The Dimensions of E-Service Quality

The Dimensions of E-Service Quality

Mark Springer (Western Washington University, USA) and Craig K. Tyran (Western Washington University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch032
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Background

Much of the work regarding electronic service quality is directly or indirectly grounded in earlier research regarding traditional, or non-electronic, service quality. As summarized by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1985), service quality differs significantly from physical goods quality due to the intangible, heterogeneous, and inseparable nature of services This led Parasuraman et al. (1985) to conclude that service quality was more difficult for consumers to evaluate than goods quality; that consumer quality assessment depends on a comparison of prior expectations with perceived service performance; and that the process of service delivery as well as the outcome of the service were both vital in the customer’s evaluation of quality.

Assessing the Quality of Traditional Services with SERVQUAL and SERVPERF

Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1988) subsequently developed SERVQUAL, a service quality model and assessment tool designed to incorporate these differences. SERVQUAL assessed service quality along five dimensions via a forty-four question customer survey. A key element of the original SERVQUAL was the “gap model” of service quality, defining service quality as the difference between a customer’s expectations of service and her actual service experience. The five service quality dimensions the authors derived were service tangibles (e.g., the appearance of the service facility), reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy.

As an alternative to SERVQUAL, Cronin and Taylor (1992) introduced SERVPERF, which directly measured the service quality perceived by the customer in lieu of assessing the gap between expectation and experience. The survey items used in the SERVPERF model are largely based on the survey items in SERVQUAL.

SERVQUAL and SERVPERF have each been well-used measures of traditional service quality (Carrillat, Jaramillo, & Mulki, 2007). Virtually all assessment tools for e-service quality have adopted the direct measurement approach of SERVPERF rather than the gap theory approach of SERVQUAL.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-RecS-QUAL: An eleven item survey instrument used to assess the quality of recovery services (e.g., product returns) associated with e-commerce. The instrument includes three dimensions: responsiveness, compensation, and contacts.

SERVQUAL: A survey instrument with twenty two pairs of items used to assess non-electronic service quality based on gap scores between perceptions of actual and expected service quality. The instrument includes five dimensions: reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness.

SERVPERF: A twenty-two item survey instrument used to assess non-electronic service quality based on perceptions of actual service quality. The instrument includes five dimensions: reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness.

Service quality: The level of service provided by a person, organization, or a computer-based source. If the service is provided by a computer-based source (e.g., Web site), the service quality is referred to as an electronic service quality.

E-S-QUAL: A twenty-two item survey instrument used to assess electronic service quality. The instrument includes four dimensions: efficiency, system availability, privacy, and fulfillment.

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