Service quality in higher education

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Quality experts believe that, ‘measuring customer satisfaction at an educational establishment might be regarded by educators as one of the greatest challenges of the quality movement’ (Cloutier & Richards, 1994, p. 117). This challenge is only one of several that surround quality improvement efforts in higher education. This paper focuses on identifying and evaluating techniques used to take on the challenges of quality improvement in higher education. This paper also examines two primary difficulties: first, definition of the customer; and second, measuring customer quality perceptions. An examination of representative historical applications of quality techniques was conducted as well as identification of the differences and similarities surrounding quality improvement efforts in each of three service areas typically found in higher education: academic, administrative, and auxiliary functions. While recognising these higher education areas differ from the typical business environment, positive research findings on the application of quality techniques for these areas were discovered.

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© 2009 Informa UK Limited. Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14783360802622805

Publication Title

Total Quality Management & Business Excellence