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SERVQUAL test for service management



Assessing Service Quality

The SERVQUAL questionnaire helps us decide whether a service delivery is meeting service expectations. It is useful to seek the views of the actual service users by using this tool.

SERVQUAL measures a customers judgement of the service quality of their suppliers. It is based on the SERVQUAL approach by Parasuraman et al (1994). The difference between our expectations and how the actual service is performed is the service quality. These differences are referred to as ‘gaps’ in performance.

Parasuraman made the assumption that customers judge service quality by making a comparison between their expectation of the service and their view of the service they actually received. This is a harsh measure in practice. We always have high expectations of what can be done for a certain price.

SERVQUAL measures the following gaps

Gap 1: Consumer expectation. Management perception gap. This is understanding the difference between consumer expectations and management perceptions of the customer expectations. What they want versus what we think they want!

Gap 2: Service quality specification. The gap between management perceptions of consumer expectations and service quality specifications needed.

Gap 3: Service delivery gap. The difference of service performance needed and the service actually delivered.

Gap 4: External communication gap. The difference of communications between service delivery and what is communicated about the service to customers.

Gap 5: Expected service to perceived service gap. The difference between expected service and perceived service from customers’ point of view.

Five behavioural dimensions of service quality were identified based upon these gaps.

Five Service Quality Dimensions.

  1. Tangibles. The physical aspects of the delivery that includes the use of up to date technology, facilities and software. This may also include issues such as robust disaster recovery in place;
  2. Reliability. The Ability to perform the service to the required standard, at the right cost, accurate/error free work and sticking to commitments;
  3. Responsiveness. Responsiveness to client issues and the degree of good support provided to clients;
  4. Assurance. Knowledge and skills of the vendor staff and degree to which vendor employees instil confidence in their ability;
  5. Empathy. Good account management practices, fair dealing, open working and attention to specific client needs.

When you use the SERVQUAL questionnaire you will rate the questions on a seven point Likert scale. The survey uses 22 statements to assess service quality across the five dimensions outlined above with each statement used twice. Once to measure expectations and again to measure perceptions. There is also a question that assesses the importance of the five dimensions to you to weight the overall score.

I have set up an on-line version that you can use for your own assessments.

You can find it here: SERVQUAL for Service

Clients can assess their vendors. And if you submit the results you should get a nice short PDF report to download. Also vendors can assess themselves by putting ‘themselves’ in the position of the client. Try it out and as the test is still under development some feed back on this thread would be useful.

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