Measuring Service Quality: SERVQUAL vs. SERVPERF Scales.
Quality has come to be recognized as a strategic tool for attaining operational efficiency and improved business performance. This is true for both the goods and services sectors. However, the problem with management of service quality in service firms is that quality is not easily identifiable and measurable due to inherent characteristics of services which make them different from goods. Various definitions of the term 'service quality' have been proposed in the past and, based on different definitions, different scales for measuring service quality have been put forward. SERVQUAL and SERVPERF constitute two major service quality measurement scales. The consensus, however, continues to elude till date as to which one is superior. An ideal service quality scale is one that is not only psychometrically sound but is also diagnostically robust enough to provide insights to the managers for corrective actions in the event of quality shortfalls. Empirical studies evaluating validity, reliability, and methodological soundness of service quality scales clearly point to the superiority of the SERVPERF scale. The diagnostic ability of the scales, however, has not been explicitly explicated and empirically verified in the past. The present study aims at filling this void in service quality literature. It assesses the diagnostic power of the two service quality scales. Validity and methodological soundness of these scales have also been probed in the Indian context -- an aspect which has so far remained neglected due to preoccupation of the past studies with service industries in the developed world. Using data collected through a survey of consumers of fast food restaurants in Delhi, the study finds the SERVPERF scale to be providing a more convergent and discriminant-valid explanation of service quality construct. However, the scale is found deficient in its diagnostic power. It is the SERVQUAL scale which outperforms the SERVPERF scale by virtue of... [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]