23 Jul 2017 18:45 IST

‘Our service excellence index will measure quality across different sectors’

Prof A Parasuraman believes that service by and large stinks across the board

Prof A Parasuraman holds the James W McLamore Chair in Marketing (endowed by the Burger King Corporation) and is Director of PhD Programmes at the School of Business, University of Miami. A BTech from IIT Madras and an MBA from IIM-A in 1972, Parasu, as he’s known, obtained his Doctor of Business Administration from Indiana University.

Parasu teaches and does research in the areas of services marketing, service quality measurement and improvement, and the role of technology in marketing to and serving customers. He was selected as one of the ‘Ten Most Influential Figures in Quality’ by The Quality Review, co-published by the American Quality Foundation and the American Society for Quality Control. A ‘distinguished alumnus’ awardee of IIT Madras, Parasu was in his home town, Chennai, recently for a workshop on service excellence. In this interview, he talks about establishing a Service Excellence Centre in collaboration with IMT Ghaziabad and developing a service excellence index as well.

Parasuraman believes that service by and large stinks across the board though there are pockets of excellence everywhere, even in the Indian context. He says there’s tremendous opportunity in India to generate India-centric knowledge as the country is unique as there are infrastructure problems, language issues, and lots of different variations and complexities within regions. “On the positive side, this offers a rich laboratory to take some of the general principles that we know, and which I have personally developed over the years, on what good quality means and what contributes to lack of good quality,” says.

Parasuraman is collaborating with B-school IMT Ghaziabad to set up an India-centric Centre for Service Excellence. “We want to measure service across individual sectors and compare it. There will be variations, maybe banking is better than the retail sector and even within retail, perhaps e-commerce platforms may be worse than in-store service… so the idea is to publish this index, make it publicly available and this can then generate discussion and dialogue across companies and across sectors,” he says.

The same thing can apply to geographical differences in service quality and that can create more awareness and sensitivity to service excellence. “From a scholarship side, the data that is generated can serve as further fodder on what should be done to change the scenario,” he explains.