When evaluating service quality, researchers suggest various’ dimensions as criteria. Perhaps the most widely accepted dimensions are those introduced by Parasuraman and his colleagues, who suggested that there are ten dimensions customers use to evaluate service quality:
1. Reliability: Reliability involves consistency of performance and dependability. It also means that the Firm performs the service right the first time and honours its promises. Specifically, it may involve:
- Accuracy in billing
- Performing the service at the designated time
2. Responsiveness: Responsiveness concerns the willingness or readiness of employees to provide service. It may involve:
- Mailing a transaction slip immediately
- Calling the customer back quickly
3. Competence: Competence means possession of the required skills and knowledge to perform the service. It involves:
- Knowledge and skill of the contact personnel
- Knowledge and skill of operational support personnel
4. Access: Access involves approachability & ease of contact. It may mean:
- The service is easily accessible by telephone
- Waiting time to receive service is not extensive
5. Courtesy: Courtesy involves politeness, respect, consideration, and friendliness of contact personnel (including receptionists, telephone operators, etc.). It includes:
- Consideration for the consumer’s property
- Clean and neat appearance of public contact personnel.
6. Communication: Communication means keeping customers informed in a language they can understand, and listening to them. It may mean that the company has to adjust its language for different customers. It may involve:
- Explaining the service itself and how much the service will cost
- Explaining the trade-offs between service and cost
7. Credibility: Credibility involves trustworthiness, believability, and honesty. It involves having the customer’s best interests at heart. Contributing to credibility are:
- Company name and reputation
- Personal characteristics of the contact personnel
8. Security: Security is the freedom from danger, risk, or doubt. It may involve:
- Physical safety
- Financial security and confidentiality
9. Understanding: Understanding/knowing the customer involves making the effort to understand the customer’s needs. It involves:
- Learning the customer’s specific requirements
- Providing individualized attention
10. Tangibles: Tangibles include the physical evidence of the service:
- Physical facilities and appearance of personnel
- Tools or equipment used to provide the service
Parasuraman et al. redefined the dimensions, collapsing them into five dimensions:
- Reliability: Perform promised service dependably and accurately.
- Assurance: Ability to convey trust and confidence.
- Tangibles: Physical facilities and facilitating goods.
- Empathy: Ability to be approachable. Normally in such situations, R represents Reliability and Responsiveness, A represents Assurance, T represents Tangibles, and E represents Empathy respectively.
- Responsiveness: Willingness to help customers promptly.