Journal of Service Theory and Practice

Published by Emerald
Print ISSN: 0960-4529
Service organisations still struggle with the adoption of a road to excellence. Evidence exists that processes and systems in service organisations are not always as advanced as in manufacturing organisations. Adding a quality smile to the face of the service provider will not solve the problems that are caused by defects in the underlying work processes and systems. Attention to the hardware in service organisations, i.e. to the service design, should instead create a more reliable process flow and time for the service staff to develop improvement activities and spend more time with customers. The way service organisations started to take excellence seriously is by making their processes transparent, eliminating undesired steps and deleting loops. In this paper the focus is on expanding this approach by adding information systems and information sources into a process map. This seems to be a promising approach for small and medium sized service organisations, without having to invest in expensive and rigid business process automation.
There is a growing interest in theory and in practice with regard to the relationship between human resource management [HRM] and total quality management [TQM] as well as the relationship between these two perspectives and business performances. Empirical research suggests significant effects of HRM/TQM on the performances of an organisation. The majority of research in this area is focused on the effects of HRM/TQM at the organisational level. Research on the perceptions of individual employees might obtain new insights for further discussion on the effectiveness of HRM/TQM in an organisation. The authors have the opportunity to analyse a relatively large database with recent data of individual employee perceptions from a knowledge-intensive organisation in The Netherlands. This analysis gives new insight in relation to concepts like 'co-operation', 'information', 'leadership', 'salary', 'work conditions', and 'goal setting' in relation to employee satisfaction and the intention to leave the organisation.
What motivates individuals at work? How do we know when behavior is the result of motivation or some other internal or external factor? What can managers do to maintain or increase the motivation of their employees? These questions and others like them have been a central focus of industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology for many years. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the field of work motivation from a process perspective, starting with individual and situational antecedents, moving to the self-regulatory processes involved in pursuing an action goal, and considering the effects of motivation on behavior and well-being. We also review research on difficulties individuals encounter in motivation and a variety of potential interventions aimed at improving motivation. It is widely recognized that motivation is a process, but most reviews adopt an approach that emphasizes a theory-by-theory account of the field. Whereas certain theories pertain to primarily one aspect of the motivation process (e.g., expectancy theory pertains primarily to goal choice), others span multiple aspects (e.g., self-determination theory pertains to needs, goals, and self-regulation). We hope to help integrate these theories by highlighting the point(s) in the motivation process at which they are presumed to have their effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
ISO 9000 series standards and total quality management (TQM) are two widely accepted approaches to quality management. The effectiveness of establishing a quality system on the basis of the former standards depends on the degree of understanding them. The tendency of adopting ISO 9001 and ISO 9002 standards for certification for the service industry, however, may not provide the appropriate quality management system. Service organisations should try to integrate ISO 9004-2 framework with TQM criteria to establish a fit-for-purpose model that can help the organisation provide world-class service. This paper outlines why and how ISO 9004-2 standards are used in this report.
This study deals with the measurement of service quality at cellular retail outlets in the South African environment. The focus is on perception and expectation of service quality from the customer's perspective. A literature review was conducted on, models of measurement for service quality. The research was conducted via a structured questionnaire based on the SERVQUAL model. Primary data was gathered via telephonic interviews from a sample of 583 customers. The total scale reliability for this study is 0.95, indicating an overall higher reliability factor than the Parasuraman et al. study. The findings further indicated that two of the dimensions, namely, tangibles and reliability are loading into separate factors. The remaining three dimensions, responsiveness, assurance and empathy all load into one factor, indicating that there is no real differentiation amongst the three dimensions in the customer's mind.
Research on service quality and customer satisfaction has become significant in the service industries. This study develops a case study that considers both external and internal service management issues and subsequent service innovations based on the framework of quality function deployment (QFD). The application of the customer window quadrant (CWQ) and the action plan matrix in the analysis of customer and service elements constitute a different approach for QFD. Some benefits and disadvantages of the QFD process are discussed as compared to extant service quality and customer paradigms. Finally, suggestions and directions are offered for future applications, with particular interest in the e-bank service management issues.
A number of models of consumer behaviour, or of the influences on consumer behaviour, imply non-linearity and non-reversibility. These include the order winning/qualifying criteria model from manufacturing strategy, and the satisfier/dissatisfier and zone of tolerance models from the field of service quality. This paper demonstrates that these models share a commonality with the physical sciences' hysteresis model, and that hysteresis can be used as a valid and informative model of a number of aspects of consumer behaviour. The application of this pre-existing model unifies a number of previously disparate and even contradictory elements and suggests a common pattern of behaviour over a wide range of activities. The implications of this for operations strategy, service quality and further research are discussed.
Focuses on the analysis of empirical data on customer satisfaction and the relationship with hard organisational performance data. The organisation is a Flexcompany with its headquarters in The Netherlands, but also operating in other countries in Europe. The empirical data on customer satisfaction and business performance stem from 1998 and 1999, from which it can be concluded that it is possible to find evidence for the hypothesis that there is a positive relationship between customer satisfaction and organisational performance indicators, although the relationship is not very strong. Various factors might influence the time-lag between a change in customer satisfaction and an expected effect on sales margin, or other output indicators. However, the analyses provide answers to questions related to the quality dimensions as underlying factors behind the items in the customer satisfaction questionnaire. Also, there are some indications for the relation between customer satisfaction and changing behaviour of customers.
Customer calls confer accessibility for promoting sales opportunities. It is the key element of a company's customer service system. Presents a methodology for quality management of customer communication through telephone, e-mail and Web support for both internal and external customers. The concept of a customer call centre is introduced and quality dimensions of customer call services are established with call status coded and problem severity issues being addressed.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to introduce the theme of the special issue on global trends and challenges in services. Design/methodology/approach A brief review of the papers included in the special issue. Findings Contextualization of the papers and identification of their contribution and significance for research in services management. Originality/value Although the papers included in the special issue represent only a small sample of the global trends and issues facing services management nowadays, papers provide a good basis and implications for conducting future research and extending the area further.
Looks at Meralco (the Manila Electric Company) which has embarked on a comprehensive transformation programme based on TQM and re-engineering. Notes that this process was required to keep pace with worldwide changes in the utility/power industry in terms of factors such as deregulation, privatization and competition. The programme began in the early 1990s, is still ongoing and thus offers insights into numerous facets such as kaizen and employee involvement.
The rapid changes in the environment have exerted significant pressures on healthcare providers to reassess their strategies. Furthermore, it is a paradox that the best clinicians are, themselves, not the best managers in running the healthcare services. Hence, a management model is set up using quality function deployment (QFD) where strategies are developed through a partnership between managers and clinicians for the provision of total quality healthcare in the light of dramatic changes in the health-care environment. The QFD-led model consists of seven parts, which includes service planning, operational planning and new concepts deployment. The power of the QFD-led model comes from the detailed discussions with customers about their expectations, comparisons with competitors and considerations of how the healthcare provider can meet the customers' expectations most effectively. The application of QFD in a restructured regional acute-care hospital is discussed.
Purpose This paper introduces the special issue on service innovation management. Design/methodology/approach Provides a brief review of the papers within the issue. Findings Compares and contextualizes the contributions, finding that the papers use state of the art methodologies and each furthers knowledge of service innovation management – a recently emerged academic discipline. Originality/value The perspectives considered represents a small sample of the diversity that exists within this area.
Total quality management (TQM) is an integrative management philosophy aimed at continuously improving the performance of products, processes and services to achieve and surpass customer expectations. In this paper, the TQM practices in the UK service industry are analysed, based on a survey of 25 service companies. The results presented here are focused on 11 critical factors of quality management: customer focus, continuous improvement, teamwork and involvement, top management commitment and recognition, training and development, quality systems and policies, supervisory leadership, communication within the company, supplier partnership or supplier management, measurement and feedback and cultural change. It was found that customer focus is the most successful driven factor for TQM programs in UK service organisations. Moreover, supplier partnership or supplier management is the least important factor.
Examines the role of standards in improving the performance of an environmental health department. Demonstrates how quality initiatives, quality audits and quality teams can be used to create an effective quality assurance system and ensure quality standards are maintained. Raises the point that introduction of quality improvements is essential to maintain credibility in a changing government culture.
Outlines the comprehensive training and development programme embarked upon by Prudential Life Administration and designed to raise customer service levels and improve productivity through Total Quality Management. Discusses training techniques and the key deliverables. Suggests that TQM means forever and that the emphasis needs to be placed on the future rather than on the past.
Outlines Texas Instruments Europe’s programme for the European Quality Awards, and how the company won the award in 1995. Explains why it was adopted, how it was executed and the benefits the company has gained. Also describes the annual improvement process used by TI Europe on a pan-European basis, integrating the European Foundation for Quality Management as a tool to define priorities and provide a common language across borders, cultures and businesses.
Begins by outlining ICL High Performance Technology’s background and position in the market, and describing the company’s products. States that the company is in transition owing to the constantly changing business environment. Describes how and why ICL has developed a strong focus on quality and outlines the processes adopted to achieve this goal. These include self-assessment and mobilizing the organization through awareness programmes and various displays as well as entering the UK Quality Awards. Describes ways in which the benefits were measured and key learning points. Concludes by suggesting the way forward.
Looks at two of the 1995 Baldrige Award Winners. Details their company profiles and briefly discusses the future of the Baldrige Awards.
Four Baldrige Awards were awarded in 1996. Offers brief profiles of each of the four winning companies, together with some insights into their journey towards excellence.
Examines what facilities are provided, and in what way, by current software packages designed to automate BS 5750 documentation procedures in different industries. All the packages are aimed at reducing the paperwork involved in implementing a quality system, but none completely matches any market sector. Details some of the differences and outlines a method for selecting a package for your industry.
In the flurry of working for ISO 9000 registration, we can too easily lose sight of the link between ISO 9000 and total, customer-driven, quality. However, through careful planning, the ISO 9000 process can drive the quality process as well. This happens in two ways: first, both emphasize the importance of managing internal processes. To strengthen this link, take an approach towards implementing ISO 9000 that examines and improves all the processes within the system, as every one has an impact on the customer. Second, ISO 9000 standards do not prescribe how to accomplish its goals. Therefore, structure the ISO 9000 registration effort in a way that supports the concepts of total quality: employee empowerment and involvement, teamwork, emphasizing cross-functional communication and, paramount among these, customer focus. Discusses these concepts using examples from the experience of Ethyl Corporation during eight completed ISO 9000 registrations, and with three more in progress.
Outlines the experience of the Fireman's Fund Insurance in its expansion of its quality improvement programme, and the unexpected benefit of a team-based company culture. Discusses the creation of Quality Action Workshops, which focused in three objectives - to improve the quality of decisions; to apply a team approach to problems; to gain stronger support for implementing change. Explores leadership and organizational skills and provides a guide to problem solving. Suggests that many problems relate back to a lack of roles and responsibilities.
Reports on recent attempts made at the US Postal Service to tackle cost effectiveness. Outlines thepostmaster's efforts to streamline the organisation and deliver quality service. Demonstrates by the results at the Postal Service that improving customer service and cutting costs are not mutually exclusive.
Advocates a value-based approach to achieving and managing customer service. Sees quality as being on a low-profile path in public sector organizations. Describes four stages – ideation, design, delivery and maintenance – by which a turnaround to a high-profile path can be achieved.
Examines a local education authority's involvement in a quality improvement process known as GRASP (Getting Results and Solving Problems) which focuses on achievement and results. Outlines the GRASP process and the selection of objectives and criteria for success. Considers the role of partnership among parents, teachers and children, and finally looks at the LEA's attempts to win BS 5750 approval.
Discusses a survey mailed to some 3,000 managers to ascertain how service managers approach the management of resource capacity to satisfy the demand for their type of business, and how this process impacts on their ability to maintain a constant delivery of the most important features of service quality. Reviews the results in respect of important features of service quality, management of service delivery process recovery from mistakes and the and the management of service quality.
Can businesses that deliver services through multiple distribution points significantly improve their reputations for quality? Yes, but these businesses must overcome the common perception that chain operations do not care about quality as much as locally-owned firms. Explores the idea of large companies acting like small ones to improve their quality reputation.
Describes a revolution in customer service at the Royal Automobile Club (RAC). Explains how, since the mid-1980s, the RAC has become the most progressive and fastest growing motoring organization in the world, through a policy of locating new technology to automate breakdown handling processes, the creation of five regional supercentres and a pursuit of service excellence through the involvement and participation of all staff.
Suggests that companies can become customer centred by adopting five strategies: shift to a laser-beam focus; hardwire the voice of the customer; universal collaboration; lasting customer enthusiasm rather than customer satisfaction, and a move to contact leadership.
Outlines AFS’s non-hierarchical structure and the way AFS conducts its business by co-operating with specialists to create competitive products. Describes how AFS defines and identifies its customer, and how it then uses that profile to gain new customers.
Explores the findings of a recent survey which suggests that British managers have the wrong priorities when setting targets for quality management. Compares British business with Japanese in respect of customer service.
Discusses briefly the introduction of the British Rail Passenger's Charter, and explains how the charter has been received and how effective it has been. Describes advantages and disadvantages of the charter. Highlights the achievements of British Rail's InterCity services.
Malaysia Airlines’ vision is to become “An Airline of Excellence”. Describes how the airline reinforced the Total Quality philosophy in its service culture and improved customers’ perception of its quality as a strategy to achieve this aim.
Before 1983 there was much criticism of the level of service at British Airways. Describes how British Airways has moved since then to the position of being able to call itself “The World’s Favourite Airline”. This took place by means of four staff programmes, “Putting People First”, “A Day in the Life”, “To be the Best” and “Winning for Customers”. The aim is ensure that quality permeates the organization in order to ensure the long-term success of the company.
Describes a bonus card system and examines the results of an analysis of bonus card transactions giving key customer segments. Looks at retention and acquisition strategies and emphasizes the importance of keeping pace with customer expectations.
Shares some observations following sponsorship by the Scottish Development Agency of a fact-finding mission to the USA. The objective was to learn from the best US service organizations. Discusses the organisations visited, and asserts that in all, the companies were obviously making superb progress and that the total quality programmes had given them increased opportunities to take advantage of other trends that became evident. Notes that the drive for quality in the USA is epitomised by a profit motive and an efficiency measurement; it is the way of developing the business, retaining customers and making the company profitable for employees and shareholders.
Describes how KHS Maschinen-und Anlagenbau is transforming its service operation to strengthen customer relationships and accelerate growth.
Describes a consumer research programme, set up by Ansells Retail Ltd, the operator of over 540 “managed” public houses in the UK. The research involves “mystery customers” visiting each pub and a nominated competitor six times a year, each time completing a detailed questionnaire. The questionnaire covers over 100 separate standards for every pub, each capable of being answered with an objective “yes” or “no” response. Findings are communicated to all staff through the company magazine and annual conference. Substantial rewards are presented to over 30 pubs for each of the six cycle assessments. From the research assesses what customers regard as the most important requirements in the pub. Calls for motivated staff who thrive in the culture of understanding what the customer wants and how it is delivered.
Discusses the new concern for quality in the legal profession. Shows how the solicitors' profession, once considered the epitome of quality itself, is now beginning to find itself living in a competitive world, and how this has consequently led to a radical rethink on how the profession is viewed within the marketplace. Provides some examples of firms that have implemented TQM. Outlines the ways in which total quality management programmes are changing the working lives of solicitors.
Examines various approaches to implementing TQM in the service industry, specifically within the Avon Training and Enterprise Council. Explains how management commitment to TQM can be achieved and maintained in service organizations. Details the key differences and similarities between service and manufacturing organizations. Outlines different methods of measuring TQM progress in the organization.
Discusses the major contributions of various quality gurus. Highlights the main messages and how principles which originally focused on the product can now be applied to services. Draws attention to the competitive importance of quality and concludes that business survival depends on quality.
Gives a brief history of the Automobile Association (AA) before going on to describe the organization’s attitudes to issues of complaints and customer satisfaction. States that the entire workforce is empowered as part of the service quality culture and explains the reasons for this. Shows how quality service is essential, and how staff must be allowed to deal with each case individually to achieve this. Lists the “seven golden rules” in operation at the AA.
Asserts that for quality improvement to have a lasting effect in an organisation, employees need to learn how to adapt themselves to the culture change and understand why it is necessary. Centres on the argument that for any change of consequence there is a need to look to unreasonable people who persist in trying to adapt the world to themselves. Discusses the implications of culture change. Outlines the methods to provide a direct and practical means of getting people to take a different perspective on themselves, and thus be more prepared to take on and use relevant quality education.
A key strategic objective behind the introduction of TQM centres on ensuring employee commitment and participation in continuous process innovation for the purpose of improving operational efficiencies and developing a competitive edge within the expanding and dynamic marketplace. Although TQM has many of its roots in the principles of total quality control, the main objectives of many current programmes rest on revising existing organizational attitudes and belief systems. Uses the experience of Pirelli Cables to describe employee responses to the process of establishing a “quality culture” and to illustrate how Japanese TQM programmes may not be well suited to building employee commitment within an Australian workforce which is culturally very diverse.
Recounts Christchurch City Council’s attempt to develop a comprehensive strategy through which all employees could focus on improving performance in the varied areas of service to its internal and external customers. Customer satisfaction and value for money were key objectives, though the Council’s intention was to achieve them through identifying “best practice” in the customer-focused business performance improvement in a local government context. Offers an analysis of several features of the Christchurch improvement strategy considered to be of particular interest to people working in or with local government.
(a) Average customer satisfaction with low persuasion knowledge; (b) average customer satisfaction with high persuasion knowledge  
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of offering customer decision authority on customer satisfaction in credence services, and the moderating effects of customer persuasion knowledge and service provider credibility. Design/methodology/approach – A video-based experiment is conducted to achieve high similarity to real service encounters. The video comprises three levels of customer authority while service provider credibility is manipulated. In a subsequent questionnaire, customer response and customer persuasion knowledge are measured. Findings – Results suggest that greater decision authority increases customer satisfaction. However, customer persuasion knowledge and provider credibility together were found to moderate these effects. Offering decision autonomy is most important when source credibility is low and persuasion knowledge is high. Research limitations/implications – The study setting is an initial healthcare encounter. Other service settings and service provider communication behaviors, such as empathy, responding to customer queries, and length of encounter are not considered in this study but should be further studied. Practical implications – The study confirms that offering decision authority to customers increases satisfaction only under certain circumstances. Customers are willing to relinquish authority to credible service providers who then direct customer decisions in order to maintain service quality. Offering decision autonomy to customers is suggested when provider credibility is low and customer persuasion knowledge is high. Originality/value – Analysis of credence service encounters is based on agency theory. Specifically, this study highlights the role of customer (principal) persuasion knowledge, which acts as a qualifier for the principal-agent problem because it alerts the customer to possible persuasion attempts by the service provider, whereas agent credibility eases customer suspicion.
The success of any company depends largely on how well its employees execute the company’s plan of action in an effort to achieve desired objectives. In an effort to secure and retain the most qualified workforce, a company attempts to compile a benefits package that ensures the member of the company is compensated fairly and is provided adequate time off for sickness, vacations, and so forth. Often a company that has the resources to enable it to be generous is faced with problems resulting from abuses that affect morale and distract and often divide teams whose members rely on one another for effective execution of daily tasks. Contends that it is the truly excellent company that can overcome problems such as these and in many cases turn them into positive experiences. However, to do so can prove a great cost to the company, as many of the above problems are not quickly repaired. Illustrates these considerations about company excellence by examples from the automotive finance industry.
Examines methods of protecting organization from being bullied by customers who take customer service too far, the main aim being to minimize any damage and unpleasantness. Several steps are defined – defining what is possible and can be expected, recognizing types of customer, and training staff and managers. Concludes that most importantly, staff must be supported when following company policy.
Looks at MCI, attempts to improve its customer service record and its investigation, in depth, of customer complaints and efforts to improve and correct this. The US telecommunications industry is highly competitive and MCI looks to retain and build on its customer retention. Discusses the development, in 1992, of its Customer Care and Quality Centre which was mandated to develop ways to raise quality and customer satisfaction levels. Goes on to show that this has worked so well that customer satisfaction levels have reached an all-time high of 97 per cent. This would seem to support MCI’s policy regarding its customers.
Top-cited authors
Bo Edvardsson
  • Karlstads Universitet
Sandra Streukens
  • Hasselt University
Allard van Riel
  • Hasselt University
Carlos Flavian
  • University of Zaragoza
Yonggui Wang
  • University of International Business and Economics