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Get a service level agreement organised

Do not get ripped off in an outsource agreement the staff notice it first

The success of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) is also observed closely by your staff. We have seen in our outsource work that staff notice only too well whether their original employer is getting value or just being ‘ripped off’ and often have great fun when it does go wrong. This keen appraisal of how it works in practice impacts upon their own motivation and their relationships with both you and the outsource organisation. This excerpt from an interview gives an indication of how staff can view the situation:
The supplier had people who knew the sites, knew the systems, and so they put a sensible bid in, but the (clients) have always been screwed over contracts, we don’t have a contract team of professionals who know how to handle them (the suppliers). A classic one was colour printers in certain areas, that would not work, couldn’t get colour printing, and in the end there was a lot of banging on the table ‘you said in the contract that you would get us colour printing’ and the outsourcer turned round and said ‘the contract says we will get you colour printers, we did not say they would print in colour (laughs)! So my old company always got screwed on contracts because they didn’t understand what they were reading.

and it happens all the time…

Royston

SERVQUAL – measuring service quality

When determining whether service delivery is meeting service expectations, it is useful to seek the views of service users. Quite often, an organisation will use a SERVQUAL questionnaire to gain the views of service users.

SERVQUAL (Service Quality) is a self-administered questionnaire designed to measure how customers view/judge service quality. Parasuraman et al (1994) defined service quality as the degree of discrepancy between customers’ normative expectations for the service and their perceptions of the service performance.
Parasuraman made the assumption that customers judge service quality by making a comparison between their expectation of the service that they should receive and their perceptions of the service that they actually receive.

Differences between expectations and actual performance are referred to as ‘gaps’. The SERVQUAL instrument can be used to measure any or all of the following five gaps.
Gap 1: Consumer expectation – management perception gap
Understanding the difference between consumer expectations and management perceptions of customer expectations.
Gap 2: Service quality specification gap
The different service standard between management perceptions of consumer expectations and service quality specifications.
Gap 3: Service delivery gap
The difference of service performance between service quality specifications and the service actually delivered.
Gap 4: External communication gap
The difference of communications between service delivery and what is communicated about the service to customers.
Gap 5: Expected service – perceived service gap
The difference between expected service and perceived service from customers’ point of view. Based upon these gaps, five behavioural dimensions of service quality have been identified and are now used in most studies using the SERVQUAL approach.

The 5 Service Quality Dimensions.

  1. Tangibles – Physical facilities equipment and appearance of personnel
  2. Reliability – Ability to perform the service with the promised dependability
  3. Responsiveness – Providing a prompt service
  4. Assurance – Knowledge and coutesy of employees
  5. Empathy – caring and individualised attention to customers

Users of the SERVQUAL questionnaire rate questions on a Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree). The SERVQUAL instrument comprises 22 statements used to assess service quality across the five dimensions outlined in Table 2 with each statement used twice – once to measure expectations and once to measure perceptions.
I have attached an example of a generic SERVQUAL questionnaire as a PDF feel free to use. Also I have set up an free on-line version that you can use for your own assessments – you can find it here:SERVQUAL Questionnaire