The Gaps Model, also known as the SERVQUAL Model, is a framework used to assess and measure service quality in organizations. It was developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry in the late 1980s. The model identifies the gaps that can occur in the delivery of service quality and provides a structure for understanding and improving service quality.

The Gaps Model consists of five key gaps:

  1. Gap 1: Knowledge Gap
    • This gap represents the difference between customer expectations and management’s perception of those expectations. It occurs when there is a lack of understanding or knowledge about what customers truly expect from a service.
  2. Gap 2: Policy Gap
    • Gap 2 is the difference between management’s perception of customer expectations and the service quality specifications set by the organization. It arises when there is a disconnect between what management believes the customers want and what is actually delivered in terms of service.
  3. Gap 3: Delivery Gap
    • This gap exists between service quality specifications and the service actually delivered to the customer. It can result from a variety of factors, such as employee training, process inefficiencies, or technology limitations.
  4. Gap 4: Communication Gap
    • Gap 4 represents the difference between the service delivered and the service promised or communicated to the customer. It can result from misleading advertising, poor communication, or inconsistent messaging about the service.
  5. Gap 5: Perception Gap
    • The final gap, Gap 5, is the difference between customer expectations and perceptions of the service experienced. It is the gap that customers perceive and can lead to either customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

To improve service quality and close these gaps, organizations can take various actions, such as conducting market research to better understand customer expectations (Gap 1), aligning service quality specifications with customer expectations (Gap 2), improving service delivery processes (Gap 3), ensuring consistent and clear communication about the service (Gap 4), and monitoring customer perceptions and feedback (Gap 5).

The Gaps Model has been widely used in the service industry to identify areas for improvement and enhance the overall customer experience. It helps organizations focus on aligning their service quality with customer expectations and bridging the gaps that can lead to customer dissatisfaction.