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  • 1. Service Quality Measurement Methods – Evaluation, Practical Application, Prospects Wiesław Urban Bialystok Polytechnic, Management Department O.S. Tarasiuka 2, 16-001 Kleosin, Poland e-mail: wurban@pb.edu.pl
  • 2.
    • Thanks to high service quality, service companies retain their position on the market and gain advantage over competitors.
    • There are few distinctive features of service quality management which differentiate it from goods. The key role of the people in providing many services and difficulty in precise service quality measurement are crucial here.
    • Nowadays there are some proven service quality measurement methods, but they do not always meet the needs of managers dealing with services.
    Introduction
  • 3.
    • The review of currently available service quality measurement methods, with particular consideration of doubts and weaknesses which are presented in literature.
    • The verification of a hypothesis that managers need service quality measurement methods which would be more useful in their profession.
    Paper aims
  • 4.
    • Servqual is the best known and most frequently applied service quality measurement method.
    • Servqual omits certain important aspects of service quality like service product, service product core, service providing standardization, company image, etc. (Sureshchandar et al. 2003 ).
    • Providers in typical conditions are not able to meet customers’ demands fully and particularly the ones stated by them directly (Rosen et al. 2003 ) .
    • The disconfirmation model does not show the whole concept of service quality.
    Disconfirmation Model
  • 5.
    • Perception measurement is better than the disconfirmation model to measure service quality (Dabholkar et al. 2000)
    • Servperf is criticised for not being able to show the scale of customers’ expectations towards companies’ adjustments to their needs.
    • Servperf is better to present satisfaction and general service quality diversity, whereas Servqual proves to be more useful in indicating service imperfections (Elliott 1994)
    • The literature presents various tools based on perception measurement; they involved different quality attributes and have diverse measurement scales.
    Customer’s Perception Measurement
  • 6.
    • Assessment which is based on constant criteria assumes that certain attributes characterising quality are valid – an important disadvantage.
    • In Critical Incident Technique respondents are asked questions which allow to identify critical incidents which took place in relation to service.
    • Positive and negative incidents number indicates quantitative assessment of the measured service quality. The content of incidents is a qualitative result.
    • The method is a compromise between standard assessment structure and free customers descriptions (Sautter et al. 1995).
    • However, its application in systematic service quality monitoring seems questionable.
    Incident-Based Quality Measurement
  • 7.
    • Service quality measurement by Sequential Incident Technique is based on examining customers who describe incidents from each phase of service providing process.
    • The literature also mentions another method of quality measurement based on the systemic approach, which uses customers’ perception assessment according to service attributes.
    • The approach which uses the process creates new possibilities in service quality measurement development – it can be used both with quality attributes and separate incidents.
    Measuring Service Providing Process
  • 8.
    • According to the Crosbys’ definition, quality is understood as being free from any flaws, being in compliance with accepted standards (Crosby 1979).
    • Mystery Shopping is a participating and non-participating observation method which compares services’ quality level with an established standard.
    • Mystery Shopping observation allows avoiding potential drawbacks of interviews and polls. (Wilson 2001).
    • Nevertheless the “secret observers” are subjective impressions of a researcher; and there are some doubts of ethical matters.
    Mystery Shopping
  • 9.
    • Vast majority of service quality measurement methods assumes that the customer is the right subject to assess service quality.
    • Six Sigma systems are a good exa m ple of quality measurement in all inside processes.
    • T ime of service operation is crucial, e.g. time between customer’s arrival and being serviced, or between separate phases of the service .
    • Six Sigma measures quantity of various mistakes which occur during service realization.
    The Measurement from the Inside of an Organization
  • 10.
    • The research sample has been drawn from companies operating in Podlaskie and neighbouring regions.
    • A research questionnaire was used, it was filled in by services’ organizations managers.
    • Trained researchers visited them personally and they have gathered 223 reliable questionnaires.
    • All service trades were represented in the research sample (ac c ording NACE).
    Empirical Research Method
  • 11. Knowledge and Practice of Service Quality Measurement Methods 4.4% 0.9% 43 2 Servqual method 8.7% 2.7% 63 6 Critical Incident Technique 26.2% 16.6% 104 37 Mystery Shopping quality research 48.3% 32.3% 77 72 Systematic service quality benchmarking 42.4% 32.3% 98 72 Organization processes measurement (not with customers, inside measures) 58.0% 48.9% 79 109 Perceived quality research according to own assessment questionnaire 80.3% 76.7% 42 171 Customers’ complaints recording and analysis percentage of applying the method regarding knowledge percentage of users known, but not used currently used
  • 12. Used Methods’ Assessment and Managers Expectations 43.0% 30.9% 96 69 Should better service quality measurement methods be created? 63.2% 11.2% 141 25 Are your service quality measurement methods useful and meet current needs of organization management? percentage in the researched group yes/rather yes no/rather not yes/rather yes no/rather not
  • 13. Correlations and Relevance Analyses p=0.043 0.1391 Are service quality indexes measured systematically? p=0.025 0.1539 Is customers’ satisfaction measured? p=0.005 0.1907 Are quality processes in the company measured? p=0.000 0.28 Evaluation of the role of formalized quality systems (e.g. ISO 9000) and TQM p=0.000 0.2878 Number of employees probability correlation coefficient Is there a need for new, better service quality measurement methods? Features of the researched group
  • 14.
    • A lot of proposals about service quality measurement methods or their modifications refer to the last several years.
    • Current methods do not meet the organizations’ needs.
    • Direction of research should not rather assume that it is possible to define some constant group of service quality dimensions/attributes.
    • A service quality measurement method which is based on free attributes research scheme may be more useful.
    • Researchers should pay attention to the service providing process and inside processes.
    • Easiness of the method’s use in current benchmarking should also be taken into account.
    Conclusion s