Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry (1990, p.18) insinuate that service quality is the satisfaction of customers, or exceeding the expectations. High service quality is paramount in a business since it leads to an increase in the market share. Customers prefer services that make them feel the value of their money is achieved. When the market is then large enough, an organization can attain economies of scale meaning that it can decrease the cost of production. Therefore, while enhancing quality is initially expensive, it eventually becomes profitable. Moreover, high service quality improves an organization's reputation, thereby driving its premium pricing. Sometimes an organization seeks to be identified in a particular way terms of the part of quality on which it mostly emphasizes. However, in order to ensure service quality, there needs to be continuous improvement. Service quality is collaborative, encompassing the equipment used, processes, and the people. It regards that service is mostly administered direct to the consumer, and so employees should be motivated to offer their best. The equipment has to be ergonometric, decent and should provide prompt responses for the customers to be satisfied. A transitional process ensures that the customers can understand every step, and it is simplified enough to avoid sophistication. Service quality is indispensable for the sustainability and profitability of an organization.
Service quality has been described by several scholars as the meeting of customer expectations. Oh and Kim (2017, p.3-5) state that some customers are only interested in the basic features of a service, without much concern about the extra features. For instance, in the hospitality industry, a customer would be just concerned about the quality of food, without much consideration about the value and design of utensils on which the food is served. However, this greatly contradicts the conventional theory that goes beyond meeting customer expectations, since if the customer had two choices where the quality of food is similar but the interior and utensils designs in one are magnificent, then the customer is likely to choose it assuming a similar price of food and the same utility level of the customer (Ha & Jang 2010). Therefore, service quality is more than merely meeting customer demands.
The definition of service quality by Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry just describes it from the customer perspective. Customers definitely assess the value of a service (Davidson, McPhail, & Barry 2011). However, there are other stakeholders involved in a business such as shareholders who are interested in the service quality. An organization that offers high-quality services can easily attract investors. Despite the fact that the definition does not state other stakeholders, it is comprehensive since once the customers are satisfied, the same will be translated to all other stakeholders. The effects are gradually felt in the market, and so other stakeholders can cooperate. The extension that the premium of a highly reputable organization improves the premium pricing shows that an organization that focuses on quality continually increases in value.
The prerequisite nature of service quality is generally acceptable. Davidson, McPhail, and Barry (2011) identify that a discontented customer is not likely to return, and peer promotion of services implies that the customer can influence other customers against using the particular service. On the other hand, a service that exceeds a customer's expectations encourages repeat customers and referrals. As a result, if an organization optimizes the quality of services it offers, the market it attracts continually grows.
Ladhari (2009, p.315) asserts that quality can increase the cost of production. Service quality requires resources such as skilled labor, training, equipment, and possibly space. These can highly cost a business, and it is thus agreeable that service quality is expensive to initiate. However, this is for only short-term. The capital costs can be realized over time, and their returns are enviable as compared to low-quality services that will eventually lead to loss of customers and in the long run the entire business. Therefore, the investment made in service quality is worth.
Ha and Jang (2010, p.524) affirm that service quality requires continuous improvement. Quality is not a single day process. There are changes in the society, politics, business environment, and the general economy that affect quality. For instance, customers are currently considering organic foods healthier than the junk, which makes them perceive the former as of high quality. If an organization in the hotel industry sticks to junks, then it can lose customers with time. However, if it adjusts its quality accordingly, then it can remain competitive. Using advanced equipment is also an example, where the process of service delivery is improved and thus the more advanced, the more the quality of service expected. Therefore, an organization has to be updating its components to sustain the desirable quality.
There is the mention of equipment, process, and people in the theory. The list should have extended to supplies specifically in the hospitality industry. If the supplies are not of high quality, then the end product, which is the food being served, will be as well compromised (Oh & Kim, 2017). Equipment, in this case, is part of the process, while the people are involved from the procurement, processing, and serving.
Kasiri et al. (2017, p.95) extend their view about service quality by differentiating between customer expectations and perception of service. They describe that a business should focus on satisfying a customer's expectations. Conversely, the perception could be different. For instance, if a customer expected an excellent service but it was compromised, the customer will not be satisfied. It does not necessarily imply that the service rendered is of poor quality, just that it did not reach the standard the customer wanted. As a result, it is necessary for organizations in the hospitality sector to advertise only what they can offer to avoid disappointments. Moreover, the expectation could be as a result of the customer's prior visits. Subsequently, to retain the perception, the business should ensure consistency in the services offered.
Conclusively, it is evident that from the definition of service quality, any organization in the hospitality sector has to highlight the quality of services it delivers. The high quality will ensure that an organization in the field can effectively benefit from repeated customers and referrals, which increases the market share. In addition, the quality helps in building a reputation and thus an organization can be desirable to its stakeholders. In order to achieve high quality, an organization should improve the equipment and supplies used, process, and the people. Quality management should be a continuous program, and the organization must be unswerving in the quality of service it offers.
Davidson, M. C. G., McPhail, R., & Barry, S. (2011, May). Hospitality HRM: Past, present and the future. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. https://doi.org/10.1108/09596111111130001
Ha, J., & Jang, S. C. (Shawn). (2010). Effects of service quality and food quality: The moderating role of atmospherics in an ethnic restaurant segment. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29(3), 520-529. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2009.12.005
Kasiri, L. A., Guan Cheng, K. T., Sambasivan, M., & Sidin, S. M. (2017). Integration of standardization and customization: Impact on service quality, customer satisfaction, and loyalty. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 35, 91-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2016.11.007
Ladhari, R. (2009). Service quality, emotional satisfaction, and behavioural intentions: A study in the hotel industry. Managing Service Quality, 19(3), 308-331. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604520910955320
Oh, H., & Kim, K. (2017). Customer satisfaction, service quality, and customer value: years 2000-2015. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 29(1), 2-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-10-2015-0594
Zeithaml, V.A., Parasuraman, A. & Berry, L.L. (1990). Delivery Quality Service. New York, The Free Press.
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