SERVQUAL is a multi-dimensional research instrument, designed to capture consumer expectations and a perception of service. SERVQUAL is built on the expectancy-disconfirmation paradigm, which is understood to be the extent to which consumers’ pre-consumption expectations are confirmed or disconfirmed by their actual perceptions of the service experience. When the SERVQUAL questionnaire was first published in 1988 by A. Parasurman, a team of academic researchers, Valarie Zeithaml and Leonard L. Berry , [1]it is a breakthrough in the measurement methods used for service quality research. The diagnostic value of the instrument is supported by the model of service of the conceptual framework for the development of the scale (ie instrument or questionnaire). The instrument has been widely applied in a variety of contexts and is relatively robust. It has become dominant in the area of ​​service quality. In spite of the long-standing interest in SERVQUAL and its myriad of context-specific applications, it has attracted some criticism from researchers.

The SERVQUAL instrument

SERVQUAL is a multidimensional research instrument (ie, questionnaire or measurement scale) designed to measure service quality by capturing respondents’ expectations and perceptions along with the five dimensions of service quality. [2] The questionnaire consists of matched pairs of items; Expectation items and 22 perceptions items, which are believed to be five dimensional dimensions of service quality. Both the expectations and the perceptions of the questionnaire consist of a total of 22 items, comprising 4 items to capture tangible, 5 items to capture reliabiility, 4 items for responsiveness, 4 items for assurance and 5 items to capture empathy. [3]The questionnaire is designed to be used in a face-to-face interview. In practice, it is customary to add additional items to the respondent’s demographics, intentions and propensity to give word-of-mouth referrals. Thus, the final questionnaire may consist of 60+ items and typically takes at least one hour, per respondent, to administer. The length of the questionnaire combined with

Summary of SERVQUAL items [4]
Dimension No. of Items in Questionnaire Definition
Reliability 5 The ability to perform the service dependably and accurately
Insurance 4 The knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence
Tangibles 4 The appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials
Empathy 5 The supply of caring, individualized attention to customer
responsiveness 4 The willingness to help customers

The instrument which was developed over a five year period; was tested, pre-tested and refined before appearing in its final form. The instrument ‘s developers, Parasuman, Ziethaml and Berry, claim that it is a highly reliable and valid instrument. [5] Certainly, it has been widely used and adapted for many industries. In application, many researchers are forced to make minor changes to the instrument as necessary for context-specific applications. Some researchers label their revised instruments with innovative titles such as EDUQUAL (educational context), [6] HEALTHQUAL (hospital context) [7] and ARTSQUAL (art museum). [8]

Examples of matched pairs of items in the SERVQUAL questionnaire [9]
Dimension Sample expectations item Sample perceptions item
Reliability When a certain time, they do so XYZ company provides its services at the time
Insurance The behavior of employees in excellent banks The behavior of employees in the XYZ bank instils confidence in you.
Tangibles Excellent telephone companies will have modern looking equipment Company has modern looking equipment
Empathy Excellent banks will have operating hours convenient to customers XYZ bank has convenient operating hours
responsiveness Employees of excellent telephone companies will never be too busy to help a customer XYZ employees are never too busy to help you

The SERVQUAL questionnaire has been described as “the most popular questionnaire to measure service quality.” [10] It is widely used by service firms, most often in conjunction with other measures of service quality and customer satisfaction. The SERVQUAL instrument was developed as part of a broader conceptualization of how customers understand service quality. This conceptualization is known as the model of service or more widely .

The model of service quality

The model of the service quality, popularly Known as the gaps model Was developed by a group of American authors, A. Parasuraman, Valarie A. Zeithaml and Len Berry , in a systematic research program the carried out entre 1983 and 1988. The model identifies the main dimensions (or components) of service quality; We propose a scale for measuring service quality (SERVQUAL) and suggests possible causes of service quality problems. The model’s developer was originally identified dimensions of service quality, but after testing and retesting, some of the dimensions, namely – reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness. These five dimensions are thought to represent the dimensions of service quality across a range of industries and settings. [11] Among students of marketing, the memnonic, MISS , an acronym FORMED from the first letter of Each of the five dimensions is Often used as an aid to recall.

A simplified model of service quality

Businesses use the SERVQUAL instrument (ie questionnaire) to measure potential service quality problems and the model of service quality can help diagnose possible causes of the problem. The model of service is built on the expectancy-confirmation paradigm which suggests that consumers perceive the quality of their delivery. [12] Thus, service quality can be conceptualized as a simple equation:

SQ = P- E

SQ is service quality
P is the individual’s perceptions
E is the individual’s expectations of a given service delivery

When customer expectations are greater than their estimated value. When perceptions exceed expectations, then service quality is high. The model of service quality identifies customers who experience poor service quality. In this model, gap is the only gap that can be directly measured. In contrast, Gaps 1-4 can not be measured, but have diagnostic value.

Summary of Gaps with Diagnostics Indications [13]
Gap Brief description Probable Causes
Gap 1The Knowledge Gap Difference between the target market and the target market
  • Insufficient marketing research
  • Inadequate upward communications
  • Too many layers of management
Gap 2The standards Gap Difference between management and the perception of customer expectations
  • Lack of management commitment to service quality
  • Employee perceptions of infeasibility
  • Inadequate goal setting
  • Inadequate task standardization
Gap 3The Delivery Gap Difference between service quality specifications and the service actually delivered
  • Technical breakdowns or malfunctions
  • Role conflict / ambiguity
  • Lack of perceived control
  • Poor employee-job fit
  • Poor technology- fit
  • Poor supervision or training
Gap 4The Communications Gap Difference between service delivery intentions and what is communicated to the customer
  • Lack of horizontal communications
  • Poor communication with advertising agency
  • Inadequate communications between sales and operations
  • Differences in policies and procedures across branches or divisions of an entity
  • Propensity to overpromise

Development of the model

The development of the model of the service quality Involved in systematic research undertaking qui Began in 1983 and after-various Refinements, resulted in the publication of the SERVQUAL instrument in 1988. [14] The model’s developers Began with comprehensive year literature search in order to Identify items that were believed to be impact on perceived service quality. This initial search identified some 100 items which were used in the first rounds of consumer testing. Preliminary data analysis, using a data reduction technology Known as factor analysis (Also Known As principal components analysis ) Revealed That thesis items loaded onto ten dimensions (or components) of the service quality. The initial ten dimensions were assumed to represent service quality were:

  1. Competence is the possession of the required skills and knowledge to perform the service. For example, there may be expertise in the field of personal knowledge, knowledge and skill of operational personnel support and research capabilities of the organization.
  2. Courtesy is the consideration for the customer’s property and has a personal touch, manifesting as politeness, respect, and friendliness.
  3. Credibility includes factors such as trustworthiness, belief and honesty. It involves having the customer’s best interests at prime position. It can be influenced by company name, company reputation and the personal characteristics of the personal contact.
  4. Security enables the customer to feel free from danger, risk or doubt including physical safety, financial security and confidentiality.
  5. Access is approachability and ease of contact. For example, convenient office operation and rentals.
  6. Communication means clustering Both Informing customers in a language They Are To Understand and reliable aussi listening to customers. A company may need to adjust its language for the needs of its customers. Information might be included for example, the explanation of the service and its cost, the relationship between services and costs, and the fact that they are effectively managed.
  7. Knowing the customer means making an effort to understand the customer ‘s needs, providing individualized attention, recognizing the customer when they arrive and so on. This in turn helps to delight the customers by rising above their expectations.
  8. Tangibles are the physical evidence of the service, for instance, the appearance of the physical facilities, tools and equipment used to provide the service; the appearance of personnel and communication materials and the presence of other customers in the service facility.
  9. Reliability is the ability to perform the service in a dependable and accurate manner. The service is performed correctly on the first occasion, the accounting is correct, records are up to date and schedules are kept.
  10. Responsibility is the readiness and willingness of employees to help customers by providing fast prompt services, for example, fast forwarding appointments quickly.

Further testing suggests that some of the preliminary dimensions of service are closely related to autocorrelated. Thus the initial dimensions have been reduced and the labels have been revised. By the early 1990s, the authors had refined the model to five factors, which appeared to be relatively stable and robust.

  1. Reliability: The ability to perform the service dependably and accurately
  2. Insurance: the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence
  3. Tangibles: the appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials
  4. Empathy: the provision of caring, individualized attention to customers
  5. Responsiveness: the willingness to help customers

These are the dimensions of the SERVQUAL research instrument (questionnaire). The acronym RATER, is often used to help students of marketing the five dimensions of quality in the research instrument. It is these five dimensions that are believed to represent the consumer’s mental checklist of service quality.

Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) stated the SERVQUAL measuring tool “appears to be the most complete attempt at conceptualizing and measuring service quality” (p. The SERVQUAL measuring tool has been used by a wide range of services and contexts, such as healthcare, banking, financial services, and education (Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, & Pons, 2002).

Criticisms of SERVQUAL and the model of service quality

Although the SERVQUAL instrument has been widely applied in a variety of cross-cultural contexts, there are many criticisms of the approach. Francis Buttle published one of the most comprehensive criticisms of the model of service quality and the associated SERVQUAL instrument in 1996 in which both operational and theoretical concerns were identified. [15] Some of the more important criticisms include:

Validity : The model of service quality has its roots in expectancy-disconfirmation paradigm that informs customer satisfaction. [16] A number of researchers have argued that the research instrument actually captures satisfaction rather than service quality . [17] Other researchers have questioned the validity of conceptualizing service quality as a gap. [18]
Construct validity : The model is tested and tested by SERVQUAL scale for reliability and validity. However, at the same time, the model’s developers recommended that the instrument should be adapted or adapted for specific contexts. Any attempt to adapt or scale the dimensions of reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness. [19]
Ambiguity of expectations construct : SERVQUAL is designed to be experienced after having experienced a service. They are therefore Asked to recall Their pre-experience expectations. However, recall is not always accurate, true pre-consumption expectations. In addition, studies show that expectations actually change over time. Consumers are continually modifying their expectations as they gain experience with a product category or brand. [20] In light of these insights, concerns have been raised about whether the act of experiencing the service might color expectations.
Operational definition of the expectations construct : The way that expectations have been operationalized is a concern for theorists investigating the validity of the gaps model. The literature identified different types of expectations. [21] Of these, there is an argument that only forecasts expectations are true expectations. Yet, the SERVQUAL instrument appears to elicit ideal expectations . [22] Note the wording in the questionnaire in the preceding figure which grounds answer in their expectations of what excellentcompanies will do. Subtle use of words. Capturing true expectations is important because it has implications for service quality scores. When researchers elicit ideal expectations, they are more likely to be lower, making it much more difficult for marketers to deliver on those expectations. [23]
Questionnaire length: The matched pairs design of the questionnaire (total of 22 expectation items plus 22 perception items = 44 total items) makes for a very long questionnaire. If researchers add demographic and other behavioral items such as prior experience with product or category and the standard battery of demographics including: age, gender, occupation, educational attainment etc. then the average questionnaire will be around 60 items. In practical terms, this means that the questionnaire would be more likely to respond to a face-to-face interview. Lengthy questionnaires are known to induce respondent fatiguewhich may have potential implications for data reliability. In addition, lengthy questionnaires add to the time and cost involved in data collection and data analysis. Coding, collation and interpretation of data is very important in the case of lengthy questionnaires across large samples, the findings can not be used to address urgent quality-related problems. In some cases, it is necessary to carry out ‘quick and dirty’ research while waiting for the findings of studies with superior research design.
Administration of the questionnaire : Some analysts have pointed out that the SERVPERF instrument, developed by Cronin and Taylor, [24] [25] and which reduced the number of questionnaire items by half (22 perceptions items only), achieves results that correlate well with SERVQUAL, with no reduction in diagnostic power, improved data accuracy through reductions in energy efficiency and cost savings.
Dimensional instability : a number of studies of the quality, reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness of different industries, in different market gold segments even at different time periods. [26] [27] Some studies report that the SERVQUAL items do not always load onto the same factors. In some empirical research, the articles load of dimensions, whereas other studies report that the items load of more than five dimensions of quality. In statistical terms, the robustness of the factor loadings is a known model of dimensional stability.Across the range of empirical studies, the factors implied in the SERVQUAL instrument have been shown to be unstable. [28] Problems associated with the stability of the factor loadings can be attributed, at least in part, to the requirement of each new SERVQUAL investigation needed to make context-sensitive modifications to the instrument in order to accommodate the single aspects of the focal service setting or problem. However, it has also been hypothesised that the dimensions of service quality can not be reduced to a certain level of service. . [29]

In spite of these criticisms, the SERVQUAL instrument, or any one of its variants (ie modified forms), dominates current research into service quality. [30] In a review of more than 40 articles that made use of SERVQUAL, a team of researchers found that “the few researchers concern themselves with the validation of the measuring tool”. [31] SERVQUAL is not only the subject of academic papers, but it is also widely used by industry practitioners. [32]

See also

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer satisfaction research
  • Disconfirmed expectancy
  • Quality management
  • Service quality
  • Marketing Services


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