Meaning SERVQUAL Model
The Servqual model is an approach that is concerned with capturing and measuring the quality of services experienced by customers. It is a service quality model that was formed and implemented in the year 1988 by marketing gurus of America- Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml. The Servqual model is also referred to as the RATER model, which consists of five factors related to service measured by it namely, reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness. This model is used by businesses for conducting a gap analysis of their service quality offered against the quality needs of their customers.
Servqual model serve as a means to business for managing its processes and providing better quality services to customers. When the performance level of services is greater than the expectations of customers, then the quality status is satisfactory and consumers are happy as well as fully satisfied. This model was in beginning meant only for firms offering services as service industries are more interested in doing measurement of service quality.
The unique features of services like intangibility and heterogeneity were the main drivers behind the development of this model. Firms were unable to access the quality level of services unlike manufacturer producing physical goods due to the presence of such features. Formation of servqual model provided a structured framework to business for accessing the factors affecting the perception of customers with regard to firm’s overall quality of services.
Key dimensions of Servqual Model
The five key dimensions of Servqual are R-A-T-E-R which are discussed below: –
- R= Reliability: Reliability refers to the ability of firms to perform the services promised by them in a dependable and accurate manner.
- A= Assurance: Assurance refers to the employee’s knowledge, courtesy and ability to inspire trust and confidence.
- T= Tangibles: It means equipment, physical facilities, communication materials and appearance of staff.
- E= Empathy: Empathy is concerned with extent to which the caring and individualized service is provided to clients.
- R= Responsiveness: Responsiveness means the willingness of firm to assist customers and offer prompt service.
The Servqual Gaps
Quality level of services offered by business are influenced to a great extent by their communication with customers as well as internal communication. The expectancy pattern of customers is must to be known by business for performing in an efficient manner. The Servqual model recognizes five gaps which arises in between the services offered and needs of customers which are as follows: –
- Knowledge Gap: Knowledge gap arises when an organization have inaccurate perceptions about what customer expect from them. There exist differences in between the needs of customer and what management perceives about customer expectations. This gap occurs due to the lack of proper customer or market focus thereby preventing business from approaching customers in adequate manner. Proper market focus requires a proper set of market analysis tools, attitude and appropriate management process.
- Standards Gap: Standard gap takes place when organization itself set its own idea with regard to customer ‘expectations. There may be chances where business is unable to correspond rightly to customer needs in case if this idea goes wrong right from the starting. Management may fail to translate the expectations of customers into service quality specifications.
- Delivery Gap: Delivery gap is result of mismatch in between the service delivered by organization and service expected by customer. Sometimes there are differences in between the actual service provided by front-line staff and delivery specifications needed by management. There are different reasons for these circumstances such as process problems, frontline staff’s performance variability and lack of co-operation from frontline staff.
- Communication Gap: Communication gap occurs when there are discrepancies in between what organization promises to deliver and what they actually provide to their customers in form of services. Sometimes the business communicates and promise such things which are not in line with their actual offerings thereby leading to market communication gap.
- Satisfaction Gap: Satisfaction gap occurs due to the combination of other four gaps which arises while delivering services by business. The difference in between the service expected by customer and one he/she really experiences causes a satisfaction gap. This is the biggest gap which is experienced in service quality.