Service Quality Measurement
Service Quality as against product quality
Unlike products, service is created and consumed at the same time. In other words, service is a "co-creation product", where the provider and receiver are joint producers. Consequently, no quality assessment is comprehensive and complete unless it takes into account customer types, their idiosyncrasies and moods besides service providers' response.
Conceptual Frame work for measurement
The second essential ingredient of a Quality Assessment process is comprehensive definition of service quality. The universally accepted definition of service quality is the SERVQUAL Model developed by Prof. Parsuraman and his colleagues from University of Miami. This model defines service quality as consisting of the following five dimensions.
Mystery customer methodology: The following are the three most important methodological considerations for developing a robust mystery customer audit design:
It is essential that we conduct an exhaustive research of daily operations and develop typical customer profiles encountered by the service providers. In absence of this research input, the field investigator acting as mystery customer is unable to act out as genuine customer in a convincing manner and conduct comprehensive assessment. Besides, in absence of any specific agenda / role to act out, he is often "lead" by the service provider which frustrates the objective of audit process.
Dimensionalising the attributes:
The field investigator deputed to act as a mystery customer is a good observer but not a researcher. It is essential that he is provided with specific observable and measurable attributes for any dimension.
Typically if we take an example of evaluating a sales person and consider Appearance as sub attribute, then rather than expecting the field officer to comment / evaluate generally his appearance in qualitative terms, it is better to split it as follows into sub attributes ( only illustrative and not exhaustive ) and expect him to rate on a numerical scale :
Voice and modulation
Clarity of communication
Command over language
In practice, we further divided each of the above attribute to make the assessment hard , observable and comparable. This makes our report and feed back meaningful and actionable.
In case of multiple audits it is not possible to depend on a small set of (2 or 3) field investigator. Some times a team of 5 to 10 investigators conducts evaluation at different times, in different outlets. In order that all these evaluations are least influenced by subjective factors, rigorous team training using Delphi methodology is desirable. A rigorous...