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Integrated Approach for Evaluation of Service Quality in Multistage Sequential Utilitarian Service Process

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Purpose In the context of sequential multistage utilitarian service processes, the objective of this paper is to develop and validate propositions to study the impact of service quality (SQ) perceptions developed in intermediate stages along with the impact of service gestalt characteristics, such as peak and end experiences, on quality perception at each stage and on overall quality perception (OSQ). The cascade phenomenon (interdependency between process stages) is considered in the evaluation of OSQ perception of customer, who experiences service through a series of planned, distinct, and partitioned sequential stages. Design/methodology/approach In this paper, a conceptual framework is used to evolve the propositions. Subsequently, propositions are tested in 3 different utilitarian service context wherein Customer’s survey was conducted for feedback on attributes at each stage, summary perception evaluations of each stage, and overall service quality evaluation of multistage process. Peak experiences, considered for OSQ evaluation, were defined by a suitable statistical technique. Ordinal logistic regression (OLR) with nested models is the technique used for analyzing the data. Findings This work reveals significant cascade effect of summary evaluation of intermediate stages on the subsequent stage. Peak customer experience (negative or positive) is observed to be marginally significant on intermediate stage as well as overall service quality evaluation. In addition, overall service quality is observed to be influenced by summary perception evaluations of intermediate stages, which leads to better model adequacy. Finally, among all the stages, end stage performance is observed to have significantly impact on the overall multistage service quality. Practical implications The findings suggest that in view of the cascade effect of intermediate stages, managers need to allocate resources to ensure that all stages are performing at an adequate level instead of only focusing on improving peaks and end effects of customer experiences. The proposed approach is easy-to-implement and suitable for evaluating SQ and OSQ in varied multistage sequential utilitarian service environment. Originality/value An integrated approach for evaluation of service quality in sequential multistage utilitarian service processes is proposed from the perspective of cascade effect of intermediate stages as well as peak and end effects on overall service quality perception.

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