Customer care or service quality or quality of service seems to be a fallacy nowadays. The truth that some of us tend to forget sometimes is that we are all customers and we are all consumers. We do care about many things, price, attributes, convenience, product quality, but, what about service quality?
According to Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Berry (SERVQUAL Model), there are five dimensions customers use when evaluating service quality; and If the companies do their homework correctly, chances are they will count with their loyalty.
The five SERVQUAL dimensions are
- appearance of physical facilities, equipment;
- ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately;
- willingness to help customers and provide prompt service;
- knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence; and
- empathy (do I have to say more?).
It seem all dimensions are important to customers, but for some of course, there are more important things to consider than others. For example, there are customers that are more interested on the facts of the product or service and want preferential treatment. There are others, which need to trust the person providing the service, behind the desk or the sales person and they must stick to his/her word; meanwhile there are others, which want an easy procedure and appreciate unexpected add-ons to the product or service.
The SERVQUAL research presented the importance of these dimensions to each other by asking customers to assign 100 points across all five dimensions. The results showed that 11% considered important to have appearance of physical facilities; meanwhile 16% pondered relevant to give individualized attention. In the same way, 19% of the customers minded significant the ability to convey trust and confidence, 22% noted meaningful the willingness to help customers and provide prompt service; and 32% considered crucial the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
What does this mean for companies and consumers? Well, it means that we all choose to do what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it. It also means that we choose to respond quickly or rapidly, if not instantly. It represents that we all choose to communicate our expertise, competencies and desires effectively. It implies, that we all choose to have the proper attitude to respond positively towards a certain idea, object, person or situation; or towards any challenges, incentives and rewards. It means that we all choose to leave on the side our feelings, beliefs and opinions held consciously; or inclinations for certain actions in order to provide the best quality of service possible.
At the end of the day, since we are all consumers, it may be a good idea to use the dimensions mentioned above, as a guide for which ones to work or rework, either personally as a consumer or professionally as part of an organization. By questioning these dimensions, we all can learn how to give and receive quality of service, while developing and being part of the virtuous circle of continuous improvement.