Service Quality and Consumer Satisfaction
Create a 12 pages paper that discusses service quality and consumer satisfaction in academic libraries.
There is an urgent need to identify and understand the factors that play a key role in bringing about improvement in a library’s quality of service and consumer satisfaction. Going through the process of developing an academic library’s management should then start to “measure the gap between customers’ expectation for excellence and their perception of actual service delivered by the library”. (Nitecki, 1997, p.1) this would be done by employing surveys that are structured using what is known as the “5 ServQUAL dimensions” (Nitecki, 1997, p.1), which are, “Tangibles, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance, Empathy”. (Nitecki, 1997, p.1), respectively these dimensions focus on, physical materials as well as the facilities of the library, the manner of delivering on commitments, the willingness to assist customers, the manner on how library employees make a guarantee of service that gets the by-in of the customers, and finally how the library handles every customer concern with care. These dimensions would help in the creation of a structured survey. Another method of measurement that can be utilized to measure the expectation of a library’s clientele would be the LibQUAL method, this method, however, directly attacks key areas of a library users “minimum, perceived, and desired levels of service quality” (Lock, Town, 2003, p.3) these key areas are, “Access to Information, Affect of Service, Library as Place, Personal Control”. (Lock, Town, 2003, p.3). Respectively these key areas focus on the “Human Dimension of Service Quality, Required information delivered in the format, location, and time of choice, How users want to interact with the modern library, As well as how adequate the facilities are within the library itself” (Cook, 2003, p.18-21). After Determining the expectations of the library’s customer a “service plan” (Hernon and Whitman, 2001, p.74) can now be formulated. Such a plan is geared towards the continuous fulfillment of the identified needs of their clientele as well as the further improvement of their operational procedures.
There are several steps into the creation of a service plan these are: “establishing goals and objectives, taking control, setting expectations, defining the relationship, empower employees, asking for feedback, respond to customers” (Hernon and Whitman, 2001, p.91). After having identified the needs of their clientele as well as the points for improvement with respect to operational procedures, Goals can now be formed. In this formation process, an organization has to make sure that the goals it sets are measurable. Thus it is worth noting that in the process of forming these goals one would be able to point out the feasible and the nonfeasible goals. Take for example goals set by an environmental protection agency, “instead of insisting on the costly attainment of zero pollution instead it had formulated compliance regulations based on acceptable thresholds of tolerance such as pollutant levels not exceeding so many parts per billion” (Hernon and Whitman, 2001, p.75). While it is possible that the maximum potential for attaining consumer satisfaction may not be achieved due to the possibility that some of the needs of library-goers might be deemed as a basis for non-feasible and measurable goals.