The above is a simplified gap model of the SERVQUAL. Gap 1 and Gap 2 are the two main gaps perceived here. The first gap is the gap between customer expectations on Amazon services and the service delivery and the second gap is the gap between customer perception of service and service delivery. Firstly, the Gap 1 would exist because of many reasons such as the follows. The service could have been designed in an inappropriate way (Bolton, 1991). A customer could have ordered for a product thinking it would be delivered within the promised 2-3 days. However, the service delivery could have been delayed because of lack of staff, or bad weather. The customer could also have heightened expectations on the service. These expectations are created by promises made on the site or by their experience with other similar websites, such as eBay. Where customer expectations are not understood well by the managers of the service, then it means they are putting in little effort towards delivering service with quality. They should attempt to collect feedback on services and more in order to cater to their needs (Chi et al., 2003). Alternatively, in big organizations, sometimes even the existence of a feedback system is not a promise made towards quality (Wyckoff, 2001). Quality could still suffer if the organization does not have an efficient feedback and grievance addressing system (Jiang et al., 2000). Despite these, there could also be the issue of some customers who have very unrealistic expectations of the services.
The second gap is the Gap 2 that happens because of either a delivery being incorrect for the consumer or the consumer perceiving the service quality in an inappropriate manner. Service operations are quite complex. Customers will expect to see what they get, but service operations and their perceptions are usually different. Customers would tend to filter and perceive their experience.
Selective filtering is a filtering perspective where a customer would only notice what is relevant to their current requirements. For instance, a customer would have selected a lamp. Details of the lamp on the website would state “actual colours might vary”. However, customer would not have read into this properly and might have expected the same colour (Lewis, 1993). Now based on their current requirement, they might face a predicament and hence would not perceive the order as being satisfactory to them; hence they would not state the service to be satisfactory either.
Selective distortion is where the customer would elect to seek only information that is supportive of their personal bias, beliefs or prejudices. Now this customer would be satisfied only if the service caters to their bias or prejudiced, and this is a difficult thing. Similar to selective distortion, there could also be selective retention. Selective retention is where the consumer would only elect to remember those promises made on service quality that identifies with their philosophy or beliefs (Bahia and Nantel, 2000). Even if any other promise made on service quality was not satisfactory, the customer would not resent it, only those factors that directly connect with their own ideals will be perceived as important.
Now based on this, customers could perceive service as being good or bad even if it lives up to the expectations that were created. A customer might believe a certain service was bad even if the service was adequate if it is not in sync with their preferences. Similarly, coherence and consistent performance is expected and could play an issue, too. A customer who receives a continuous stream of perfect services might be more satisfied than a customer who does not have his expectations met.