SERVQUAL or RATER is a service quality framework. SERVQUAL was developed in the mid-1980s by Zeithaml, Parasuraman & Berry. SERVQUAL means to measure the scale of Quality in the service sectors.
SERVQUAL was originally measured on 10 aspects of service quality: reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding the customer and tangibles. It measures the gap between customer expectations and experience. The basic assumption of the measurement was that customers can evaluate a firm's service quality by comparing their perceptions with their expectations.service quality was originally measured on 10 aspects.
By the early 1990s, the authors had refined the model to the useful acronym RATER:
- Empathy, and
SERVQUAL has its detractors and is considered overly complex, subjective and statistically unreliable. The simplified RATER model however is a simple and useful model for quantitatively exploring and assessing customers' service experiences and has been used widely by service delivery organizations. It is an efficient model in helping an organization shape up their efforts in bridging the gap between perceived and expected service.The basic
The five gaps that organizations should measure, manage and minimize:
•Gap 1 - also known as the management perception gap is the difference between expected service by customers and the management's perceptions of the consumer's expectations. It indicates a problem with the understanding of the market. Key factors leading to this gap are :
- Insufficient marketing research
- Poorly interpreted information about the audience's expectations
- Research not focused on demand quality
- Too many layers between the front line personnel and the top level management
•Gap 2 - also known as quality specification gap. It is the difference between management perception and the actual specification of the customer experience - Service design and performance standards are pre-requisites for bridging this gap. Managers need to make sure the organization is defining the level of service they believe is needed. Gap 2 may occur due the following reasons :
- Insufficient planning procedures
- Lack of management commitment
- Unclear or ambiguous service design
- Unsystematic new service development process
•Gap 3 - also known as the Service delivery gap. It is the difference between customer driven service design and standards and service delivery. Managers need to audit the customer experience that their organization currently delivers in order to make sure it lives up to the spec.The possible major reasons for this gap are:
- Deficiencies in human resource policies such as ineffective recruitment, role ambiguity, role conflict, improper evaluation and compensation system
- Ineffective internal marketing
- Failure to match demand and supply
- Lack of proper customer education and training
•Gap 4 - also known as market communication gap. This is the difference between the delivery of the customer experience and what is communicated to customers - All too often organizations exaggerate what will be provided to customers, or discuss the best case rather than the likely case, raising customer expectations and harming customer perceptions. The discrepancy between actual service and the promised one may occur due to the following reasons:
- Over-promising in external communication campaign
- Failure to manage customer expectations
- Failure to perform according to specifications
•Gap 5 also known as the perceived service quality gap. This is the difference between a customer's perception of the experience and the customer's expectation of the service - Customers' expectations have been shaped by word of mouth, their personal needs and their own past experiences. Routine transactional surveys after delivering the customer experience are important for an organization to measure customer perceptions of service. Unless Gap 5 is kept under check, it may result in lost customers, bad reputation, negative corporate image.
Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) stated the SERVQUAL measuring tool “remains the most complete attempt to conceptualize and measure service quality” (p. 101). The main benefit to the SERVQUAL measuring tool is the ability of researchers to examine numerous service industries such as healthcare, banking, financial services, and education (Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, & Pons, 2002). The fact that SERVQUAL has critics does not render the measuring tool moot. Rather, the criticism received concerning SERVQUAL measuring tool may have more to do with how researchers use the tool. Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) reviewed 40 articles that made use of the SERVQUAL measuring tool and discovered “that few researchers concern themselves with the validation of the measuring tool” (p. 106).
Francis Buttle critiques SERVQUAL in the article "SERVQUAL: review, critique, research agenda" on a number of theoretical and operational bases. He particularly notes that SERVQUAL's 5 dimensions (Reliability,Assurance,Tangibility,Empathy,Responsiveness) are not universals, and that the model fails to draw on established economic, statistical and psychological theory. Although SERVQUAL's face and construct validity are in doubt, it is widely used in published and modified forms to measure customer expectations and perceptions of service quality.
- Zeithaml, Parasuraman & Berry, "Delivering Quality Service; Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations," Free Press, 1990.
- Francis Buttle, 1996, "SERVQUAL: review, critique, research agenda," European Journal of Marketing, Vol.30, Issue 1, pp. 8–31
- Luis Filipe Lages & Joana Cosme Fernandes, 2005, "The SERPVAL scale: A multi-item instrument for measuring service personal values", Journal of Business Research, Vol.58, Issue 11, pp. 1562–1572.
- Deborah McCabe, Mark S. Rosenbaum, and Jennifer Yurchisin (2007), “Perceived Service Quality and Shopping Motivations: A Dynamic Relationship,” Services Marketing Quarterly, 29 (1), 1-21.
- Nyeck, S., Morales, M., Ladhari, R., & Pons, F. (2002). "10 years of service quality measurement: reviewing the use of the SERVQUAL instrument." Cuadernos de Diffusion, 7(13), 101-107. Retrieved July 8, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.