SERVQUAL or RATER is a service quality framework. SERVQUAL was developed in the mid eighties by Zeithaml, Parasuraman & Berry.


SERVQUAL was originally measured on 10 aspects of service quality: reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding or knowing the customer and tangibles. It measures the gap between customer expectations and experience.

By the early nineties the authors had refined the model to the useful acronym RATER:

  • Reliability
  • Assurance
  • Tangibles
  • Empathy, and
  • Responsiveness

SERVQUAL has its detractors and is considered overly complex, subjective and statistically unreliable. The simplified RATER model however is a simple and useful model for qualitatively exploring and assessing customers' service experiences and has been used widely by service delivery organizations. It is an efficient model in helping an organization shape up its efforts in bridging the gap between perceived and expected service.

Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) stated the SERVQUAL measuring tool “remains the most complete attempt to conceptualize and measure service quality” (p. 101). The main benefit to the SERVQUAL measuring tool is the ability of researchers to examine numerous service industries such as healthcare, banking, financial services, and education (Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, & Pons, 2002). The fact that SERVQUAL has critics does not render the measuring tool moot. Rather, the criticism received concerning SERVQUAL measuring tool may have more to do with how researchers use the tool. Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) reviewed 40 articles that made use of the SERVQUAL measuring tool and discovered “that few researchers concern themselves with the validation of the measuring tool” (p. 106).


Francis Buttle critiques SERVQUAL in the article "SERVQUAL: review, critique, research agenda" on a number of theoretical and operational bases. He particularly notes that SERVQUAL's 5 dimensions are not universals, and that the model fails to draw on established economic, statistical and psychological theory. Although SERVQUAL's face and construct validity are in doubt, it is widely used in published and modified forms to measure customer expectations and perceptions of service quality.

Luis Lages and Joana Fernandes in the article "The SERPVAL scale: A multi-item instrument for measuring service personal values" suggests that consumer final decisions are taken at a higher-level of abstraction. Similarly to the SERVQUAL scale, the Service Personal Values (SERPVAL) scale is also multi-dimensional. It presents three dimensions of service value to 1) peaceful life, 2) social recognition, and 3) social integration. All three SERPVAL dimensions are associated with consumer satisfaction. While service value to social integration is related only with loyalty, service value to peaceful life is associated with both loyalty and repurchase intent. ..............................................................................................................................


  • Zeithaml, Parasuraman & Berry, "Delivering Quality Service; Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations," Free Press, 1990.
  • Francis Buttle, 1996, "SERVQUAL: review, critique, research agenda," European Journal of Marketing, Vol.30, Issue 1, pp.8-31
  • Luis Filipe Lages & Joana Cosme Fernandes, 2005, "The SERPVAL scale: A multi-item instrument for measuring service personal values", Journal of Business Research, Vol.58, Issue 11, pp. 1562-1572.
  • Nyeck, S., Morales, M., Ladhari, R., & Pons, F. (2002). "10 years of service quality measurement: reviewing the use of the SERVQUAL instrument." Cuadernos de Difusion, 7(13), 101-107. Retrieved July 8, 2007, from EBSCOhost database.

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