What is a SERVQUAL Model?
The American marketing experts Valarie Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman, and Leonard Berry created and executed the Service Quality Model, or SERVQUAL Model, in 1988. It is a technique for identifying and quantifying the level of customer service received.
The creation of quality systems in the area of product quality was first the focus. The necessity of raising the caliber of associated services grew throughout time. Enhanced service quality could provide businesses with a competitive advantage.
Additionally, service in general gained importance, which led to the SERVQUAL Model having a significant influence in the 1980s. At the time, gauging service was vague and difficult to quantify.
The SERVQUAL Model focuses on qualitative analysis primarily. If a survey’s focus is primarily on interactions between a supplier and a customer, the quality that is actually witnessed is assessed using general environmental characteristics.
The expected pattern of service quality and the distinction between expectations and perception is at the heart of the SERVQUAL Model. The difference (the gap) between what was anticipated and what was actually experienced indicates if there is a difference in quality.
Organizations may find out which elements contribute to the formation of the customer’s expectation pattern by using the SERVQUAL Model. In this approach, the business may develop and plan ahead to account for this anticipation pattern.
SERVQUAL Model: shortcomings
This framework may be used to identify issues with the service and find solutions. In that regard, it is a “GAP Analysis.” It contrasts the service quality received with that which was anticipated.
The customer’s perceptions are used to gauge this experience. It is an evaluation of client needs based on the caliber of the service they received from an outside source.
As a result, the emphasis is always on the demands of the customer and never on the measurement system or the organization’s idea of how they would like to be perceived.
Additionally, the discrepancy between client expectations and the actual service they receive must be considered when identifying their demands.
SERVQUAL Model: 5 gaps
Internal and external communications inside the service-providing company, as well as communication between the two, are crucial to the degree of service quality and SERVQUAL tries to bridge the gap. Knowing a customer’s expectation pattern is beneficial for businesses.
The SERVQUAL Model, therefore, identifies five potential gaps between a customer’s demands and the service a business provides.
1. Knowledge Gap
When a company lacks sufficient knowledge about consumer wants, it creates a gap that prevents it from moving exactly in the direction of its target market.
The management perception gap is another name for it. This discrepancy occurs when the organization’s presumptions about consumer perception diverge from those of the customers. This happens as a result of negligent and inadequate study. It raises the possibility of a market comprehension issue.
Causes include inadequate information interpretation, lack of customer-focused market research, and excessive misunderstanding between lower-level staff members and upper management.
If a coffee company misinterprets consumer demand for inexpensive coffee and instead positions itself as extremely pricey. Although some individuals will purchase it, the bulk of people use coffee on a daily basis and so choose a cheap brand over an expensive one.
2. Standards Gap
The business has organized its thinking based on what the client expects from its management. There is a significant risk that the company would incorrectly translate this idea into a quality strategy and comparison guidelines if it isn’t correct from the start and doesn’t connect to what clients want.
Another name for it is the quality standard gap. To close this gap, service design and performance criteria are needed.
Causes include a lack of a clear objective, poor planning, poor service, underestimating the viability of the business, and a generally weak approach to task standardization.
On the day of check-out, the majority of hotels don’t clean the rooms. Late checkouts are not taken into account. Consequently, the customer’s expectations are disregarded.
3. Delivery Gap
Another instance of a gap is when a company provides a service that differs from what the client had anticipated. Off-base use is also included in this. As an illustration, consider how employees implement the strategy.
The service delivery gap is another name for this gap. Therefore, in order to improve, consideration must be given to the customer’s experience with a certain service or product. Typically, this takes the form of feedback.
Causes include poor hiring practices, position conflicts, inability to balance supply and demand, a lack of cooperation, poor employee technology fit, and inadequate
Many times while delivering food, the orders are wrong or the packaging is not proper.
4. Communications Gap
When an organization commits to providing services that they are unable to, a gap results. The company’s communications have the potential to set unrealistic expectations. It is the difference between expectations and customer experience.
It is also known as the communication gap in the market. This is frequently a mistake on the part of the marketing team because they handle the majority of the communication.
Businesses frequently overstate the outcomes they get, which in turn irks and dissatisfies the client.
Causes include inadequate communication, an overestimation on the part of the marketing team, and the inability to control customer demand or deliver on promises of services.
Various fairness creams promise a lighter skin tone in 5-6 weeks but often fail to mention extra precautions like scarves and hats that need to be worn to shield from the sun.
5. Satisfaction Gap
There is a knowledge gap combined with a communication gap here. It is the general discrepancy between how a client perceives a company’s service and how they actually interact with it.
The company runs the danger of losing market credibility and reputation if client happiness isn’t maintained. sometimes referred to as the perceived disparity in service quality.
Causes: A satisfaction gap between the client and the supplier may result from internet information, reviews, comments made by other customers, word of mouth, cultural background, personality, and other varied aspects.
While there are many ways to close these gaps, good communication is the first and most important step. If the company is transparent about its goals and engages in communication, the bulk of the issues can be resolved.
Making ensuring that accurate client feedback is obtained and those suggestions are put into practice for improved customer service is another strategy to close the gap.
What are the elements of the Servqual Model
The key components of success for services are the same as those for produced items. Understanding the expectations of the consumer is the first step in developing a good service experience. Understanding the wants of the consumer in its entirety is the most crucial aspect of executing this. Three more crucial parts of the customer experience, in addition to demands, are as follows: expectations, demands, and preferences. Customers’ requirements should be satisfied to a high quality. The needs of the client should also be met by service providers.
Customers should receive quick service, for instance, if they request it. Additionally, customers have demands. They anticipate promptness, politeness from the staff, etc. Customers should receive the kind of service they desire. Customers have preferences, too. However, they could like obtaining rapid service.
How is Servqual Model used for Services Marketing
Service quality management is the following SERVQUAL component. The service provider should be in charge of managing service quality. In order to guarantee that the service is provided in accordance with the customer’s expectations, the service provider needs to have a good system (or process). Every firm needs a standard operating procedure (SOP) for gauging the caliber of its services. The business should have “a clear, written declaration of how the firm views itself and how it wants to be seen by its customers, workers, investors, and other stakeholders,” according to professor Michael Eichler.
How can Servqual model help in improving quality
The Servqual model improves Service quality management by covering the following dimensions:
Service quality policy: A written statement of an organization’s commitment to quality in all its aspects and a description of the organization’s goals and philosophy regarding service quality.
Service quality objectives: A written statement of the specific goals and objectives of the organization relating to the quality of service, including quantitative and qualitative goals.
Service quality system: A documented procedure, including the people and tools necessary to implement the policy and objectives and produce the desired results.
Advantages and criticisms of servqual
- SERVQUAL has become an integral part of customer monitoring and has a lot of advantages.
- These range from enabling assessment of service quality to tracking customer expectations and perceptions over time. SERVQUAL also enables comparing with competitors on similar aspects.
- The disadvantages of this include that SERVQUAL remains that uniformity of this for all the service sectors remain unsure and it does not measure service outcome perceptions.
- The use of measuring expectations in service quality has come under a lot of criticism.
Samrat is a Delhi-based MBA from the Indian Institute of Management. He is a Strategy, AI, and Marketing Enthusiast and passionately writes about core and emerging topics in Management studies. Reach out to his LinkedIn for a discussion or follow his Quora Page