Service Quality in the Knowledge Age

Michael Harris (Michael Harris is Executive Vice President of Performance Improvement Network, LLC (PIN), one of the founding officers of the Service Quality Division of the American Society for Quality (ASQ); author of a book on integrated metrics, titled Value Leadership: Winning Competitive Advantage in the Information Age, Quality Press, 1998; and an international consultant in performance improvement.)
H. James Harrington (James Harrington is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PIN, CEO of SystemCorp, and Chairman of the Board for Edge Software and Emergence Technology, Ltd. Prior to PIN, he was the International Quality Advisor for Ernst & Young. He is past Chairman and past President of the prestigious International Academy for Quality and of ASQ. He is a well‐known author of 20 books on performance improvement.)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Publication date: 1 December 2000


By almost every measure manufacturing quality has improved tremendously in the past decade; unfortunately, the same is not true for service. Yet, manufacturing processes represent less than 5 per cent of all business processes. Clearly, the opportunity area for the twenty‐first century is in the understanding and improvement of the service processes that drive value and customer experience. There are two major characteristics of service that distinguish it from product. The understanding of these differences and often‐painstaking attention to detail in delivery determines ultimate success and competitiveness of service. The first is that almost every service is a series of situations where every subsequent process depends on those that precede it. The second unique characteristic of service is that the customer usually plays an important role in the process and each involvement strongly influences downstream processes and requirements. The vast riches and opportunities of the future service‐oriented world belong to those who understand the customer experience from the customer’s viewpoint and can and will offer high value solutions.



Harris, M. and Harrington, H. (2000), "Service Quality in the Knowledge Age", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 31-36.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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