Assessing service quality in a municipality: A study based on the perceptions of citizens and frontline employees

Public Administration Reforms have consistently been promoting the adoption of Quality Management approaches. Assessing the quality of the services provided using well-established frameworks is, in this regard, of particular importance.

Given its wide acceptance and broad validity, the SERVPERF instrument was adopted in this study as basis to develop our measurement scales. However, not only we customised the items to reflect the particularities of the services analysed, but also we introduced a new perspective in the way service quality is traditionally assessed, by explicitly incorporating the views of the frontline employees.

The questionnaires administered to a sample of 100 citizens and to the 21 frontline employees of the organisational units studied reveal that the satisfaction levels achieved by the municipality in most parameters are high, with the tangibles dimension getting the highest score and assurance the lowest. It is also interesting to notice that, in general, the perceptions of the customers are higher than those of the employees.

This study makes two important contributions. Firstly, it gives an insight into the use of SERVQUAL inspired models at the local government level, where there is a considerable lack of studies. Secondly, it measures service quality from the perspective of different stakeholders.

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