The SERVQUAL Model

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Summary

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


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Weighted and Unweighted Average SERVQUAL Scores?
If the unweighted average SERVQUAL score is 1.312, and the average weighted score is 30.606 what does that mean? I'm usi (...)
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2 comments
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SERVQUAL Should Include Product Quality
There is no pure service. The Gaps model is better to include product quality as well. (...)
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2 comments
How to Make Money from Value Added Services
In the HBR of May 2008 there is an article from Werber Reinartz and Wolfgang Ulaga about how manufacturing companies can (...)
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Explanation of the SERVQUAL Gaps
Parasuraman et al., 1985, (p.41-50) developed a conceptual model of service quality where they identified 5 gaps that co (...)
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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 (...)
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1 comments
How to analyze a Supply Chain Using SERVQUAL Model?
Can I use the SERVQUAL to analyze the interfaces in a supply chain? For example the interface between supplier-farmer or (...)
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Data Analysis Using SERVQUAL Model
How do you analyse the data obtained from this model? What statistical tool do you use and how is it done? (...)
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3 comments
🔥 NEW Definitions of Service Value
I am looking for ideas on what is service value and what are the dimensions of it. Thank you. (...)
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5 comments
Impact of Service Delivery on Strategy
I need your guide to justify why service delivery is important for strategy:
- Why should we put service delivery a (...)
4
 
1 comments
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 (...)
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2 comments
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 (...)
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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 (...)
71
 
5 comments

Gap 5 in SERVQUAL model
It is relevant to note that the difference between the expected service by the customer and the perceived service by the (...)
26
 
2 comments

The Standard SERVQUAL Questionaire
Is there a standard questionnaire for SERVQUAL? (...)
25
 
5 comments

Extra SERVQUAL Dimensions
Remember the 5 key dimensions merely form the base - just like the 4Ps and the extended Ps do for the Marketing Mix.
(...)
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3 comments

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 (...)
21
 
3 comments

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 (...)
19
 
2 comments

Zone of Tolerance in Service Quality Expectations
An important factor that needs to be considered when assessing customer perceptions and expectations on service quality (...)
16
 
Analyzing Gap 4 of SERVQUAL
How can I analyze gap 4 with the aid of a SERVQUAL questionnaire? (...)
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3 comments

Expert Tips

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


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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

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Summary of SERVQUAL Model

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

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The Expectations Consumers have of Services

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This presentation elaborates on customer expectations on services. The presentation includes the following sections: 1. (...)

General SERVQUAL Questionnaire

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General SERVQUAL questionnaire format. (...)

Consumer Behavior in the Service Sector

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SERVQUAL Diagram

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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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