Servqual Method – What Is and How to Use it in Online Surveys?

The Servqual Method is one of the popular methods of measuring the level of satisfaction with services. On the one hand, it is a simple and, on the other hand, multi-level scale that can be used to measure the quality of services from the customer’s point of view. In addition to the quality measurement itself, the method makes it possible to get many valuable tips on the direction and actions to improve the quality. 

The Servqual method assumes that ensuring the appropriate service quality means meeting the consumer’s expectations. It measures the difference between the quality perceived by the customer and the quality that the customer expects from the given service. In order to accurately determine such a difference, two aspects must be examined: 

  1. customer expectations in relation to the level of a specific service provided by the company,
  2. fulfilment of these expectations by the company.

The Servqual Satisfaction Level Indicator was created to conduct marketing research by three scientists: A. Parasuraman, VA Zeithamlai, and L. Berry. It was used for the first time in 1988. Since then, the method has been used to test the quality of B2C or B2B services in many business sectors and industries, which proves the universality of the use of the indicator and the possibility of making the method one of the bases for taking actions aimed at improving the functioning of the company and raising its standards.

Servqual method – how to test?

According to the method’s assumptions,  five key factors (requirements) can be listed that influence the evaluation of service quality in the eyes of the customer. They are as follows:

  • reliability – availability at a guaranteed level, 
  • responsibility, i.e. fulfilment of the promise of providing services in the announced form and time,
  • trust – fulfilment of promises and fulfilment of duties,
  • empathy, how the company approaches the customer (how it treats him/her),
  • access to equipment, materials and personnel – the so-called material elements that determine the overall perception of the quality of services offered by the customer. 

Research using this method cannot be conducted in a random way – a specially prepared questionnaire has to be used. Several subsequent statements are assigned to each of the above 5 features. Finally, the respondent receives 22 features for assessment, which he/she assesses on a scale from 1 to 7. The assessment includes the adequacy of a specific feature in relation to the customer’s own feelings regarding the services provided by the company.

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Thanks to the collection of the results of the online survey conducted among the company’s customers, it is possible to detect any gaps. These gaps are nothing but moments particularly important for the final evaluation of the quality of services. They indicate areas that require improvement, and to what extent the change should be introduced. The first gap represents the difference between the expectations and the company’s assessment of these expectations. The second one relates to the lack of compliance between how the customer’s needs are perceived by the company and the implemented standards and norms of service provision. Another gap is the difference between the applicable standards and how the services are really delivered. The fourth gap shows the difference between the level of services and how they are represented in the communication information directed to the customer. Finally, the fifth gap, i.e. the difference between what the customer expected and what he/she received.

What can you gain by using the Servqual indicator?

First of all, you obtain insight into what the customer expectations are. The method makes it possible to get to know the level at which the services are assessed and to what extent they differ (or coincide) with how they were perceived by the customer. In the Servqual method, emphasis is placed on the need to constantly improve one’s services. It is also important to involve the entire company in the improvement process, including all employees and teams.

A questionnaire based on the Servqual method can be created easily on the Startquestion platform. If you have any doubts read more about how to create a survey in our user guide.

Urszula Kamburov-Niepewna
Ula is a Content Manager with extensive experience in journalism and SEO copywriting. She is a specialist in creating content in HR and Marketing research, Customer Experience, and User Experience. She has been associated with Startquestion for five years and currently leads the Content Marketing team there. After work, Ula is an obsessive reader, a huge Harry Potter fan, and a traveler who grabs every opportunity to see a little bit of the world and taste (usually more than a little) good food.