The Case for a Service Quality Body of Knowledge

We’ve talked about quality and customer service quite a lot on View From the Q. Quality in the service industry is certainly not a new idea, but it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves—especially in customer service. Last year, for example, ASQ conducted a customer service survey which showed that companies don’t consider customer service as a top priority—as opposed to product development, IT, and marketing.

Here’s one resource that could help: a Body of Knowledge for service quality. Do we need one?

I want to bring your attention to an article that says, yes, we do. “An Integrated Framework for Service Quality: SQBOK Perspective” runs in ASQ’s April Quality Management journal. This article argues lays out a framework for a comprehensive Body of Knowledge for service quality, an initiative by ASQ’s Service Quality Division members. A few interesting facts from the article:

  • “The service sector now accounts for well over 70 percent of the total gross domestic product in most Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries (OECD 2012).” 
  • “One of the major challenges in managing service quality is the lack of a common definition of services and a general lack of a standard measurement system originating from the intangible nature of services.”
  • Key service concepts, as defined by the authors, are: Customer and market focus, employee focus, communication, and service delivery.

 There’s a lot more in the article, which I encourage you to read. Is there room for this additional Body of Knowledge? I welcome your thoughts.

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3 Responses to The Case for a Service Quality Body of Knowledge

  1. JIverson says:

    What would be great is an overall body of knowledge that is tailorable to service. improvement, compliance, or any other quality discipline. From my perspective, the biggest challenge in developing an overall QBOK has been the overall framework for aligning topics and processes. What are the major disciplines and process areas? Once we confirm that, we can do anything.

    SQBOK is a great step in the right direction.

  2. hank marquis says:

    We built one in 2010 – What’s your idea? Perhaps it would be different? More of a quality focus?

  3. Julia McIntosh says:

    Hi Hank.

    In fact, you are referring to the same BOK that is the subject of this article. It has been many years in the making, and development work continues. The author of the Quality Management Journal article is one of the current members of the SQBOK team and is helping to raise awareness of the SQBOK, its practical applications, and future research directions. You can contact the author for more informatino (see bio at the end of the article).


    Julia McIntosh,
    ASQ Communications

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