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Service quality indicators for business support services

van Ree, H.J.; (2010) Service quality indicators for business support services. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Quality is critical to corporate success as it plays a vital role in improving organisational productivity. It can be defined as ‘the totality of inherent characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to increase the demand for that product or service at a fixed price’ and can best be measured by capturing customer perceptions of the performance of those characteristics. Customising the SERVPERF methodology to measure service quality in a business-to-business context and subsequently testing it on both customers and suppliers of cleaning, catering and security services, the research led to a number of important and valuable insights concerning the service quality construct in a business-to-business environment. First, service quality in relation to cleaning, catering and security services consists of nine clear dimensions: reliability, clout, reputation, awareness, competitiveness, collaboration, accessibility, competence and assurance. The nine-dimensional construct identified shows high reliability and good validity in statistical terms. Furthermore, eight of the nine service quality dimensions are strongly or moderately yet significantly related to customer perceived service quality and customer satisfaction - clout being the exception. The same eight dimensions are significantly, but moderately related to purchase intention - suggesting that that there might be other constructs important in making a purchase decision (e.g. the costs of service delivery). Third, relating the nine service quality dimensions to the financial performance of supplier organisations, it was identified that six of the nine dimensions have significant relationships with one or more of the ten financial performance measures investigated - reliability, accessibility and competence being the exceptions. Finally, it was identified that customer organisations have significantly lower perceptions of the service quality they receive than do supplier organisations for competitiveness, collaboration, accessibility and competence. Moreover, customer perceived performance is significantly lower than customer perceived importance for eight of the nine service quality dimensions. For customer organisations, the empirical findings can be used to develop a framework of Service Quality Indicators, which can be used for monitoring and benchmarking service quality perception. For supplier organisations, the findings can be used for resource-allocation decisions pertaining to improve service quality, customer satisfaction and ultimately purchase intentions. It should be noted that the research is exploratory in nature and has only begun to address the many issues that are important in the management of business support services, but the questions addressed - what quality dimensions are important for customer satisfaction and what quality dimensions are important for supplier performance - are arguably among the most important in service quality management.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Service quality indicators for business support services
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification:
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/19902
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