The effectiveness of servqual in measuring service quality and the impact of technology on customer satisfaction
Service quality and customer satisfaction are becoming increasingly important in today‟s business environment which is characterised by fierce competition between the service providers. In this regard it is very imperative that companies assess themselves by measuring service quality. Consequently, areas of the service with low service quality would be identified and improved. Therefore, this thesis focuses on the effectiveness of SERVQUAL in measuring service quality and reveals the positive impact technology has on customer satisfaction in public transportation. To do this, we developed a questionnaire within the framework of the SERVQUAL dimensions of reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and tangible. With a scale of 1 to 7, respondents of our questionnaire who are users and customers of the public bus companies; Karlstad city bus which we labelled business level 1(B1) and intercity buses like Swebus and Värmland Trafik which we labelled business level 2 (B2) were able to evaluate the service quality of these companies by grading them. Based on the results of our research in which we asked respondents to mention some of the areas of the service process in which they had encountered unfavourable service experiences, we were able to determine the areas of the service process from which the customer complaints came from. We compared these results with the customer complaints received by the management of the public Bus Company and noticed that they were similar. Majority emerged from areas of the service process whereby the customer came in contact with the employees or the service failure could be directly associated with the employee. After comparing these complaints with the results of questions in our questionnaire developed within the framework of the SERVQUAL dimensions, we noticed that those questions with larger GAP 5 implying lower service quality were actually a reflection of the areas of the service process from which customer complaints came from. In this regard, we were able to conclude that SERVQUAL was effective in measuring the service quality in public transportation. In addition, we ranked the questions in the questionnaire and noticed that those areas of the service process whereby the employees and the customers interact (come in contact) or whose service failure can be directly associated with an employee had low grades and ranked below the mean and median of all the questions in the various dimensions, whereas those areas of the service process where technology is used or customers had the opportunity to make use of Self Service Technology ranked above the mean and median. This was a clear indication that technology is a service quality driver and positively impacted customer satisfaction in public transportation.
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