Gaps Model of Service Quality Table of Contents Executive Summary3 Customer Gap4 Example of Customer Gap4 Listening Gap5 Example of Listening Gap6 Standard Design And Standard Gap7 Example of Design and Standard Gap8 Service Performance Gap9 Example of Service Performance Gap10 Communication Gap11 Example of Communication Gap12 Closing Gap12 Diagram of Gap Model of Service Quality 13 Bibliography14 Customers realize that the current system is not flawless. Companies see that providing better service quality will create and obtain the customers loyalty, continuation of business and enhance the quality of the organization.
Service quality is suppose to be consistent, reliable and accountable for any business, however gaps in service quality can lead to unsatisfied customers and loss of business. The Gaps Model of Service Quality is used to fix the gaps of the service that is being provided. They include: • The Customer Gap- The difference between customer’s expectations and perceptions. • Gap 1 (Listening Gap) –The difference between the customers expectations of service and the companies understanding of those expectations. Gap 2 (Service Design and Standard Gap) - The difference between the company or firm understanding the customer expectation and development of customer-driven service designs and standards. • Gap 3 (Service Performance Gap) - Represents the development of customer-driven service standards and the actual performance by the companies employees. • Gap 4 (Communication Gap) -The difference between the service delivery and the service providers external communications. • Closing Gap- Closing gaps 1-4 and keeping them closed.
Real life experiences are a way to illustrate how gaps in service quality can be addressed and predetermined in every day life. Possessing too many gaps in a service that are left unnoticed or unfixed can lead to a decline in the company and the overall reputation of the business. Learning how to close the Gaps is a way to reflect the type of foundation and service quality that the business will demonstrate through services. Customer Gap The Customer Gap is critical in delivering quality service as it is the backbone of the model. The Customer Gap is the difference between customer expectations and perceptions in service quality.
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Customer expectations deals with what a customer believes should or will happen in the service. In order to deliver quality service the firms need to close the gap between what the customer expects and what they perceive will happen (Services, 32). Managers can find this hard to do because in some cases they are not in direct contact with the customers; rather it is their employees that are. This can be a problem because it is important to get a clear understanding of the customer’s wants and or needs to fulfill the customer’s expectations (Bianca, 1).
The customer’s behavior does have an effect on the quality of service that they feel they are provided with as well. Example of Customer Gap An example of this would be my last trip to Applebee’s. I was not too fond of going to Applebee’s because the last time I went I expected my food to be a certain way but it did not come out that way. The staff and even the managers seemed to give me a problem because my food was not cooked to my liking. A new store opened up in Yonkers so I decided to try out the new restaurant with my family.
Already having a chip on my shoulder about going was enough to make me not hungry. However their service was amazing from the minute we walked into the door to when we walked out. Everyone had a kind smile and was very attentive to my families’ special needs. They also payed close attention to my nephew who loved the attention. The food came out fast and tasted amazing and was every bit to my liking. One meal came out wrong, or not to my father’s expectation and they kindly took it back and fixed what he wanted.
Applebee was fulfilling their mission to have every customer leave happy, and the next thing we knew the manager came over with another drink as my father waited for the meal and then he brought it to the table himself and apologized. They had great deals that did not break our pockets and they did not rush us. Overall the experience was exceptional and we now make it our weekly dinner stop. Applebee’s staff changed my feelings about their restaurant. The manager devoted their time to us, and proved that the company understands the customer’s expectations as well as their perceptions of service quality.
Listening Gap Gap 1 also known as the Listening Gap is the difference between the customers expectations of service and the companies understanding of the customers expectations. As stated in the customer gap another cause for this gap is because a firm is not meeting the expectations of the customers or the firm is faulted for not knowing what these unique expectations are. This again can be because the managers lack direct communication with the customer or even because they are not prepared to address the situations at hand.
This is a problem because upper management or whomever is in charge can start a bad pattern of bad decision making which initially will provide bad quality service to the customers. There are four key factors that are responsible for the gap in provider gap one which includes inadequate marketing research orientation, lack of upward communication, insufficient relationship focus and inadequate service recovery. Inadequate marketing research can cause a large gap because the firm has insufficient marketing research which means that the firm does not acquire adequate information from the customers.
Firms should use customer interviews or surveys to get feedback to see if they are reaching the customers expectations in order to stay closer to the customer. Lack of communication between management and the customers is a reoccurring problem in some firms because there is little direct communication if any on behalf of management (Service, 1). There can also be a lack of communication between the employees and management which creates havoc in the company because employees do not understand what management knows or is expecting. Firms also show lack a of relationship focus which is crucial (Services, 34-36).
Keeping communication with current customers should be top priority rather then focusing only on new customers. This happens when firms worry more about new transactions then they do about the relationship with existing customers. The gap continues to widen with insufficient service recovery which is critical in provider gap 1. This happens when the firm does not take the time to listen to the customer’s complaints or when they do not make amends when something has gone wrong. Service recovery strategies are used on behalf of the firm to guarantee ways to fix the problem or their unfulfilled promise.
This is a huge problem because if the situation is not properly fixed then the gap continues to widen. Example of Listening Gap I currently have Sprint as my cell phone provider and I absolutely hate calling if there is something wrong with my bill, and I’ve only had to do it three times. When I call I get connected to the customer service department and give them all my information. From there they transfer me over to the billing department. At the billing department I have to explain myself again and then I get put on hold.
Most of the time its not long but then I have to get switched to another department, then I have to explain myself all over again and the more it happens the more frustrated I get. I immediately get upset and wonder, “If I pay my service on time every month then why they can’t they provide me with the exceptional customer service that they promised? ” I am a paying customer and I except not to be transferred around and for you to solve the problem for me. It’s just that simple. Miss communication is a big problem with Sprint but if you are paying for something you want it to work right.
This is a good example of Gap 1 because there are many people listening to my problem but no one can seem to help me. This does hurt my relationship with the company because if problems like this continue to happen because of miss communication it will lead me in the direction of a new cell phone service. Standard Design and Standard Gap Provider Gap 2 also known as the Service design and Standard Gap is the difference between the company or firm understanding the customer expectation and development of customer-driven service designs and standards.
Most companies have a problem with this because they experience difficulty when they are translating customer expectations into quality necessities that employees would be able to understand and then be able to perform. The service design and standards gap include poor service design, absence of customer-driven standards and inappropriate physical evidence and servicescape. In any firm an important component of the business is to have a solid marketing strategy that everyone in the firm understands as well as maintain and presents their understand to each customer.
All people involved with the company need to be on the same page working with the same concepts which are usually the customer needs and expectations or else there will be a large gap (Brown, 2). Having the same vision creates an understanding of a new service or an existing one. In order to avoid this gap it is important for the company to design a service that is developed and or improved as carefully as possible avoiding oversimplification and incompleteness.
Not understanding the customer’s standards creates a situation in which the standards do not reflect the customer’s expectation then the quality of service to the customer is going to suffer. When the standards do reflect the customer’s expectations then the company will most likely do extremely well and will have a positive impact on the company. The servicescape is the way the service is delivered such as reports, signage, or equipment (Services,36-38). By effectively understanding the customer driven standard, physical evidence, and servicescape the firm will be able to close both the customer gap and Gap 2.
Example of Standard Design and Standard Gap For this example of Service Design and Standard Gap the instance that I recall that affected me was a cruise that I took in the Caribbean. I had gotten sick and was sent to the ship infirmary. They had two nurses that took care of me. The only problem was an hour later a new shift of nurses came in. The two new nurses were very different then the first two and did everything completely different. The first two nurses new that I was sick with my Diabetes but they said that they were going to take care of me and re hydrate me.
The second shift thought that I was too sick and wanted to send me off the ship to a hospital. The only problem with this situation was they were not thinking in the best interest of me. They were thinking of the easiest way to get me off the ship for liability purposes. The second shift ladies kept fighting with the first shift ladies right in front me like I was not there. It made me feel very uncomfortable and scared on top of being sick. As they were fighting back and forth and from what I could hear they both had two very different ideas and different topics during their fight.
It seemed to me that their vision and understanding of the rules and regulations were two very different missions. To me it seemed like their entire strategic plan was different. The worse part was they were showing this through their argument. They were all very unprofessional but the second shift didn’t seem to keep my best interest up front. My expectations were to feel comfortable and be taken care of in a quality manor. This was not done therefore to me there was a large gap in service design and the standard gap. Service Performance Gap The Service Performance Gap is the third gap in which the firm is doing well.
However like any company they are going to make sure that everything is in place from systems to the people and make sure the service is being delivered to its highest. This model represents the development of customer-driven service standards and the actual performance by the company employees. The gap will widen if the service delivery falls short or the standards are not backed up by support (Service, 1). Therefore employees should get paid according to how well they are doing their job and exceed the customer’s expectations . There are many reasons why a gap could widen, and most involve the human resource department.
This is by the company not hiring the right person for the job. As in they do not have good teamwork, they lack empowerment, there’s inappropriate compensation or even inadequate technology. The customer is another factor in the service performance gap. The customer needs to play their positive role as well. Customers can negatively influence their quality of service by simply using too much of the providers time or becoming disruptive to other customers. The gap can also be because the capacity of inventory is underutilized or over utilized.
For example when the company’s capacity is inadequate to handle the company will loses sales. Operating strategies such as cross training would be a way to manage the supply of the company. It is important to motivate and control the mediators to meet the company’s goals (Services, 38-39). Example of Service Performance Gap The example I have for the service performance gap is my most recent trip to A & P to get some last minute groceries. There were many factors that have influenced my decision to go to A & P rather then Stop and Shop or another market. The most important influence to my decision was my past experience at A & P.
The last time I was there I talked to a man in the Seafood department and he took the time to talk to me about how to cook certain Seafood in a way that would be new to me. He gave me advice and also gave me recipe cards to make it easier when I got home. He took the time with me to help and explain to me the best type of fish or crab legs and really showed how well he knew his job. It was a very pleasant experience. Other factors influencing my decision were the great deals that they had, amazing actually for this week, and word of mouth from my neighbor was having a seafood night like I was.
There was also explicit service that was nonpersonal and personal. For example I saw and add in the paper for this week with the sale and a few days ago the seafood worker told me about the deal and to wait. This is a great example of how gap 3 can be narrowed down with the employees being properly educated and exceeding customer service quality. Communication Gap Provider gap 4 also known as the Communication Gap is the difference between the service delivery and the service providers external communications. A large part of Gap 4 is the difference between the actual and promised service.
Broken promises, over promising, and false advertisement are example of what can widen the gap. Failing to communicate with the customer and using exaggerated promises is what employees do to try and serve them to their expectations. A way to narrow the gap would be to properly communicate with the customer and educate them to be able to use the service properly(Services, 42-43). With communication come service transactions and the relationship that you build with the customer which is important in the communication gap because as an employee you are in direct communication with the customer.
Pricing products at a reasonable price is also important, as well as strategizing how to keep customer expectations high by improving service delivery. Overall communicating properly with the customer and understanding their expectations should and will improve their perception. Example of Communication Gap An instance that still gets me upset to this day in which explicit service promises were exaggerated to the point where I was disappointed was for an oil change by Goodyear.
I was extremely upset because when I asked how long it was going to take they told me only a half hour to 45 minutes. I waited 2 hours and they then told me that they did not have the correct funnel for the job and had to wait to get one. I was extremely pissed off because they did not have the decency to tell me what was going on. This was horrible service because it was like they kept lying to me when they said only a few more minutes. Goodyear then told me that they were sorry and then did not make me pay, however it still took up a lot of time, without any communication.
I then learned that I would not go back to Goodyear because even though I made the appointment days earlier they did not have the supplies needed or the decency to communicate with me. Closing Gap The last gap is the closing gap where everything is put together. In order to close the customer gap all of the gaps 1-4 need to be closed and they also need to stay that way(Services, 43). It is very important to make sure that the customer is pleased with the customer service they were provided. By making sure they are satisfied with their service is a way to keep the customer coming back to continue to do business with the company. pic] Works Cited Bianca, Audra. Organizational Gap Analysis. E How. 22, November 2010. http://www. ehow. com/about_5304768_organizational-gap-analysis. html Brown, Gene, Plenert, Gerhard. Gap Analysis. Reference for Business. 21, November 2010. http://www. referenceforbusiness. com/management/Ex-Gov/Gap-Analysis. html. Service Gap Analysis. Project Tools. 21, November 2010. http://projecttools. co. uk/ProjectTools/Gap. htm Services Marketing, 5th Edition, by Bitner, Mary Joe and Valerie A. Zeithaml, published by McGraw Hill, 2009.
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