Deconstructing Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction: Challenges and Directions for Future Research

Edwin Torres, University of Central Florida


Scholars and practitioners constantly seek to improve the quality of service through the study and practice of concepts such as service quality and customer satisfaction. The present research examines the various perspectives on quality and satisfaction, explains some of the challenges, and proposes a quality framework and directions for future research. Throughout this article, the author argues in favor of a more comprehensive view on quality that considers consumer-driven, internally driven, and intrinsic or expert-driven sources. According to the proposed framework customer-driven service quality is guided by ideal expectations, performance, detailed criteria, and value perceptions. Expert-driven quality is driven by service standards, ratings, and awards. Internally driven quality is driven by benchmarking, quality circles and empowerment, and brand standards. The present study is a call to reexamine the ways of defining and measuring service quality. The ideas presented can help advance a research agenda on service quality and present a clearer distinction between the two concepts.