The RATER model has emerged from the SERVQUAL model and it is used by businesses to assess the expectations that consumers have when they buy their products or services. The RATER model looks into particular areas that are deemed important and highly influential on forming customers’ expectations. RATER stands for Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy and Responsiveness and each of these factors is further discussed below.
This factor examines the consistency and reliability of the service in question. Do you deliver reliable services that customers can trust? Have you build trust with your customers over the long-term? Do you have a loyal customer base? These sorts of questions will allow you to assess how reliable your service is.
The next factor looks into the skills and credibility of your employees. Are your employees capable of transferring their knowledge to customers? Do they inspire trust and credibility? Do you trust them over crucial operational processes?
This element digs into the physical aspects of the service such as the office’s ambience, the website and all other consumer touchpoints. Are all the physical aspects of the service neat, organized and professional? Do they aspire your values, vision and mission?
The fourth factor of the RATER model is Empathy and here we examine the relationship of employees and customers. Are your employees building long-term relationships with your customers? Are they showing empathy and individual attention to each one separately? How do they respond to client requests? Are they polite and professional?
Finally, the last element of the model looks into the readiness and speed that the service is offered to the clients. Is high quality service offered on time and in a prompt manner? Are there any delays in the delivery of the service? If there are, why?
The RATER model is principled on the concept that the quality of service is rated according to the customer’s expectations. The gap between what is being offered and the expectations that consumers have can be measured by GAP analysis which can be applied to each of the five RATER elements. The main goal here is to identify any gaps, and respectively create or update your action plan to minimize these gaps as much as possible. The five gaps you should pay attention to are:
Gap 1: The management perception gap is the difference between the customer’s expectations and the management’s perception of their expectations.
Gap 2: The quality specification gap is the difference between the perceptions of management and what the company’s specifications really are.
Gap 3: The service delivery gap is the difference between service design as driven by customers, and the actual standards and service delivery.
Gap 4: The market communication gap is the difference between the promises given to consumers by the company and what they actually receive.
Gap 5: The perceived service quality gap is the difference between a customer’s expectation and their perception what they received.