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Service Quality: Definition & Dimensions

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  • 0:01 What Is Service Quality?
  • 0:44 Tangibles
  • 1:15 Reliability and Responsiveness
  • 2:06 Assurance
  • 2:35 Empathy
  • 3:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor
Savannah Samoszuk

Savannah has over eight years of hotel management experience and has a master's degree in leadership.

Expert Contributor
Jerry Allison

Jerry holds a Doctor of Business Administration and a Master’s in Mathematics. He has taught business, math, and accounting for over 25 years.

What do you consider when you gauge the quality of the customer service you receive? Businesses must consider different aspects of service quality in order to meet and exceed customer expectations. This lesson will define service quality and explain its dimensions.

What is Service Quality?

Every customer has an ideal expectation of the service they want to receive when they go to a restaurant or store. Service quality measures how well a service is delivered, compared to customer expectations. Businesses that meet or exceed expectations are considered to have high service quality. Let's say you go to a fast food restaurant for dinner, where you can reasonably expect to receive your food within five minutes of ordering. After you get your drink and find a table, your order is called, minutes earlier than you had expected! You would probably consider this to be high service quality. There are five dimensions that customers consider when assessing service quality. Let's discuss these dimensions in a little more detail.

Tangibles

One dimension of service quality has to do with the tangibles of the service. Tangibles are the physical features of the service being provided, such as the appearance of the building, cleanliness of the facilities, and the appearance of the personnel. Going to a restaurant and finding that your table and silverware are dirty would negatively impact your assessment of the service quality. On the other hand, walking into a beautifully decorated, clean restaurant with impeccably dressed wait staff would positively affect your opinion of the service.

Reliability and Responsiveness

Another dimension of service quality is the reliability of the service. Reliability refers to the ability to provide the service as it was promised on a regular basis. It is very important that businesses are able to fulfill the service that they advertise. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant and promise to deliver a pizza within 30 minutes, you must consistently provide that service in order to meet your customers' expectations and be considered a reliable business.

Responsiveness, or responding to customers in a timely manner, is another dimension that affects service quality. It is very important that businesses are prepared to respond to customers quickly. For example, if a customer calls a store with a complaint about a product they purchased, they shouldn't be left on hold for an hour before being connected to a manager. The call should be taken promptly and with a sense of urgency.

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Additional Activities

Service Quality Thought Exercises

Discussion Question

Suppose you have a bank account at Big Bank. You see there are 3 tellers working and you think that depositing your check should not take long. However, the tellers are having a private conversation and finish the conversation after several minutes with one of them finally waiting on you. How would you feel during this event? What would you think about the service quality of the bank? Would you say something to the management of the bank? What would you tell your friends about the bank?

Discussion Question

Cutthroat Cleaners is an agency that cleans houses for people. A person hires Cutthroat to clean just the bathrooms in the house. How should service quality be measured? Specifically, what tasks should be inspected to make sure a good job was done? Should the employee who did the cleaning do the inspection?

Research Project

Ask at least 10 people the following questions:

1. What is the best service you have ever received? Why?

2. How did you feel after this great service?

3. Did you tell anyone of this great service before now? If so, what did you say?

4. What is the worst service you have ever received? Why?

5. How did you feel after this bad service?

6. Did you tell anyone about? the bad service before now? If so, what did you say?

Take the answers and find the common themes. Write a report about what you found.

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