Measuring Service Quality A FOLIOz MSQ Course Presentation Updated September 2009
What is the measurement of service quality? • To recap, service quality focuses on the needs and expectations of customers to improve products and/or services. • The measurement of service quality measures the gap between the customer’s level of expectation and how well they rated the service(s). • Measuring service quality in libraries can be both a specific project as well as a continual process to enhance and improve services.1
Why measure service quality? The benefits of measuring service quality include: • You will be able to identify where services need improving in the view of your users. • It will enable you to provide services that are more closely aligned with the expectations of your users. • It will allow you to compare your service quality with peer institutions in an effort to develop benchmarks (more on benchmarking on Days 13 and 14!) and understand best practice.2
What should I measure? • You first need to decide if you want to measure a specific aspect of your library and information service (e.g. the provision of information skills training) or the service as a whole? • If you are measuring the whole service, you will need indicators from each aspect of the service: e.g. inter-library loans, literature searching, enquiry handling, training etc.
A quote for reflection “The key feature of which measures we chose should depend on their ability to provide feedback on our goals, and the chances of achieving these goals in an effective and efficient way…So our measures should start at our goals, and force us to focus our attention to take action towards them.”3 Reflection questions on next slide…
Reflection questions • Think about the measures you currently use in your library and information service. These can be any type of measure, for example number of visitors, number of enquiries, any user surveys you have carried out etc. • What goals do each of these measures relate to? E.g. the purpose of a recent user survey was to gain user opinions in order to ultimately ensure the service meets their information needs. • Are there any measures that do not relate any particular goals? If so, what is the need for these measures? For example, you may be required to collect particular statistics to produce reports for stakeholders.
How do I measure it? Generally organisations use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods: • Qualitative Methods: interviews, focus groups, observation (including mystery shopping!). • Quantitative Methods: surveys (questionnaires, customer comments cards), statistics (routine data collection).
How do I measure it? • There are also specific tools that can be used to measure service quality in organisations. For example: • ISO Standards • SERVQUAL • LibQUAL+ (specially for use in library and information services) • RATER scale. More on these tomorrow!
A final reflection exercise… • There are ten general determinants of service quality that can be applied to most types of service. These are general criteria that can be used to assess the quality of service customers expect and receive. • The following determinants and examples are adapted from: Accounts Commission for Scotland (1999). Can’t get no satisfaction? Using a Gap Approach to Measure Service Quality [online] Available from: http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/local/2000/nr_000627_GAP_service_quality.pdf [Accessed August 2009].
The Ten Determinants of Service Quality • Access - the ease and convenience of accessing the service(s). • Communication - keeping your users informed; listening to your users. • Competence - having the skills and knowledge to provide the service(s). • Courtesy - politeness, respect, consideration, and friendliness of staff at all levels. • Credibility - trustworthiness, reputation and image.
The Ten Determinants of Service Quality • Reliability - providing consistent, accurate and dependable service(s); delivering the service that was promised. • Responsiveness - being willing and ready to provide service(s) when needed. • Security - physical safety; financial security; confidentiality. • Tangibles - the physical aspects of the service such as equipment, facilities, resources. • Understanding the customer - knowing individual customer needs.
Reflection • Before moving on to the next slide, consider the following: For each of the ten determinants of service quality, think of an example of what the determinant could apply to in your library and information service.
Examples • Access - convenient opening times; alternative methods to accessing services: e.g. telephone and internet/email. • Communication - “plain English” signs & pamphlets/guides; suggestions and complaints procedures. • Competence - all staff knowing, and able to do, their job. • Courtesy - staff behaving politely and pleasantly. • Credibility - the reputation of the service in the wider community; staff generating a feeling of trust with users.
Examples • Reliability - standards defined in local service charters; accuracy of information provided; doing jobs right first time; keeping promises and deadlines. • Responsiveness - resolving problems quickly; allowing users to book an “appointment” for help (e.g. in literature searching, reference management etc.) • Security - ensuring service meets health and safety requirements, for staff and users. • Tangibles - up to date equipment and resources. • Understanding the customer - tailoring services where practical to meet individual needs.
How do you measure up? • More reflection… For the examples you have thought of, rate your library and information service on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is not meeting the determinant at all and 10 is meeting it fully.
References • Kyrillidou, M. & Heath, F.M. (2001) Measuring Service Quality Introduction. Library Trends: 49 (4) Spring. [Online] http://web.archive.org/web/20071016044456/http://puboff.lis.uiuc.edu/catalog/trends/49_4.html[Accessed August 2009]. • Fernekes, B. (2005) Outcome-Based Assessments. Hong Kong University. [Online] Available from: http://library.ust.hk/info/other/dec2005/day2.pps[Accessed August 2009]. • Munns, A. (2004) Project Management Newsletter. University of Dundee. [Online] Available from: http://web.archive.org/web/20040531231831/http://www.dundee.ac.uk/civileng/PM+Newsletter/newsletter005.html [Accessed August 2009].
Further Reading • Poll, R. (2008). Ten years after: Measuring Quality revised.Performance Measurement and Metrics: 9 (1): pg. 26. Available to ALIA members via ProQuest at: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1463024291&sid=1&Fmt=3&clientId=109526&RQT=309&VName=PQD [Accessed August 2009] Please note you will need to log in to the ALIA website at: http://www.alia.org.au/LISjournals/ to access this link. • Kyrillidou, M. Heath, F.H. (2001). Measuring Service Quality. Library Trends: 49 (4): 541-799. Available to ALIA members via ProQuest at: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?RQT=572&TS=1250603063&clientId=109526&VType=PQD&VName=PQD&VInst=PROD&PMID=23866&PCID=1436580&SrtM=0&SrchMode=3&aid=1[Accessed August 2009] Please note you will need to log in to the ALIA website at: http://www.alia.org.au/LISjournals/ to access this link. • Phipps, S. (2001) Beyond measuring service quality: Learning from the voices of the customers, the staff, the processes, and the organization. Library Trends: 49 (4): pg. 635-661. Available to ALIA members via ProQuest at: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=77809156&sid=4&Fmt=4&clientId=109526&RQT=309&VName=PQD [Accessed August 2009] Please note you will need to log in to the ALIA website at: http://www.alia.org.au/LISjournals/ to access this link.