Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Back to Basics: What's Service Quality, Anyway?

Some people say such-and-such company provides great service. Others say that the same such-and-such company really stinks.
Who’s right?
Service quality –just as beauty- is in the eye of the beholder. It is a matter of expectations and perceptions. If in a service transaction, the customer perceives he/she received better service than he/she expected, then he/she will evaluate the service favorably. The same applies the other way around for customers who get less-than-expected service.
In their book Delivering Quality Service -published back in 1990 by the Free Press- Professors A. Parasuraman, Leonard L. Berry and Valarie A. Zeithaml define service quality as

the extent of discrepancy between customers’ expectations or desires and their perceptions.

Therefore, the key to providing quality service resides in knowing what customers want and expect, and deliver accordingly.
Obviously, each customer is different; including his/her quite ambiguous and unique needs and wants. This is what makes service quality such an interesting subject.
At least for us.

(and yes... we are crossposting entries in Servimetrica.NET)