Measuring IS System Service Quality with SERVQUAL: Users' Perceptions of Relative Importance of the Five SERVPERF Dimensions

Article excerpt

Introduction

As the importance and size of the service sector of the global economy grows, the study of services and innovation are becoming increasingly important. Services are distributed regionally, nationally, and globally and are increasingly becoming a larger portion of many organizations' revenue streams; knowledge intensive business services aimed at enhancing performance require reliable methods of measurement, assessment, and improvement (Spohrer & Maglio, 2008). With the aim of sustaining long term relationships with their customers, many businesses have changed their strategic focus to emphasize customer retention (Peng & Wang 2006). Preserving their long term customer relationships requires that these businesses both measure and appropriately adjust the quality of their customer service. Service quality is a major influence on customer satisfaction as customers buy products or services and on whether they continue to do so. As a result, accurate and reliable instruments that assess service quality are of interest to companies whose revenues come in whole or part from service delivery. Currently the most popular and ubiquitous service quality instrument is SERVQUAL.

SERVQUAL is based on the proposition that service quality can be measured as the gap between the service that customers expect and the performance they perceive to have received. Respondents rate their expectations of service from an excellent organization, and then rate the performance they perceive they received from a specific organization. Service quality is calculated as the difference in the two scores where better service quality results in a smaller gap (Landrum, Prybutok, Kappelman, & Zhang, 2008). Although service quality can be evaluated and measured using SERVQUAL, which measures seven service quality dimensions, it also can be measured by its SERVPERF subset, which employs a performance only approach with five dimensions of customers' perceptions of service provider performance.

While both SERVQUAL and SERVPERF provide measures for the same five dimensions of the service quality construct, there exists little published information about the relative importance of each dimension. To supplement information about and improve understanding of the service quality construct, this paper presents results of a study that examined the service quality performance of an electronic library information system (IS). Using the library information system in an engineering research environment, this paper investigates the service quality perceptions of professional system users and reports 1) the relative importance of each of the five SERVPERF dimensions, and 2) the moderating effect of each dimension's importance in the opinion of the system user.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: first, we discuss the history of the SERVQUAL instrument and the SERVPERF performance-only subset of SERVQUAL. Next, we discuss the methodology, the two respondent groups, the measures we used, and the data collected. We then discuss the relative importance of each SERVPERF dimension in a series of tables for each of the five dimensions, along with a summary of the findings that show the results we detected in the data. Finally, in the conclusion we discuss our findings and their implications for the SERVQUAL instrument and future service quality research.

Literature Review

As the service sector of the global economy grows, the study of services and innovation are becoming increasingly important. Service products distributed regionally, nationally, and globally have become larger portions of company revenue streams; knowledge-intensive business services aimed at enhancing performance require reliable methods of measurement, assessment, and improvement (Spohrer & Maglio, 2008). As a result, accurate and reliable instruments that assess service quality are of great interest to companies whose revenues come from service delivery. …