Service Quality—from Definition to Measurement

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Service Quality—
From Definition to Measurement

In recent years, more and more companies start to concentrate on the quality of their products. The products could be tangible as physical goods, or intangible like the service. This article is more about the service product. Since the service has no tangible form, the service quality is difficult to measure. Businesses want to get the information about the customers’ perceptions of the service they provided. Then they need to measure the service quality. A useful tool can be used is a multiple-item scale for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality called SERVQUAL. There is also another tool called SERVPERF which has the conflict with SERVQUAL. As the debate between two groups of researchers mention those tools. All those content are all based on referenced journal articles and text books which are the fortune for the marketers today.

Service quality - From definition to measurement
What the service is
The service is defined by Elliott et al. (2010) as some activities or performances which are offered to sale. And the key point of these activities and performances is that it is not involving an exchange of tangible or physical goods. This definition is in accordance with the one of the four characteristics which describes as intangibility, and other three characteristics of service are inseparability, heterogeneity and perishability. Gronroos (2001) also commented about the concept of service as services are processes, not things. Give some real examples about the service are that cleaning, massaging, car repairing and nursing. To understand the definition of service is a significant way to conduct the further research on service quality.

Service quality defined by the concept of service
Service quality is defined by Bolton and Drew (1991) as the customer’s assessment of the overall excellence or superiority of the service. As Parasuraman et al. (1985) claimed that fully understanding of the three characteristics of services which are intangibility, heterogeneity and inseparability is essential to understand the service quality. First is the intangibility. The service quality is different with the product quality. The product or physical goods quality can be measured by the tangible aspects of the product, like the appearance, shape, color, etc. But the service quality is normally intangible, so it is difficult to get the information on how the customers satisfy about the service. Second is the heterogeneous. The service usually involves a lot of labor content. So the different producers may provide different services to the same customer. Or one producer may provide the different services to different customers. These are all because of the uncertainty of human being. In summary, in this characteristic, the customer may not get the service which the producer actually provides. Third is the inseparability. Service is not like a product which can be made and stored. Services’ production and assumption are inseparability (Parasuraman et al. 1985, 1996). So this means that when a service is created and offers to the customer, the customer is enjoying the service at the same time, like the massage. This aspect also implies that the service quality can be controlled when the service being offered by producers or customers. For example, haircut is the situation which the service affected by the requirement of the customer. So Parasuraman et al. (1985) summarized the service quality as follows: ← Service quality is more difficult to evaluate than the goods quality for consumers. ← Service quality perceptions result from a comparison of consumer expectations with actual service performance. ← Quality evaluations are not made separately on the outcome of a service; they also involve evaluations of the process of service delivery. Parasuraman et al. (1988) also distinguish the service quality as perceived quality and objective quality...
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