Service Quality – SERVQUAL

Can service quality be measured?

Yes, models exist to measure service quality. One of the most well-known models is SERVQUAL designed to address the 5 Gaps (obstacles to delivering high service quality) identified in the service quality study (see end of post) and more specifically Gap 5 which looked at measuring perceived service against expected service.

  • Perceived service – the service the customer believes he or she has received
  • Expected service – the service the customer believes he or she will receive related to factors such as the branding of the organisation, the stature of the building where the service is delivered and the price

Other service quality models include:

  • The Kano model
  • Gronroos
  • The Importance – Satisfaction Model
  • Johnston et al – Definitions of the 18 determinants of service

The SERVQUAL study was undertaken using respondents that had recently used the service of one of the 4 service sectors taking part in the study. It found that customers used the following when determining service quality:

  • Access – Approachability and ease of contact
  • Communication – Keeping customers informed in a language they can understand and listening to them
  • Competence – Possession of the required skills and knowledge to perform the service
  • Courtesy – Politeness, respect, consideration and friendliness of staff
  • Credibility – Trustworthiness, believability, honesty. It involves having the customer’s best interests at heart
  • Reliability – Consistency of performance and dependability
  • Responsiveness – The willingness or readiness of employees to provide service. It involves timeliness and service
  • Security – Freedom from danger risk or doubt
  • Tangibiles – Physical evidence of the service
  • Understanding / Knowing the Customer – Making the effort to understand the customer’s needs

The SERVQUAL model was designed to measure service quality delivery by the use of the following:

  • Tangibles – Evidence customers can see to help anticipate the service they will receive
  • Reliability – Delivery of the service as detailed or promised
  • Responsiveness – Helpfulness and willingness of staff to deliver quick service
  • Assurance – Staff promoting trust and instilling confidence within the customer that they will receive what they pay for
  • Empathy – Considerate behaviour and attention directed towards the customer

Determinants of Service Quality – taken from A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Its Implications for Future Research. Parasuraman A, Zeithaml Valarie A, Berry Leonard L – Journal of Marketing Vol 49 Fall 1985 Pages 41-50