Translating the Service Quality Gaps into Strategy Formulation. An Experimental Case Study of a Greek Academic Department
The purpose of the current research is to develop a strategic service quality focused framework in a Greek Academic Department, translating its service quality (SQ) gaps into specific strategic directions from a “student-focused” perspective. The research is separated in two parts and follows the recommendations of Tan and Pawitra (2001), using various SQ measurement techniques and management tools. In the first part a SWOT analysis is conducted and a SWOT matrix is produced in order to assess the Department’s position, mission and vision as well as to construct the “Academic” questionnaires based on the SERVQUAL method and the Kano’s Model. The proposed questionnaires were applied in 180 undergraduate students.The second part incorporates the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) framework which is able to translate the customers’ voice (WHATs) into specific processes and measurable actions (HOWs), generating a realistic approach for successful management. The incorporation of SERVQUAL-Kano’s model in the QFD rated the importance of the WHATs, identifying the gaps which function as obstacles in the attainment of the Academic Department’s superior SQ. With the assistance of the SWOT matrix the main strategies of the Academic Department were generated, feeding the HOWs in the QFD. According to the findings, through the student priority level of SERVQUAL and Kano model, the most important SQ dimensions were found to be: Facilities/Equipment/Services, Abilities and Capabilities of Faculty, Educational/Course Content and Department’s Reliability and Reputation. Finally, with the assistance of QFD correlations, a set of strategic directions were proposed such as Accredited Programs, Proactive Partnerships with Corporations, Well-Maintained and Attractive Buildings etc.