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The Gaps Model of Service Quality

Introduce a framework, called the gaps model of service quality. Demonstrate that the most critical service quality gap to close is the customer gap, the difference between customer expectations and perceptions. Show that four gaps that occur in companies, which we call provider gaps, are responsible for the customer gap. Identify the factors responsible for each of the four provider gaps.

Gaps Model of Service Quality

Customer Gap:
difference between customer expectations and perceptions

Provider Gap 1 (The Knowledge Gap):

not knowing what customers expect

Provider Gap 2 (The Service Design & Standards Gap):

not having the right service designs and standards

Provider Gap 3 (The Service Performance Gap):

not delivering to service standards

Provider Gap 4 (The Communication Gap):

not matching performance to promises

The Customer Gap

Expected service
Customer Gap

Perceived service

Key Factors Leading to the Customer Gap

Customer Expectations

Customer Gap

Provider Gap 1: Not knowing what customers expect Provider Gap 2: Not selecting the right service designs and standards Provider Gap 3: Not delivering to service standards Provider Gap 4: Not matching performance to promises

Customer Perceptions

Key Factors Leading to Provider Gap 1

Customer Expectations

Gap 1

Inadequate marketing research orientation

Insufficient marketing research Research not focused on service quality Inadequate use of market research

Lack of upward communication

Lack of interaction between management and customers Insufficient communication between contact employees and managers Too many layers between contact personnel and top management

Insufficient relationship focus

Lack of market segmentation Focus on transactions rather than relationships Focus on new customers rather than relationship customers

Inadequate service recovery

Lack of encouragement to listen to customer complaints Failure to make amends when things go wrong No appropriate recovery mechanisms in place for service failures

Company Perceptions of Customer Expectations

Key Factors Leading to Provider Gap 2

Customer-Driven Service Designs and Standards

Gap 2

Poor service design Unsystematic new service development process Vague, undefined service designs Failure to connect service design to service positioning Absence of customer-driven standards Lack of customer-driven service standards Absence of formal process for setting service quality goals Inappropriate physical evidence and servicescape Failure to develop tangibles in line with customer expectations Servicescape design that does not meet customer and employee needs Inadequate maintenance and updating of the servicescape

Management Perceptions of Customer Expectations

Key Factors Leading to Provider Gap 3

Customer-Driven Service Designs and Standards

Gap 3

Deficiencies in human resource policies

Ineffective recruitment Role ambiguity and role conflict Inappropriate evaluation and compensation systems Lack of empowerment, perceived control, and teamwork

Customers who do not fulfill roles

Customers who lack knowledge of their roles and responsibilities Customers who negatively impact each other

Problems with service intermediaries

Channel conflict over objectives and performance Difficulty controlling quality and consistency Tension between empowerment and control

Failure to match supply and demand

Failure to smooth peaks and valleys of demand

Service Delivery

Key Factors Leading to Provider Gap 4

Service Delivery

Gap 4

Lack of integrated services marketing communications Tendency to view each external communication as independent Absence of strong internal marketing program Ineffective management of customer expectations Absence of customer expectation management through all forms of communication Lack of adequate education for customers Overpromising Overpromising in advertising Overpromising in personal selling Overpromising through physical evidence cues Inadequate horizontal communications Insufficient communication between sales and operations Insufficient communication between advertising and operations Differences in policies and procedures across branches or units

External Communications to Customers

Gaps Model of Service Quality

Expected Service CUSTOMER
Customer Gap

Perceived Service
Service Delivery External Communications to Customers

Gap 3
Gap 1 Gap 2

Gap 4

Customer-Driven Service Designs and Standards

Company Perceptions of Consumer Expectations

Service Quality: The Parasuraman, Berry and Zeithaml Models

Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry, professors at various American business schools- built a conceptual model of service quality, developed a questionnaire called SERVQUAL which measures service quality, and conceptualised a model for shortfall in service quality called the Gaps Model. We will

discuss their work, as it forms an important part of the

literature on services marketing.

ContdService Quality
These three authors contend that the customer is the best judge of service quality. They identified five criteria that customers use to evaluate service quality. These wereTangibles Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy


Definitions of the SERVQUAL Dimensions

Tangibles: Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication materials. Reliability: Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately. Responsiveness: Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service. Assurance: Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence.

Empathy: Caring, individualized attention the firm provides its customers.


Determinants of Perceived Service Quality

Dimensions of Service Quality 1. Access 2. Communication 3. Competence 4. Courtesy 5. Credibility 6. Reliability 7. Responsiveness 8. Security 9. Tangibles 10. Understanding/Knowing the Customer
Word of Mouth Personal Needs Past Experience

Expected Service

External Communication to Customers

Service Quality Gap

Perceived Service Quality

Perceived Service

Correspondence between SERVQUAL Dimensions and Original Ten Dimensions for Evaluating Service Quality

SERVQUAL Dimensions

The Five Key Service Dimensions

ASSURANCE - a combination of the following
Competence - having the requisite skills and knowledge Courtesy - politeness, respect, consideration and friendliness of contact staff Credibility - trustworthiness, believability and honesty of staff Security - freedom from danger, risk or doubt

The Five Key Service Dimensions

EMPATHY - a combination of the following:
Access (physical and social) - approachability 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

Framework for isolating differences in evaluation of quality

Search Properties : attributes which a consumer determine prior to purchasing a product.
Ex colour, style, price, fit, feel, hardness, and smell

Experience Properties : attributes which can only be discerned after purchase or during consumption
Ex taste, wearability, and dependability.

Credence properties : Characteristics which the customer may find impossible to evaluate even after purchase and consumption. These aspects of service quality can be categorized into the 10 service quality determinants and can be arrayed along a continuum ranging from easy to evaluate to difficult to evaluate

Figure 5.1

Customer Perceptions of Quality and Customer Satisfaction

Factors Influencing Customer Satisfaction

Product/service quality Specific product or service features Attributions for service success or failure Perceptions of equity or fairness Other consumers, family members, and coworkers Price Personal factors
the customers mood or emotional state situational factors

Service Quality
The customers judgment of overall excellence of the service provided in relation to the quality that was expected. Service quality assessments are formed on judgments of:
outcome quality interaction quality physical environment quality