Customer Service Operation and excellence (Scenario Based Project Report)

It is therefore important that the management of academic libraries understand that successful service organisations like successful product oriented firms, must understand the way the customer goes about making a decision to purchase a service, how quality is evaluated, and in what ways a company can present a differential advantage relative to the competition (Berkowitz et al. 1997, p. 352). According to Quinn (2007) in recent times the educational community, generally and the library profession in particular have placed increasing emphasis on the service quality model. This model has customer satisfaction as its primary objective as traditional measures of academic library quality such as collection size becomes secondary. In assessing service quality the customer compares expectations about the service offered to actual experience with the service. Gap analysis is a tool that is used to identify the differences (gap) between what is expected and what is experienced. According to Berkowitz et al (1997, p.353) this type of analysis requires consumers to assess their expectations and experiences on dimensions of service quality as described in the table that follows. Dimension Definition Reliability Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately. Tangibles Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials. Responsiveness Willingness to assist customers and provide prompt and efficient service Assurance Knowledge and courtesy of employee and their ability to convey trust and confidence to customers Empathy Caring, individualised attention that is provided to customers. Table 1 – Dimensions of Service Quality Adapted from Marketing 5th Edition – Berkowitz et al (1997, p. 353) Dimensions of service Quality in Academic Libraries In the context of service quality and customer satisfaction, of importance, is the need to look at the service that the library provides in order to see how it can fulfil expectations. The role of the library is to provide resource materials for its customers. But, who exactly are these customers? They are students, administrators, faculty members and the general public. Reliability In terms of reliability the library must be able to provide the student with a book, journal or other resource material which will enable the completion of a required task. While the librarian is expected to provide the service in a timely manner, there is the need for the student to exercise some skills in how to access required materials to carry out his or her role. The librarian however, is available to provide some guidance but the student independence is of extreme importance in the development of worthwhile skills which will be required in the future. The student or faculty member will need, at some point in time, the necessary guidance from the librarian, who possess the necessary skills and experience, and who will be able to provide information and resources that will be useful in carrying out the required task in a timely manner. Tangibles While the aesthetics of the environment is of extreme importance, it is not very important in a non-profit making environment as it is in a profit making organisation. However, the library as a facility for research and a learning environment should provide a measure of relaxation and comfort that is conducive to studying. The emphasis is on providing an environment that will allow for the