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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2005

Michael Pritchard and Rhian Silvestro

The purpose of this paper is to apply Heskett, Sasser and Schlesinger's service profit chain to a single retail service with a view to developing a better understanding of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply Heskett, Sasser and Schlesinger's service profit chain to a single retail service with a view to developing a better understanding of the performance linkages between employee perceptions and performance, customer perceptions and behaviour, and financial performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was based on the case study of a UK home improvement store chain. Measures of each of the variables in the service profit chain were analysed using Pearson's correlation coefficient, with a dataset based on 75 stores.

Findings

Although analysis of the performance relationships revealed many interesting correlations, the data lent little support for some of the expected linkages; in particular, the “satisfaction mirror” effect between employee and customer satisfaction and loyalty, and the link between customer loyalty and financial performance. The possible asymmetries and non‐linearity of certain performance relationships may also have added to the difficulty in applying the model to this organisation. Furthermore, the study revealed many performance linkages between variables which are not aligned in the service profit chain model.

Originality/value

The value of the paper lies in the conclusions directed at both practising managers and academics. It is contended that the service profit chain model cannot be applied generically to services but that managers should undertake the development of context‐specific models of their organisations. Unquestioning acceptance of Heskett et al.'s configuration of the service profit chain may indeed constrain managerial understanding of the complexities of business performance; whilst there is also a danger of applying a strait‐jacket to academic thinking on performance relationships and performance improvement.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Rhian Silvestro and Claudio Silvestro

Awareness of inconsistencies and variability in the delivery of health services across the UK has heightened in recent years, leading to general acknowledgement that a…

Abstract

Awareness of inconsistencies and variability in the delivery of health services across the UK has heightened in recent years, leading to general acknowledgement that a move away from “health care by post code” is a strategic priority for the National Health Service (NHS). NHS Direct, a call centre service for patients and their carers, is unique in the NHS in that it represents an entirely new service concept, with a rare opportunity to design a single nation‐wide service from scratch, and to manage and co‐ordinate a delivery system consistently throughout the country. Evaluates the strategic alignment of NHS Direct during the first three years of implementation through an analysis of its service concept, its operational objectives, the design of its delivery systems and its volume and variety characteristics. The evaluation reveals an absence of a central design specification which has resulted in wide variation in the call centres’ service portfolios, resource bases, competences, telephony and clinical expert systems. Contends that variation and variability in the design of the call centres has severely compromised NHS Direct's ability to meet its strategic and operational objectives, resulting in strategic misalignment. Also identifies missed opportunities to learn from the growing call centre literature and from service shops in other industries.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2001

Rhian Silvestro

This paper explores differences in the implementation of total quality management (TQM) in different types of service process, using a typology which distinguishes between…

Abstract

This paper explores differences in the implementation of total quality management (TQM) in different types of service process, using a typology which distinguishes between services positioned along the continua of volume and variety. A case‐study‐based analysis of the implementation of six core TQM precepts was conducted to explore differences in implementation between professional (low volume, customised) services, mass (high volume, standardised) services and service shops (positioned midway on the continua). The study revealed some significant differences in the maturity of TQM implementation in the different types of service. The results suggest that mass services are conducive to the implementation of quality measurement, SPC and preventative approaches to quality improvement. However, professional services are more conducive to the cultural managerial changes associated with TQM. Interestingly, whilst it was hypothesised that TQM practices would be most readily transferable to mass services, the results suggested that the service shop was the most conducive environment for TQM implementation.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1990

Rhian Silvestro, Robert Johnston, Lin Fitzgerald and Chris Voss

A number of writers in the service management literature haveobserved that because service quality is difficult to measure there is adanger that service organisations will…

Abstract

A number of writers in the service management literature have observed that because service quality is difficult to measure there is a danger that service organisations will neglect to measure it, despite the fact that service quality is often critical to their competitive business success. The results of an empirical research project investigating the quality measurement systems of six multi‐site UK service organisations, all of which consider themselves to differentiate on the basis of service quality, are described. Two of the organisations were found to have very few quality measures and recognised that this was a major gap in their performance measurement systems. Two had developed a range of customer‐based measures of service quality which were reported regularly and widely in the organisations. The other two companies had developed a wide range of internal and external, hard and soft quality measures. These companies used managers as well as customers to measure both tangible and intangible aspects of service. Internal measures were used to corroborate the perceptual measures drawn from customers and, conversely, the external measures were used to support service design and the setting of internal quality targets.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1992

Rhian Silvestro, Lin Fitzgerald, Robert Johnston and Christopher Voss

Over the years manufacturing managers have been unified by theiracceptance of certain terminology to describe generic productionprocesses. This has facilitated the sharing…

Abstract

Over the years manufacturing managers have been unified by their acceptance of certain terminology to describe generic production processes. This has facilitated the sharing of ideas and management techniques and the development of our understanding of process choice implications on manufacturing strategies. In the service literature, no process model has been so powerful or pervasive as the manufacturing model. Postulates that a service typology which transcends narrow industry boundaries may lead to some cross‐fertilization of ideas and to an understanding of the management methods and techniques appropriate to each service type. Proposes a model analogous to the production process model, which has achieved such universal recognition in the world of manufacturing. Just as production volume is used in the latter model to integrate a wide range of production process dimensions, so suggests that the volume of customers processed per business unit per day correlates with six classification dimensions developed from the service operations literature. Proposes that the three types of service process, professional service, service shop and mass service, give rise to different management concerns, and that service strategy, control and performance measurement will differ significantly between the three.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2010

Alistair Brandon‐Jones and Rhian Silvestro

This paper aims to build upon the debate in the service quality literature regarding both the theoretical and practical effectiveness of expectations data in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to build upon the debate in the service quality literature regarding both the theoretical and practical effectiveness of expectations data in the measurement of internal service quality (ISQ). Gap‐based and perceptions‐only approaches to measuring ISQ are tested and their respective benefits and limitations evaluated.

Design/methodology/approach

The internal service context used in this study is the provision of e‐procurement software, training, and user support in four organisations. The two approaches are evaluated in terms of reliability and validity, as well as pragmatic aspects of survey administration.

Findings

The various tests carried out indicate that both the gap‐measure and perceptions‐only measure are reliable and valid, the latter being the marginally higher performer. Both approaches were found to have benefits and limitations, and so the empirical study, combined with contributions from the literature, generates some understanding of the internal service context in which the two approaches might be appropriate.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was based on an internal e‐procurement service; as such, the variables and dimensions selected to measure ISQ in this context inevitably limit the scope of the research.

Practical implications

For operations managers, the paper clarifies the basis on which they might choose between the two approaches to ISQ measurement.

Originality/value

This study is the first to directly test and compare the relative merits of these two approaches to ISQ measurement. The paper also offers insights as to the operational contexts in which each approach might be appropriate.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 30 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Rhian Silvestro

The need to better understand patient priorities in order to provide higher levels of patient care is an ongoing challenge for managers across the UK NHS. Indeed, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The need to better understand patient priorities in order to provide higher levels of patient care is an ongoing challenge for managers across the UK NHS. Indeed, the failure of service providers to understand patient priorities can lead to action plans, investment and management decisions which are internally rather than externally focused. This paper seeks to report on the development and evaluation of a tool for measuring the gap between patients’ priorities and their perceptions of an NHS service, and the match between the patient and management perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The tool, an adaptation of the renowned SERVQUAL measurement methodology, is tested in UK NHS breast‐screening unit. The tool is used to measure the perceptions of two different types of patients, as well as those of three different types of staff.

Findings

The study suggests that the tool can be used to quantify the gap between patient priorities and their perceptions of health service performance. The tool may also be used to measure staff's perceptions of patient priorities and perceptions, with a view to identifying those functional staff who best understand the patient perspective.

Originality/value

The methodology facilitates the identification of key differences in the expectations and perceptions of different health service market segments, which could have direct implications for service design and delivery at an operational level. Furthermore, it can be applied to identify differences in functional perspectives and thus expose valuable opportunities for intra‐organisational learning.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Rhian Silvestro

Few service organizations in the US and Europe have not by now attempted to implement at least some of the principles of TQM in their operations. Indeed some service…

Abstract

Few service organizations in the US and Europe have not by now attempted to implement at least some of the principles of TQM in their operations. Indeed some service organizations have made repeated attempts to re‐invigorate their quality management programmes and have experienced waves of waxing and waning enthusiasm about TQM. How should service managers determine whether TQM is realized within their organizations? Is their implementation partial or comprehensive? Should it be refocused on improvement areas hitherto neglected? Presents a model of TQM which is translated into an auditing tool to enable service managers to determine the maturity of TQM implementation in their organizations and refocus their improvement initiatives.

Details

Logistics Information Management, vol. 10 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6053

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Rhian Silvestro and Paola Lustrato

Mass customization (MC) is a well-established strategy for providing high levels of customization while achieving the scale economies of high volume production. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Mass customization (MC) is a well-established strategy for providing high levels of customization while achieving the scale economies of high volume production. The purpose of this paper is to explore a new service design configuration, the “mid office,” as a service interface which may support front office customization capabilities while protecting the back office from disruption. The authors posit that it may facilitate MC by enabling product/service and organizational modularity.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on a single case study of a large European bank’s payment services, traditionally high volume, low variety operations. The bank adopted a MC strategy which involved the creation of a mid office. The analysis spans product/service and organizational design.

Findings

When combined with menu-driven customization and reuse modularization, the mid office appears to support partial rather than full MC. It facilitates postponement of customization to the assembly stage through service coproduction, organizational decoupling, and the streamlining of employee adaptive behaviors.

Research limitations/implications

The study bears the limitations typical of case study research; however this was appropriate given the exploratory nature of the research into a nascent concept.

Practical implications

The paper identifies a series of design decisions to enable practitioners to choose between full and partial service MC, ensuring design coherence through a mirror effect of service modularity and organizational modularity.

Originality/value

It is argued that the mid office is a service interface which facilitates partial MC by enabling service and organizational modularity. The paper reinterprets the archetypes of full and partial MC in service terms, and proposes a contingent approach to service MC implementation based on service value.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 35 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1999

Rhian Silvestro

Draws on the service management literature to enhance understanding of the key operational differences in managing professional services, at one extreme, and mass…

Abstract

Draws on the service management literature to enhance understanding of the key operational differences in managing professional services, at one extreme, and mass services, at the other. Contributions are drawn together, developed and integrated into the service process model. This yields an understanding of the contingencies which render the design, control and improvement of different service processes appropriate. Strategic implications of the service process model are considered. It is contended that cost effective services will be positioned along the volume‐variety diagonal. It is proposed that the service process model can be used as a strategic tool in three ways. First, it can be used to evaluate possible strategic moves along the volume‐variety diagonal. Second, it can be used to analyse a competitive area and evaluate a service offering relative to the competition. Third, it can be used to analyse internal organisational processes with a view to identifying processes which have different volume‐variety characteristics and which should therefore perhaps be managed separately.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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