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How to Measure ITIL Service Utility and Warranty

Feb 8, 2010

Hank Marquis


Doing the Math

After measuring customer perception using SERVQUAL, you can also combine raw scores into a value (not the value or worth of the service, but rather a numeric representation of the services' utility and warranty.) For example, consider a utility score of 71% (based on Reliability perception scores) and a composite score of 65% (based on the average of the other dimensions). The average of these two values is 68%; a quantitative representation of qualitative consumer perception of service utility and warranty.

Using SERVQUAL, you have an understandable quality metric based on business engagement. It is not a technical operational metric like those found in so many SLAs, nor is it an assumption of expected quality. This value represents ITIL utility and warranty, and thus true service quality.

Since SERVQUAL also provides a minimum and maximum observation set, you can determine areas of possible advantage and differentiation, as well as perhaps cost controls. The expectation components of SERVQUAL create a "box" or sorts. Upper and lower boundaries of expectations indicate "how much" utility and warranty the customer wants. The perception components of SERVQUAL indicate "how well" the service meets utility and warranty requirements. Taken together, this approach to service measurement is both business aligned and actionable. [Note: The main difference between SERVQUAL and SERVPERF is this diagnostic ability. SERVPERF only collects current performance perception, it does not collect or determine upper and lower boundaries for service quality as does SERVQUAL.]

Consider a SERVQUAL score of 100% of expectations to mean the service meets minimum quality requirements, then a score:

  • Higher than 100% is either "over doing it" (e.g., perhaps wasting money) or possibly represents an advantage to the provider and its customers. Determine which it is and take action accordingly.
  • Less than 100% means something in the utility or warranty are off. Unlike non-diagnostic "inside out" technical measurements (or even "outside-in" SERVPERF), the "outside-in" nature of measuring utility and warranty using SERVQUAL is inherently diagnostic so you know exactly what must improve, and to what degree. As a bonus, the previous measurements are baselines and useful for showing progress.

You can even use these utility and warranty dimensional importance observations to modify components if you want. Part of SERVQUAL is a collection of weighting for the dimensions. This technique develops a custom model of importance by dimension for your customers. Normally this simply means asking the customer to allocate 100 points across the five dimensions, assigning points to each dimension based on how important it is to that customer. For example, if customers say that Assurance was very important, you could boost it by multiplying it with an importance weighting factor. This would have the effect of increasing (or decreasing) warranty level.

Contemplate using utility and warranty as the means to implement ITIL, or drive business/IT integration and alignment. Think about replacing a complex and technical SLA with an easy to understand Service Quality index or score. Consider the ramifications of providing clear, transparent guidance to the IT organization.

Hank Marquis is practice leader for Business Service Management at Global Knowledge. Reach Hank at hank.marquis@globalknowledge.com.