Service Gaps In Airline Industry    


A service firm may win by delivering consistently higher quality service than competitors and exceeding customer’s expectations. These expectations are formed by their past experiences, word of mouth and advertisement. After receiving the service customers compare the perceived service with the expected service. If the perceived service falls below the expected service customers lose interest in the provider. If the perceived service meets or exceeds the expectations they are apt to use the provider again. The model shown identifies 5 gaps that cause unsuccessful delivery in the airline industry.


a. Gap between consumer expectation and management perception: Management does not always perceive correctly what customers want. In the airline industry, the company might perceive its target customers to be ambience driven and not price driven but in reality it might turn out to be the other way.

b. Gap between management perception and service quality specification: Management might correctly perceive the customers wants but not set a specified performance standards. A company like Air India who thoroughly understands what its customers want but due to external factors like lack of resources and the fact that it is a government run organization due to which there is a lot of political interference restricting the company from performing at its best.

c. Gap between service-quality specifications and service delivery: The personnel might be poorly trained or incapable or unwilling to meet the standards. Or they may be held to conflicting standards such as taking time to listen to customers and serving them fast. This had happened in the case of Air India during the SARS outbreak where the pilots refused to fly on the last moment after the flights had been declared scheduled.

d. Gap between service delivery and external communications: Consumer expectations are affected by statements made by company representatives and ads. Air India boasts in its hoarding advertisements about the companion of the customer flying free i.e. buy 1 and get 1 free but it is only applicable for 1st class passengers which is no where mentioned and there are many such examples or campaigns that can be mentioned about.

e. Gap between perceived service and expected service: This gap occurs when the consumer misperceives the service quality. This is a combination of one or more of the previous gaps and provides a clear indication of the degree of which service quality exists in the service organizations.

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