Services touch the lives of every person in every country every day. Today, intense global competition and increasing customer expectation have forced service firms to adopt various quality improvement approaches in retaining their competitive positions. Perhaps the most commonly used method for quality improvement is benchmarking. Although there exist a number of models for the implementation of benchmarking, a survey revealed that most companies still did not know how to benchmark. In this work, we address such a fundamental issue as the setting of quality goals in services systems in order to facilitate the application of universal models of benchmarking. We identified five elements of service operations, i.e., people, time, place, tangibles, and intangibles. We reviewed three methods for the identification of a firm’s quality problems. We proposed a matrix to deploy quality problems and presented key points in the selection of benchmarking partners.
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