A brief background of the paper/article
This paper is going to deal with into the service industries and the means through which they are trying to meet the customers’ needs and expectations. This is really challenging to service industry managers who are ever under pressure to prove that the services their company offers is consumer focused and that their services in providing such services are ever improving hence giving required performance. It is therefore important that the customers’ expectations are well understood. These expectations are measured to ensure that the service quality gaps are identified and a cost-effective measures to be taken by the managers in closing the service quality gaps. A critical decision can be prioritized on the service gaps which need urgent attention and those with no urgent action can be taken care of later after the pressing decision have been attended to.
Service quality covers a wide area and this has made it hard for one to get the general meaning and the means through which this concept can be measured. This has led to use s SERVQUAL methodology in an attempt of measuring the service quality.
SERVQUAL sometimes referred as RATER is a service quality framework and is used to measure the gap between the customer expectations and experience they get from the service providers in an attempt of satisfying such needs.
The simplified RATER model is a simple and useful model and has been used by service delivery companies to assess customers' service experiences. Simplified RATER is an efficient model which helps the company providing the services to improve their efforts in closing the gap between perceived and the service to be provided.
This model has five basic dimensions stated as follows:
(2) Reliability which is the ability to deliver the service dependably and accurately.
(3) Responsiveness which is the means through which customers can receive help by being provided with adequate services.
(4) Assurance which is the means through which employees gain trust and confidence of customers.
(5) Empathy that is the means through which the company gets the customers’ attention by giving personalized care and attention.
The scope and objectives of the paper
The main objective of this paper is offering of quality services to the customers by organizations. So it is important that one understands fully the meaning of service quality and all what pertaining to providing these services in satisfying a customer. By definition service quality is the difference between the customers’ expectations and the tangible services provided by the organization. Therefore, the higher the expectation than the actual performance provided in satisfying the expectation, the lesser the service quality hence the customer will not be satisfied.
To develop service quality, it is always important to know how this service quality is measured and analyzed since this measurement and analysis will be used to compare the quality of services provided before and after the standards for service delivery have been established. In the following review report the SERVQUAL approach as been used as the method for measuring service quality.
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Another objective is to manage the service quality. Tis is to ensure that there is adequate upward communication and this will be achieved by having many layers of management who are directly involved in improving the quality of services provided. The management should also ensure that there are adequate marketing research orientations.
Setting of goals and adequate standardization of tasks will ensure that there is total commitment to providing quality services.
There should also be good communication network with the external customers since this can eliminate inadequate horizontal communications and the probability of the organization from over-promising there customers of services they cannot provide.
To use SERVQUAL instrument to measure and analyze any supposed gaps between customer needs and the way they perceive the service offered by the service provider company.
To ascertain how service improvement can be managed in order to be reliable and integrated in relation to the preferred service quality magnitude and the effects this has in service quality gaps.
Finally is to address the misunderstanding of the customer expectations by the managers and the service providers.
Methodology followed in collecting information
SERVQUAL model this is the most common approach used to measure service quality as it compares customers’ expectations before the service is offered and the perception of the customer after the actual services have been offered by the service company.
Major findings of the paper
Since the main focus of measuring service quality is to meet or go beyond the needs of the external customer, it implies that the expectations of the customers could have met if the delivered service level meets the consumer’s expectations.
Using the SERVQUAL gap score to measure the expectations and perceptions of the customers has proved to be very useful in assessing the service quality levels.
Making minor modifications in the concept of SERVQUAL will make this concept to be used by any service providing companies.
Managers can use information on service quality gaps in helping them to be able to diagnose where performance improvement can be made. Priorities can be facilitated by assessing areas with high expectations and large negative gaps hence improving the performance of the company in providing the services. Equally, positive gaps indicate that the expectation of the customers are made and often exceeded. This will enable the managers to assess whether to re-deploy resources into areas which are deemed being underperforming.
SERVQUAL has been put into trial and considered to be useful when it comes to benchmarking purposes.
SERVQUAL is the generally preferred instrument since it is extensive field testing and it is refinement. As a generic and universally-applicable instrument, SERVQUAL can also be administered on a repeated, regular basis and used for comparative benchmarking purposes.
To appreciate the benefits of using SERVQUAL, it is advisable to conduct survey yearly for the following reasons:
- To make comparisons of each year;
- To know the customers views and what they expect of the services offered over time;
- To be aware of the effectiveness of the service development initiatives in the given dimensions.
Limitationss and implication for services marketing theories and practices
SERVQUAL is not the only instruments meant for service quality analysis because other approaches might be put into consideration hence finding them to be much strongr and when it comes to closing the gaps.
When we look at service organization, SERVQUAL approach does not offer an actual picture of the customers’ requirements, prospects and perceptions.
Service quality may be more complex and more difficult in the sense of its definition and measurements.
The measurement systems are inappropriate since the designers themselves might not have the knowledge of what to be put into consideration.
Assessing the customer views of service continually may make the customers to lose motivation and this may result in customers giving wrong answers.
SERVQUAL has its obstacles which has been considered to be more challenging whether in a subjective and statistically manner.
Finally, it is useless to measure service quality if no one is going to take necessary actions on the findings of such measurements.
The SERVQUAL methodology has been considered to be the best approach when it comes to analyzing the customer’s needs and awareness. Despite it being the best approach to be used, some few factors needs to be put into consideration so as to show SERVQUAL methodology is the best when it comes to quality services.
However, as much as the SERVQUAL instrument is used in assessing the quality services outside, there is need for modification to cater in the assessment of the internal service quality. This should be done by the departments and the divisions within an organization as they put their focus on the employees who work in other areas of the organization. For this to be put into consideration, there is need to evaluate the five scopes of service quality so as to determine the kind or the intensity of the services given and whatever dimensions that needs the attention so that they can be improved.
Involvement of the employees in the activities of the departments and making contact with the employees often and assessing their performances will show the quality of services provided within those departments. When it comes to reliabilities and responsiveness, both the internal and external customer do consider them a lot since this makes one to come up with the judgment.
For better quality service in future, there is need to assess the use of SERVQUAL in other different types of organizations. There is also need to consider the relationship between an internal and external customer needs and to ensure that they are fully satisfied with the services provided. Not only the customers who should be considered but the employees also need to be offered better treatments.
With the knowledge of how the customer appreciate the organization, means the organization is going to prosper in the near future both in quantitative and qualitative means.
Finally, one need to note that service quality has got its challenges and it is also very important. However, with better hard work in the coming years will lead to better understanding of the concept.