A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality - Paper Example

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George Washington University
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Article review
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A review of Parasuraman, A., V. Zeithaml, and L. Berry. "SERVQUAL: a multiple-item scale for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality." Journal of Retailing 64.1 (1988): 140.


In their article, Parasuraman et al. argued on the SERVQUAL a 22-item instrument that is used in evaluating the perceptions of the customer's in regards to service quality as well as retailing organizations. Also, they pointed out some of the procedures that were used in the construction and refinement of a multiple-item scale. The increase in competition and electric deregulation has compelled several retail and service enterprises to start looking for other ways to profit their businesses. One of the strategies that companies integrate to succeed is delivering a service quality with high standards.

Article summary

The authors' point out that delivery of service quality seems to be the essence of success in businesses since the 80s. Service quality is different from good condition which can be measured by number of defects and durability because it more of an elusive construct and an abstract with unique three features, i.e., inseparability, heterogeneity as well as intangibility of production plus consumption (Parasuraman et al., n.p)

In regards to disapproving the insufficiency of measurement processes that are used in marketing Jacoby noted "many of our measures are developed at the whim of a researcher with nary a thought given to whether or not it is meaningfully related to an explicit conceptual statement of the phenomena or variable in question. In most instances, our concepts have no identity apart from the instrument or procedures used to measure them" (Jacoby, 92).

Conceptualization SERVQUAL scale was through a couple of researchers who scrutinized what it means by service quality through a qualitative research method.

In the article, the authors discuss perceived quality and objective quality. The perceived quality which is the judgment from the customers concerning an entity's superiority whereas actual quality is a kind of attitude that is different from satisfaction and it results from the comparison between expectations and performance perceptions. There are differences between the two; you find that the way consumers define quality is not the same way marketers and researchers describe it in a conceptually way.

The authors differentiate between satisfaction and attitude. Satisfaction is defined as the emotional reaction that follows a disconfirmation understanding acting on the vile view as well as intake specifications. On the other hand, attitude is considered to the customers' effective orientation for any store, product or even a process such as a customer service. Inclination is measured considering what is most general and less situational concerned with to the store or product.

Research conducted discovered that the methods used by customers to assess service quality apt in overlapping dimensions which are responsiveness, tangibility, reliability, empathy, as well as assurance. Responsiveness is all about the will of helping consumers and providing immediate service. Tangibility involves all the tangible aspects that are related including personal appearance, buildings, etc. Reliability simply refers to the capability to deliver promised services correctly and reliably. The individualized attention, as well as individual care, showed to the consumers is portrayed through empathy. Lastly, the dimension of assurance entails the courtesy, confidence, and knowledge of the employees and their capacity to convey.

Critique reflections

The primary drive of the article seemed to convince the reader that service quality is related to the expectations and preferences of customers. Moreover, the knowing the consumer's partialities is the door to an efficient customer service which is the indication to generate, provide as well as superior converse value. Also, the organizations have an obligation of fulfilling their customers' needs thus achieving the business goals. However, SERVQUAL has subjected to operational and theoretical critics. Theoretically, SERVQUAL' was incorrectly founded on prospects instead of attitudes of service quality. In addition to that, it does not build on existing facts in statistics, economics as well as psychology. In the article, customer satisfaction is operationalized as per the relationship between outcomes and expectations. Customer satisfaction is predicted whereby if expectations are more than consequences there is customer dissatisfaction. Cronin believes that SERVQUAL is paradigmatically defected due to the misguided espousal of "perceived quality." They criticize the fact that perceived service quality was defined in attitudinal terms.

Iacobucci et al. point out different views concerning operational and conceptual differences between customer satisfaction and service quality. To them, the two are not reliably defined and distinguished from each other in writings. She argues that they are linked in several ways including orthogonal relations conceptual cousins etc. (Iacobucci, 1-68).

To further the critics, SERVQUAL does not capture the dynamics of ever-fluctuating expectations. Customers' expectations shift as time goes and they learn from new experiences. In our article, the authors argue on hopes rising with time but what they do not understand is that they can also fall. Studies should be conducted on service quality to emphasize the changing aspects of service quality assessment.


The study by Parasuraman et al. presented convincing research that SERVQUAL scale has good validity and reliability that can be useful in understanding customers' perceptions and expectations to improve service. No doubt that the SERVQUAL has had the significant impact in the business society. However, people should be more open to other ways of making their businesses productive and not to only rely on SERVQUAL.

Works Cited

Cronin, J.J. Jr and Taylor, S.A. (1994), SERVPERF versus SERVQUAL: reconciling

performance-based and perceptions-minus expectations measurement of service quality,

Journal of Marketing, Vol. 58, January, pp. 125-31.

Jacoby, Jacob (1978), Consumer Research: A State of the Art Review, Journal of marketing,

42 (April), 87-96.

Iacobucci, D., Grayson, K.A. and Omstrom, A.L. (1994), The calculus of service quality and

customer satisfaction: theoretical and empirical differentiation and integration, in

Swartz,T.A., Bowen, D.E. and Brown, S.W. (Eds), Advances in Services Marketing

And Management,Vol. 3, JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, pp. 1-68.

Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V., & Berry, L. (1988). SERVQUAL: a multiple-item scale for

measuring consumer perceptions of service quality. Journal of Retailing: 64(1), 140.

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