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SERVICE QUALITYThe Customer GapThe Provider GapsPutting It All Together: Closing the Gaps CONTENTS :


commands a 67% guest return rate.

named as one of the 10 best destination spas. (travel and leisure magazine)

Voted in the top 5 for favourite affordable spa, favourite spa for cuisine, favourite spa for travelling solo, and favourite destination spa in U.S. (spa magazine readers).

Employee turnover is also less than half of the rest of the industry.

What makes the oaks at ojai excel among competitors??Oaks excel at creating a well managed SERVICE EXPERIENCE that :

>puts guests at ease ( SHEILA CLIFF (75 year old founder) makes a point of greeting and personally motivating each guest)> educates them in healthy living (having daily classes on weight training, muscle conditioning)> challenging them to have fun and get fit(zumba dancing, hula hoopig, belly dancing etc.)> expert staff(massage therapist represents a wide array of techniques, even the cleaning staff is well trained & skilled)

Special practice:- Just before leaving, each guest is asked to complete a questionnaire to provide his or her individual feedback. Questions are specific and management meets weekly to review, taking care of making improvements out of suggestionsOn returning home, each guest who completed the questionnaire receives a lettter of thanks and a promise to work on any issues mentioned.

beBecause of its loyal following, THE OAKS does not need to spend on advertisement. Instead , it depends on word of mouth & publicity. Both of which bring many new and former guests to fill the spa year round.

SERVICEAMA define service as activities, benefits or satisfaction that are offered for sale, or provided in connection with the sale of goods.QUALITYAccording to AMA , Quality is the totality of features and characteristics of a product, or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.

Performed by..People, machine, people withmachineService isanactivityDeed,PerformanceEfforts. Directed at.people andBusiness usersRendered byprofit,Non profitSERVICE service quality?Expected servicePerceived serviceService qualityCustomersatisfactionCustomerloyaltyAnassessment of how well adelivered service conforms to theclient's expectations.

Effective service marketing is complex & involves many different strategies, skills & tasks.

Veiwing services in a structured integrated way is called the GAPS MODEL OF SERVICE QUALITY.

GAPS MODEL positions the key concepts, strategies & decisions in service marketing.

The service quality Gaps Model was proposed by : A Parasuraman, Valarie Zeithaml and LL Berry

in 1985 in the Journal Of Marketing.


GAP 1. - the listening gap.GAP 2. - the service design and standards gap.GAP 3. - the service performance gap. GAP 4.- the communication gap.


The service Gap Model

13THE CUSTOMER GAPCUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS : standards or reference points.What a customer believe, should or will happen.Sources of customer expectations are marketer controlled factors (pricing, advertising, sales promises)

E.g. : expecting a high level of service from an expensive restaurant, considerably superior then what is expected from a fast food restaurant.


are subjective assessments of actual service experience.

Perceptions can be managed towards organisations benefits.

Perception leads to attitude.

Customer gap closing the gapIn a perfect world, expectations and perceptions would be identical i.e. customers would perceive that they have received what they thought they would and should.

Gap is critical to deliver service quality.

Such a gap arises usually in a large organisation in which managers are not. in direct contact with customers

Provider gapIn order to close the customer gap, the four other gaps- the provider gaps need to be closed.

GAP 1. - the listening gap.

GAP 2. - the service design and standards gap.

GAP 3. - the service performance gap.

GAP 4.- the communication gap.

Company Perceptions of Consumer ExpectationsExpected ServiceCUSTOMERCOMPANYGAP 1Provider Gap 1 : THE LISTENING GAP

Difference between customer expectations of service & company understanding of those expectations.

Arises when firms lack an accurate understanding of exactly what customer expectations are , due to :1. Managers may not interact directly with customers.2. May be unwilling to ask about expectations.3. May be unprepared to address them.

Inadequate marketing research orientationLack of upward communicationInsufficient relationship focusInadequate service recoveryReasons for providergapIListening gap : closing the gapFormal & informal methods to capture information about customer expectations must be developed through customer research. Techniques :

Well defined complaint handling procedure

Emphasis on empowering employees to react on the spot.

Ways to compensate the customer for unfulfilled promise.

Building strong relationships and understanding customer needs over time.

Implementation of recovery strategies when things go wrong.


- IKEA has pioneered in using innovative techniques used to identify customer expectations. They put customers in the wish mode to begin closing the gaps. ( ikea has organised an activity where they asked group of customers about their ideal shopping experience at IKEA.)

- STARBUCKS has well analysed customers expectations of a cofee drinking environment and hence enriched the customer experience by incorporating it in the service design.

- IBM & GE : relationship marketing has always been a practice, recognizing that clients have the potential to spend more with them if they provide excellent service.27CUSTOMERCOMPANYGAP 2Customer-Driven Service Designs and StandardsCompany Perceptions of Consumer ExpectationsProvider Gap 2Gap 2: THE SERVICE DESIGN & STANDARD GAPPoor service designAbsence of customer-defined service standardsInappropriate physical evidence and services capeReasons for provider gap 2The service design & standards gap : closing the gapTechnology changes & improvements are particularly helpful in closing this gap.

Same vision of service & associated issues : It is critical that all people involved ( managers, frontline employees) work with the same concepts of the new service, based on customer needs and expectations.

Clearly designing services without oversimplification, incompleteness, subjectivity & bias.

Using tools that are most effective in service development & design such as service blueprinting.

32CUSTOMERCOMPANYService DeliveryGAP 3Customer-Driven Service Designs and StandardsProvider Gap 3Gap 3: THE SERVICE PERFORMANCE GAPThe service performance gap : closing the gapThe firm must have systems, processes, and people in place t ensure that service delivery actually matches the designs & standards in place.Standards must be backed by appropriate resources (people, systems, technology ) and must be enforced to be effective.By ensuring that all the resources needed to achieve the standards are in place reduces the gap.

Focus on : internal practices recruitement, training, feedback, motivation, job design, organizational structure etc.operational strategies - as cross training employees or varying the size of employee pool to synchronize demand & supply. marketing strategies - price changes, advertising, promotion. firm must develop ways to either control the intermediaries or motivate them to achieve company goals

The service performance gap : closing the gapfirm must develop ways to either control the intermediaries or motivate them to achieve company goals

38Provider Gap 4CUSTOMERCOMPANYExternal Communications to CustomersGAP 4Service DeliveryGap 4: THE COMMUNICATION GAPIllustrates the difference between actual & promised service.

Promises made by a service company through its media advertising, sales force, and other communications may raise customer expectations, the standards against which customers assess service quality.

Lack of integrated service mktg. communications : lack of co-ordination between contact people & customers. Result of poor quality service perceptions.

2. Ineffective mang. Of customer expectations: when employees who promote the services do not fully understand the expected service.

3. Overpromising : may lead to broken promises.

4. Inappropriate pricing : whether price is fair or in line with competition.

COMMUNICATION GAP : key factors responsibleLack of integration of marketing communicationsInadequate management of customer expectations Overpromising Inadequate horizontal communicationsReasons for provider gap 4

companies must manage all communications to customers , so that inflated promises doesnot lead ton higher expectations.Appropriate pricing.Capitalising on oppurtunities to educate customers to use services appropriately.Need to co-ordinate interactive marketing with external marketing.Effectively coordinating actual servicedelivery with external communications.Pricing strategies such as discounting, couponing needs to be different in service situations where customer has no initial sense of prices.

Communication Gap : closing the gapCLOSING THE GAPSGap 1: Learn what customers exp