Business Operations

The 8 Dimensions of Quality

The 8 Dimensions of Quality

In a competitive global market, it’s not enough to simply protect consumers from annoyances, he explained; a product has to truly satisfy their needs. Consumers look to a number of characteristics to determine whether those needs are met. Garvin’s insights into these essential elements of quality still resonate today:1

  1. Performance: How well the product or service delivers on expectations, based on measurable attributes
    • Example: Acceleration or handling of a car; average speed to resolve customer issues
  2. Features: Characteristics that supplement the basic function — in other words, the “bells and whistles”
    • Example: Voice-activated remote control on a television; customer service offered through live chat
  3. Reliability: Probability of the product or service failing within a specific time period
    • Example: Average time to first failure for a computer; first-contact response time for a call center
  4. Conformance: The extent to which a product or service meets established standards
    • Example: Defect rates in a factory; accuracy and timeliness of processing customer inquiries  
  5. Durability: Amount of use before a product or service is no longer usable and purchasing a replacement is the preferable (or only) solution
    • Examples The expected life span of a lightbulb’s filament; the warranty offered by a contractor
  6. Serviceability: The ease, promptness, competence and courtesy of repair or services
    • Example: Service offered across multiple channels, such as toll-free hotlines or through social media; an airline’s provision of self-service options
  7. Aesthetics: Subjective view of product’s appearance, smell, feeling, etc.
    • Example: The “rich and full flavor” of a food; the appearance of a service business’s office, website or personnel
  8. Perceived quality: Indirect measure based on a company’s general reputation
    • Example: Assumption that a product or service offered by a reliable company such as Apple, Sony or Zappo’s will be of high quality

For more information on competitive strategy, read our complete guide. Or contact your SunTrust banker today to learn more about the resources available to you to support your strategy and strengthen your market share.

Competing on the Eight Dimensions of Quality,” November 1987, Harvard Business Review

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