The Gaps Model of Service Quality is an important consumer marketing framework for market-oriented companies to apply towards continuous service improvement.
In “A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and its Implications for Future Research,” leading service researchers identified five major service related gaps that face service focused organizations. These gaps and related research services from OC Marketing Analytics are outlined below.
Gap 1: Misunderstanding Customer Expectations
Gap 1 is the difference between what customers expect and what managers think customers expect.
- Survey research and social analytics are great ways to narrow this gap.
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Gap 2: Misspecification of Service Standards
Gap 2 is the difference between management’s understanding of customers’ expectations and the specifications set forth by managers for delivering service.
- Managers should design services in a way that is consistent with information provided by customers.
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Gap 3: Incorrect Application of Service Standards
Gap 3 is the difference between service design standards and the implementation of these standards by day-to-day actions of employees.
- Managers need to audit the customer experience to make sure it lives up to the service standards.
- Mystery shopping and post-transaction surveys are common ways of identifying ways to close Gap 3.
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Gap 4: Poor Communications and Unkept Promises
Gap 4 is the variance in delivery of the customer experience and related communications to customers. All too often organizations exaggerate what will be provided to customers, raising customer expectations and harming customers service perceptions.
Gap 5: Non-Competitive Service Perceptions
Gap 5 is the distance between a customer’s perception of a service experience and their own service expectations. Customers expectations have been shaped by word of mouth, personal needs, past experiences (with both your company and others), and communications from your company.
- Routine post-transaction surveys are an easy way for organizations to measure customer perceptions of service. Survey research is critical to assisting management with this crucial task.
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