A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Its Implications for Future Research
OBJECTIVE: To attain the insights in the importance of quality in service industry through an extensive exploratory research.
SUMMARY: For a tangible good, the products quality has always been measurable by various marketers and it has been one of the important roles of the organizations to maintain their quality standards throughout their run. But, for the service sector, a lot of researchers have not been able to find the quality of the service and are yet to focus on it. In this article, the authors have focussed and tried to rectify this situation by using numerous methods some of which are:
‘ Recording the perceptions obtained in an extensive exploratory investigation of quality in four service businesses
‘ Developing a separate model for determining the service quality.
‘ To create new propositions to help future research in this field.
The main problem for the authors here is the INTANGIBILITY of service sector, which prevents many from having an access to its insights. Most services cannot be calculated, measured, inventoried, confirmed, and verified in progress of sale to promise quality. This intangibility makes it difficult for the firm to understand how consumers perceive the services and its quality. Secondly, services are heterogeneous i.e, they differ from maker to maker, customer to customer and time to time.
The authors used exploratory investigation in this article which included,
1) Executive interviews- This included a nationally recognized company from each of the four service businesses participated in the study. The respondents held titles such as president of the company, senior vice president of the company, director of customer relations and manager of consumer market research.
2) Focus Group Interviews- This was done in 12 groups for, 3 for each selected service industry. 6 groups consisted only male and 6 consisted only female. The groups were formed on the basis of age and sex to maintain the homogeneity.
Two types of service quality exist: Technical and functional. The technical quality involves what the customer gets from the service and functional quality is the manner in which the service is delivered. The service quality can actually be attained by the interaction between the customers with the elements of the service organization. They have actually used three quality dimensions which are
Physical quality: This includes the physical aspects of the service (e.g., equipment or building)
Corporate quality: This involves the company’s image or profile
Interactive quality: This actually derives from the interaction between contact personnel and customers as well as between some customers and other customers.
After conducting the interviews and the focus group a discussion, a table was formed which mentioned the determinants of service quality. The following were found out to be the determinants:
1. Reliability: Consistence of performance and reliability.
2. Responsiveness: Readiness of employees to provide service.
3. Competence: Having the required skills/knowledge to provide the service.
4. Access: Ease of contact.
5. Courtesy: politeness of contact personnel.
6. Communication: Making the customers understand in a language they know.
7. Credibility: Honesty and reliability
8. Security: Freedom from risk or danger.
9. Understanding the customer: Understanding what the customer needs.
10. Tangibles: Physical evidence of the service.
The quality of service given to the customers plays a pivotal role in the growth of any service industry. The importance of quality has been mentioned clearly in the article which leads them to find out on how to measure the same. The research methodologies used by the authors have provided us with various insights and propositions, concerning consumer’s perception of service quality. The authors also mentioned 10 various dimensions through which the customers actually perceive the service quality given to them. The article can be used a base for further investigation and research in the findings of the quality of service provided by industries
OBJECTIVE: combine implementation of service marketing and strategic bonds in health care sector.
Fundamentals of service marketing must be practiced by hospitals in spite of the policies followed by healthcare industry which benefits them and sustain its competition, compromised of physicians, consumers, pharmaceutical firms, etc. A service lead culture plays in important role in the positioning of hospitals. Hospitals will need to differentiate themselves by making effective strategic alliances to position themselves as members of an integrated healthcare organization. It is known that various existing strategies will continue to dominate this industry for the next several years, hospitals need to redefine the concept of marketing, sales and service to include establishing comprehensive customer service centers and information centers.
1. SERVICE MARKETING IS HERE TO STAY: in order to sustain the competition from the players in same industry and meet customer requirements, service marketing principles are to be followed. Positioning hospitals’ potential role as the most important activity of health care industry will help a hospital to remain it s position in market. Since a decade service marketing has been in practice in hospital industry.
2. NEED FOR STRATEGIC ALLIANCES AND SERVICE MARKETING: Hospitals that are standing out from others with service market programs are those which are effective in making strategies. As the network of healthcare market has increased, the conversion of health care delivery programs into managed care is implemented by Group Health Assoc.
3. A PARADIGM SHIFT FOR HEALTH CARE MARKETING: In the forthcoming decade, it is clear that health care industry will be dominated by different capitation strategies. These strategies will not affect the requirements that are necessary for a hospital to be ‘market- oriented’ but affects the style of marketing of a hospital and its business activities.
4. MARKETING, SALES AND SERVICE- REDEFINED: Hospitals should have the positioning strategy in order to act as reliable source of information for customer to access various services. Embracing this responsibility can position hospitals successfully in a market that will continue to separate winners from losers. To abandon this responsibility places them at risk, as they will lose the ability to favorably influence activities within their market.
5. APPLYING MARKETING TECHNOLOGY TO THE NEW PARADIGM: Information systems technology is readily available to support a broad range of strategic marketing activity. Consumer information extends beyond basic demographics to include past and predicted use of health care services. Consumers with predefined health profiles should be targeted in order to detect in early stages regarding health situation. It is important to monitor the consumers who have accessed to the services in the past, since it is as important as various reform models implementation.
6. PUSHING THE EDGE OF THE ENVELOPE THROUGH STRATEGIC ALLIANCES: The programs which use the health information for the hospitals are important as they manage risk under certain captivated contracts. The service centers of a hospital acts as a tangible asset for the other providers who seeks this information in order to have some extent of security.
The conclusion is that these service marketing and selective alliances will prepare the changes which are hidden so that it simplifies the important strategies for the hospitals. The hospitals can concentrate on the activities which create value addition and attract the business partners while the hospitals’ health care proposals remain controversial. Rather than going for a particular strategy which is uncertain about predicting of success, fundamentals of service marketing and strategic alliances will help the organization in positioning for success under any policy.