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SERVQUAL Gaps ModelWhat is SERVQUAL? Description

The SERVQUAL method from Valarie A. Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman, and Leonard L. Berry is a technique that can be used for performing a gap analysis of an organization's service quality performance against customer service quality needs.

SERVQUAL is an empirically derived method that may be used by a services organization to improve service quality. The method involves the development of an understanding of the perceived service needs of target customers. These measured perceptions of service quality for the organization in question, are then compared against an organization that is "excellent". The resulting gap analysis may then be used as a driver for service quality improvement.

SERVQUAL takes into account the perceptions of customers of the relative importance of service attributes. This allows an organization to prioritize. And to use its resources to improve the most critical service attributes.

The data are collected via surveys of a sample of customers. In these surveys, these customers respond to a series of questions based around a number of key service dimensions.

The methodology was originally based around 5 key dimensions:

  1. Tangibles. Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication materials.
  2. Reliability. Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
  3. Responsiveness. Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.
  4. Assurance. Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence.
  5. Empathy. The firm provides care and individualized attention to its customers.

This has been adapted later by some to cover:

  1. Tangibles. Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication materials.
  2. Reliability. Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
  3. Responsiveness. Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.
  4. Competence. Possession of required skill and knowledge to perform service.
  5. Courtesy. Politeness, respect, consideration and friendliness of contact personnel.
  6. Credibility. Trustworthiness, believability, honesty of the service provider.
  7. Feel secure. Freedom from danger, risk, or doubt.
  8. Access. Approachable and easy of contact.
  9. Communication. Listens to its customers and acknowledges their comments. Keeps customers informed. In a language which they can understand.
  10. Understanding the customer. Making the effort to know customers and their needs.

Origin of SERVQUAL. History

The authors conducted a qualitative study, from which they concluded that customers ranked the importance of two SERVQUAL dimensions consistently. Regardless of service industry. Reliability is the most important contributing factor to service quality and tangibles is the least important.

Usage of SERVQUAL. Applications

  • SERVQUAL is widely used within service industries to understand the perceptions of target customers regarding their service needs. And to provide a measurement of the service quality of the organization.
  • SERVQUAL may also be applied internally to understand employees' perceptions of service quality. With the objective of achieving service improvement.

Steps in SERVQUAL. Process

The method essentially involves conducting a sample survey of customers so that their perceived service needs are understood. And for measuring their perceptions of service quality for the organization in question.

Customers are asked to answer numerous questions within each dimension that determines:

  • The relative importance of each attribute.
  • A measurement of performance expectations that would relate to an "excellent" company.
  • A measurement of performance for the company in question.

This provides an assessment of the gap between desired and actual performance, together with a ranking of the importance of service criteria. This allows an organization to focus its resources. To maximize service quality whilst costs are controlled.

Strengths of SERVQUAL. Benefits

Most users would agree that a comprehensive and thorough examination of service needs and service quality provides an invaluable approach to improving service quality. SERVQUAL provides detailed information about:

  • Customer perceptions of service (a benchmark established by your own customers)
  • Performance levels as perceived by customers
  • Customer comments and suggestions
  • Impressions from employees with respect to customers expectations and satisfaction

Limitations of SERVQUAL. Disadvantages

There have been a number of studies that doubt the validity of the 5 dimensions. And of the uniform applicability of the method for all service sectors. According to an analysis by Thomas P. Van Dyke, Victor R. Prybutok, and Leon A. Kappelman, it appears that the use of difference scores in calculating SERVQUAL contributes to problems with the reliability, discriminant validity, convergent validity, and predictive validity of the measurement. These findings suggest that caution should be exercised in the use of SERVQUAL scores and that further work is needed in the development of measures for assessing the quality of information services.

Assumptions of SERVQUAL. Conditions

  • The results of market surveys are accurate. The validity of the model is based around the results of empirical studies. A number of academics have since performed further empirical studies that appear to contradict some of the original findings.
  • Customer needs can be documented and captured, and they remain stable during the whole process.

Book: Zeithaml Parasuraman Berry - Delivering Quality Service: Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations.

Journal: Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml (1988) - SERVQUAL: A multiple-item scale for measuring customer perceptions of service quality - Journal of retailing 64 (1) Spring. 12-40

Journal: Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml (1991) - Refinement and reassessment of the SERVQUAL scale - Journal of retailing 67 (4) Winter. 420-450

Journal: Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1985) - A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research - Journal of marketing 49 (4) Fall. 41-50

Journal: Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1994) - Alternative scales for measuring service quality: A comparative assessment based on psychometric and diagnostic criteria - Journal of marketing 70 (3) Fall. 201-230

Special Interest Group


SERVQUAL Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group (844 members)


New Topic

Forum about SERVQUAL.

Alternative Models to the SERVQUAL model?
Can somebody help me to find alternative models to the SERVQUAL model? Thanks! (...)
SERVQUAL for Product Quality
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SERVQUAL in Business to Business (B2B)
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Service Quality in Insurance
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Profitable Value Added Services
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SERVQUAL in Production of Software
Is it possible to use SERVQUAL as a scale to measure quality services in a production software center?
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Can I use the SERVQUAL to analyze the interfaces in a supply chain? For example the interface between supplier-farmer or (...)
Explanation of the SERVQUAL Gaps
Parasuraman et al., 1985, (p.41-50) developed a conceptual model of service quality where they identified five gaps that (...)
Zone of Tolerance in Service Quality Expectations
An important factor that needs to be considered when assessing customer perceptions and expectations on service quality (...)
Impact of Service Delivery on Strategy
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Thesis on Challenges of Customer Service in Hotel Enterprises
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🔥 NEW Limiting SERVQUAL Dimensions
Hi I'm a Master's student doing research on service quality and facilities at airports. I'm using SERVQUAL method to mea (...)
Definitions of Service Value
I am looking for ideas on what is service value and what are the dimensions of it. Thank you. (...)
Lodging Quality Index (Getty)
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How the SERVQUAL Model is Applicable in Health Care Organizations
How is the SERVQUAL model applicable in a health care organization? Could you give an example for the gaps in this field (...)
SERVQUAL Questionnaire for Logistics Company (Forwarding)
Hi All,
Can someone give me an idea of what questions I need to prepare so I can measure the SERVQUAL of our compan (...)
GAP Model versus SERVQUAL Model
Is there a difference between the SERVQUAL and Gap Model? Some literature seem to suggest they are one thing, others sug (...)
SERVQUAL for Evaluating Customer Perception on ELearning Systems
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Is the SERVQUAL Model Free to Use? License?
Are any cost/fees/rules associated with using the SERQUAL model? (...)
Customer Service is an Opportunity to Differentiate your Business
I am constantly amazed at the low standards of customer service here in Queensland. There are obviously a lot of people (...)
Data Analysis Using SERVQUAL Model
How do you analyse the data obtain from this model? What statistical tool do you use and how is it done? (...)
SERVQUAL in Public Services
Has anybody done a study on application of SERVQUAL in administrative services, especially in the government sector? If (...)


Best Practices

The top-rated topics about SERVQUAL. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

Calculating the variations in expectations in SERVQUAL
I am working on my thesis and I am using the SERVQUAL method to calculate the variations in expectations among hotel per (...)

Validity test of servqual
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Gap 5 in SERVQUAL model
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SERVQUAL Data Analysis with Excel
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Standard SERVQUAL Questionaire
Is there a standard questionnaire for SERVQUAL? (...)

Extra Servqual Dimensions
The five key dimensions form the base - just like the 4Ps and the extended Ps do for the Marketing Mix. Depending upon t (...)

Analysing SERVQUAL with SPSS
How do you analyse SERVQUAL data utilising SPSS? Thanks for your advice... (...)

How to deal with Change in Perceptions in SERVQUAL?
Service quality perceptions and expectations may change over time. How can Servqual deal with the dynamics of changing c (...)

Using SERVQUAL for Employee Satisfaction
I am eager to know if the model is recommended to use for measuring employees satisfaction throughout an organization. D (...)

Weighted and Unweighted Average SERVQUAL Scores?
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Referencing 12manage
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SERVQUAL in Software Services
Can the SERVQUAL model be applied to software services? (...)

SERVQUAL Method at Airlines
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Analyzing Gap 4 of SERVQUAL
How can I analyze gap 4 with the aid of a SERVQUAL questionnaire? (...)

Designing a SERVQUAL Questionaire
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Expert Tips

Advanced insights about SERVQUAL. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Operational and Theoretical Shortcomings of SERVQUAL

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Extended SERVQUAL model

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SERVQUAL for E-business?

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Quality of Services

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What is Service - Definition

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Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding SERVQUAL. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Article Summaries of Zeithaml

Service Quality
Summaries of several articles on service quality by Valerie .Zeithaml. (...)

Customer Analysis

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Presentation by G.M.H. Broekema about customer analysis as part of external strategic analysis. Includes: Customer resea (...)

Service Quality Models

SERVQUAL, Service Quality Management, CRM, CEM, Customer Loyalty, Customer Satisfaction
This presentation elaborates on service quality, especially focusing on perceptions and expectations of consumers and th (...)

Five Steps to Increased Customer Satisfaction

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This presentation introduces a five-step customer satisfaction process that can be helpful to realize organizaiton’s aim (...)

Summary of SERVQUAL Model

Introduction to the GAPS / SERVQUAL Model
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The Costs of DISsatisfied Customers

Customer Satisfaction
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Customer Value Management

Organizational Management, Value Creation
Preesentation about Customer Value Management (CVM) by J. Blanc. It includes the following sections: 1. Definition of C (...)

The Expectations Consumers have of Services

Customer Experience Management, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Quality, Quality Management, SERVQUAL
This presentation elaborates on customer expectations on services. The presentation includes the following sections: 1. (...)

General SERVQUAL Questionnaire

Service Quality
General SERVQUAL questionnaire format. (...)

Consumer Behavior in the Service Sector

Decision Making, Behavioral Economics
Presentation about consumer behavior in services. The presentation includes the following files: 1. Consumer Problems (...)


Quality Management
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Introduction to Services Marketing

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SERVQUAL example

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E-Service Quality

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Research Links

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Compare with SERVQUAL: Relationship Marketing  |  Customer Relationship Management  |  Operational CRM  |  Extended Marketing Mix (7-Ps)  |  Customer Satisfaction Model  |  Two Factor Theory  |  Total Quality Management  |  Quality Function Deployment  |  3rd Party Logistics (3PL)  |  Service Profit Chain

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