‘Service quality’ means different things to different people. Parasuraman et al define it as:
“… consumers’ judgement (across multiple service encounters) about the firms (or brand) overall excellence or superiority… it is a form of attitude, related but not equivalent to satisfaction”
Dimensions of satisfaction and service quality
Measuring customer satisfaction (and Service Quality)
Qualitative research methods
- focus groups
- one-on-one interviews
- Critical Incident Technique (CIT)
- laddering technique
- understanding the key ‘drivers’ to measure
- questionnaire structure
- question wording
One of the keys to successfully measuring satisfaction (quality) is drawing a tree diagram showing the hierarchy of drivers of satisfaction, and how these are linked to internal service standards. Examples of the actual wording and structure of questions to measure expectations, quality, satisfaction, perceived performance, and disconfirmation are then shown.
Technical (outcome) and functional (process) dimensions of quality examples
Process quality is equivalent to empathy, assurance and responsiveness combined, while outcome quality is equivalent to the reliability dimension in Parasuraman at al.’s five PSQ dimensions. Again, most services will be evaluated on both technical and functional dimensions of quality, but some are more heavily weighted towards one or the other.
E.g. Level of customer involvement in the service process
The greater the level of customer involvement in the service process, the greater the importance of process quality in the evaluation of the service. From previous article, process quality is more likely to be important in evaluating the quality for tangible and intangible actions directed at people, whereas technical quality is more important for evaluating tangible and intangible actions towards possessions.
- The ‘Gap’ model of Service Quality
- Building a service satisfaction information system
- Service guarantees to be effective, should ideally be:
- easy to understand and communicate
- easy to invoke
- easy to collect
This article focuses on defining, measuring, and managing customer satisfaction and service quality in service industries. First since customer satisfaction is not an end, we examine the link between satisfaction and loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and other resultant benefits.