20 September 2005

SERVQUAL and RATER Service Quality models

SERVQUAL or RATER is a service delivery quality framework. SERVQUAL was developed in the mid eighties by Zeithaml, Parasuraman & Berry.

SERVQUAL was originally measured on 10 aspects of service quality: reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding or knowing the customer and tangibles. It measures the gap between customer expectations and experience.

By the early nineties the authors had refined the model to the handy acronym RATER

  • Reliability
  • Assurance
  • Tangibles
  • Empathy, and
  • Responsiveness

SERVQUAL has its detractors and is considered overly complex, subjective and statistically unreliable. The simplified RATER model however is a simple and useful model for qualitatively exploring and assessing customers' service experiences and has been used widely by service delivery organisations.

== Criticisms ==
Francis Buttle critiques Servqual in the article “SERVQUAL; review, critique, research agenda and comes up with these three key criticisms: Perception and expectation are very subjective, and thus not good measures, that there isn’t necessarily a direct relationship between service and quality, and the measures in the model are not necessarily the right things to be measuring.

== References ==
Delivering Quality Service; Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations, Free Press, 1990.
Francis Buttle, SERVQUAL; review, critique, research agenda European Journal of Marketing, MCB Press, Issue 30.1 pp 8-31

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