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Customer gap is the difference between customer expectations and perceptions. Expectations
are the reference points customers have coming into a service experience; perceptions reflect
the service as actually received. The idea is that firms will want to close this gap²between
what is expected and what is received²to satisfy their customers and build long-term
relationships with them. To close this all-important customer gap, the provider gaps need to
be closed. The gap model divides these gaps into 7 narrow categories so as to break down the
gaps for detailed analyses. These are:

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The difference between what the service organization personnel believe should be given to
customers and what actually customer needs and expectations are. Knowledge gap occurs
when service producers misunderstand the customer expectations. For Example ",c
game manufacturers may think that their customers want Assassins Creed type free roam
with multiplayer options in all its games whereas they may require a more fast faced with
first person shooter elements in the gameplay.

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Standards gap occur when the standards of quality that are maintained in an organization are
different from what the service provider understands about the demand of the customer.
Taking the Example of ", a step, due to their perception that customers require free
roam multiplayer options in their games, they incorporate both the elements in recent releases
such as Assassins creed brotherhood, but due to adding multiplayer in a free roam, they end
up creating a standard which does not complement each other, in fact is detoriating for the

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Delivery gap occurs when the delivery standards are different from the delivery performance
of the service provider. This is the most common gap in Fast Food joints that promise quick
delivery regardless of the circumstances, where in fact they fail to fulfil that promise and their
implementation lacks their promotional rigour. This is the case in "" pizza, where it
promises a 30 minute delivery max, but in effect provide a rather inconsistent delivery patter,
thus creating a delivery gap.

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The total difference between what the advertisers claim, what the service can delivery and
what actually the service delivers. This is the most common case in telecommunication/
cellular service providers. ," promising its customers broad network coverage and the
lowest calling rates available, but infact its hidden charges policy ends up charging its
customers quite a large amount with respect to what was promised. Other than that despite
their coverage boasts, they cant even properly provide decent coverage throughout
Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, as seen by countless complaints of no Ufone coverage in
H-12 sector.

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The difference between what is actually delivered and what customers perceive about the
service. This is the case with most fashion designers throughout the world. For example,
#c&, designer of mens formal and traditional wear, may at times cross the line when
trying to pass a fashion disaster as the new and upcoming thing. The perception of what the
designer thinks is µin¶ may be far different from what the customer ordered and would bear
on their skin.

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Interpretation gap is the gap between customer¶s perceptions that were made when he saw the
advertisement and later when he was actually delivered the service. This is quite a popular
example with fast food joints that in showed in their close up print ads of their food, and got
the customers mouth wet, but when the food was actually provided it was far from what the
customers had in mind. For example  when the close up pictures of the mighty zinger
were promoted, it made it look huger than it really was, really putting down the excited
customers that went to purchase the mighty.

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It is the difference between what customers expect to receive and their perceptions of the
service that is delivered. This was seen again by (--#&c$c!, !## when it
incorporated the best of all worlds in its recent games such as Castlevania, thinking that this
is what the customer likes in different individual games, but in the end failing to understand
the reason those elements were successful. The popularity of the elements was that in their
own specific games, they were the ace elements. When blizzard took all those elements and
reduced their significance in order to put it under one roof, it dissatisfied its customers.
Furthermore incorporating all the elements, blizzard didn¶t understand the detoriating effect
these opposing elements will have on each other, thus decreasing the overall service provided
and its quality.

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Among the above 7 gaps discussed, the knowledge gap, perception gap, interpretation gap and service
gap come under the umbrella of customer gap. The scenario adopted to elaborate these gaps is a
catering service, or an event organization service. The gaps are :
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This occurs when a customer does not properly communicate with the service
provider like what he wants. In the catering context this gap occurs when customers
do not clearly tell the caterers the specifics of their requirements, this leaves alot of
room for interpretation on part of the caterer, thus creating a knowledge gap between
the service purchaser and the service provider.
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c The caterers should understand the customer¶s expectations through research,
complaint analysis, customer panels, demand more elaborate detail on the
request. The caterers could show different pictures of tents for the customers
to choose from instead of choosing one themselves and leaving the customers
unsatisfied, with a feeling that they have been swindled.
c They should increase contact between direct personnel and the customer and
hold written documentation as evidence of customer design consent so as to
reduce disparities between customer and service provider.
c Improve upward communication between contact personnel to management so
as to bring both the customer and the management on the same page for design
purposes and overall cohesion.
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The main reason of this gap is the difference of perception that occurs due to the
intangibility of the service. The customers do not always correctly understand what
the service has done for them. For a catering service and its customers this could
happen on a number of different occasions, both during purchase, along with post
purchase. The case is mostly with service elements with credence attributes. The
customers could perceive quality in a different way from the service providers. Maybe
the quality of the food or the quantity of the food items etc.
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The catering service could make it a habit to not only keep customers informed during
the service delivery but also to debrief them at the end and if required offer tangible
evidence to them. For the event planners this could entail souvenirs, complementary
photos of the event etc.
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This gap is due to the misinterpretation of the advertisement by the customer. Another
reason can be the lack integration of marketing. In the catering arena, the customers
could have misunderstood the price packages outlined, and when the actual pricing
plan put in front of them, they may have gotten a shock. This could be due to the
inclusion of undeclared prices, hidden prices, taxes etc.
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This gap can be avoided or overcome when:
c Customers to be communicated clearly in the adverts the nature of the pricing
and the fact that it is exclusive of other pricing elements. This is also carried
out at metro where a regular pretax price is shown and then an after tax price
is shown, although emphasis is put more on the pretax price.
c There should be direct interaction with customers after a specific time so they
should be updated about the new service and products which is being offered
c There should be separate department such as customer care who can guide
customers and solve their problems or inform them about the status of their

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The service gap arises due to difference of perceived output and the output that is
actually delivered. In the catering arena, this encompasses the overall service
provided, that is the entire flow of the event, how was it managed, how was it
delivered, the quality levels, the professionalism of the catering staff, the conformity
with demanded requirements etc. For example even though a date was decided upon,
the service provider failed to deliver or delivered partly with alot of room for
improvement etc c
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Customers contribute to the service gap since they are entering the market with alot
biases and previous expectations. The service provider should try its level best to
remove these biases from the minds of the customer. A detailed walkthrough should
be given as to how the event will pan out, what to expect, what not to expect. Often
event organizers perform a full dress rehearsal which includes the customers, so they
will be armed with as much information and preparation as possible. No last minute
delay, without proper prior information and notification should occur.
Also customer surveys should be conducted so as to better understand their
perceptions and thus undertake the service delivery according to its results, so as to
perform in line with the customers perception of a good service. This is different from
customer to customer and should be dealt accordingly.