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SERVQUAL Model (or RATER model) is a method to measure service quality as customers feel it. This market research method was developed in 1985 by A. Parasuraman, Valarie Zeithaml and Leonard L. Berry to capture the overall service experience based on five components (RATER - Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy and Responsiveness)

 

An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Shashikant Adlakha on 17th April 2020

 

Applause for all the respondents - Shashikant Adlakha, Ajay Sharma
 

Question

Q 253. SERVQUAL model has been described as the most popular standardized questionnaire to measure service quality. What is this model and elaborate how its 5 dimensions relate to service industry?

 

 

Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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SERVQUAL model is a widely used   multidimensional questionnaire, for  inspecting and measuring the service quality of businesses  by recording and comparing  the expectations and perception of customers/respondants. The questionnaire typically  consists of 22 questions of 5 dimensions.  Additional questions may be added in the relevant dimensions,  e.g-  demographics of respondent, brand loyalty with prior use, behavioral patterns such as likelihood of customer for further referral to others.

Face to face interview is required and large number of  potential customers are to be surveyed for statistical reliability.

 

The dimensions are:

 

Reliability- 5  questions: The ability to execute the promised service accurately and in a time bound manner.

Assurance: - 4 questions:  The ability of employees to instill confidence and trust in customer’s mind.

Tangibles: 4 questions: The physical dimension/appearance of any of the service deliverables or process, like  premises, equipment, people etc

 Empathy:  5 questions:  Care and attention to customer perspectives. 

 Responsiveness: 4 questions: Response to customer issues and provision of prompt service.

This model can be used in all  most all  industries and geographical areas,e.g- 

-    In educational context to asses the quality of education

-       In hospital and other healthcare areas.

-       IT industry

-       Art Gallery

 

 

Example of SERVQUAL model in a hospital scenario

 

Dimension

Expectation

Perception

Reliablity:

Hospital promises successful treatment of the disease in shortest time

The patient is treated well by doctors and patient is completely disease free in stipulated time

Assurance

Patient is well informed and assured of best treatment.

Patient is well assured by doctors and other staff of hospital.

Tangibles

Hospital will offer well maintained patient wards and all amenities for comfort.

Hospital OPDS and patient wards are hygienic, well maintained and all comfort means are provided.

Empathy

Hospital provides round the clock emergency services including specialists on call.

Emergency services, including doctor consultation, diagnostic testing and pharmacy are provided

Responsiveness

Patient issues and feedback will be immediately actioned

Ward in charge, Quality department and PRO monitors patient comfort and immediately takes action on patient’s grievances. 

 

 

Service quality can be stated as:

 

Service Quality= Perception of service- Expectation of service

 

Service quality is rendered as low, when perception of service is lower compared to expectation and on contrary, service quality is rendered  as high, when perception exceed the expectations

 

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The SERVQUAL model initially designed for service sector and retailers those were interested in understanding and measuring service quality. Therefore broadly it is a perspective of Service as opposed to the manufacturing sector that focuses on inspection and physical goods testing. SERVQUAL model is a different concept. Service Quality is the customer’s assessment of delivery and value of the firm.

SERVQUAL model is often called RATER model too, which denotes five factors of service sector. Where as SERVQUAL model stands for service Quality. Earlier this is the form of structured market research that expands over the five areas.

Five factors that stands for RATER model are:

·         Reliability-means the ability of a firm to perform the service accurately and dependably

·         Assurance-means courtesy of the employees and their ability to gain the trust and confidence of service seeker.

·         Tangibles-means of physical appearance such as equipments, personnel, materials used for communication

·         Empathy-means caring and individualized attention by the specific firm and employees

·         Responsiveness-means the will of service provider firm to help customer and provide best quality service.

SERVQUAL model is consisted of 22 questions classified into two main sections

1.     Clients are asked about their expectations and experiences of their ideal service company in that service sector like banking, hotels, education, etc.

2.     Then the clients are asked about the service quality delivery of the same industry.

 

The 22 questions can be divided under five factors as shown below:

SERVQUAL:

1.     TANGIBLES

§  Up to date equipment

§  Visually appealing facilities

§  Well dressed employees

§  Facilities consistent with the industry

2.     RELIABILITY

§  Respond within time frame

§  Reassuring when problem arise

§  Dependable

§  Service delivered at promised time

§  Accurate records

3.     Responsiveness

§  Inform customers when service occur

§  Prompt service from employees

§  Employees willing to help

§  Employees respond to requests

4.     Assurance

§  Employees are trustworthy

§  Customers feel safe in dealings

§  Employees are polite

§  Employees have support to do their job well

5.     Empathy

§  Firms Provide individualized attention

§  Employees provide individualized attention

§  Employees understand customer needs

§  Employees have the best interests of the customer in mind

§  Operate at convenient hours

This approach provides the service provider the basis for comparison of service quality levels between the competing companies, the difference between expected and service quality of each firm and the ability to drill down to the questionnaire to find out whether the specific firm is performing below or above customers’ expectations.

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Shashikant has demonstrated the applicability of the model to a hospital along with the calculation of the service quality. Hence his answer has been selected as the best answer.

Ajay's answer is also a must read to understand the 22 questions and their split across RATER.

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