SERVQUAL Model-Five Key Service Dimensions Servqual Gaps-Reasons. The Basis of the Servqual Model. The Five Key Service Dimensions: Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy, Responsiveness. What are the Servqual Gaps and the Reasons for the gap? Gap 1: The Knowledge Gap, Gap 2: The Policy Gap, Gap 3: The Delivery Gap, Gap 4: The Communication Gap, Gap 5: The Customer Gap. Conclusion.
SERVQUAL Model-Five Key Service:
The Basis of the Servqual Model
The SERVQUAL Model or Service Quality Model refers to a multi-dimensional research process that intended to measure the gap scores between expected and perceptions of service quality of the customers based on five dimensions. This model was produced and implemented by the three American marketing scholars Valarie Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman, and Len Berry. It is also known as the gap model and the RATER model that was introduced between 1983 and 1988.
The Servqual model classifies the elements or components of service quality that is known as key dimensions of service quality. The developers of the model initially proposed ten dimensions of service quality; later many experts finalize only five dimensions, namely – reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness. The marketing students formed an acronym RATER from the first capital letter of every dimension or component. Finally, this model recommends the most common causes of service quality problems after measuring the gaps.
SERVQUAL Model-Five Key Service Dimensions:
The developers of the Servqual model designed 22 perceptions items and 22 expectation items to set into five dimensions, in which the gap score of the customers will come out perfectly.
Reliability is a dimension of the Servqual model that confirms the capacity to provide services exactly, on time, and credibly (Parasuman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1985). The consistency is a very important factor here to provide service or product to the customers on time with error-free conditions. You have to respect the commitment to give your service on time accurately as you promised to them.
Example of the reliability dimension: Sending mail to the customers every day on time.
Figure 1: SERVQUAL Model-Five Key Service Dimensions of the Servqual Model
Assurance means creating trust and credibility for the customers. It will be ensured based on the employee’s technical knowledge, effective communication skills, courtesy, credibility, competency, and professionalism. These skills will help the organization to gain customer trust and credibility.
The assurance dimension is a combination of the following factors:
- Competence – having the requisite skills and knowledge.
- Courtesy – politeness, respect, consideration, and friendliness of contact staff.
- Credibility – trustworthiness, believability, and honesty of the staff.
- Security – freedom from danger, risk, or doubt.
Example of the assurance dimension: showing respect and being polite to the customers during servicing them.
Tangibles represent the physical facilities, the appearance of the employees, equipment, machines, and the information system of the organization (Parasuman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1985). It focuses on facilitating materials and physical facilities.
Example of the tangible dimension: cleanliness in the organizations and appropriate dress of the staff.
Empathy means focusing on the customers attentively to ensure caring and distinguishing service to them (Yang Peterson & Cai, 2003). It is an essential attitude in some countries in the world to serve every customer individually. It is a great process to satisfy customers psychologically and increase confidence, trust, and loyalty. The company can lose its customers due to the lack of empathy inside the employees.
Additionally, empathy is a combination of the following factors:
- Access (physical and social) – Approachable and ease of contact
- Communication – keeping customers informed in a language they understand and really listening to them
- Understanding the customer – making the effort to get to know customers and their specific needs.
Example of the tangible dimension: being an active listener when customer speaking and recognizing regular customers by name.
Responsiveness refers to the eagerness to assist customers with respect and provide quick service to satisfy (Yang Peterson & Cai, 2003). This dimension focuses on the two important factors including willingness and promptness. You have to ensure that the customer is getting their service within a short time without any delay and make the customers feel that you are very interested to help them. Responsiveness will be defined by the length of time when customers wait for the answer or solution. In short, responsiveness is to solve the customer problem as soon as possible by providing expecting information or replacing products.
Example of the responsiveness dimension: trying to keep no customer in waiting serial and replace the product within a short time before finishing the promised period.
Initially, the introducers of the Servqual model proposed ten dimensions of service quality that are as follows:
- Knowing the customer
What are the Servqual Gaps and the Reasons for the gap?
The Servqual model recognizes five gaps that may articulate when the customer experiences lower service quality than expected. The service quality will be high when the customers’ perception meets the expectation but the quality is low when the customer’s perception cannot meet the expectation. The Servqual model is also known as the 5 gap model that represents a customer-satisfaction framework.
Figure 2: The Servqual model or Service Quality Model
Gap 1: The Knowledge Gap
The knowledge gap refers to the difference between the company’s perception of what the customer expects from the industry and the exact expectation of the customers. This gap can grow if management doesn’t focus on the customer’s expectations thoroughly.
There are many reasons that can increase the knowledge gap, including:
- Not focusing on what customers expect.
- Lack of upward communication.
- Insufficient market analysis.
- Less focus on relationships.
- Failure to understand customer complaints.
- Lack of interaction between management and customer.
Example of the Knowledge Gap:
The user of Netflix wants to see the upcoming movie trailers on the website. So, Netflix would suffer this gap if it did not provide the upcoming movie list.
Gap 2: The Policy Gap
The policy gap is the difference between management perceptions of the customer needs and the translation of those perceptions into service delivery policies and standards. This gap occurs because of the dissimilarity of what the customer wants and what the management provides for the customers.
There are many reasons that can grow the policy gap, including:
- Insufficient commitment to service quality
- Lack of task standardization
- Lack of goal setting
- Shortness of customer service standards.
- Inadequately described service levels.
- Failure to continually update service level standards.
Example of the Policy Gap:
Netflix will suffer from the policy gap if it uploads the upcoming movie trailers after releasing the movie. People want to watch the movie trailer before releasing the movie.
Gap 3: The Delivery Gap
The delivery gap is the dissimilarity between the standard of the service delivery policies of the company and the actual delivery of the service. This problem may occur because of the communication gap, poor technology, and inappropriate supervisory on productions in the industry.
This gap occurs because of many reasons in the industry including;
- Lack of teamwork to deliver service or product
- lack of knowledge of the employee about the product or service
- Insufficient human resources.
- Service performance gap.
- Role ambiguity and role conflict – unsure of what your remit is and how it fits with others.
- Poor employee or technology fit – the wrong person or system for the job.
- Inappropriate supervisory control or lack of perceived control – too much or too little control.
Example of the Delivery Gap:
Netflix may experience this gap if it uploads the lower video quality movie.
Gap 4: The Communication Gap
The communication gap refers to is the gap between what the company advertises about the products and what exactly the customer gets delivered. It occurs when the company cannot provide services or products according to the commitment. It is a very important dimension because it may lead to customer disappointment.
This communication gap occurs because of many reasons in the industry including;
- Lack of integration between communication and production department.
- Inadequate communications between the advertising teams and the operations department.
Example of the Delivery Gap:
Netflix may suffer this gap if it is unable to telecast HD video that promised to offer.
Gap 5: The Customer Gap
The customer gap is the difference between customer perceptions of the experience and customer expectations of the service. Many organizations are not conscious of this gap; therefore, they are losing a big number of customers overnight.
The Servqual Model or Service Quality Model has become very popular and worldwide accepted for increasing the service quality of the customers. It is a multi-dimensional research system that represents a customer-satisfaction framework to satisfy customers. Hence, it is also known as the Gap model that intended to analyze gaps and problems between organizations and customers. Finally, customer gratification will come out through the model that is a very important factor for continual improvement as well as the business.
Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L. L. (1985). A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research. Journal of marketing, 49(4), 41-50.
Yang, Z., Peterson, R. T., & Cai, S. (2003). Services quality dimensions of Internet retailing: an exploratory analysis. Journal of services marketing.