Essay Example on Service Quality Gap Model








An Introduction Prior to 1980 s there existed not effective model which could capture the value of customer satisfaction in terms of the degree to which a service conformed to the expectations of the customer In mid 80's a team of three researchers Parasurman Berry and Zeithaml developed a model that measured a customer's expectation confirmation disconfirmation of a service with respect to the perception of the quality of the delivered service The beauty of this tool was that instead of only measuring the final outcome the delivered service forming the perception and analysing the gap between this perception and a customer's expectation the model extended to the whole process of service development starting from the management's perception up till the service was finally provided to the customer Procedure Identifying the Gaps The model identifies five gaps that can exist across the whole process from conceptualizing the idea of the particular service its development and final delivery

The smaller the gaps the better will be the quality of the service These gaps are highlighted in the following diagram and are described as follows Source https pdcahome com english 191 servqual model quality analysis of services a Gap 1 The first gap identified by the model is between management's perceptions of what a customer would expect for the service and the actual expectations of the customers themselves It might well be the case that the management s understanding of the customer expectations is quite erroneous resulting in poor service quality The larger the gap the more will the customer be likely to experience a resulting unpleasant shock b Gap 2 The second gap is between the management s perceptions of what a service should be like in order to satisfy the customers and the way service is actually designed Again a larger gap means the actual service has drifted away from the envisioned standards and does not incorporate the value that the management aimed to offer through the service c Gap 3 The third gap is between the service design including the ideal characteristics put into it and the way the service is actually delivered The greater the gap the more the service delivery is off the mark d Gap 4 The fourth gap identified in the model is between the way service is practically delivered and the way it is communicated about For example if the advertised qualities of a service are absent in the actual delivery of that service it is a major gap e Gap 5 Finally the fifth gap is between the customer s expectations of a service and the perception that the customer developed after receiving the service

The expectations of customers are shaped by various factors such as word of mouth needs past experiences and communication about the service whereas the perceptions about the delivered service are shaped by the sense that they get out of the way service is delivered to them Recording the Customers Input Feedback The internal part of the gap analysis can be done within the service providing organization but the exercise cannot be meaningful until the customers input is taken into consideration All the gaps described above can be identified only when customer s feedback is sought and analyzed in some way A structured questionnaire is a useful tool in order to have a meaningful analysis of the customers feedback The questionnaire records the gaps between customer s expectations and perceptions of the service along five dimensions of reliability assurance tangibles empathy and responsiveness Berry Parasuraman Zeithaml 1985 Utility SERVQUAL model is a useful research tool that a service provider can use to assess the quality of its service on a comprehensive level as well as along multiple dimensions The findings can be used to enhance the process of service design and delivery resulting in a better quality service for the customer Another advantage of using this model is that the customers can be segmented into different categories based on their feedback

Some Managerial Implications a Better Market Reputation The exercise of closing the gap between management's perception of what the customers would expect of the service and the actual expectations of the customers results in a better reputation of the service provider When customers expectations about the service received are affirmed by the experience they have they are naturally inclined to trust the service provider b 

Process Optimization When the gap is eliminated between management s idea of how the service should be like and the way the service is actually designed it optimizes the whole process of service development from conceptualization to design c Better Quality of Communication Once management has a clear understanding of the whole exercise of gap analysis it adjusts its communication in a way so as to reflect the true features of the service that were not only the guiding principles when the idea of the service was conceived but were also ingrained into the process of service design and delivery The resulting high quality communication automatically coveys to the customers exactly what they would get leaving no grey areas in the process References Berry L Parasuraman A Zeithaml V 1985 A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and its Implication for Future Research SERVQUAL Hart M C 1996 Improving the dissemination of SERVQUAL by using magnitude scaling In Kanji G K eds Total Quality Management in Action Springer Dordrecht

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