IFIM Business School, Bangalore, one of the top 6 AACSB accredited management institutes in India, in association with the Academy of Indian Marketing (AIM) launched the first-ever Index of Service Excellence in India (iSEI) and unveiled the IFIM-AIM Parasuraman Centre of Service Excellence yesterday in Bangalore, India. under the guidance of Dr A. Parasuraman. Along with this, the iSEI also unveiled the IFIM-AIM Parasuraman Centre of Service Excellence with the mission to impact industry and academia in the field of service excellence. The chief guests for the event were James W McLamore Chair and Professor of Marketing at the University of Miami and Dr Jagdish Sheth, Charles H Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University, Atlanta.
In India, thus far there has not been any comprehensive effort to assess customer satisfaction at the national level as well as across and within various sectors. At the same time there has been rapid growth in services as a share of the overall Indian economy and in the interest of companies as well as public-sector organizations in improving customer service. Thus, there is a need and an opportunity in India to even move beyond mere customer satisfaction towards achieving service excellence. The IFIM Business School has taken the lead in developing an Index of Service Excellence in India (iSEI), under the mentorship of Prof. A Parasuraman, whose pioneering work in the area of service quality measurement and improvement (e.g. the SERVQUAL model) is globally known in both academic and practitioner circles. Anchored in the underlying principles of that work, the iSEI is intended to generate sectoral service excellence scores at the national, regional, sector and company levels. At this time a pilot version of the iSEI focused on two sectors (retail banking and e-commerce) has been developed. Based on learnings from this pilot effort and further refinements to the iSEI, it will be gradually rolled out to other sectors in subsequent waves of data collection and computation of the index. Eventually the iSEI is expected to become a national benchmark for assessing and improving service excellence across sectors and companies on a regular basis (e.g. every quarter).
Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director at IFIM Business School, in his opening note said, “IFIM Business School is honoured to be a part of this remarkable moment in the history of the Indian service sector. A joint study was conducted by IFIM and NHRDN which revealed that the services and solutions industry would be the key sectors driving India’s economic growth. The industry would, therefore, need quality standards to evaluate servicing and ensure seamless delivery. In line with this, for the last one year, IFIM has been working towards developing an index for measuring service excellence across industry verticals to identify the quality of service in comparison to the business performance. This initiative was undertaken under the mentorship of Prof. Parasuraman and is finally ready to be the first of its kind to be launched.”
Dr Jagdish Sheth, Charles H Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University, Atlanta, in his inaugural speech, said, ‘’India as a country is aggressively moving towards digital economy and is fast becoming the services capital of the world. While the country has largely contributed towards the online growing businesses, the major part of it focuses on services. We are just an app away from getting the required services; the credit goes to budding ecommerce and banking sectors. This is greatly contributing to the GDP which needs more focus so as to get the quality measured leading to more customer satisfaction across industries. Quality of services must be ensured by companies to create a benchmark. The launch of India’s first iSEI would definitely impact the country’s GDP ratio which is heavily dependent on service sectors across the country. A credible index to measure service quality would help businesses win customers by meeting their expectations and aligning with their perceptions, especially in such a competitive environment. This will further result in gaining customer confidence, thereby boosting the sector as a whole.”
Presenting the pilot iSEI findings, the Guru of Services Quality, Dr A Parasuraman, James W. McLamore Chair Emeritus and Professor Emeritus, Marketing, University of Miami said, ‘’In India, services are tertiary while the growth is rapid. Being able to use a service in a way which can be distinguished is something that would accelerate the economic growth. With the introduction of iSEI, the country will witness significant benefits and performance differentiators, both in public and private institutions. This would help businesses meet customers’ preconceived notions, thereby delivering quality service. Keeping this in mind, we have developed a service quality model or SERVQUAL, a multi-dimensional research instrument specially designed to take into account consumer expectations and their perceptions of a service that will deliver quality service. In line with this development, the iSEI will serve the purpose of retaining the interrelationship between the service quality of any firm and its business performance.”