Many services are intangible and by their very nature it is difficult to determine their quality. Take for example, the problem that airlines face when they try to determine the quality of the performance of flight attendants. The things about a flight attendant performance that affect the customers perceptions of quality are difficult to identify and measure and in most cases standards for measuring the performance do not exist. Rather customers set their own standards comparing the service they receive with the service they wished to receive.
Another complicating factor is that the perceived quality of some services is affected by the surroundings. Quiet soft music pleasant decor, comfortable furniture, convenient parking friendly serves cleanliness of facilities and other features can determine the perceived quality of service more than actual quality of the service. Hospitals banks and restaurants for example all invest heavily in designing and maintaining facilities that develop particular feelings in their customers and leave them with specific impressions.
Because many services tend to be labor intensive and workers tend to come in direct contact with customers the performance of service employees determine in large part the quality for the service yet because services tend to be highly decentralized and geographically dispersed, direct supervision of employees can be difficult. Recognizing this difficulty many service organizations make an intensive continuing education and training program for their employees the cornerstone of quality management.