Services Marketing “Listening Gap” Assignment

***Absolutely No Plagiarism and Original Work Only***

5 double-spaced pages, 12 pt. font.


The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of the service organization recently sat in the plush surroundings of the CMO’s office at the organization’s headquarters and thought back eleven years to when the CMO joined the organization and spent six months working on its “front line.[1]” Although the service organization had not conducted research on the general topic, the CMO was still pretty sure that:

“Our customers are pretty much all the same … what they really want is a cheap deal.”

When the CMO discussed the matter with the organization’s chief legal counsel over lunch, the CMO was gratified to hear from the attorney that their thoughts on the matter pretty much matched.

Your Task

You are to identify and specify in your report a specific organization in a specific service industry[2] and to imagine that the CMO discussed above is the actual CMO of the organization you have identified and specified. Please assume that the CMO’s thought accurately reflects the organization’s understanding of the service expectations of its customers. Once you have identified the service organization, you then need to locate a source of information (e.g., online discussion board, review website, etc.) from which you can obtain a collection of service expectations as expressed by actual customers of that service organization. It is important that you collect at least 100 different service-expectation expressions.[3] (The service-expectation expressions are to be numbered and presented in a two-column table[4] as an appendix item. You will also need to properly cite and reference the source(s) from which you have obtained the service-expectation expressions.) You are ultimately charged with assessing the extent to which customer expectations, as expressed by customers, match the thought of the service organization’s CMO; since the thought is representative of the organization’s thinking on the topic, essentially you will be measuring the size of the “listening gap,” which has been defined as “… the difference between customer expectations of service and company understanding of those expectations” (Zeithaml, Bitner, and Gremler, 2013, p. 36). To do this, you will need to conduct a content analysis of the service-expectation expressions.[5] You will need to identify themes (e.g., desire for cheap deals, desire for luxurious surroundings, etc.) in your analysis, quantify their prominence (e.g., 27 service-expectation expressions out of 100 service-expectation expressions indicated a desire for cheap deals), and make explicit reference to specific service-expectation expressions in order to demonstrate the actual existence of the themes you have identified. In your report, please provide information about the methodology you used to conduct your content analysis and a detailed discussion of the themes you have identified. Please also be sure to definitively provide an assessment of the extent to which the listening gap exists in the service organization.

In addition, you will need to comment on the causes of the listening gap you have measured. Please be sure to thoroughly read the scenario information above to assist you in this discussion. It may be necessary for you to make assumptions here, which is fine as long as you make your assumptions explicit in your discussion. Finally, you will need to propose a set of recommendations to the service organization generally and to the CMO specifically for closing the listening gap, being sure to make a solid case to the CMO for closing the listening gap. It will be important that you offer at least three well-supported recommendations in this section.

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