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Measuring service quality in the public sector: the potential for SERVQUAL

Wisniewski, M. and Donnelly, M. (1996) Measuring service quality in the public sector: the potential for SERVQUAL. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 7 (4). pp. 357-365. ISSN 1478-3363

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The use of a variety of measures of service quality in the private sector as critical indicators of both organizational performance and general customer satisfaction is widely accepted and has given rise to considerable empirical research. Organizations operating within the public sector-health care organizations, local government, police, emergency services, government agencies-have also come to realize that customer service and quality are critical strategic issues in the late 1990s. However, it is also widely recognized that such public sector organizations face particular difficulties in measuring service quality. In this article, the authors discuss the major issues public sector organizations need to address in their search for an adequate measure of service quality, assess the potential of the SERVQUAL instrument for the public sector and report on an application of the instrument to a public library service.