Chapter 04 – Customer Expectations of Service
Expectations are beliefs about service delivery that serve as standards or reference points. Knowing what the
customer expects is the most critical step in delivering quality service.
What types of expectations standards do customers hold about services?
What factors influence the formation of these expectations?
What role do these factors play in changing expectations?
How can a service company meet or exceed customer expectations?
Meaning and Types of Service Expectations
Expected Service: Levels of Expectations
The highest level of expected service is the “Desired” level. It is a blend of what the customer
believes “can be” and “should be.”
Another level is the “Adequate” level. It’s the level of service the customer will accept. This is the
minimum the customer will accept.
Zone of Tolerance
Services are heterogeneous in that they vary across providers, employees, and the same
employee. Customers recognize and accept this fact. This variation of acceptance is called the
Zone of Tolerance, located between the Desired and Adequate service levels.
Different Customers Possess Different Zones of Tolerance
An individual’s zone of tolerance increases or decreases depending on various factors including
company-controlled factors, such as price.
Zones of Tolerance Vary for Service Dimensions
Tolerance zones vary form different service attributes or dimensions. Customers are likely to be
less tolerant about unreliable services.
Factors that Influence Customer Expectations of Service