The quality in the domain of services - concept, the total quality and the assessment of the quality
The modern concept of quality is based on four fundamental rules : the defining of quality, the prevention, zero defects and the measurement.
The definitions given to this concept take into consideration the two distinct aspects : the objective aspect of quality that represents the conformity degree of a process or of its results with a predetermined set of criteria considered essential for the final value that this one furnishes; the subjective aspect of quality represents the level of the perceived value reported to the person that benefits of the process or its result.
The ISO 8402 standard defines quality as representing "the set of characteristics of an entity, that confers itself the aptitude to satisfy the expressed and implicit needs".The services represent correspondents of some needs at least as numerous as the needs of material goods, but with a more complex and more heterogeneous character. Knowing the essence and the structure of these needs is a priority when it comes to define the quality.
The offer of services has its peculiarities conferred to a great extent by the immaterial character of many of them. The problematic of the environment has numerous incidence zones with the zone of services, and defining quality can only be done by taking it into account.
The clients are and will be more and more exigent. In order to be able to satisfy their expectations, more or less fluctuant, the achievement of performance in the most strict sense possible is imposed.
The services are distinguished through four characteristics :
a. Their immaterial form or intangibility. Through their nature the services are immaterial (invisible) and consequently intangible. As compared to the physical products, they can not be seen, tasted, palpated or heard before their consumption. An example in this respect are the touristical services, especially when they are purchased in advance from an agency of tourism, the purchaser having the possibility of enjoying the respective services only when he arrives at destination.
In order to diminish the sentiment of incertitude when confronted with the alternatives of purchase, the clients orient themselves towards the evidence of the services' quality through symbols, marks, brands, photographs, price/tariff, or other means of communication.
The services tenderer's duty is to monitor this evidence of the quality, to make tangible the intangible through abstract ideas, cultivating the image of the service.The mentioned tangibility can be realized through a series of helpful physical elements that are put at the firms' disposition.
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