Quality has been a dominant theme in management thinking over the past 50 years (Beckford, 1998). Although initially much of the thinking about quality came from American theorists, it was the Japanese who seemed to be interested in the notion and applied it to good advantage within their industries. As the notion of quality has evolved, it has presented a variety of problems. For example, there has always been a problem in trying to understand what is meant by quality.

Quality characterised by the following aspects:

  • is multidimensional,
  • has underlying quality dimensions, some of which change over time;
  • is intangible, although it is often assessed through tangible clues;
  • is the result of both service processes and service outcomes;
  • depends on the difference (gap) between customer expectations and perceptions

  • Dimesions
    Service Quality
    ReliabilityPerform promised service dependably and accurately. Example: receive mail at same time each day.
    ResponsivenessWillingness to help customers promptly. Example: avoid keeping customers waiting for no apparent reason.
    Assurance Ability to convey trust and confidence. Example: being polite and showing respect for customer.
    Empathy Ability to be approachable. Example: being a good listener.
    TangiblesPhysical facilities and facilitating goods. Example: cleanliness.
    Product Quality
    Performanceprimary operating characteristics, e.g. picture clarity
    Featuressupplement characteristics, e.g. free drinks on a plane
    Reliability probability of a productís failing within a specified period of time
    Conformance internal and external design and operating characters match standars, e.g. repairs under warranty
    Durability a measure of product life, e.g. a light bulb
    Serviceability speed, courtecy and compentence of repair, e.g. 48-hours delivery of repair parts
    Perceived Quality consumerís subjective measure, e.g. ranking brands
    Aesthetics look, feeling, sound, taste, etc.

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