Type
Essay
Pages
15 pages
Word Count
4296 words
School
Central Georgia Technica
Course Code
business

Gaps Model

November 21, 2020
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The Gaps Model of Service Quality and
Customer Relationships in A Digital
Marketing Context
Author: Adam Guerguis
November 2, 2018
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Contents
Introduction................................................................................................................................................... 3
The gap model of service quality .............................................................................................................. 3
Customer Relationship Management .......................................................................................................... 6
Relationship Marketing (RM) ................................................................................................................... 7
The role of the Community Manager ................................................................................................... 8
Engagement Marketing and co-creating value .................................................................................... 8
The connections between the gap model and customer relationships .................................................... 10
Customer Loyalty .................................................................................................................................... 10
Solutions to increase service quality and close the gaps .......................................................................... 11
Services Blueprinting .......................................................................................................................... 11
Embracing the Service-Profit Chain concept ...................................................................................... 12
Using technology to influence the listening gap .................................................................................... 12
Online research and cyber surveys..................................................................................................... 12
Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Natural Language Processing ................................... 13
Using technology to close the design and standards gap...................................................................... 15
Electronic Customer Relationship Management (eCRM) .................................................................. 16
Real-time Service Monitoring ............................................................................................................. 16
Websites A/B testing and Heatmaps ................................................................................................. 16
Empowering employees and customers to close the service performance gap .................................. 17
Tools and examples to close the communication Gap .......................................................................... 18
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................ 19
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Introduction
Studies have shown that it is cheaper to retain existing customers than to getting new ones. It is
also proven than the profitability of retaining only 5% of customers through a good customer
service can lead to an increase in profits between 25% to 95% (Reichheld & Schefter, 2000).
However, only 20% of companies track customer retention and listen to their customers to
understand their pain points and learn more about their experience (Reichheld & Schefter, 2000).
In a very competitive environment, service quality has become an essential ingredient to help
brands remain profitable. That lead many companies to regard their core business from a
relationship marketing (RM) perspective. Those companies have learned that building healthy,
meaningful, and growing relationships with their customers is their only way to grow and be
profitable.
Some confuse service with products and good manners. But services are not physical objects that
can be owned. They are experiences that people feel and remember (Shostack, 1984). Examples
are hotel stays, flying with airline companies, telecommunications, etc. Services represent about
80 percent of the US GDP and a growing percentage of the GDPs of every country in the world
(Bitner, et al., 2008).
The gap model of service quality
The gap model is a marketing method to analyse perception in relation to expectations. This
model, developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1985) proposes five gap types that
appear when trying to measure service quality (Parasuraman, et al., 1985). The five gaps
visualised in this model (Figure 1) are:
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Gap 1: Difference between consumers’ expectations regarding service provision and the
organization’s management perceptions of those expectations, i.e. not knowing what
consumers expect (Seth, et al., 2005; GÂRDAN & GÂRDAN, 2014).
Gap 2: Difference between the perception of managers regarding consumers’
expectations and the service quality specifications, i.e. improper internal organization
quality standards (Seth, et al., 2005; GÂRDAN & GÂRDAN, 2014).
Gap 3: The discrepancy between service quality specifications (internal standards
regarding service quality) and delivered service quality, i.e. the service performance gap
(Seth, et al., 2005; GÂRDAN & GÂRDAN, 2014).
Gap 4: The discrepancy between service delivery process quality and how the
organization communicates to its consumers about service delivery, i.e. did promises
match delivery? (Seth, et al., 2005; GÂRDAN & GÂRDAN, 2014).
Gap 5: The difference between the service the consumers are expecting to receive and
their perception of the service they have actually gotten (Seth, et al., 2005; GÂRDAN &
GÂRDAN, 2014).
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Figure 1: Gap Model of Service quality (Parasuraman, et al., 1985)
Thanks to more research as well as criticism, the gap model was evolved many times. In 1988,
Parasuraman and his team refined their gap model to add the SERVQUAL scale to measure
consumers’ perception of service quality (Parasuraman, et al., 1988) and it was named the
extended model of service quality. That model focuses on five dimensions to perceive service
quality: reliability, responsiveness, tangibles, assurance (communication, competence,
credibility, courtesy, and security) and empathy (Knowing the customers) (Seth, et al., 2005).
SERVQUAL was revised again in 1991 (Parasuraman, et al., 1991) and in 1994 (Parasuraman, et
al., 1994).
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Even with all the enhancements to the SERVQUAL scale, it is still a very difficult task and almost
impossible to find a universal way to measure customers’ satisfaction towards the services that
organizations provide (Plăiaş, et al., 2012) due to the services characteristics “intangibility,
inseparability, perishability and variability” (GÂRDAN & GÂRDAN, 2014).
It is also noticed for some organizations, like healthcare, how service quality perception can be
severely affected by external factors. According to GÂRDAN (2014), “the perception regarding
the quality of the [healthcare organization] service will have a more stronger bound with
consumption decisionif the consumers are not affected by other factors like: the prescribers,
mandatory treatment scheme, lack of alternative resources, physical localization of the services
etc.” (GÂRDAN & GÂRDAN, 2014).
Customer Relationship Management
Marketing is geared towards making promises through value proposition, enabling the
fulfilment of individual expectations created by such promises and fulfilling such expectations
through support to customers’ value-generating processes, thereby supporting value creation in
the firm’s as well as its customers’ and other stakeholders’ processes." (Grönroos, 2006).
For almost any organization to establish a healthy and successful relationship with its customers
it needs to understand their perceptions. And for this to happen, the organization needs to help
and train its staff to be able to know what their customer needs are and what they are expecting
from the organization (Broussard, 2000).
However, some top executives in organizations have negative views about marketing due its lack
of adaptability towards the shifting marketing mix and customer needs changes (Day &
Montgomery, 1999).
Evert Gummesson (2004) proved that for organizations to be successful in their customer
relationship management activities, they need to be able to successfully collect consumers

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