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21 March 2007

RATER; the gap between expectation and experience

The RATER (Servqual) service quality framework asks customers about their expectations and experiences across the five RATER dimensions of quality. The measure of quality is the gap between expectation and experience. If the experience was below expectation, the score will be negative. If the experience is above expectations the score will be positive.

Example questions for a RATER style customer survey are provided below. If you are a business, you should ask your customers what they think of you.

If you are a member of a project team, maybe you should ask your stakeholders the same questions. You should definitely consider these factors in the delivery of your work.

Reliability
Ability to perform promised service dependably and accurately
  • If a response is promised in a certain time, does it happen?
  • Are exact specifications of client followed?
  • Are statements or reports free of error?
  • Is service performed right the first time?
  • Is level of service same at all times of day and for all members of staff?

Assurance
Possession of required skill and knowledge to perform service

  • Can staff provide service without fumbling around?
  • Are materials provided appropriate and up to date?
  • Can staff use the technology quickly and skilfully?
  • Does staff appear to know what they are doing?

Trustworthiness, believability, honesty of the service provider

  • Does service organization have a good reputation?
  • Do staff members refrain from pressuring the client?
  • Are responses given accurate and consistent with other reliable sources?
  • Does the organization guarantee its services?

Security: Freedom from danger, risk, or doubt

  • Is it safe to enter the premises and to use the equipment?
  • Are documents and other information provided for the client held securely?
  • Are use records of clients safe from unauthorized use?
  • Can client be confident that service provided was done correctly?

Tangibles
Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, printed and visual materials

  • Are facilities attractive?
  • Are staff dressed appropriately?
  • Are written materials easy to understand?
  • Does technology look modern?

Empathy
Making the effort to know customers and their needs.

  • Does someone on staff recognize each regular client and address them by name?
  • Do staff try to determine what client's specific objectives are?
  • Is level of service and cost of service consistent with what client requires and can afford?
  • Are service providers showing politeness, respect, consideration and friendliness
  • Does staff member have a pleasant demeanour?
  • Does staff refrain from acting busy or being rude when clients ask questions?
  • Are those who answer the telephone (or emails) considerate and polite?
  • Do staff observe consideration of the property and values of clients?

Listening to customers and acknowledging their comments; Keeping customers informed in a language they can understand.

  • When client contacts service point, will staff person listen to their problem and demonstrate understanding and concern?
  • Can staff explain clearly the various options available to a particular query?
  • Do staff avoid using technical jargon when speaking with clients?
  • Does staff member call if a scheduled appointment will be missed?

Responsiveness
Willingness to help customers to provide prompt service

  • When there is a problem, does organization respond to it quickly?
  • Are staff willing to answer client questions?
  • Are specific times for service accomplishments given to client?
  • Are public situations treated with care and seriousness?

Access: Approachability and ease of contact

  • How easy is it to talk to knowledgeable staff member when client has a problem?
  • Is it easy to reach the appropriate staff person (a) in person (b) by telephone (c)
    by email
  • Are service access points conveniently located?