In the growing service sector there is still the most problematic challenge how to deal with service quality. Quality is one of the most expected by customer’s aspect of almost all service products. High and unique quality is a way to win customers and make them loyal for a long time. Management literature proposes many concepts and approaches concerning how to deal with service quality. There are also many different concepts how the notion “service quality” should be understood. Among many concepts of service quality, the service quality gaps model plays an unquestionably significant role in the service management literature. Gaps approach proposes precious propositions on how the nation “service quality” might be understood and how the providing service quality emerges across a service organization. Consists of the following gaps: customers’ expectations vs. their understanding by managers, managers’ perception of customers’ expectations vs. service specifications, service specifications vs. fulfilment, information about service vs. service that is actually provided, and, finally, the gap between customers’ expectations and service provided. In spite of the fact that the five service quality gaps model is relatively well known, still many researchers propose new frames of service quality gaps. Also there are not too many empirical researches concerning service quality gaps. The organizational quality gaps which might be employed in a management process as the kind of a tool are less often researched than the customer quality gap.
The proposed investigation process tries to approximate the size of the four internal service quality gaps proposed by Parasuraman et al. (1985) in the service industry in Poland. The survey method is employed. The next aim is to assess how important the quality gaps are for service firms. If they had a significant relationship with key business performances it would prove their importance as a management tool in service organizations. Therefore some statistic techniques are employed, like correlations coefficients and path analysis. Moreover, for two firms from IT service sector and education sector a case study method, from the point of view of service quality gap identification, is conducted. The case studies are able to show if in a service organization it is possible to identify only four organizational gaps by Parasuraman et al. (1985) or more, detailed, characteristic for particular organizations. All of these allow the author to propose, taking advantages from the wide quality management literature output, a few basic suggestions and ideas concerning how to deal with quality gaps. The concept of five quality gaps proposed by Parasuraman et al. (1985) has its origins in the concept of service quality as a gap between customer’s perception and customer’s expectations proposed also by the same authors. Service quality as a gap between customers’ perception and expectations establishes that customers’ expectations are viewed as normative and predictive standards, i.e. customers know what a service provider should and will offer (Parasuraman et al. 1994). Then it is possible to assess the discrepancy between what was expected and what was perceived in the service providing process. For assessing this gap the Servqual method is dedicated, which probably is the most often used method for service quality measurement. The expectations-perceptions service gap is measured by customers’ interviews based on the standard questionnaire (Servqual). The customer gap, like Servqual questionnaire, consists of five attributes (dimensions) of service quality: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy (Parasuraman et al.
1988: 23). But this external gap is the fifth one in the service quality gaps model, and is affected by four organizational (internal) quality gaps which interact with one another in many ways (Zeithaml et al. 1990).