RATER Model In A Nutshell

The RATER model was created in 1988 by psychologists Valarie Zeithaml, Leonard L. Berry, and A. Parasuraman and introduced in their 1990 book Delivering Quality Service. The RATER model is a way for businesses to measure customer satisfaction.

Understanding the RATER model

The model comprises a five-point framework that clarifies how customers evaluate the service they receive and distinguishes between customer experience and expectation. 

Businesses can evaluate each of the five points to determine where they are excelling and where there is still room for improvement.

What’s more, the RATER model can serve as a common reference point for staff across the organization and clarify best practices.

We will take a detailed look at the five areas in the next section below. 

The five important areas of the RATER model


Reliable businesses are those that consistently deliver services and quickly resolve issues as they arise.

Here are two ways reliability can be embodied in practice:

  • Honest explanation of what the business can and cannot do for the customer. This transparency is the foundation of reliability and manages customer expectations.
  • Reliable businesses do not make promises they are not 100% sure they can keep. Customers may find it unpleasant to have a request denied, but over the long term, they will come to value and trust the company’s honesty.


Assurance is related to trust and a company’s ability to deliver what it says it will. How can trust be increased?

  • Understand the real needs of the customer and meet them at all times.
  • Build credibility with proven expertise in the product, service, or industry in question.
  • Maintain consistency standards. In other words, businesses must ensure that customers never hear different things from different people about them.


This dimension explores whether the business presents itself professionally across all customer touchpoints.

This includes physical and digital spaces and how customers respond to the environment the business creates. 

  • How do customers get in touch? What steps did they have to perform? What could have impacted their mood or expectations? Medical businesses may apologize to customers for a long wait time, for example.
  • When businesses deal with customers in person, an open, friendly, and interested demeanor is vital. These elements are key contributors to a customer’s impression of a business and are expected as a bare minimum.
  • Bricks-and-mortar retailers such as Whole Foods Market offer tangible service elements such as clean restrooms, aisles that are free from clutter, and relaxing cafés where shoppers can rest.


Empathy is one of the easiest RATER metrics to understand and revolves around whether customers feel the business cares about them.

To show empathy, businesses can:

  • Talk less, listen more, and ask effective questions to increase understanding. 
  • Avoid platitudes such as “We apologise for the inconvenience”, and
  • Look out for and acknowledge customer emotions. To make the customer feel heard, it is also useful to reference their specific problem in correspondence and describe how it will be addressed.


Responsiveness describes how quickly and effectively the business can respond to customers in channels they prefer to communicate in. Responsive businesses:

  • Acknowledge the receipt of complaints or inquiries immediately or as quickly as practicable. 
  • Do not wait until they have the full solution in hand before making additional contact with a customer.
  • Provide realistic deadlines or timetables.
  • Manage multiple channels to handle customer service communications, and
  • Are perceived by customers as willing helpers.

Key takeaways:

  • The RATER model is a way for businesses to measure customer satisfaction.
  • The RATER model is a five-point framework that clarifies how customers evaluate the service they receive. It also makes a point to differentiate between customer experience and customer expectation.
  • The five areas of the RATER framework include reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness. 

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Connected Leadership Concepts And Frameworks

Leadership Styles

Leadership styles encompass the behavioral qualities of a leader. These qualities are commonly used to direct, motivate, or manage groups of people. Some of the most recognized leadership styles include Autocratic, Democratic, or Laissez-Faire leadership styles.

Agile Leadership

Agile leadership is the embodiment of agile manifesto principles by a manager or management team. Agile leadership impacts two important levels of a business. The structural level defines the roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators. The behavioral level describes the actions leaders exhibit to others based on agile principles. 

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive leadership is a model used by leaders to help individuals adapt to complex or rapidly changing environments. Adaptive leadership is defined by three core components (precious or expendable, experimentation and smart risks, disciplined assessment). Growth occurs when an organization discards ineffective ways of operating. Then, active leaders implement new initiatives and monitor their impact.

Blue Ocean Leadership

Authors and strategy experts Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne developed the idea of blue ocean leadership. In the same way that Kim and Mauborgne’s blue ocean strategy enables companies to create uncontested market space, blue ocean leadership allows companies to benefit from unrealized employee talent and potential.

Delegative Leadership

Developed by business consultants Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey in the 1960s, delegative leadership is a leadership style where authority figures empower subordinates to exercise autonomy. For this reason, it is also called laissez-faire leadership. In some cases, this type of leadership can lead to increases in work quality and decision-making. In a few other cases, this type of leadership needs to be balanced out to prevent a lack of direction and cohesiveness of the team.

Distributed Leadership

Distributed leadership is based on the premise that leadership responsibilities and accountability are shared by those with the relevant skills or expertise so that the shared responsibility and accountability of multiple individuals within a workplace, bulds up as a fluid and emergent property (not controlled or held by one individual). Distributed leadership is based on eight hallmarks, or principles: shared responsibility, shared power, synergy, leadership capacity, organizational learning, equitable and ethical climate, democratic and investigative culture, and macro-community engagement.

Ethical Leadership

Ethical leaders adhere to certain values and beliefs irrespective of whether they are in the home or office. In essence, ethical leaders are motivated and guided by the inherent dignity and rights of other people.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that motivates, encourages, and inspires employees to contribute to company growth. Leadership expert James McGregor Burns first described the concept of transformational leadership in a 1978 book entitled Leadership. Although Burns’ research was focused on political leaders, the term is also applicable for businesses and organizational psychology.

Leading by Example

Those who lead by example let their actions (and not their words) exemplify acceptable forms of behavior or conduct. In a manager-subordinate context, the intention of leading by example is for employees to emulate this behavior or conduct themselves.

Leader vs. Boss

A leader is someone within an organization who possesses the ability to influence and lead others by example. Leaders inspire, support, and encourage those beneath them and work continuously to achieve objectives. A boss is someone within an organization who gives direct orders to subordinates, tends to be autocratic, and prefers to be in control at all times.

Situational Leadership

Situational leadership is based on situational leadership theory. Developed by authors Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard in the late 1960s, the theory’s fundamental belief is that there is no single leadership style that is best for every situation. Situational leadership is based on the belief that no single leadership style is best. In other words, the best style depends on the situation at hand.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is a process that involves the identification and development of future leaders across all levels within a company. In essence, succession planning is a way for businesses to prepare for the future. The process ensures that when a key employee decides to leave, the company has someone else in the pipeline to fill their position.

Fiedler’s Contingency Model

Fielder’s contingency model argues no style of leadership is superior to the rest evaluated against three measures of situational control, including leader-member relations, task structure, and leader power level. In Fiedler’s contingency model, task-oriented leaders perform best in highly favorable and unfavorable circumstances. Relationship-oriented leaders perform best in situations that are moderately favorable but can improve their position by using superior interpersonal skills.

Management vs. Leadership


Cultural Models

In the context of an organization, cultural models are frameworks that define, shape, and influence corporate culture. Cultural models also provide some structure to a corporate culture that tends to be fluid and vulnerable to change. Once upon a time, most businesses utilized a hierarchical culture where various levels of management oversaw subordinates below them. Today, however, there exists a greater diversity in models as leaders realize the top-down approach is outdated in many industries and that success can be found elsewhere.

Action-Centered Leadership

Action-centered leadership defines leadership in the context of three interlocking areas of responsibility and concern. This framework is used by leaders in the management of teams, groups, and organizations. Developed in the 1960s and first published in 1973, action-centered leadership was revolutionary for its time because it believed leaders could learn the skills they needed to manage others effectively. Adair believed that effective leadership was exemplified by three overlapping circles (responsibilities): achieve the task, build and maintain the team, and develop the individual.

High-Performance Coaching

High-performance coaches work with individuals in personal and professional contexts to enable them to reach their full potential. While these sorts of coaches are commonly associated with sports, it should be noted that the act of coaching is a specific type of behavior that is also useful in business and leadership. 

Forms of Power

When most people are asked to define power, they think about the power a leader possesses as a function of their responsibility for subordinates. Others may think that power comes from the title or position this individual holds. 

Tipping Point Leadership

Tipping Point Leadership is a low-cost means of achieving a strategic shift in an organization by focusing on extremes. Here, the extremes may refer to small groups of people, acts, and activities that exert a disproportionate influence over business performance.

Vroom-Yetton Decision Model

The Vroom-Yetton decision model is a decision-making process based on situational leadership. According to this model, there are five decision-making styles guides group-based decision-making according to the situation at hand and the level of involvement of subordinates: Autocratic Type 1 (AI), Autocratic Type 2 (AII), Consultative Type 1 (CI), Consultative Type 2 (CII), Group-based Type 2 (GII).

Likert’s Management Systems

Likert’s management systems were developed by American social psychologist Rensis Likert. Likert’s management systems are a series of leadership theories based on the study of various organizational dynamics and characteristics. Likert proposed four systems of management, which can also be thought of as leadership styles: Exploitative authoritative, Benevolent authoritative, Consultative, Participative.

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