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1 Customer Gap:
The customer gap is the difference between customer expectations and perceptions. Customers expectations are standards or reference point that customers bring into the service experience, whereas customer perceptions are subjective assessment of actual service experiences.

Expected Service

Customer Gap

Perceived Service

Because customer satisfaction and customer focus are so critical to competitiveness of firms, any company interested in delivering quality service must begin with a clear understanding of its customers.

0.2 Gaps Model of Service Quality


The gap model of service quality was first developed by a group of authors, Parasuraman, Zeithaml, Berry, at Texas in 1985. According to the model perceived quality is the difference between customer expectations and perceptions which eventually depend on the size and the direction of four gaps concerning the delivery of service quality on the companys side.

Customer Gap= f (Gap 1, Gap 2, Gap 3, Gap 4)

Expected Service

Word of mouth Personal Needs Past experience

Customer
Gap 1

Perceived Service

Provider

Service Delivery (Including pre and post-contacts)

Gap 2
Translation of perceptions into service quality specifications

Gap 4

External communications to customers

Gap 3
Management perceptions of consumer expectations

0.3 Provider Gap Analysis:


Customers have expectations for service experiences and they use them to measure against the perceived service performance in their judgment of service quality. It is essential, then, that managers determine what those expectations are when designing the service. There are 4 specific provider gap suggested by the gap model to close the all-important customer gap. These are are1.Provider Gap 1: Market Information Gap- Not knowing what Customers Expect: The Company's incomplete or inaccurate knowledge of customers' service expectations. Key Factors Inadequate marketing research orientation. Lack of upward communication. Insufficient relationship focus. Inadequate service recovery.

2. Service Standards Gap - Not having right standard and design: The Company's failure to translate accurately customers' service expectations into specifications or guidelines for employees. Key Factors Poor service design. Absence of customer-defined standards. Inappropriate physical evidence and Servicescape.

3. Service Performance Gap - Delivery lag: Lack of appropriate internal support systems (e.g., recruitment, training, technology, compensation) that enable employees to deliver to service standards. Key Factors Deficiencies in HR policies. Not match Supply & Demand capacity. Customers failed to meet their roles. Intermediaries problem.

4. Internal Communication Gap - Promises don't match: Inconsistencies between what customers are told the service will be like and the actual service performance [e.g., due to lack of internal communication between the service 'promisers' (such as salespeople) and service providers (such as after-sales service representatives)]. Key Factors Lack of Integrated services marketing communication. Ineffective management of Customer expectation. Over promising. Inadequate horizontal communication.

0.4 Importance of Provider Gap Analysis:


Companies wishing to improve their service quality must diagnose the four organizational gaps and take appropriate corrective action to close them. An important message for managers from this overall implication is that a mere external focus (e.g., being customer-oriented and conducting periodic customer-satisfaction surveys) is not sufficient for delivering superior service. Managers must also systematically analyze and correct potential deficiencies within the organization. Customer perceptions are subjective assessments of actual service experiences; customer expectations are the standards of, or reference points for, performance against which service experiences are compared. The sources of customer expectations consist of market-controlled factors, such as advertising, as well as factors that the marketer has limited ability to affect, such as innate personal needs. Ideally, expectations and perceptions are identical: customers perceive that they think they will and should. In practice, a customer gap typically exists. A good marketing strategy reduces this gap.