations handle their clients. In fact, governments have formulated policies that determine how organizations should handle and deal with their clients (Shah, 2005).

Ineffective service delivery in organizations is evident when there is unreliability, unresponsiveness, harsh and cruel employees, as well as abuse of customers and clients (Humphreys, 1998). An occurrence of the same in organizations is commonly referred to as service breakdown and has in the past led to the withdrawal of customers from organizations. Service breakdown affects the productivity of organizational employees. Additionally, service breakdown interferes with the coexistence among organizational stakeholders as well as profitability, especially of for-profit organizations. Thus, there have been concerns and campaigns that push for the creation of organizational structures that ensure that effective service delivery in every organization is achieved. The key actors in the achievement of this are organizational managers. One of the ways that organizational managers can ensure that their employees offer effective services to clients and customers is by paying impromptu visits to various departments in their organizations to see how employees handle clients or customers (Humphreys, 1998). In this paper, an impromptu visit is paid to the Indian Consulate (Embassy) in Dubai to determine and identify the gaps that cause service breakdown in the institution.

Section 1

About Indian Consulate (Embassy in Dubai)

It is common for countries to have embassies or high commissions in foreign countries. India has several of its representatives and diplomats in various countries across the globe, including the United Arab Emirates. The Indian government to provide attestation services to the Indian citizens living in the UAE established Indian Consulate (Embassy) in Dubai. Though most of the services and activities are outsourced to other agencies such as IVS, the Indian Consulate in Dubai remains the center of focus when it comes to solution of emergency issues such as insecurity facing Indian citizens living in the United Arab Emirates. Apart from providing attestation services to Indian citizens, the Indian Consulate in Dubai plays an integral role in the provision of services to other foreigners in the UAE. The Indian Consulate’s premises are located at the Business Atrium, 2nd floor, in offices no 201 and 202. The premises are located opposite AL Naser Club, Oud Metha in Dubai. The Embassy operates from Sunday to Thursday, and this is an exception of holidays.

Services provided

The Indian Consulate in Dubai provides an array of services to both Indian citizens and foreigners living in the UAE. From the organization’s website, it can be found out that the Indian Consulate in Dubai capitalizes on attestation services. Indian citizens and other foreigners in the UAE can access and process birth certificates in the Indian Embassy in Dubai. In the UAE, birth certificates are some of the credentials required to join educational institutions or healthcare institutions. Thus, in a bid to evade problems with the UAE authorities Indian citizens often seek solace in the Indian Consulate in Dubai. Moreover, the Indian Consulate boasts in its provision of housemaid affidavit to Indian citizens working as housemaids in the UAE. The other service provided by the institution is the provision of educational as well as transfer certificates. Owing to the fact that there are Indian citizens married to UAE citizens, in case of divorce, the married Indian citizens have the choice of processing a divorce decree at the embassy. Other services provided to Indian citizens and foreigners at the Indian Consulate in Dubai include sponsorship of declaration certificates, proviso of direction identification number or trade documents, death certificates, gift deeds, power of attorney, and other vital documents such as indemnity bond, surety bond, and court affidavit (Vora, 2013). The Indian Consulate in Dubai acts as an onlooker during the writing of wills by Indian citizens in the UAE, undertakes expenses for studies, issues passports to spouses and children, provides marriage certificates, driving license, medical certificates, as well as bachelorhood certificates for Indian citizens living in the UAE (Vora, 2013). The fact that the Indian Consulate provides an array of services gives the clients who visit the institution a hard time in tracing the exact departments where the services are provided. Thus, an inclusion of service dimension in the embassy is crucial. Apparently, the fact that most clients who visit the institution have no knowledge or understanding of the services provided should trigger the recruitment of more employees whose responsibility will be to help address the challenges faced by new clients. There are several cases where people visit the embassy but have no idea of what services are provided and who provides them. In essence, the incorporation of service dimension in the institution will help clients identify the specific services offered and the departments and individuals offering them.

Targeted Clients

As a government-owned agency, the Indian Consulate (Embassy) in Dubai acts as a destination for Indian citizens and other foreigners who live in the United Arab Emirates (Vora, 2013). The clients do not have the permission to approach the agency at any time, except during emergency situations in the UAE that compromise the security of Indian and other foreign citizens. Moreover, the Indian Consulate’s employees process the clients’ day-to-day requirements and needs such as driving licenses, identification documents, educational and marriage certifications, and others. The availability of a wide range of services offered by the agency has attracted several foreigners in the UAE with no information or whereabouts of the embassies of their various countries. In a bid to ensure satisfaction of clients, the Indian Consulate offers most of its services at lower costs. Besides, the processing of the documents does not take long as witnessed in other embassies in the UAE. The Indian Consulate has also enhanced its services by reaching out to clients through social media and websites. For instance, new Indian residents in the UAE can access the agency’s website and fill forms with their details to make the embassy aware of their presence in the UAE. This has facilitated the provision of security to Indian citizens living in the UAE by the embassy. The embassy is also on the verge of opening branches in major towns and cities in the UAE such as Abu Dhabi to enhance accessibility for the potential clients. The agency has also put in place contact details that can be used by clients to inquire the services offered by the agency at any time from any region in the UAE.

Section 2

Methodology

The major objective of the research was to determine and identify the service breakdowns and flaws in the Indian Consulate (Embassy) in Dubai. In achieving this objective, the overall head of the agency together with two researchers paid an impromptu visit to the Indian Consulate in Dubai. It was very hard for the employees to identify the researchers and their boss as he was dressed casually, and we were in the company of several Indian citizens who had visited the agency to get assistance from the employees. The boss remained at the reception near the agency’s entrance while the two of us went ahead to get assistance from employees of different departments. In reality, our main objective was not to get actual assistance from the employees but to evaluate and determine how the agency’s employees were efficient or inefficient in the provision of services to clients. Impromptu visits are beneficial in various ways. For instance, through impromptu visits, organizational managers and directors are able to determine and evaluate how their employees go about their day-to-day activities as well as identifying how the employees relate with and handle customers or clients (Knights et al, 2007). In this case, we together with agency’s overall head had the opportunity of seeing how the employees at the India Consulate in Dubai go about the daily operations. Moreover, through impromptu visits, organizational managers can evaluate the level of preparation and cleanliness of their employees. The situation at hand gave us together with the head of the agency the opportunity of identifying the level of preparation that the agency’s employees often have. This is owed to the fact that we did not inform them of our visit. The mess in the agency underscored the fact that the agency’s employees are not always prepared unless ordered by their boss. We could observe that most clients were on long queues while others were seated on waiting chairs without being attended to by the employees. Most of the employees were busy talking to one another while laughing joyfully without attending to the clients.

We paid the impromptu visit on a Tuesday because it was one of the days that the agency received a large number of clients. This enabled us to carry on with our activities without being noticed by the employees of the agency. We were fortunate to find that the queues were long, and every department was crowded with clients. This was also the perfect opportunity for evaluating the capability of the agency’s employees in handling a higher demand for services. Observation only would not support the credibility of our findings. Thus, we secretly recorded conversations between employees and clients. We learned that most of the employees were harsh and unfriendly to the clients in the manner they spoke. In most of the departments we visited, most of the employees shouted at us on the basis that we were late, or that there were some missing credentials and that they would not attend to us. It was evident that service delivery at the Indian Consulate in Dubai is compromising. Communication through the effective use of gestures, facial expressions, tonal variations, as well as body movements is a way of enhancing or boosting service delivery in organizations (Yusuf, 2011). Thus, we keenly observed the facial expressions and the gestures used by the employees when attending to the clients. We observed that a few employees were frowned and angry when they were approached by clients. It was also evident that a few employees scared clients away with their unwelcoming and unfriendly facial expressions. We noted that the agency’s management is way off the mark when it comes to the enhancement of effective service delivery.

We also evaluated the service delivery at the agency by asking a few clients questions about how they viewed or rated the services they received. This was done outside the agency, as we wanted to make sure that we did not raise suspicion among the employees. One of the clients expressed his frustration at the agency’s service delivery. He articulated that he had come to process a passport, as he was new Dubai and did not want to be at the wrong ends of the authority. However, he was unlucky as one of the employees told him that some documents were missing and that he had to come back after three days to follow up the completion of his documents.  Our major concern was how the customer services department received and guided new clients. We observed that the department’s employees were absent for a good part of the day, and most of the clients were stranded at the entrance not knowing where to start from. We could also observe that clients struggled to trace the departments where they could get the desired services offered to them. We also listened to the conversation among most clients, besides reading their facial expression that expressed total dissatisfaction with the agency’s service delivery.

Section 3

In a bid to evaluate flaws and inefficiencies in organizational service delivery, data collected through various methods such as observation, interviews, and other methods should be analyzed so as to pinpoint their credibility. In this case, the impromptu visit paid to the Indian Consulate (Embassy) in Dubai came up with data that need critical analysis. This will help answer the questions and concerns raised by the clients about the Indian Consulate’s service breakdown that is on the rise each day. This section analyzes the findings and observations made at the agency during the impromptu visit.

RATER Scale

Most organizations capitalize on the RATER scale in rating the delivery of their services. The scale has five dimensions including Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy, and Responsiveness. The mentioned dimensions play an integral role in helping customers evaluate the service delivery of organizations as they give clients the opportunity of scrutinizing and coming up with conclusions about organizations.

Reliability

This is one of the dimensions that clients and customers capitalize on in rating service delivery of various organizations. It should be noted that in real life when an organization or individual is described as reliable, then they are in a position to deliver what is promised or expected (Vogus & Welbourne, 2003). The creation of vision and mission statements, as well as the formulation of organizational slogans is a way through which organizations strive to ensure that service delivery to customers and clients is efficient and effective. Essentially, communication is vital for organizations and agencies in their bid to achieve customer satisfaction. Several organizations and agencies communicate and make promises to clients through the slogans, and mission and vision statements. Several studies reveal that organizations can embrace new strategies such as the recruitment of more employees, training of existent employees on how to relate to customers, or the reduction in prices of products and services in an effort to meet the promises and expectations of their clients and customers. When organizations fail to meet the expectations and promises made to customers, then they are described as unreliable. In the case of Indian Consulate in Dubai, the agency aims at meeting the expectations of its clients. In fact, its establishment was to ensure that the challenges faced by Indian citizens staying in the UAE are solved. However, the data collected during the impromptu visit at the agency reveals the agency’s reluctance in achieving its objective. The agency’s unreliability is evident in the manner the employees attend to the customers. Although the agency promises to solve the challenges facing Indian citizens in the UAE, it faces various shortcomings. For instance, several clients during the impromptu visit were turned away because of missing documents and facilities that could facilitate the processing of their documents. This compromises the reliability of the Indian Consulate in Dubai.

Assurance

Several organizations emphasize on assurance to customers and clients as a way of evaluating or measuring the quality of service delivery. Arguably, assurance is defined as what organizations put in place to earn the trust and confidence of their customers and clients. It should be noted that organizational employees play an integral role in ensuring that the confidence and trust of customers are earned (Preker et al, 2000). It is recommended that employees attending to customers should be trained and educated about the services they offer to clients or customers. This is significant because employees will be in a position to respond to the concerns or complaints raised by a client about a particular product or service. However, a situation where an employee has no knowledge or information about a product or service is likely to demoralize a customer or client. In fact, in such a situation, an organization’s assurance will be doubted. Several organizations and agencies have lost clients and customers due to lack of assurance, and this is why modern-day organizations have come up with efforts to gain the trust and confidence of their customers and clients. During the impromptu visit at Indian Consulate in Dubai, it was found out that most employees did not have any information or knowledge of how they were to attend to the concerns of most of the clients. For instance, an employee was overheard saying that he had no knowledge of how passports of foreigners are processed and transferred the client to another employee. Although the client moved to another employee, he was frustrated, and there are higher chances that he would prefer going to another embassy. This illustrates the agency’s lack of assurance, which if not solved, could see several clients moving to other embassies.

Tangibles

Several organizations and agencies stress on the availability of tangibles as a way of ensuring effective service delivery to customers and clients (Diefenbach, 2006). However, what are tangibles in an organizational context? These are the equipment as well as physical evidence that organizational employees use in delivering services to customers and clients. For instance, if patients were to view smart and neat nurses in a healthcare institution, they would be sure of effective service delivery. However, if nurses in a healthcare institution were untidy and lacked necessary equipment, patients would doubt the effectiveness of service delivery in such an institution. It cannot be refuted that tangibles in organizations represent the quality of service delivery. Similarly, in the case of the Indian Consulate, despite the incompetence of the employees, everything else was in place. There were functional computers in every department; waiting chairs for the clients, as well as security officers to maintain law and order. At first glance, a client would be sure of effective service delivery at the agency.

Empathy

This is defined as the close attention and emotions shown to customers by organizational employees. When employees empathize with their customers, then they demonstrate their concern, care and love for them. However, a lack of empathy by employees is a likely indication that customers are unwanted or are bothersome (Miyashiro, 2011). The latter contributes to a large extent to an exodus of customers or clients from organizations. In the case of the agency, most of the employees showed no empathy for the helpless clients. Despite the agency being a non-profit organization, it was important for the employees to attend to the clients in a friendly and pleasant manner. However, that was not the case during the impromptu visit. Most of the employees responded to the clients in a harsh manner and did not get concerned with whether the clients were satisfied or not. This compromises the agency’s level of empathy, and there is a possibility of several clients avoiding the embassy in future unless the employees are trained on how to handle clients.

Responsiveness

Apparently, several organizations have enhanced the responsiveness of their employees in a bid to increase the quality of service delivery to customers and clients (De Waard et al, 2013). In an organizational context, responsiveness is when employees are willing to serve their customers and clients without delay. In achieving this, there are organizations that focus more on the needs of the customers rather than the needs of organizational stakeholders. One of the benefits of responsiveness in organizations is that it enhances the relationship between employees and customers, and when this occurs, such an organization is destined to success. It should also be noted that responsiveness ties clients and customers to an organization. During the impromptu visit to the Indian embassy in Dubai, it could be observed that responsiveness was lacking among the agency’s employees. This is underscored by the fact that there were long queues, and the employees could take several minutes attending to a single client. Moreover, from their facial expressions, it could be observed that most of the employees were unwilling to attend to the clients. This saw most of the clients dissatisfied with the agency’s quality of service delivery. From their responses, it was evident that most of the clients were unlikely to visit the embassy in future.

Customer Gap

Apart from the RATER Scale, organizations need to identify the existence of customer gap to assess and evaluate the quality of service delivery. The gaps that organizations need to focus on are communication gap, listening gap, performance gap, and standards and design gap.

Communication gap

This refers to the difference between the service delivery and the communication of a company or organization. Communication in organizations includes the promises and expectations given to customers, and this is contained in the slogans as wells as the advertisements done by various companies and organizations (Chebat & Kollias, 2000). A communication gap can occur when an organization makes a promise that it fails to deliver. In the case of the Indian Consulate in Dubai, one of its objectives during its establishment was to eradicate the challenges facing Indian citizens in Dubai. Moreover, the agency’s through its vision and mission statements assured clients of high-quality services. However, this was not evident during the impromptu visit. Instead of the agency’s employees striving to achieve the main objective, they were way off the mark as the expectations and promises made by the agency to the customers were not met. This was evident in the concerns and complaints raised by several clients during the impromptu visit.

Listening Gap

This is experienced when employees fail to understand or come to terms with the needs of clients or customers. In organizations, listening gap can be as a result of lack of upward communication or lack of adequate service recovery (Chebat & Kollias, 2000). A perfect example of a situation where listening gap is experienced is when a customer or client complains about a particular organizational product or service but finds no response from employees or other organizational stakeholders. In the case of the India Consulate in Dubai, the employees showed no concern to the complains and concern raised by the clients during the impromptu visit. For instance, one of the clients argued that the processing of his passport had taken a long time and demanded an explanation from the employees. However, the employees were unconcerned and seemed not to understand the client’s argument. This is an evidence of a listening gap at the agency.

Performance gap

Positive performance is crucial for organizations, and the key factors in helping achieve this are technologies, people, as well as the systems in place. A performance gap in organizations could occur when the authorities in control fail to recruit or employ employees deemed fit for their positions (Chebat & Kollias, 2000). This will result in a lack of productivity, thus lowering organizational performance. In the case of the India Consulate in Dubai, from the observation during the impromptu visit, it can be concluded that the employees are unfit for their positions, and could in the future compromise the performance of the agency.

Standards and design gap

The gap is experienced when organizations are unsuccessful or find it hard to communicate to employees about what customers or clients expect (Chebat & Kollias, 2000). If this occurs, then it is hard for the expectations of customers to be met by organizations or companies. In the case of the agency, although the eradication of the challenges faced by Indian citizens in the UAE was the major objective, an observation during the impromptu visit could determine that the employees were yet to be made aware of the expectations of clients. This underscores the fact that the employees of the agency attended to the clients ineffectively.

Section 4

Recommendations

It is important that the Indian Consulate (Embassy) in Dubai improve the quality of service delivery to its clients. An exodus of the clients would see a closure of the agency. Hence, the challenges that the agency faces in delivering services to clients should be resolved. To begin with, the overall head together with agency’s employees need to come together to determine the clients’ preferences. For instance, during the impromptu visit, several clients complained of the delay in delivery of services by the employees, and this should be solved. To improve the quality of services provided to clients, the management of the India Consulate in Dubai should ensure that employees are properly trained on how to handle and deal with clients. During the visit, it was evident that the clients were dissatisfied with the manner they were handled by the employees. It is also advisable for the agency to establish a customer relationship management system with the employees. This will involve the maintenance of a perfect relationship between the agency and old customers, rather than going for new customers who will have a hard time acclimatizing with the situation at the agency.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, through the impromptu visit to the Indian Consulate (Embassy) in Dubai, it was evident that there were a number of compromising factors that could in the near future result in an exodus of clients from the agency. One of the observable factors was the poor relationship between the employees and clients. In fact, from the responses of most of the clients, it was obvious that they were dissatisfied with the agency’s quality of service delivery. An improvement of the situation at the embassy is important if the clients are to stick to the agency. Essentially, the agency’s management should step up and ensure regular supervision of the services delivered by employees to clients. Besides, the agency’s management should ensure that every employee goes through proper training on how to deal with and handle employees. It can be argued that the impromptu visit acted as a turning point for the agency.

 

 

 

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