SERVQUAL and the process improvement challenge



Service quality is difficult to quantify as it is a function of differing customer perceptions over time, the ever changing market conditions, the measurement process and the interpretation of the data that have been gathered. The SERVQUAL questionnaire and gap analysis have been used to analyse service quality within diverse organisations over the last 30 years. The measurement instrument has been analysed, changed and criticized by numerous authors. However, as a stand-alone tool, it has remained much the same. With organisational emphasis on change in systems as well as new and innovative ways of using computer technology, SERVQUAL is more likely to become obsolete as a stand-alone tool as new ways of collecting and disseminating data become available. However, it might survive if integrated into an ever changing IT framework within a generic company structure such as e.g. the Six Sigma framework. In our paper we strive (1) to find out to what extent is SERVQUAL helpful in process improvement; and (2) to determine characteristics of methodology that would call for application of SERVQUAL for process improvement purposes. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.