A comparative analysis of service quality dimensions in six service industries
This research investigates the impact of service characteristics on the importance of service quality dimensions across a wide range of service industries. In this research, six service industries are selected to represent the characteristics peculiar to services. The different importance weightings of service quality dimensions in these service industries are identified and a 16-dimension service quality approach is developed for the empirical analysis. This research identifies that importance is the most powerful and appropriate measurement to assess service quality in an industry level. Two phases of empirical research were conducted using a mixed methodology approach. Phase one -the quantitative study -uses 600 telephone interviews to investigate service quality importance from the customers' perspective. Phase two - the qualitative study - uses 12 in-depth personal interviews with managers from these industries to assess service providers' perceptions. Comparisons are made on service quality issues among the six service industries, among all service quality dimensions, between customers and service providers, and among consumers with different experience level with the service. From the quantitative phase, this research develops a service quality importance model to aid managers and academics in understanding customers' perceptions of service quality. The model is then verified in the qualitative phase. Findings indicate that both customers and service providers perceived each service industry has different weightings relating to service characteristics and service quality dimensions. However, perceptual differences between service providers and consumers were found in all service industries. In addition, the findings suggest that consumers' experience levels have no impact on consumers' service quality importance perception in some services industries, e.g. university and restaurant, and only have impact on a limited number of dimensions in other service industries. The concepts of core dimensions and peripheral dimensions are derived from the interviews with service providers in the qualitative phase. The peripheral dimensions are of particular importance for building competitive advantages.