Research Insights 15.1 Servqual

Services and Relationship Marketing

Source: Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V., and Berry, L. L. (1988), ‘SERVQUAL: a multiple-item scale for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality’, Journal of Retailing, 64, 1, 5–37.

Abstract: This article reports that quality of service is becoming an increasingly important differentiator between competing businesses in the retailing sector. Unlike goods quality, which can be measured objectively by such indicators as durability and number of defects, service quality is an elusive construct that may be difficult to measure. However, an extensive exploratory research project conducted recently yielded a conceptual definition of service quality. Specifically, the research revealed that service quality as perceived by customers stems from a comparison of their expectations or desires from the service provider with their perceptions of the actual service performance. The research also showed that the criteria used by customers in assessing service quality fit 10 dimensions: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, communication, credibility, security, competence, courtesy, understanding/knowing the customer, and access. It is informed that the SERVQUAL instrument is designed for use in a broad set of service businesses and provides a basic skeleton through its expectations/perceptions format, encompassing statements for each of the five dimensions.

Insight: This is a classic article, structured in five sections, which describes the development of SERVQUAL, the multiple-item scale for measuring service quality. It also includes an interesting discussion regarding the scale’s properties and its potential applications. Slightly adapted to the specific context, these items can be used to obtain reliable service-quality evaluations and to determine the aspects of the offering in highest need of improvement.