What is service quality? How can it be improved? (150 words – 10 marks)

Service quality can be defined as the difference between customer expectations
and customer perceptions. If expectations are greater than the customer’s
perceptions about service experience and outcome, the perceived quality is not
satisfactory. This emphasizes the fact that in assessing service quality, it is the
perspective of the customer that should be given precedence.
Improving the quality of public services requires interventions on the supply as
well as the demand side. The supply-side factors are:
i. Establishing objectivity in service standards through mechanisms such as
citizen’s charters, Sevottam etc.
ii. Inculcating a service orientation by selecting and nurturing a good quality of
human capital.
iii. Providing scope for inspection and corrections through tools such as a
Grievance Redressal Mechanism, Whistleblower Protection etc.
iv. Information dissemination.
Demand-side factors promote citizen engagement and a citizen-centric culture
within administration. They include:
i) Information dissemination.
ii) Capacity building and Community mobilization.
iii) Grievance Redressal Mechanism.
iv) Institutionalisation of citizen engagement mechanisms.