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Marketing and Services Management

Marketing and Services Management 1
Marketing and Services Management
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Marketing and Services Management 2
Marketing and Services Management
Introduction
Service provision and goods production are the two forms in which businesses take place.
Goods can be subjected to various processes to determine the quality of output. On the contrary,
there are minimal ways of establishing the quality of services offered. One of the primary
techniques of analyzing the quality of service provided is the service quality or gap model
commonly (SERVQUAL). When dealing with services, customer satisfaction is usually a critical
issue. A cordial relationship between clients and the organization plays a crucial role in
enhancing satisfaction. Customer relationships (CR) defines how a company connects to its
clients. When these relationships are managed correctly, it becomes possible for both parties to
benefit. For instance, customers would get value for their money as the company enjoys a higher
profit margin due to increase in sales. The connection between gap model and CR is highlighted
in the paper. The strength and weaknesses of SERVQUAL are also elaborated.
The Gap Model of Quality Service
In recent years, service quality has garnered attention amongst many researchers and
managers because of its strong effect on organizational presentation, customer contentment and
loyalty, and the subsequent profit margins. An accurate and valid measure of service quality is
beneficial in every business since it evaluates performance and hence an opportunity to adopt
corrective techniques when necessary. The Service quality or gap model commonly abbreviated
as SERVQUAL is acknowledged as an essential technique for analyzing service quality. It was
wished-for that service quality is a role of the differences between expectation and performance
regarding value (Parasuraman, Zeithmal and Berry, 1985, p. 43). The writers identified ten
Marketing and Services Management 3
primary attributes of service eminence including reliability, responsiveness, competence, access,
courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding and other tangibles (Seth and
Deshmukh 2005, p. 917). Three years later, in a sequel scale, the ten components were merged
into five significant dimensions including reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy, and
responsiveness. The SERVQUAL model is based on perceptions and expectations, that is,
consumers assess service quality by comparing what they expect to how it is provided. In this
regard, high-quality services mean a high degree of conformity to customers’ expectations on a
regular basis. To measure quality service, it is necessary to compare consumers’ before-service
expectations and their service experience. Based on the approach’s conceptualization of service
quality, a scale was developed that evaluates expectations and perceptions of experience
concerning 22 items that represent the five core service quality dimensions.
Service quality can also be considered as a means of “closing the gap” that exists
between expectations and perceptions of service provided. Research showcases several gaps that
underline consumer expectations and perceptions (Parasuraman, Zeithmal and Berry 1985, p.
43). The first gap is the knowledge gap that indicates the differentiation between clients’
expectations and supervision view of what customers expect as not knowing consumer
preferences creates a gap. The second gap relates to the difference between managers’
perception of consumers’ expectations and service quality terms which often illustrate improper
service-quality standards, for instance, an ambiguous service design. The third gap is linked with
the delivery of the service values often due to distinctive variations’ between the specification
and what is delivered. The fourth gap indicates the mismatch of promises and delivery, whether
the organization offers whatever it communicated to the consumers. The fifth gap is related to
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the four and entails not delivering the perception that is perceived by the consumers the basis of
the model.
Digital marketing is one of the most influential concepts in the businesses across the
globe since the dawn of the 21st century. Some of the primary forms of digital marketing that
are utilized by most corporations include social media platforms, the internet, and electronic
billboards. The first gap in the SERVQUAL model can be explained using digital marketing. In
real life, companies use the digital marketing platforms to achieve an extra goal of filling the gap
between consumers’ expectations and the firms’ ability to meet the preferences. For instance,
through social media and companies’ websites, it is possible for the management to follow up on
what the clients expect and also get responses regarding the failure to meet these needs.
Therefore, it becomes possible for the administration to adjust and work towards achieving the
customer preferences. The third gap that relates to the variations in specifications of the service
standards and the actual delivery can also get an illustration from the digital marketing world.
For example, electronic billboards are widely used in malls and company offices to enlighten the
public on the specific services provided. Through this platform, the standards of the services are
highlighted, and the immediate response from the consumers portrays the actual delivery.
Strength and Weaknesses of SERQUAL
Strength
In the current society, there are various models used for ranking the levels of service
quality. Despite the apparent options, practitioners value SERVQUAL, and it has been a
significant generic model. SERVQUAL can be used as often as necessary to monitor customer
perceptions of service quality of a specific organization as compared to other models of
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measuring service quality. Additionally, once the data has been analyzed, it can be quickly
presented virtually in efforts to identify the firm’s current strengths and weaknesses. As
mentioned, the model has five core components including reliability, assurance, tangibles,
empathy, and responsiveness (Shahin and Samea 2010, p. 6). These aspects provide an
opportunity for the analysis of a organization’s service value performance on the center of
specific dimensions in addition to the overall results achieved by the accumulation of each
component. Furthermore, the scale was designed to measure an individual consumer’s
expectations and perception of experience. Therefore, it allows the classification of consumers in
a market into different segments depending on their own scores.
SERQUAL can be applied in different service industry settings since it outlays a
fundamental structure that can be modified to varied specifications of a particular firm. Indeed,
research indicates the gap model is applicable in different empirical context and diverse cultural
backgrounds (Wang and Tang 2003, p. 23). Moreover, the approach is not only logical, but it is
also straightforward since it analyzes the difference between two concepts that have been
acknowledged to drive business performance. Concerning digital marketing, using SERQUAL
allows a company to investigate the customers’ expectations through social media. It also gauges
if the firm is responding to clients’ demands appropriately when they give feedback.
Another fundamental strength associated with the model is its reliability and validity.
SERVQUAL is an approach that has been tried and tested and is often used comparatively with
other service quality models for benchmarking purposes. Undeniably, SERVQUAL benefits
from being a statistically valid instrument due to the extensive research, practical testing and
refinement of the past three decades.
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Weaknesses
Despite the extensive use of SERVQUAL, several theoretical and operational criticism
has been put forth. One of the limitations of the model is its applicability to the service industry
only hence not appropriate for firms that deal with tangible products. In the modern world,
digital marketing has enabled both service providers and merchants who deal with goods to
advertise on the same online platforms. For example, fashion houses and motor vehicle dealers
display their products on their web pages and even on social media. Therefore, there is also need
for more models that analyze quality in the goods production industry. Indeed, SERQUAL
concentrates on service provision rather than physical technologies associated with digitalization.
Theoretically, critics question the rationality of the model as a general service quality
analysis across various companies in the service sector (Wang and Tang 2003, p. 27). The
revisions and fine-tuning of the SERVQUAL is not sufficient for the task of measuring service
eminence transversely on varied service situations. Additionally, the conceptualization that
consumers’ access service quality by the difference between perception and expectation (P-E) is
questionable since it is evident that expectations often override reality. Critic insists that the main
donor to the effectiveness of the model is the perception of experience due to the generalized
tendency to rate expectations high (Wang and Tang 2003, p. 27). Moreover, consumers often
formulate expectations on the basis of past experiences hence with time past perceptions
reducing validity heavily influences their expectations.
With the modern digital marketing, it is quite apparent that companies will always strive
to create the best impression of what clients should expect to fight the stiff competition.
Technology enables firms to use various editing techniques to create a picture of what to expect
Marketing and Services Management 7
in the customers’ minds. Unfortunately, the reality barely matches what is received in the long
run due to the excess effort channeled to marketing in this digital error.
SERVQUAL tends to concentrate on the process of service delivery and to an extent
ignores the service encounter while it would be beneficial to use both process and encounter to
assess consumers choices rather than focusing on one or the other. Another problem associated
with the model relates to the five dimensions which are not universal hence the high probability
of inter-correlation between and amongst the components since items do not always fit into the
prescribed factors.
Operationally, critics indicate that the term expectation is not consistent with the concept
of consumption since consumers determine service quality based on standards rather than
expectations (Parasuraman, Zeithmal and Berry 1985, p. 41). The model uses two administration
based on the dimensions and the 22 item scale which results in imperial data quality.
Additionally, the wording in the 22 scale causes reversed polarization which results in a
respondent error. In the 22 items, 13 statements are positive while the nine are negatively
worded. Item wording affects data quality hence creates doubt about the validity of the approach.
Moreover, the 22 items apply the seven-point Likert Scale which has several weaknesses which
have an indirect adverse effect on SERVQUAL.
Customer Relationships
Customer relationships (CR) is defined as the continuous connection between a firm and
its clients. CR entails customer service, marketing communication, and sales support. According
to this model, the relationship between the customers and the company is measured based on the
level of client fulfillment. The cycle of purchases and the subsequent receipt of services or other
Marketing and Services Management 8
products helps in determining the satisfaction the clients attain. Understanding customer
relationship management and customer relationship marketing assist in comprehending what CR
entails.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM is a concept that aims at building a secure connection between businesses and the
clients while the profitability of the firm is enhanced. According to Prachi Juneja (2018),
customer relationship management seeks to achieve this goal through lowered costs and
enhanced productivity. He also notes that the best system of such a management technique is one
that centralizes the organization’s data to provide a real-time representation of client information.
The notion relates to digital marketing in various ways. For example, online marketing platforms
give the updated preferences of customers in real life situations. Therefore, in such cases firms
can enjoy the benefit of having real-time customer demands and preferences which are essential
when making choices for service provision and goods production.
The Components of CRM
Some components define customer relationship management. According to Margaret
Rouse (2018), some critical components of this system include marketing automation, sales force
automation, geolocation technology, analytics, and human resource management. Marketing
automation is a crucial tool since it seeks to automate activities within the business that are
normally repeated so as to make it possible to advertise at various levels. Most forms of digital
marketing can be utilized in this aspect. For example, an organization can opt to use online
purchasing options which would send advertising links to a customer’s email when buying from
Marketing and Services Management 9
the site. In this regard, a one-time client can be turned into a loyal customer who entirely uses
products from the business.
Geolocation technology is another tool that is critical to creating a good relationship
between customers and companies. In this case, technology is usually utilized to develop
advertisements that rhyme to the physical location of clients. In this modern digital world of
business, GPS applications are employed to create geographically oriented marketing. For
example, social media sites such as Instagram give users the option of turning their locations on
while using the platform thus making it possible for interested firms to note the locality of their
prospective buyers.
Other vital techniques that Rouse (2018) suggest include human resource management
and analytics. Rouse notes that an effective customer relationship management system would
trail information of employees such as performance reviews and contacts to enable the company
make its workforce productively connect with customers. With regards to analytics, a perfect
analysis of the details of the system users aids in structuring a reliable client satisfaction ratings
(Rouse 2018). In real life, companies can analyze the reviews given by their customers on the
digital marketing platforms to determine the level of satisfaction of these clients.
Aspects of Customer Relationship Oriented Marketing
The primary goal of the CR system is to create a good relationship between the clients
and companies through quality production and provision, while also maintaining a significant
profit margin for the business. Therefore, marketing comes in as a critical point when talking
about CR since it acts a bridge between the providers and the buyers. Parachi Juneja (2018)
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highlights some vital digital marketing aspects based on CR. Some of the techniques he notes
include web marketing, emails, and analysis of online buying habits of customers.
The current trend of businesses developing websites has boosted the rate at which online
transactions are done. Today, most sales entailing supplies and purchases are shifting to the
online platform since most of the details can be handled on company websites (Jeneja 2018).
Online shopping has also become rampant with firms such as Amazon and E-Bay becoming
famous due to their online deals. The inexpensiveness and the broadness of web marketing make
it a reliable technique for enhancing customer satisfaction and company profitability.
The use of emails presents another form of digital marketing. According to Jeneja (2018),
this form of advertising is more effective yet affordable comparatively. He compares emailing to
phone calls and posting of mails which are expensive especially when a pool of prospective
buyers are targeted. Additionally, emails are considered a form of direct marketing where it is
nearly guaranteed that the intended population receives the information sent. It is also highly
reliable because it is not subjected to alterations as it is the case in some channels.
Analyzing the online buying habits of clients is another key aspect of marketing utilized
in the customer relationships management systems. The analysis would enable a corporation to
determine the brands that specific clients or a particular group of customer tend to buy in
particular rates as presented by the outcome of the analysis (Jeneja 2018). For example, digital
marketing sites such social media and company websites can be studied to check the products
that particular buyers purchase and thus help in making a statistical preview. According to Jeneja
(2018), the history of a client is a useful tool in establishing the probability of the future buying
patterns. In the long-run, a company would satisfy its customers’ demands by producing and
providing the exact quality that is expected in the market.
Marketing and Services Management 11
Connections between Gap Model and Customer Relationships
The first key area where the gap model of quality service connects to customer
relationships is concerning the goals of the both. The SERVQUAL model’s key objectives
include customer satisfaction and enhancement of organizational performance. The models
attributes include reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication,
credibility, security, understanding and other tangibles (Seth and Deshmukh 2005, p. 917). On
the other hand, customer relationships (CR) also seek to improve how companies relate to their
clients while enhancing the profit margins. Therefore, the two have a similar objective of
satisfying both the buyers and providers of the services or goods.
Secondly, the SERVQUAL seeks to determine the expectations of the clients as it needs
this information when defining satisfaction. From the other end, customer relationship
management offers a platform where existing and prospective customers can express what they
expect. For example, potential buyers can post a message on the company’s website regarding
their needs. Indeed, the two models operate at the same level as they both seek to establish
expectations of customers.
The customer relationship management system has an end objective of enhancing the
firm’s productivity as well as improving the experience of the clients. Prachi Juneja (2018) notes
that the system seeks to achieve this goal through lowered costs and enhanced productivity. On
the other hand, the SERVQUAL model also needs to determine the customer service experience
for measuring the quality provided. Parasuraman, Zeithmal and Berry (1985, p. 43) argue that the
variation between expectations and understanding presents the level of quality of the service
provided. CR provides the management with the real-life experiences of customers, while
SERVQUAL uses these findings to establish the rate of quality of the service.
Marketing and Services Management 12
Conclusion
The gap model has been a useful technique for measuring the quality of service that
businesses offer to clients. It works with the notion that the difference between the expectations
of buyers and the actual experiences determines the rate of service quality. This model,
commonly referred to as SERVQUAL, has the strength of fitting in various industries given that
it is presented in a basic structure. However, it also faces a common challenge of the fact that it
is presumed that in most cases expectations would overshadow what real-life situations offer.
Customer relationships (CR), on the other hand, plays a fundamental responsibility of connecting
clients to the company in a productive way for both parties. The invention of digital marketing
has made it easier to adopt both the gap model and customer relationship management since such
tools create a platform where real-time reactions and responses are recorded. SERVQUAL and
CR are both fundamental elements for a business to strive in the service provider industry.
Marketing and Services Management 13
References
Juneja, P., 2018. Customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing. [Online] Available
at: https://www.managementstudyguide.com/crm-marketing.htm [Accessed 05/03/2018].
Parasuraman, A., Zeithmal, V. A. & Berry, L., 1985. A Conceptual Model of Service Quality
and its Implications for Future Research. Journal of Marketing, Volume 49, pp. 41-50.
Parasuraman, A., Zeithmal, V. A. & Berry, L., 1988. SERVQUAL: A Multiple Scale for
Measuring Consumer Perceptions Of Service Quality. Journal of Retailing, 64(1), pp. 12-
40.
Rouse, M., 2018. Customer relationship management. [Online] Available at:
http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/definition/CRM [Accessed 05/03/2018].
Seth, N. & Deshmukh, S. G., 2005. Service Quality Models: A Review. International Journal of
Quality and Reliability Management, 22(9), pp. 913-949.
Shahin, A. & Samea, M., 2010. Developing the Models of Service Quality Gaps: A Critical
Discussion. Business Management and Strategy, 1(1), pp. 1-11.
Wang, Y.-S. & Tang, T., 2003. Assessing Customer Perception of Website Service Quality in
Digital Markrting Environments. International Journal of End-User Computing, 15(3),
pp. 14-31.

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