Using consumer benchmarking criteria to improve service sector competitiveness

Anne M. Smith (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Publication date: 1 December 2000


The adoption of benchmarking techniques has increased over recent years, yet service organisations have been relatively reluctant to adopt the practice. It is widely acknowledged that elements of “service quality” play a key role in the performance and competitiveness of service organisations and thus provide potential benchmarking criteria. Yet perceived service quality must be defined from the consumer’s perspective and, unlike manufacturing organisations, the consumer is involved in the production process. This study examines the potential for the generation and evaluation of consumer focused benchmarking criteria. Consumers of three service sectors – health (family planning); education/professional (accountancy training) and retail (supermarkets) completed measurement scales relating to potentially deterministic attributes and assessed these for current and previous suppliers. The findings indicate that, although management must be aware of a number of potential problems and issues, information derived from consumers can provide a valuable input into a comprehensive external benchmarking programme involving both competitive and generic measures.



Smith, A. (2000), "Using consumer benchmarking criteria to improve service sector competitiveness", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 7 No. 5, pp. 373-388.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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