Using LibQUAL+® to Identify Commonalities in Customer Satisfaction: The Secret to Success?

Killick, Selena; van Weerden, Anne and van Weerden, Fransje (2014). Using LibQUAL+® to Identify Commonalities in Customer Satisfaction: The Secret to Success? Performance Measurement and Metrics, 15(1/2) pp. 23–31.



– What is the key to library user satisfaction? Can LibQUAL+® help in the quest for delivering a quality library service? The purpose of this paper is to present international research into library customer satisfaction as measured by the LibQUAL+® survey methodology. Commonalities of satisfaction and dissatisfaction have been identified which influence the customers overall view of the library. This knowledge can be used to further increase customer satisfaction through targeting these areas for service improvement.

– The LibQUAL+® results from SCONUL Libraries, Utrecht and Leiden Universities were analysed to explore the differences between customers who were very satisfied, and those who were very dissatisfied, with the service. Results from each of the three dimensions of service quality were reviewed separately. The survey results from respondents who had given a high satisfaction mean score to one of the three dimensions were analysed to assess if they had also given high satisfaction mean scores overall. This process was then repeated for those who had given low satisfaction mean scores.

– Respondents with high satisfaction mean scores in the Information Control dimension were discovered to have the largest positive scores for the overall average perceived scores, indicating they are the most satisfied customers. When reviewing the surveys with low satisfaction mean scores in the Affect of Service dimension it was discovered that these respondents also had the largest negative scores for the overall average perceived scores, indicating they are the most dissatisfied customers. The findings show that both information resources and customer service affects the overall opinion of the library service for all customer groups.

Research limitations/implications
– Good information resources has a positive effect on customers’ opinions of the library just as much as poor service from library staff has a detrimental effect. Any conclusions drawn from these findings should recognise that the research is limited to measuring service quality within the confines of the LibQUAL+® survey methodology. The research has not investigated the reasons for the commonality, nor do these averages say anything about the motivation for each individual respondent to give these scores in the survey.

Practical implications
– Statistical analyses confirm that these findings hold for every user group. Therefore, for the library manager seeking to deliver a quality library service it will be important to take both of these factors into account and deliver information not only in a professional, but also in a helpful manner.

– Although based on previous research, the extension of the analysis from an institutional level to an international consortia level strengthens the initial research conclusions. The findings, implications, and conclusions are valuable to library managers seeking to improve the customer perceptions of their library service, providing evidence of factors that influence customers’ opinions.

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