Quality of Services
How do you determine the quality of a service? Did the waitress serving you dinner provide a quality dining experience? How about whether your landscaper provided your lawn with a quality cut? Generally speaking, quality is the capacity of a product or service to meet or exceed customer requirements or expectations. In this lesson, we will discuss the various dimensions of service quality and why quality is important to operations and supply chains.
There are seven dimensions of quality that are important to consumers and businesses from the perspective of operations and supply chain management. Keep in mind that the perspectives and dimensions of quality can be applied to both products and services but are different for each. We will examine the service dimensions through this Fresh Grub catering example.
Lydia is planning a huge party and needs a caterer. Her view of quality consists of many different dimensions. Specifically, she wants her caterer to satisfy her stated needs and be free from any deficiencies. Lydia has spent over one month researching different caterers and has chosen Fresh Grub for the party. Let’s take a look at how Fresh Grub handles the seven dimensions of service quality.
The first dimension is time and is related to how long a customer has to wait for service and if it is completed in the time expected. Lydia expects that Fresh Grub will have the food hot and ready for her party guests to enjoy. From an operations standpoint, Fresh Grub has to have guidelines in place to ensure that their service is able to handle food production in a timely manner. Hiring the right number of employees and having enough food, serving trays, and a reliable truck are important infrastructure for the company.
Lydia is also concerned about the dimension of completeness, or thoroughness, of having finished and provided the requested items or services. Fresh Grub has to make sure that everything Lydia requested for the party is available such as food, linens, candles, appetizers, and party favors. For example, Lydia would be upset if her caterer forgot the cake and dessert. The caterer needs to have checks in place to guarantee all of the services requested by the client are provided. This can involve something like a checklist or a computer reminder sheet confirming orders.
Another dimension of quality for services is courtesy and how employees treat customers. Lydia expects Fresh Grub’s catering staff to be polite and professional, even when her cousin Rudy is vomiting all over their shoes. Fresh Grub ensures courtesy by having their staff trained to be professional and always view the customer as being right.
Consistency is a very important service dimension as it ensures that the same level of service is delivered every time. This can especially be a challenge when dealing with a service because it is harder to standardize. Lydia chose Fresh Grub as her caterer after attending a work event they had catered. She is expecting her party’s food to taste just as good as it did at the work event. Fresh Grub’s catering employees take great care to follow recipes and order top quality food from their suppliers to keep consistency levels up.
The next quality dimension is convenience in that the service is easy to secure. Lydia was impressed that she was able to set up a consultation with the owner of Fresh Grub within two days of placing a call. Many services miss out on business opportunities when they don’t respond or follow up in time to satisfy the potential client. Fresh Grub has a receptionist that answers the phones personally during business hours. Sue, the owner, also takes calls from her cell phone during off hours to ensure personal, quick attention to customers.
Where consistency is concerned with the ability to repeat the exact level of quality over time, accuracy deals with providing a precise quality outcome that matches the customer’s specific standards. Lydia has requested a specific vanilla candle to match the vanilla cake and black and white cookies for favors. Fresh Grub needs to provide exactly what Lydia has requested in order to provide good accuracy.
The last quality dimension is responsiveness and relates to how efficiently the business responds to different situations. This can be a challenging quality dimension for service companies to master because it deals with the unknown. For example, Fresh Grub has to have backup plans ready if the cake is destroyed by a crazy sugar-high toddler or if a party crasher steals the appetizers. Lydia is expecting her caterer to remedy any emergency issues!
Quality is the capacity of a product or service to meet or exceed customer requirements or expectations, or to satisfy a stated need and be free from any deficiencies.
There are seven service dimensions of quality. They are:
- Time: how long a customer has to wait for service and if it is completed in the time expected
- Completeness: thoroughness of having finished and provided the requested items or services
- Courtesy: how employees treat customers
- Consistency: the same level of service is delivered every time
- Convenience: service is easy to secure
- Accuracy: deals with providing a precise quality outcome that matches the customer’s specific standards
- Responsiveness: how efficiently the business responds to different situations