Testing the three Rs model of service quality

David Moyes ( University of the West of Scotland Dumfries United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )
Michele Cano-Kourouklis ( University of The west of Scotland Paisley United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )
Joan Scott ( Uuniversity of the West of Scotland Dumfries United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Publication date: 3 March 2016



Building on previous work (Cano and Moyes, 2013; Douglas and Moyes, 2013; Moyes, 2012) this study further develops the proposition that word-of-mouth and customer retention are enhanced through the ‘3 Rs’ of service quality; viz. reliability, responsiveness and recovery. Work to date in this field has developed and tested the model in two different rural locations. However, there may be underlying factors in rural areas which cause the correlation between customer satisfaction and loyalty behaviour to be overstated. Therefore, to control for the possibly distorting effects of rurality, this study examines the loyalty responses of urban service-users.


Using the Critical Incident Technique a study of young, relatively affluent women was carried out in a city-centre in Scotland. The study was carried out in spring 2014 over a one week period. Results were analysed using qualitative analysis software.


Results confirmed the validity of the 3 Rs model. Findings demonstrate that the model is valid for different population densities.

Research limitations/implications

The qualitative method yields rich, insightful data, but the results cannot be generalized to a wider population. The findings provide service providers with a clear set of quality dimensions used by respondents to evaluate their service experiences. Loyalty behaviors were found to be highly responsive to quality evaluations; both repeat purchase intentions and word-of-mouth behaviors are highly quality-elastic.

Practical implications

The results confirm that a business which provides the quality of service which customers expected to receive, which demonstrates responsiveness to customer needs and which remedies failings in service delivery appropriately, will benefit from increased loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations. Those which fail to provide these three essential elements will suffer loss of loyalty and incur negative word-of-mouth.


A clear set of dimensions is presented which reflect service priorities of consumers.


Moyes, D., Cano-Kourouklis, M. and Scott, J. (2016), "Testing the three Rs model of service quality", The TQM Journal, Vol. 28 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-02-2015-0026

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