One of the features of today’s economic world is the gigantic growth of the service sector. This is due to the growing wealth of the population, more leisure time, the introduction of scientific and technological achievements into the sphere of service. However, the share of the service sphere in the economy of the country today should grow more rapidly. The reason for this lag is a great share of primary industry in the economy of the country and relatively high world prices for natural resources. More rapid growth of services in our country can be connected with new activities, new investment opportunities and highly competitive businesses in the service sector.
Today we can see rapid growth of information technologies, communication and medical services, sales of cars, and entertainment industry. Along with traditional service industries new service sectors have appeared recently. However, traditional services such as retailing and catering grow most rapidly. The needs of the population for services are constantly increasing, so in today’s market conditions competitive services (goods) are of particular significance. [1, p.14]
We will consider in detail the companies that specialize in servicing vehicles.
Car service is a human activity aimed at meeting consumers’ (vehicle owners’) needs by providing them with individual services. The objects of this activity are people and their needs for individual services.
Automobile service has a particular place in such complex sector of the economic life of the society as automobile industry. Motor cars, whether they are produced at home or abroad, sooner or later need repairing. The choice of the service stations today is very wide. Maintenance of vehicles, especially those produced abroad, is considered to be a very profitable business. There are hundreds of thousands of such businesses in the world.
Domestic automobile service is making great progress in different fields of its activity. The growth of the sector focused on the work with the vehicles produced abroad is particularly noticeable. Only 10–15 years ago the main task of the few service stations was to do the simplest basic servicing of unfamiliar imported equipment such as changing engine oil or brake pads. [2, p.56]
But the steady growth of the number of vehicles has led to the increase of the number of automobile service businesses. They have become better equipped and their workers more skillful.
At the same time the requirements of service station customers are changing: they are becoming more discriminating. In this situation the companies that do not just offer services, but are able to ensure their high quality to meet world standards have an obvious advantage. Modern market economy requires fundamentally different quality of products and services, which influences the survival of any company, its strong position in the market of goods and services, that is its competitiveness.
To be competitive the following components are important: price, quality, level of servicing, the exact timing of the services provided and the quality of servicing that is of utmost importance for the consumer. The way the service is provided to a large extent influences the positive or negative perception of service companies by the customers. Clear and proper organization of servicing creates conditions for rational and efficient organization of public services, which results in successful work and better service. In turn, the more properly the service is managed, the more readily and regularly the consumer uses the services of the company, which enables to streamline the production process and guarantees the competitiveness of the service enterprise. [3, p.121]
The result of the service company activity depends largely on the level of service, which is defined by the following indicators:
- the quality of services;
- the volume of services provided;
- the range of services provided;
- the culture of servicing;
- price. [4, p.72]
The quality of a service is a set of its characteristics that determines its ability to meet the stated or implied consumer’s needs. The quality of a service in a service company is stated by GOSTR50691–94. It is determined by its application properties, in accordance with regulatory requirements as well as the conditions of the contract of the services to be provided. The quality of services is a more complex category than the quality of goods as the consumers not only estimate the result of the service provided but in some cases they are participants of the process of servicing in contrast to the products, which are mostly typical. Besides, a service is provided to a particular person with their individual needs and in a particular situation. Thus, we can say that the degree of satisfaction of consumers largely depends on the quality of a service, the quality of servicing and the final result. [5, p.41]
With the increase of the staff of automobile service centres in recent years the quality of services has changed for the worse. People with no special education have come to service centers. There appear spare parts in the market of highly dubious production without any certificate of the manufacturer. Because of the great number of vehicles of different kinds and models the dubious service stations cannot provide the whole range of spare parts, they have no special tools, technologies and skilled specialists. All these are a threat to society because a vehicle continues to be subject to high risk.
Since a high-quality service is an effective sales tool, it provides a sustainable competitive advantage. Very often it is the only competitive advantage of a company working in the industry where many companies offer essentially the same products or services. Therefore the final result in many respects depends on the quality of a service which is controlled and assessed. Quality control means a series of operations, which include measurements, testing, assessment of one or several characteristics of a service and comparison of the result obtained with specified requirements. Ensuring the service quality depends on the quality control system at the enterprise. Quality control should be implemented at all stages of the servicing — in the process of servicing and during the technological process.
The peculiarity of the service industry is that it is the consumer who is the main expert in determining the quality and level of services. There are many subjective factors when a consumer valuates a service itself and the way it is provided. It is mainly the consumer comparison of the actual parameters of the service quality and how it is provided with expected parameters. When they are the same the service quality and the level of servicing are considered “good”. [6, pp. 87–88]
Consumer expectations are based on such factors as: personal consumption experience, interests, past experience (not always successful), the effect of advertising, rumors, estimations. The impact of these factors can distort the essence of the service quality, which should be considered when assessing the quality of services. Therefore when estimating the service quality and how well it is provided a complex approach should be used. How the consumers’ needs are met is an important criterion for assessment of a service quality.
It should be recognized that if 25–30 percent of clients are completely satisfied with the service, they are ready to be regular company customers, they recommend the company to their friends, it is considered a very favourable performance in terms of quality standards of the organization. It is this complex approach that is now applied in Russia where the quality of a service and servicing can also be controlled in accordance with the Federal Law “On Protection of Consumers’ Rights”.
Self-control in the service company itself is not less significant. The important means of departmental and government control today are standardization, certification and licensing.
The Russian car market has become a part of the customer oriented world market and everything that is beneficial for customers is already being implemented by the companies who want to develop. Activities connected with automobiles and spare parts sales, maintenance and repairing of motor cars are now very promising. [7, p.190]
The perspective system of automobile service includes pre-sale service of motor cars, selling cars, insurance, after-sales service, warranty service and maintenance, treatment of the body against corrosion, servicing of keepers of service books, repairing, etc. Service centers today offer more than one hundred types of services to car owners.
Along with professionals numerous private mechanics do repair works in workshops that number two to five people of staff and are kept by garage cooperatives (often in the common garage-box). Such progressive forms and types of services as self-service stations, roadside technical assistance and others are being introduced.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the system of automobile service centres of the country will develop more rapidly and effectively if it is based on:
- the best practices and scientific and technological progress;
- the innovative technologies of repair and maintenance of vehicles;
- the development of automation and mechanization of repair and maintenance processes;
- the improvement of the methods and forms of organization of labour and production processes;
- the development of territorial maintenance and service management to increasingly satisfy the needs of the customers of the service centers in their area;
- anticipation and planning the demand of the population of the area, city, country for the products of the service centres;
- implementation of measures aimed at better accounting and control, preventing the theft of property and other offenses;
- improvement of self-control, application of software. [8, p.26]
Each of these areas has its technical, economic and social significance for the development of service centres and none of them can be overlooked, for high quality of car service is useful to the society as a whole as it helps to improve the reliability of vehicles, road safety, cities environment.
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