Service Quality Certification in Brussels, Belgium: A Quality Process with Teeth

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - performance, planning - service quality, organisation - performance, mode - bike


Transit operators, Service quality, Quality of service, Personnel performance, Performance measurement, Passenger service quality, Paris (France), Customer service, Customer satisfaction, Certification, Bruxelles (Belgium), Brussels (Belgium), Averous Service Quality Cycle


European public transport operators, first in Paris and then in Brussels, Belgium, have developed a framework, a standard, and certification procedures for the management of service quality. Based on Averous’s service quality cycle, this framework incorporates both customer satisfaction and performance evaluation with service standards and service indicators that are customer oriented yet objectively measurable. The development of this quality movement is documented, and its implementation in Brussels is used as a case study. There, the management contract provides financial incentives based on the percentage of passengers served by lines whose service quality has been certified, and the organization chart includes several managers responsible for service quality. The process of defining service targets is described with a framework that emphasizes extreme values and specification of both a base level and a level of unacceptability that demands immediate action. Special attention is given to two methods of performance measurement: automatic processing of archived automatic vehicle location data and “mystery shopper” surveys. Improvements, organizational changes, and new programs developed in response to the quality process are described.