Service quality refers to the outcome of a certain service relative to expected performance. Service quality determines the impact that an organization has on its customers. In addition, it determines its economic competitiveness in the market. High competition in the global markets has prompted organizations to focus on providing service of high quality to their customers.
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Organizations are always in search for different ways that can help them to gain competitive advantage over their competitors. Service quality management is one of the strategies that many companies are employing today in order to deal with the challenges of deregulation and high competitiveness.
There are several reasons that render management of service quality important. Quality of service is one of the ways used to gain customer loyalty, sustain growth and earnings, and counter global competition. Offering services of high quality is necessary because it wins customer loyalty, which is an important aspect of growth for any business.
Moreover, providing quality service contributes significantly to retention of customers by a company. Low quality of service leads to customer defection, which results in decline in earnings and renders a company incapable of competing effectively. Customers use aspects such as reliability, performance, competence and durability to determine the quality of service provided by a company.
Service quality has several dimensions that managers should incorporate in their management system. These include reliability, responsiveness, access, courtesy, competence, credibility, communication, and understanding.
In order for employees to offer quality service, they should offer services accurately and in a dependable manner, be ready to offer prompt services when needed, possess adequate knowledge to enable them to offer certain services, and should be readily accessible to customers. Managers should ensure that employees are polite, considerate, and friendly to customers.
Customers evaluate the quality of service according to how they are treated and the level of satisfaction of their needs. In addition, quality service can be provided by inculcating the ideals of honesty, trust, and responsibility in employees. It is important for employees to know and understand the needs of customers in order to be able to satisfy them fully.
Providing high quality service involves satisfying the needs of a customer fully, and at times exceeding a customer’s expectations on service delivery. A company’s management can use several ways to improve service quality and ensure that customers are fully satisfied.
Managers should design their services with the aid of their customers, promote teamwork in order to encourage improvement of service quality, and set service quality as one of the organization’s goal. In addition, employee training on customer satisfaction and service quality is important. Training helps employees to learn the important aspects of offering quality service.
Customer satisfaction is an important feature of ensuring high quality service. Therefore, managers should obtain feedback from customers on their evaluation of the quality of service and use the feedback to develop strategies that facilitate improvement of their service.
Managers determine the quality of service immensely since they set the expected standards of service delivery that are followed by employees. In setting these standards, it is necessary for them to involve customers and employees.
Methods that managers could use to improve service quality include guaranteeing, statistical process control and active involvement of customers. Moreover, service quality improves customer satisfaction and increases an organization’s earnings. Therefore, customer involvement in evaluating the quality of service is important.