Service Quality: Definition, 5 Dimensions and Implementation

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 16, 2022 | Published March 1, 2021

Updated June 16, 2022

Published March 1, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Measuring and improving service quality can increase your organization's profits and reputation. Regardless of the industry, service quality can have a direct impact on your company's ability to satisfy customer needs while remaining competitive. Learning how to measure and improve service quality is a valuable skill, but it requires research and expertise.

In this article, we discuss what service quality is, why it's important and how you can ensure a consistent level of service quality.

What is service quality?

Service quality is a measure of how an organization delivers its services compared to the expectations of its customers. Customers purchase services as a response to specific needs. They either consciously or unconsciously have certain standards and expectations for how a company's delivery of services fulfills those needs. A company with high service quality offers services that match or exceed its customers' expectations.

Related: 9 Tips for Improving Your Customer Service Skills

5 dimensions of service quality

The five dimensions of service quality are:

1. Reliability

This refers to an organization's ability and consistency in performing a certain service in a way that satisfies its customers' needs. This process involves every step of customer interaction, including the delivery or execution of the good or service, swift and precise problem resolution and competitive pricing. Customers have a certain expectation of reliability in buying a specific product, and a company's success usually depends on its ability to meet those expectations.

Related: 17 Important Customer Service Skills (With Examples)

2. Tangibility

This is an organization's ability to portray service quality to its customers. There are many factors that give a company highly tangible quality, such as the appearance of its headquarters, its employees' attire and demeanor, its marketing materials and its customer service department.

3. Empathy

Empathy is how an organization delivers its services in a way that makes the company seem empathetic to its customers' desires and demands. A customer who believes a company truly cares about their well-being is likely to be more loyal to that company.

Related: 11 Ways to Deliver Excellent Customer Service

4. Responsiveness

This is a company's dedication and ability to provide customers with prompt services. Responsiveness implies receiving, assessing and swiftly replying to customer requests, feedback, questions and issues. A company with high service quality always responds to customer communication as soon as possible which can often indicate the value a company places on customer satisfaction.

5. Assurance

Assurance is the confidence and trust that customers have in a certain organization. This is especially important with services that a customer might perceive as being above their ability to understand and properly evaluate, meaning that there has to be a certain element of trust in the servicing organization's ability to deliver. Company employees need to be mindful of earning the trust of their customers if they want to retain them.

Related: What Is Quality in a Business?

Why is high service quality important?

The main reasons why high service quality is important to an organization are:

  • It boosts sales. Customers that perceive a company's services as being high quality are more likely to do business with that company. Also, customers who buy from companies with high service quality are more likely to continue buying from those companies regularly.

  • It saves marketing money. Retaining existing customers by offering them high-quality services is typically less expensive than attracting new ones.

  • It can attract quality employees. Highly performing professionals generally prefer to work for companies with high service quality.

  • It can lead to repeat business. Customers who see their issues and complaints swiftly and efficiently resolved by a company's customer service department may be more likely to buy from that company again in the future.

  • It strengthens the company's brand. The reputation of a company with above-average service quality can boost sales by attracting new customers or retaining existing ones.

  • It eliminates certain barriers to buying. High service quality can convince a hesitant customer to make a purchase, as they know that if the service is not right for them, they can rely on strong customer service to remedy the situation.

Related: A Complete Guide to Quality Assurance and Quality Control

How to ensure good service quality

The methods of ensuring high service quality usually differ slightly depending on the nature of the business, customer standards and other factors. However, there are some common elements. These steps can help you provide strong service quality to your customers:

Understand what your customers want

Customers don't always have very exact needs, making it the company's responsibility to guide them and help them find the best solution for their particular situation.

Related: How To Understand Customer Needs in 4 Steps

Treat your customers respectfully in any situation

Even when customer requests seem unreasonable, companies should treat them with the utmost respect and make the customer feel like the company is empathetic to their issue.

Related: How To Deal with Angry Customers (With Examples and Tips)

Quickly and correctly respond to customer inquiries

Giving relevant answers to customer questions can improve the company's image and reputation of being an organization that offers good service quality.

Use customer feedback to make improvements

Encouraging customer feedback can help an organization understand the areas where they can improve their service quality. Implementing those changes can show customers that the company is listening to their wishes and is willing to modify its services accordingly.

Related: What Is the GAP Model of Service Quality? (With Examples)

Provide a friendly and efficient experience

Regardless of the services that your company provides, a well-implemented customer interaction system can increase efficiency by allowing employees to process each customer with ease. A smooth customer experience, in general, can serve to improve or reinforce a customer's perception of the organization's service quality.

Make sure that customer-facing employees are familiar with all services

All employees who interact with customers need to have extensive knowledge regarding the company's services so they can effectively explain them to customers. This can enhance the customer's perception of the company's ability to deliver quality services.

Related: 4 Levels of Customer Service: Definitions and Tips

Be honest regarding your services

When customers inquire about a service or need to decide between multiple options, it is usually best for the company to be completely honest with them and fully disclose all the pros and cons of their choice. This can improve customer trust and therefore increase the chance of that customer returning.

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