Updating service operations

Joanne S. Sulek (School of Business and Economics, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)
Rhonda L. Hensley (School of Business and Economics, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Publication date: 7 September 2010



The purpose of this paper was to develop a customer‐oriented systems approach to updating a service operation. The approach will allow managers to gather information, make changes in service delivery and then assess the effects of these changes.


A survey was developed and administered at intervals in the same service setting; data from these survey results were used to illustrate the proposed systems‐based approach. Data from the open‐ended survey question were analyzed using content analysis. Based on that analysis, changes were made in service delivery. The impact of these changes was assessed as part of the second survey.


Initial data analysis showed that customer perceptions of the quality of the core service offering, the physical setting and service intangibles differed. Content analysis identified areas for improvement and changes were made in the three areas. Analysis of the second survey showed improvements in customer satisfaction with the service setting and the service intangibles.

Research limitations/implications

The research approach utilizes immediate feedback from customers who experience an actual – rather than hypothesized – service. Measurement of customer satisfaction with service delivery occurs longitudinally – rather than at a single point in time.

Practical implications

The methodology could be used by service managers in an ongoing effort to identify service attributes that may warrant improvement.


This paper provides a structured approach to updating service delivery and illustrates its use in an actual service setting.



Sulek, J. and Hensley, R. (2010), "Updating service operations", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 475-489. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604521011073759

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