Essay on the Gaps Model and Service Quality Management
Number of words: 1627
Customers are the most crucial part of a business, and there is a need to ensure that they receive quality services. Companies that overlook customer concerns fail to retain a considerable customer base as their services are branded as low quality. It is essential to evaluate the worst customer experience witnessed and establish internal gaps that could have led to the delivery of unsatisfactory services (Tan, Hamid & Chew, 2016). The worst experience as a customer is the issue of a company prioritizing its policy over customer needs. I had bought a phone that developed problems with its software a year later. Upon complaining, the company claimed that it had issued a warrant for six months, which meant that I had to incur extra expenses. Company policy does not allow technicians to work on devices out of warranted period without consent to pay from the customer (Shahin, Mahdavi & Shahmohammadi, 2017). It does not make any sense for the company to defend its policy while customers are suffering due to poor service provision. The gaps model will be useful in evaluating the gap that led to the provision of poor services. The study explores the gaps model as an approach to assessing the quality of service provision to customers.
The gaps model is dependent on the concept of expectations and perceptions that are held after receiving the service. The model attributes to the fact that the difference between the expected service and perceived service comprises of the customer gap that should be reduced (Tan, Hamid & Chew, 2016). Gaps that exist in most markets, according to the model, include the delivery gap, communication gap, standards gap, and perceptions gap. When a firm prioritizes its policies over customers, it is imminent that the gap is internal and not external. Internal gaps within the company should be handled strategically to ensure that the firm retains its customers and attracts new ones. Internal gaps contribute to a larger problem of a service gap as it does not meet the expectations of many in the market (Shahin, Mahdavi & Shahmohammadi, 2017). A critical evaluation of the internal gaps using the model is necessary to understand how various players have contributed to the service gap. It is also vital that the study examines possible solutions to the gaps that have contributed to the service problem in the industry.
The first issue that has contributed significantly to the service gap experienced in the market is customer expectations. The company sometimes has had a wrong perception of what customers need in the market (Shahin & Samea, 2010). For instance, customers need a company that can work on devices anytime, as long as the problem is software related. In circumstances where the damage is on the hardware, the company asks for a fee to fix the issue. The company, on the other hand, has a policy that employees are bound to uphold during all operations. Company perceptions of customer expectations can be misleading, which creates an internal gap. Inadequate market research orientation creates the first gap as much of the work is not focused on quality service management (Shahin & Samea, 2010). Lack of upward communication is a significant cause of the huge disparity in the expectations of consumers and companies. When a company has insufficient relationship focus, there is a likelihood that there will be a gap that leads to poor service provision.
The second gap that should be handled within the company is customer designs and standards on the quality of services. Firms must involve their customers when formulating various policies as it will boost acceptance and implementation. The internal gap exists because of poor service designs that are unsystematic and inconsistent with customer needs and expectations (Parasuraman, 2010). In developing new designs for products, the firm should include all stakeholders, which include customers as the most important part of the business. The absence of customer-driven standards is a significant reason that has led to the second gap. Equally, inappropriate physical proof of customer expectations is a major issue crippling the organization. Lack of a formal process that sets upon the standards for service delivery goals is a concern that needs to be dealt with instantly (Parasuraman, 2010). Also, the failure to develop tangibles that align with customer expectations has plagued quality service provision.
The third internal gap experienced is the failure to deliver service standards as expected by customers in the market. The service is what customers pay for, and there is a need to ensure that quality is quality and acceptable (Parasuraman, 2010). The failure to standardize products leads to issues of software, especially for this particular case. Failure to provide the right service standards can lead to failure in any specific industry. The gap is created by incompetence of human resource management, during the process of hiring employees. Customers might influence each other’s attitudes on a particular product or service, which changes perceptions. Equally, issues within the supply chain might lead to a failure to meet demand and supply within the market. Application of n inappropriate customer-mix matrix at some point contributes to the existence of the third gap (Jhandir, 2012). Inadequate service recovery approaches constitute a significant problem for companies that operate in the tech industry. The gap has contributed to the existence of a customer service disparity in the market.
The fourth internal gap that is evident in the worst customer experience is the issue of communication. Communication is essential as it allows companies to note factors that should be adjusted for improved service provision. The gap in communication can be caused by over-promising clients what the company cannot deliver (Jhandir, 2012). For instance, the company should not use its personnel to spread lies on after-sales services. Such services should encompass free repairs and inquiries. The fourth internal gap is also caused by a lack of integrated marketing systems, which have proved inconsistent and unreliable. There should be an influential internal marketing culture, which promotes reality and truthfulness among customers for mutual existence (Yarimoglu, 2014). Inadequate horizontal communication within the organization can cripple the delivery of the required services. Sometimes employees make decisions independently, hurting customers, who might shift loyalty.
It is critical to evaluate possible solutions to the internal disparities that are causing the customer service gap in the market. The first gap can be solved by shifting the focus of future research on consumer behavior and expectations (Yarimoglu, 2014). Understanding what customers need can help devise new developments that are acceptable by many consumers in the market. Equally, the gap can be solved by concentrating on customer needs and segmentation of the market. Different markets have factors that influence the purchase of a product or the use of a service. Much focus should be directed towards new customers rather than relationship focus. In the event, the company can gain more penetration into the market, which is indicative of high revenues (Culiberg & Rojšek, 2010). The second gap can be handled by involving customers during the development of new devices. Policies that affect such devices should be arrived at upon a rigorous consultation process. Standards within the company should be customer-driven for improved satisfaction.
The third gap in the industry can be solved by the company ensuring that the HR department is in capacity to hire the right staff for the company. Employees employed should be technology-fit for the job to boost innovation (Culiberg & Rojšek, 2010). Objectives should be well spelt out to avoid further conflict as to why the devices are developed. Customers have a role to play, that is, to avoid misguiding each other, especially on information that one does not have in full detail. The fourth gap can be handled by devising integrated communication strategies within the company (Culiberg & Rojšek, 2010). The company should rely on the process to gain an advantage in the market. Company policies and requirements should be spelt to customers before accepting to make a purchase or use a particular service.
To sum it up, the gaps model is an essential tool in assessing the service quality gaps that exist in the consumer market. The model uses the concept of expectation and perceived quality of service to evaluate satisfaction achieved by customers. Four gaps need to be addressed for proper handling of the service gap existing. The internal gaps include expectations of the company and customers, service delivery issues, communications gap, and customer-driven designs and standards. Once a company solves all the four gaps, it would have handled the service gap in the market sustainably.
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