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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation eTheses
Title: Service quality in business advisory services : the case of the public relations industry in Scotland
Author(s): Hogg, Gillian
Issue Date: 1996
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The thesis concerns quality of service in the context of business advisory services. The economic rationale for improving any quality standard is based on the theory that by creating customer satisfaction and a perception of service quality, an organisation can retain its existing customers and attract new business, thus improving market share. This argument is based on the assumption that by improving the quality of the service delivered to customers, product offerings can be differentiated in such a way as to improve customer value. This is a customer defined approach to quality and assumes that the provider has understood and responded to customer requirements. In order to achieve this it is necessary to understand the particular situational characteristics of this market and the criteria customers use to assess the service they receive. In order to investigate service quality in business advisory services, the public relations industry in Scotland is considered as a specific case. Public relations is a business advisory service concerned with the management of image or reputation. However it is not a homogeneous product and is made up of a number of specific functions that equate to two main product variants. Based on these product variants, the research identifies three main purchaser groups in Scotland. However, although outcome expectations are consistent across purchaser groups, there are different expectations of the process of delivering the service according to the product variant purchased. The research concludes that when purchasers are buying a task level service their perceptions of quality are based upon tangible, measurable service features, whilst purchasers of a managerial product variant are concerned with process factors that lead to developing a relationship of trust. There are also a number of 'bottom-line' expectations, common across purchaser groups, which are essential to a perception of quality. Service quality, in the business advisory service context, is dependant on recognising what constitutes the core product and tailoring the process of delivery to satisfy purchaser expectations. The implications of this research are that an understanding of context is essential when considering service quality, in order that customer expectations and provider delivery combine to achieve added value. Secondly, that product definitions are required in determining the expectations associated with performance quality; and thirdly, that customer segmentation based upon product variant is a viable proposition in business advisory services.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School
Management Education Centre

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