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What does SERVQUAL mean?

21. 3. 2007

What does SERVQUAL mean?

The SERVQUAL model was developed by A. Parasuraman and colleges in the USA. Like SERVQUAL is based on the expectations disconfirmation approach known as disconfirmation paradigm.

The model of service quality, which they made, identifies the reasons for any gaps between customer expectations and perceptions (see the chart below). Gap 5 is the product of gaps 1, 2, 3 and 4. If these four gaps, all of which are located below the line that separates the customer from the company, are closed then gap 5 will close. The gaps are as follows.

  • Gap 1 is the gap between what the customer expects and what the company’s management thinks customers expect.
  • Gap 2 is the gap that occurs when management fails to design service standards that meet customer expectations.
  • Gap 3 occurs when the company’s service delivery systems – people, technology and processes – fail to deliver to the specified standard
  • Gap 4 occurs when the company’s communications with customers promise a level of service performance that people, technology and processes cannot deliver.

The Gap Model


To find the level and extent of the Gap 5, authors developed 22 or 21 item SERVQUAL scale. The model’s authors identified five core components of service quality: reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness.

  1. Tangibles involve appearance of psychical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials.
  2. Reliability is ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.capturing
  3. Responsiveness means willingness to help customers and to provide prompt service, whilst capturing the notion of flexibility and the ability to customize the service to customer needs
  4. Assurance means competence and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence. (This category includes this measured componets: competence, courtesy, credibility and security)
  5. Empathy represents provision of caring, individualized attention to customers. (Includes access, communication and understanding the customer)

The relative importance of these variables is also measured. This enables you to compute the relative importance of any gaps between expectation and perceptions. Management can then focus on strategies and tactics to close the important gaps.

SERVQUAL can be used or adapted to measure service quality in variety of service settings. Another advantage is that it can be used for compare competitors and wide range of services.

This method could be used for internal marketing. It is based on the idea that every individual in an organisation, particularly a service organisation, should recognise that they have customers to serve. There is a positive link between internal service quality and external service quality and hence customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and the profitability of the organisation. Market research can be adopted for use with employees. Personnel can be given the opportunity to give feedback to management about working conditions, company policy in general and workers’ own understanding about what comprises quality for the customer. The relationship between organisational subunits and their relationship to top management are also important. This can be assessed by a variation of the SERVQUAL instrument.