In my earlier article Five things about – Customer focus I referred to the Parasuraman Gap model – here is more about the five service delivery gaps.

The Parasuraman Gap model  describes how many gaps can occur in your service delivery cycle if you don’t have a process for fully understanding and communicating expectations. You can find a nice discussion on it here.

The SERVQAL model describes the five service delivery gaps

Gap 1: The difference between what customer expects and what management thought the customer expected. (Customer expects; management hears)

Gap 2: The difference between what management thought the customer expected and how this is translated into service delivery specifications and designs. (Management hears; service/product ordered)

Gap 3; The difference between what was translated as being the service delivery specifications and designs and the actual service delivered to customers. Service/product ordered: service/product delivered)

Gap 4: The difference between the service actually delivered and the promise by the organisation of the quality of services i.e. marketing hype (Service/product delivered: service/product promised)

Gap 5: The difference between customer expectations and customer perceptions – often referred to as the “service quality gap”. (Service/product expected : perception of service/product delivered)

A handy gap management checklist:

  • Establish customer expectations
  • Confirm your understanding of the expectations with the client
  • Create Specifications and designs based on the confirmed expectations
  • Measure the extent to which delivery matches original expectations
  • Ensure that what you say is what you do
  • Communicate constantly with your client

Delivering a quality service or product requires constant management of the whole delivery chain from order taking to ultimate delivery. Knowing the gaps described by Parasuraman can be a useful insight for executives.

(Parasuraman A, Zheitmal VA, Berry LL. SERVQUAL: a conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research. J Mark. 1985;49(1):41-50.)