This paper examines the key conditions and parameters for management under which volunteers perform a valuable service to visitors in the context of sacred or secular visits to specific key sites. The paper considers consumers as visitors for sacred and secular purposes; it is situated at the CathedralchurchofAll SaintsinDerby,England. It is based on the premise that satisfied consumers will spread the word of how well expectations were exceeded by perceptions. It is further based on the premise that resources provided for tour guiding, visitor support and explanation and information provision by volunteers are exceptionally well located and an integral part of the aim and objectives of the Cathedral.
Satisfied consumers are more likely to return and to tell friends and relatives about their positive experience. When the service provided is less than expected it is for one or more of several reasons – management does not know what is important to the customer; management is aware of what is important but fails to set service quality standards in the areas that are important; standards are set but employees fail to deliver on them; promises are made to guests that are not delivered. By bringing service promises in line with what is currently being offered management begins to manage customer expectations. Research is being conducted to identify what is important to the guest. Service quality standards are then set based on what is discovered (Mill, 2011; 17).
By using a socio-psychological model to identify and explore options to improve consumer experiences the paper reinforces and prioritises five elements of consumer satisfaction; functional, social, emotional, epistemic and values (after Williams & Soutar, 2000). A new approach is therefore used to validate service quality attributes that are fundamental to any evaluation of the contribution made by volunteers. Following a thematic model explored by Dalton et al (2009) the following criteria are used to map the consumer experience to management outcomes; experience coupled with memorabilia, a themed narrative attached to market alignment, knowledge transfer coupled to the contemporary and expected market environment, participation and absorption mapped to design elements, emotional crescendos and memorabilia linked to influence and defined participation opportunities, unique and personal benefits clearly attached to a wide, yet appropriate range of market segments identified (Dalton et al, 2009).
"Volunteers: Their Role in the Management of the Visitor and Pilgrimage Experience,"
International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage:
2, Article 5.
Available at: http://arrow.dit.ie/ijrtp/vol2/iss2/5