Model are knowledge gap, standards gap, delivery gap and communication gap. Knowledge gap is the difference between customers’ expectations and the retailer’s perception of these customer’s expectations. This occurs when a person do not know what the customers expect or want. By applying knowledge gap to H&M retail store, it refers to the salesperson not knowing what their customers expect/want. For example, a customer visiting the H&M store may expect fast checkout at the cashier and shorter queuing time at the fitting rooms.
However, the salesperson may think that the customers do not mind queuing for a longer time but would prefer friendly assistance from them and better quality clothes. Hence, such difference between customers’ expectations and retailer’s perception of their customers’ expectations will lead to knowledge gap. In order to reduce the knowledge gap, surveys, interactions and customer complaints can be done. Firstly, H&M can carry out survey after each individual transaction. H&M can conduct their surveys or feedback forms by distributing to every customer after they have made their payment.
After they are done filling up the survey on their overall visit at H&M, they can hand up their forms to the salesperson at the counter. Otherwise, H&M can place a feedback box at the side to make things easier for everyone. Secondly, is through interacting with their customers and staffs. H&M can get valuable feedbacks from their store employees on ways to improve on certain areas based on theirs or customer’s suggestions and comments. Apart from that, H&M can actually interact with their customers through social media such as Facebook, Twitter etc.
Since social media are widely used nowadays, customers would post constructive comments or feedbacks on social media such as on their Facebook walls. H&M can effectively interact with their customers through such social platforms and better understand what customers expect or want. Lastly, through customer complaints, H&M will then be able to find out their problem and rectify it to further improve on their services, etc. Standards Gap is the difference between the retailer’s perception of customers’ expectations and the service standards it sets.
For example, the service standards H&M sets for all their salesperson may be to bring the customer to that specific section when he or she asked where it is. However, the retailer’s perception of customers’ expectations may be just to direct and point out to them which level and which part it is located at instead of bringing them all the way to the area they want. Hence, such difference between the retailer’s perception of customers’ expectations and the service standards it sets will lead to standards gap. In order to reduce the standards gap, strong commitment to service quality by the top management should be done.
Top management should give information and training to their service staff so as to provide quality service to their customers. Also, give clear definition of the roles of service providers by setting specific and measurable goals based on customer’s expectations. Lastly, to measure service performance of their service staffs, surveys and mystery shopping could be conducted to see how well their employees fare when they serve a customer. All these would help to set appropriate standards to deliver high quality service to their customers.
Delivery gap is the difference between the retailer’s service standards and the actual service provided to customers. In this case, H&M is not applicable to delivery gap as this service quality is immeasurable as there is no specific time a salesperson is given to assist or “clear” their customers. Communication gap is the difference between the retailer’s actual service and the service that the retailer’s communication programme promises. Likewise, this is also not applicable to H&M as it is a retailer store rather than a transport service that needs to deliver an actual time to the customers.