Cultural Influences on Service: Chinese Travellers in France

CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON SERVICE- INTRODUCTION Culture has many definitions, and it affects everything people do in their society because of their ideas, values, attitudes, and normative or expected patterns of behaviour. By Mulholland Culture is a complex concept, and no single definition of it has achieved consensus in the literature. So, out of the many possible definitions examined, the following definition guides this study: culture is a set of shared and enduring meaning, values, and beliefs that characterize national, ethnic, or other groups and orient their behaviour.

It is said that culture exists only by comparison. The country scores on the dimensions are relative – societies are compared to other societies. Without make a comparison a country score is meaningless. These relative scores have been proven to be quite stable over decades. The forces that cause cultures to shift tend to be global or continent-wide. This means that they affect many countries at the same time, so that if their cultures shift, they shift together, and their relative positions remain the same (Hofstede, 2012).

National culture is an important factor influencing expectations and perceptions of service quality and its satisfaction. Different cultural groups attach different importance to service quality criteria. Tourism is one of the many sectors of the economy, which services cater directly to tourist needs. However, tourists create demand for indirect services(financial, medical, electricity,.. ) as well. Resulting all of this, a tourism product is mostly a service rather than a tangible product.

As far as service encounter, we define 3 process steps, which are: 1, interaction between the customer and the firm or service provider, 2,a period of time during which a provider and a customer confront each other, 3, a “moment of truth”, which means the quality of the services offered to customer. We know three classes of service: the first one is a maintenance-interactive (e. g. fast food restaurant), second is task-interactive (e. g. banking services) and besides these two we define one more, personal-interactive services where belongs tourism.

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Services are in general defined by 6 key characteristics. Intangibility of services means that they can not be seen, touched and so on before use/ purchase. Heterogeneity is another characteristic that talks about services which vary because they are delivered by people-to-people. In tourism, services are firstly sold and subsequently consumed. This is called “Inseparability”. Tourism services are perishable, they cannot be stored. They must be consumed at the point of production.

When the tourist pays the price for tourist services, he or she pays for the benefits and experiences received, it doesn’t lead to ownership. The last characteristic is called “People-based and personality-dependent”. Tourism, hospitality and leisure services are provided by people and for people. Very important thing about Cultural influences on service is a perception of service. Those are very subjective. When the customers? cultural expectations and needs are met, service quality is perceived as good and vice versa.

Cultural differences in expectations from services vary from country to country. This means that what is supposed to be a good service in China, must not be good in USA. When we are talking about service quality, it refers to the appropriateness of assistance and support provides to a customer and the value and benefits received for the price paid. When it comes to reliability evaluation, the only two could be the price and physical environment. However it is difficult to evaluate by price as this is set up the producer.

In order to facilitate the evaluation of service quality, several distinct quality dimensions were identified: (1) physical, (2) corporate, (3) interactive, (4) procedural, (5) convivial, (6) technical, (7) functional. The importance attached by customers to service quality criteria and dimensions differs among various cultures. Tourists from different countries have various expectations for the tangibles and empathy dimensions in terms of hotel service.

There can be a problem with cultural differences and the mismatch between service quality expectations and perceptions of customers from foreign countries, and quality expectations and perceptions of domestic providers. Services are in general very specific and they have a lot of different characteristics. They are people based and so the cultural effect is very strong in this field. Different foreign tourists attach different importance to service quality criteria.

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