The Importance of Service Quality: Why a Quality Management System in Service Industries Matters

The Importance of Service Quality: Why a Quality Management System in Service Industries Matters

Many people talk about manufacturing and quality management systems. But a service quality management system (QMS) is just as essential, if not more so, for businesses in service industries.

While it's straightforward to define quality when it comes to a product, identifying service quality can be much more complex. That's where a service industry quality management system standard like ISO 9001: 2015 comes into play. Who needs ISO 9001 certification? Any service organization that wants to develop a process approach that improves service quality can benefit from ISO 9001 certification.

This article will answer the question, "What is quality in service?" and review the concept of managing service quality, the purpose of a quality management system in the service industry and the ways a business can determine how to measure the quality of service.

What Is Quality in Service?

To develop effective service quality management, you need to be able to define quality in service. It's not as obvious as the quality of a product, where defects are easily recognizable. To identify service quality, you must compare your services to your customers' expectations. These five characteristics usually define service quality:

  • Tangibility — Employee demeanor and a facility's appearance are some of the tangible factors that contribute to a company's ability to portray the quality of its services to customers.
  • Reliability — This is defined by a company's ability to consistently provide its services in a way that meets customers' needs.
  • Empathy — A company's ability to deliver services in a way that shows it cares about customers and their concerns underlies its level of empathy.
  • Assurance — If customers have a high level of confidence and trust in a company, that organization has developed a certain amount of assurance in its ability to deliver.
  • Responsiveness — A company's ability to provide prompt service and quick replies to customer inquiries defines its responsiveness.

Taken together, these five areas illustrate whether a company meets its customers' expectations.

How to Measure Quality of Service

To measure the quality of service, you must be able to measure your customers' level of satisfaction and whether you're meeting their expectations. You can gauge customer satisfaction in a variety of ways, such as by their:

  • Direct feedback
  • Recommendation of your company to other organizations
  • Repeat business 
You need to have processes in place to gather information in each area.

What Is The Purpose Of a Quality Management System in the Service Industry?

The essential purpose of a quality management system in the service industry is to develop the necessary processes to provide services that meet customers' requirements and increase customer satisfaction. The ISO 9001 standard provides the structure for creating a service quality management system. It outlines eight essential areas that a company must address and document:

  1. Leadership
  2. Customer care
  3. Supplier relationship
  4. Improvement
  5. Quality management
  6. System management
  7. Teamwork
  8. Planning and decision making

The Benefits of Managing Services' Quality

The importance of service quality and the significance of a quality management system can't be overstated. By managing services' quality, a company develops a support structure for its entire business. High-quality service management in the form of a QMS immediately demonstrates to customers and prospects that your company is seriously committed to meeting their needs, which is a distinct competitive advantage.
Besides providing credibility, there are other benefits to good quality management. Service industries can use a QMS to achieve:
  • Improved services
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced waste
  • More employee engagement
  • Better regulatory compliance
  • Healthier bottom lines 

Implementing a service industry quality management system gives your company the necessary tools to improve its processes and increase customer satisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to repeat business, which lowers the cost of business acquisition.

Turn to Smithers for Your ISO 9001 Audit and Certification Needs

The strength of your service quality management system depends on your ability to implement ISO 9001. Smithers has years of experience providing ISO audit and certification services to companies like yours. We take a "no-surprises" approach, getting to know our customers and providing the information they need. Contact us today for a quote.

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