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Measuring service quality in B2B services : an evaluation of the SERVQUAL scale vis-à-vis the INDSERV scale

Gounaris, Spiros (2005) Measuring service quality in B2B services : an evaluation of the SERVQUAL scale vis-à-vis the INDSERV scale. Journal of Services Marketing, 19 (6). pp. 421-435. ISSN 0887-6045

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The purpose of this paper is to validate an empirically derived measure for assessing perceived service quality in the business-to-business (b2b) context. In doing so, the SERVQUAL scale is evaluated against the alternative measure. A questionnaire was mailed to 1,285 companies from different industries. Respondents were identified by approaching companies from four service industries, namely consultants offering middle and senior management training and recruitment services, banks offering corporate banking, software development and maintenance houses and freight shipping providers in Athens, Greece. SERVQUAL appears to suffer from significant methodological problems when applied to b2b services. This comes hardly as a surprise since the instrument has been developed using consumer markets as a frame of reference. For practitioners, the major implication is that the developed instrument allows them to make the most out of their efforts to monitor the perceived quality of their services since it is more relevant to the b2b context and it has greater predictive power than SERVQUAL. The findings of this study may stimulate future research towards various directions. For instance, INDSERV must be examined in other national contexts before being widely adopted, can be used for assessing the impact of increased levels of perceived service quality on various performance indicators or it can be directed towards tackling some of the limitations of this study such as testing the instrument in different types of services, along the lines that various classification schemes have identified.