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CHAPTER2

mVlEYi OF
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UTERATUftfi

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2.1 Introduction

The goal of this chapter was to provide a review of the principal literature relating to
this study, which was service quality. In addition, it had evaluated the existing
literature and established the identity of the gaps in the literature, which has provided
the fiamework on which this research is based. As part of introducing the study the
literature on services marketing had been examined from a purely historical
perspective to determine its impact on thefieldof service quality. Then, a brief review
of the relationship between customer satisfaction and service quality precedes the
literature review defining service quality, and measuring service quality.

Higher service quality is an important factor driving the perceived value of any
service. Superior service quality helps in enhancing customer loyalty and improving
service provider's image, sales and profitability. Since satisfaction is basically a
psychological state of mind, adequate care should be taken in an effort to measure it
in quantitative terms. The work carried out by Parasuraman, Zeithmal and Berry
provides the basis for measuring customer satisfaction of a service by using the gap
between the customer's expectation of performance and their perceived experience of
performance. This provides us with a satisfaction gap which is objective and
quantitative in nature. According to Garbrand, customer satisfaction equals perception
of performance divided by expectation of performance.

Customer

The word "customer" is derivedfi-om"custoem" which means "habit". A customer is


someone who frequents a particular shop, making it a habit to purchase goods of the
sort the shop sells rather than elsewhere, and with whom the shopkeeper has to
maintain a relationship to keep his or her "custom", meaning expected purchases in
the future. A customer, also called client, buyer, or purchaser, is usually used to refer
to a current or potential buyer or user of the products of an individual or organization.
This is typically through purchasing or renting goods or services. In the field of public
transport, a customer can be described as one who has a habit of using the services
provided by the transport operator over other service providers in the market.

In this study, customer means passenger; a person who travels by MSRTC bus.

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Satisfaction

Satisfaction is the contentment that one derives upon folfiUing a desire, need, or
expectation. It may be noted that in the current study, customer's agreements (agree &
strongly agree) with the survey's statements will indicate their satisfaction levels.

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is measure of how products and services supplied by a company


meet or surpass customer's expectation and can be seen as a key performance
indicator.

Need to Measure Customer Satisfaction

With the phenomenal increase in the country's population and increased demand for
transport services; speed, comfort, convenience, connectivity, service quality and
customer satisfaction are going to be key differentiators for each service provider's
future success. Thus it is for the State Transport Undertakings to get useful feedback
on their services and customer service quality aspects, which in turn will help them
take positive steps to r\m organizations while maintaining a competitive edge over the
private operators. In today's competitive world, organizations are increasingly
interested in retaining the existing customers while targeting new customers. In this
scenario, measuring customer satisfaction provides an indication of how successful
the organization is at providing services to the people. Since measuring a parameter is
an important step in improving, measurement of customer satisfaction assumes
significant importance if we are to improve customer satisfaction level.

It is becoming increasingly evident that placing a high priority on customer


satisfaction is critical for improving organizational performance. With better
understating of customers' perception, companies can determine the actions
required to meet the customers need. They can identify their own strengths and
weaknesses, chart out a path for future progress and improvement. Customer
satisfaction measurement helps to promote an increased focus on factors which are
important to the customers and encourage improvements in the work procedures and
processes adopted.

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Cmtoflier satisfaction Measurement Model

There are various models that are used in measuring customers' satisfaction. In the
curr^it study, importance, expectation & perception and gap scores had been
calculated to measure customer satisfaction as they showed the results in terms of
numbers considering various factors. Customer satisfaction represents the overall
satisfaction level of customer as one number, usually as a percentage.

The literature review points to SERVQUAL developed by Parasuraman, et al (1988)


m tibe optimum measuring device that can be modified to accomplish predicting
eustcnner perceptions against expectations and the casting of those perceptions and
expe^tions against the service provider perceptions of what it will require to satisfy
the customers' service needs. Based upon SERVQUAL as a measurement device, the
c h i ^ r looks at the dimensions in measuring service quality, the SERVQUAL model,
the use of the SERVQUAL model to evaluate service quality, and the validity of
SERVQUAL in the measurement of service quality.

The study of the literature then focused on the importance of service quality
measurement in Public Transportation, service quality impact on Customer
perception, and the validity of SERVQUAL in Public road transportation applications.

There was limited literature in predicting Public road transportation customer


perceptions against expectations and the casting of those perceptions and expectations
against the Public road transport providers' perceptions of what it will require to
satisfy the customers' service needs. The available literature addresses service quality
but fails to deal with the aforementioned perceptions and expectations. This study had
utilized a siavey instrument in primary research based upon a modified SERVQUAL
instrument to obtain results that would be utilized in filling gaps in knowledge about
service quality. The chapter concludes by focusing on the conceptualfi-ameworkof
the study and a summary of the research issues.

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2.2 Service Marketing

Service marketing was the precursor leading to the study of service quality. It was
beginning to be recognized as an industry function in the early to mid 1970s.
Empirical research was limited in the early days as marketing struggled with the
differences between this new service sector and the conventional marketing methods
for the marketing of produced goods. Pioneer research in this area identified several
#ftinct differences between the marketing of "service" firms and "manufacturing"
ttims. Their research found an unusual concept in the service firms in that the
marketing effort was not confined to a formal marketing department, but was shared
across organizational lines. The manufacturing firm by contrast operated with a more
clearly delineated marketing department. It was Shostack's (1977) research that
brought to the fore the distinct nature of services marketing. She noted that services
were intangible, rendered, experienced, and unable to be stored. Consequently, her
conclusion was that services should be marketed differently from tangible products. It
was her early work that gave equal weight to the components of "service" as it did to
"product." Her research concluded that service marketing strategies should deal with
specific issues related to distinct elements within each product. She also concluded
that changes in any single element could impact other elements within the function,
and as such, services marketing should consider products more holistically, meaning
to look at each item on its merits alone. Uhl and Upah's (1983) research built on
Shostack's (1977) work, but set forth the concept that services marketing was
significantly different from product marketing. They foimd that services are
intangible, incapable of being stored, incapable of being transported, and are for use
and noft ownership. For example, they noted that a bank teller's services could not be
stored, and if those services went unused, they would be lost.

Lovelock (1983) took the intangible service marketing function and broke it down to
the specific service function, and then established service classifications that
emphasized the fact that service oriented organizations could be quite different fi"om
each other. He created five four-way classification schemes that considered three
service aspects: (1) the nature of the service act involving people or things whether
tangible or intangible actions; (2) the nature of service delivery which comprised
formal relationships or non-formal relationships with customers; and (3) the nature of

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customization involving high or low service provider judgments regarding customer
needs or customization requirements.

The limited research that followed (Reukert, et al, 1985; Walker and Reukert, 1987)
viewed marketing management as a function or a task, and did not embrace the
services marketing approach across the organization. However, subsequent research
(Parasuraman and Deshpande, 1984; Deshpande and Webster, 1989) provided
evidence that suggested organizational culture has a significant influence on
oiganizational behavior.

Enis and Roering (1984) were xmconvinced that there is a distinction between service
marketing and manufacturing marketing. It was their conclusion that the strategies
used for all product is strictly a "bundle of benefits" regardless of whether they are
tangible or intangible.

The principal study by Zeithaml, et al (1985) fostered a direct relationship between


customer satisfaction and service quality and broadened the unique characteristics of
service products. They explained that service in its production sense and consumption
occur simultaneously. Production and consumption of service products cannot exist in
isolation, requiring them to be simultaneously produced and consumed. Additionally,
they suggest that service production and consumption is by its own nature
lieterogeneous. Their research was significant in that it highlighted the differences
between manufactured products and service products, and it introduced the
interrelationships between customer service and customer satisfaction through the
measurement of gaps.

2.2.1 Relationship between Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality

Customers have a difficult time in attempting to determine service quality based upon
objectivity and as a result need some structured effort on the part of the service
provider to plan the service function (Shostack, 1985). Boulding, et al (1993) noted
that service quality and customer satisfaction were treated as one and the same by the
business press. They indicated that this should be a dynamic process model to
examine the subject from expectations to behavioral intentions.

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The subject took another turn when there was a substantial amount of posturing in the
litera^ire as to whether both constructs (satisfaction/dissatisfaction and service
quality) are truly attitudes. Bitner (1990) viewed satisfaction/dissatisfaction as an
episodic, transaction-specific measure, and this was subsequently the conclusion of
Clow and Beisel (1995.) Still not convinced, Bitner and Hubbert (1994) subsequently
raised the question whether or not service quality and customer satisfaction is
dis^guishable from the customer's perspective. However, studies by Cronin and
Taylor (1992) as well as research by Oliva, et al (1992) treat
siltis&ction/dissatisfaction as a cimiulative rather than a discrete.

It l)same obvious that satisfaction/dissatisfaction had to be separated into two distinct


types based on a given service encounter or a total service experience. They described
service quality as "similar in many ways to an attitude" developed over all encounters
with the service providing firm (Parasuraman, et al, 1988). Cronin and Taylor (1992)
fbimd that there is a major problem when service quality is not termed an attitude.
They saw a significant problem when the disconfirmation paradigm is Used to
measure perceptions in service quality, and it has also been used to distinguish
customer satisfaction fi-om service quality. This was identified as an inconsistent
approach with the differentiation noted between these constructs in the satisfaction
and attitude literature.

A set of definitions to clarify the different types of evaluation methods was proposed
by Bitner and Hubbert (1994.) They noted and established conceptual links between
satisfaction in single service encounter, satisfaction with the entire service experience,
and service quality. It was determined using their concept that consistently good
service would mitigate one single episode of poor service, and as a result would not
significantly impact overall satisfaction. Conversely, negative information from some
credible source may cause the customer to evaluate service quality less favorably,
even though the past experiences have been very satisfying.

Bolton and Drew (1994) in their research found there is a difference between a single
encoxmter and the total service experience and in that regard stated:

"In a dynamicfi-amework,customer satisfaction with a specific service encounter


depends on pre-existing or contemporaneous attitudes about service quality and

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customer post-usage attitudes depend on satisfaction." (Bolton and Drew. 1994: page
176.)

From tiieir conclusions, it is implied that service quality is an input and customer
satisfaction is an output. However, taking their statement and dissecting it one would
have to conclude that Bolton and Drew (1994) view this dynamicframeworkfromthe
coiitext of service quality establishing the perceptions necessary for the customer to
tec^eive satisfaction from a specific service encoxmter as opposed to pure service
causii^ the customer to obtain satisfaction.

Wtoc tilie issue is sometimes clouded, it is reasonable to conclude that there is a


conseaisus among the various researchers that while service quality and customer
satisfaction are two different constructs they can still have common indicators.
Likewise, there is agreement in the research literature that both service quality and
customer satisfaction have an influence on customer loyalty,

2.2.2 Defining Service Quality

Customers over the years have feh some level of comfort by an adequate amount of
attention. However the study of service quality did not come into its own as an area of
marketing importance until research in the early 1980s established that attitude was a
significant part of service quality. Table 2.1 below gives a general chronology of
service quality, providing a list of tiie researchers and the research issues they raised
by time period. The more important studies are detdled following the table. The
earli^SEt concern for what has become to be known as service quality appeared in
1976. Anderson, et al (1976) recognized importance of selection as a priority for
obtatnii^ and retaining customers. Other than being a trail blazer, this research did
not ha\ne a significant impact on service quality. Marketing researchers did not share
their need for substantial research of the quality issue until the early 1980s. Churchill
and Suprenant (1982) were among the earliest to hold the view later shared by others
that service quality was an attitude. They were the first researchers to see the
significance of attitude as a jmncipal factor leading to superior service quality. One
year aftef this significant research, Lewis and Booms (1983) concluded that
satisfaction was similar to attitude, and consequently they noted the significance of
processes and outcomes in defining service quality. In addition, they did not directly
state, rather they alluded to satisfaction as being similar to attitude. The difference

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between service quality and attitude is that service quality is seen as a general,
comprehensive appraisal of some product or service.

Table 2.1 Chronology of Service Quality Research

YEAR RESEARCHERS RESEARCH ISSUE


1976 Anderson, et al Recognized importance of selection as priority for
obtaining and retaining customers.
1982 Churchill and Service satisfaction is similar to attitude.
Suprenant
1982 Gronroos Significance of processes and outcomes in defining
service quality. Alluded to satisfaction as being
similar to attitude.
1983 Lewis and Booms Also noted significance of processes and outcomes
in defining service quality. Difference in service
quality and attitude is seen as general,
comprehensive appraisal of some specific product
or service.
1985 Holbrook and Defined perceived quality as a global value
Corfinan judgment.
1985 Maynes Viewed service quality as the extent to which a
product offers the characteristics that individual
desires.
1985 Parasuraman, et al Established ten service quality determinates known
as SERVQUAL (tangibles, reliability,
responsiveness, communication, credibility,
security, competence, courtesy,
understanding/knowing the customer, and access.)
1988 Parastsaman, et al After substantial factor analysis and testing, reduced
the 10 service quality determinates in SERVQUAL
to 5 (tangibles, responsiveness, reliability,
assurance, and empathy.

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YEAR RESEARCHERS RESEARCH ISSUE
19Sg Zeithaml, et al Noted that firms not only have a difficult time
delivering a consistent level of quality service, but
had difficulty understanding what service quality
really entails. Perceived service quality as an
attitude. Found through focus groups that good
service quality as meeting customer expectations.
' ^^9 Bat^us and Developed serious reservations about
Mangold SERVQUAL's scales: reliability and discriminate
validity.
1990 Bitner Noted research yielded service quality as being
similar to attitude.
1992 Cronin and Taylor Found that perceptions of service quality more
closely approach customer evaluations of services
provided.
1992 Howcroft Noted customer preferences of service quality based
upon comparison between expectations and actual
service performance
1993 Teas Found interpretation of SERVQUAL expectations
were flawed.
1993 Brown, et al Questioned whether five key dimensions capture all
possible determinants of service quality
1994 Parasuraman, et al Dis^reed with Brown, et al. Research supports
disconfirmation as valid since it allows service
providers to establish gaps in provided service.
1994 Cronin, Jr. and Found fault with SERVQUAL and developed
laylor SERVPERF based upon consumer satisfaction
exerts stronger influence on purchase intentions that
does service quality.
1994 Taylor and Baker All used multi-item measures to ascertain overall
Dabholkar, et al service quality with factors as antecedents.
Spreng & Mackoy

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YEAR RESEARCHERS RESEARCH ISSUE
1996 Buttle Questioned face validity and construct validity of
SERVQUAL.
2000 Dabholkar, et al Found perceptions and measured disconfirmation
are more advantageous than computed
disconfirmation.
2OO0 Bahia and Nantel Devised measurement system modifying
SERVQUAL to examine specific service context on
a 6-dimension scale called ESQ. Researchers
admitted BSQ had limitations.
2000 Beckett, et al Developed consumer behavior matrix to determine
impact of electronic-based delivery systems on
service/service quality.
2000 Oppewal and Used integrated conjoint experiments to measure
Vriens perceived level of service quality to avoid
measurement pitfalls of SERVQUAL.
2001 Newman Acknowledged acceptance of SERVQUAL, but
questioned composition of sample and insensitivity
to customer.
Table 2.1 Chronology of Service Quality Research (Continued)

Source: Researcher's own collection

By contrast it was noted by Gronroos (1982b) that service marketing had followed
two distinctly different paths. In his view based on empirically reliable research,
service when taken alone is indeed physically intangible. It does not matter if it is a
bank serviee or a restaurant serviceservice occurs when someone does something
for the customer in either case. He noted: "This holds even for situations where there
are no human representatives of the firm involved; then the firm uses physical or
technical resources and the co-operation of the customer instead, in order to be able to
do something for its customers. This activityfor example, a bank service, a
restaurant service, or an airline tripis produced, at least partly, often to a great
extent, in the presence of the consumer, with his co-operation, and moreover, while he

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simuhaneously consumes the service." (Gronroos .1982b: page 31.) Gronroos (1982b)
concluded that the act of something being done for the customer was the significant
element in satisfying the customer, and this act did not have to involve a person
perf(ming the act rather it was simply a matter of the "firm" relying upon physical or
technical resources doing something for the customer with the customer cooperating
by consuming the "service". As noted from his research, customer awareness of
somethpig being done in their behalf played a significant role in the degree of
satisfac^on. Holbrook and Corfinan (1985) expanded on the concept of an act being
p@'fimed and defined perceived quality as a global value judgment. They indicated
that quality does by its nature seem to express general approval. Therefore, it is
indicated that "cpality" or "high in quality" means that something is "good." They
stated that the use of the terms promotionally is extremely imprecise. To define
quality, they saw quality asfittinginto three dimensions as stated below:

"The first dimension distinguishes between definitions that regard quality as


something present implicitly in an object as opposed to some explicit aspect or
fimction thereof. A second dimension contrasts more mechanicalistic definitions of
quality with those more humanistic in nature. A third dimension distinguishes
conceptual definitions of quality from those relatively more operational in nature."
(Holbrook and Corfinan. 1985: pages 32-33). With the three dimensions, they tried to
make the element of quality much more precise by definition. This approach of
definitions was in conflict with their idea of perceived quality as a global value
judgment. Their approach virtually ignored the customer and moved away from the
early research that put service quality in the marketing mainstream. Maynes (1985)
took a different approach from Holbrook and Corfman (1985) who took the customer
out of the service equation. He brought service quality back to the earliest held views
that service quality was the extent to which a product offers the characteristics that the
individual desires. He differed from the earlier views in that he saw quality as a
normative concept tiiat could equip the consxmier fimction effectively in the
marketplace. Additionally, he felt that quality could best be nieasured and defined
using quality as a weighted average of characteristics. He defended his measurement
and definition through the following statement:

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"Finally, it is worth noting that the quality scoring systems utilized by Passengers
Union md all its counterparts conform in essence, though not to form, to the model
proposed here." (Maynes. 1985: page 197.)

This added element of mathematical measurement of quality by Maynes (1985) was


the earfli^t attempt to quantify service quality by placing a number on the level of
satisfacfti<m. While this was a significant attempt to use weighted averages to arrive at
a customer's level of satisfaction, it did not answer what the characteristics should be.
It wcmld appear that the research raised as many questions as it answered. Maynes'
attempt to quantify service quality was the beginning of the development of some of
the txiost sigjoificant measurement techniques. Parasuraman, et al (1985, 1988) sought
to improve the iM"eviously developed methods by developing a set of firm
characteristics that could be measured by providing the first complete set of ten
service quality determinants: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, communicati(i,
credibility, security, competence, courtesy, understanding/knowing the customer, and
access, which are defined in Table 2.2. After substantial factor analysis and testing,
Parasuraman, et al (1988) reduced the categories to the following five: tangibles,
responsiveness, reliability, assurance, and empathy.

Zeithaml, et al (1988) noted that firms not only have a difficult time delivering a
consistent level of quality service even though it improves the profit level for firms
providing services, but also understanding specifically what service quality really
entails. Bitner (1990) held the same view as Zeithaml (1988) who perceived service
quality was similar to attitude. Zeithaml, et al (1988) in their book dealing with
service quality noted that customer focus groups universally found good service
quality as meeting the expectations of the customer. As is noted in the literature, there
is no (me definition of service quality that can be accepted by marketing scholars,
however, there is one, which presents the least amount of controversy: "Service
quality as perceived by the customer is the degree and direction of discrepancy
between custcwner service perceptions and expectations." (Parasuraman, et al. 1985:
page 41.) This definition provided for the first time recognition that perception by the
customer was as much a factor in service quality as the actual service delivered. For
example, the service delivered was the best that could be offered, but the perception
by the customer was a lack of satisfaction. Hence, the service quality did not meet
expectations.

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The common element that can be derived from the numerous researchers was that
various methodologies exist which allows service quality to be measured.
Additionally, it can be measured from several perspectives, which was fully detailed
by discussion of a number of important studies in the following section. The greatest
area for dispute is what constitutes the best and most accurate method for
measurement of service quality.

23 Measuring Service Quality

In an attempt to address the issue of how to measure service quality, a scale based
i ^ n tiie utilization often elements was developed by Parasuraman, et al (1988) based
i^K9p a series of focus ffovip interviews, which could be used to measure service
q^niky perceptions. Originally, the ten elements developed for use in measuring
service quality were tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, competence, courtesy,
credibility, security, access, commum'cations, and understanding the customer.
Furttier studies by Parasuraman, et al (1988) brought about a major modification that
changed the dimensions that could be used to measure service quality perceptions

Table 2.2 Definition of Original Ten SERVQUAL Dimensions

(It was designed to measure Service quality of banking services)

Sr.No Dimension and Questions Raised ^ Customers


Definitirai
1 Tangibles: Appearance Are the bank's facilities attractive?
of physical facilities, Is my stockbroker dressed appropriately?
equipment, personnel, Is my credit card statement easy to
and commvimcation understand?
materials.
2 Reliability: Ability to When a loan officer says she will call
perfonn the promised service dependably and accurately, me back
in 15 minutes, does she do so?
Does the stockbroker follow my exact
instructions to buy or sell?
Is my credit card statement free of errors?
3 Responsiveness: When there is a problem with my bank

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Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.
statement, does the bank resolve the
problem quickly?
;r Is my stockbroker willing to answer my
r;*" questions?
Are charges for returned merchandise
credited to my account promptly?
4 Competence- Is the bank teller able to process my and
Possession of the knowledge to perform the service.
t^uind skills transactions without fiimbling around?
Does my brokerage firm have the research
capabilities to accurately track market
developments?
When I call my credit card company, is
the person at the other end able to answer
my questions?
5 Courtesy: Politeness, Does the bank teller have a pleasant and
respect, consideration, friendliness of contact personnel.
demeanor?
Does my broker refrain from acting busy
or being rude when I ask questions?
Are the telephone operators in the credit
card company consistently polite when
answering my calls?
6 Craiibility: Does the bank have a good reputation?
Trustworthiness, Does my broker refrain from pressuring
believability, honesty me to buy?
of serviee provider. Are the interest rates/fees charged by my
credit card company consistent with the
services provided?
7 Security; Freedom from . Is it safe for me to use the bank's
danger, risk, or doubt automated teller machine?
Does my brokerage firm know where my

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stock certificate is?
Is my credit card safe from unauthorized
use?
8 Access: How easy is it for me to talk to senior
Ai3|MPoachability and bank officials when 1 have a problem?
sase of contact. Is it easy to get through to my broker the
phone?
Does the credit card company have a 24-
hour, toll-free telephone number?
9 Communication: Can the loan officer explain clearly the
Keeping customers various charges related to the mortgage
informed in language loan?
they can understand Does my broker avoid using technical
and listening to them. jargon?
When I call my credit card company, are
they willing to listen to me?
10 Understanding the Does someone in my bank recognize me as
Customer: Making the a regular customer?
effort to know Does my broker try to determine what my
customers and their specificfinancialobjectives are?
needs Is the credit limit set by my credit card
company consistent with what I can afford?
(not too high or too low)

Source: Zeithaml, Parasuraman& Berry, (1988), Delivering Quality Service, New


York, NY: Free Press, p. 21 -22 (Modified).

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. This modification of the ten elements to five elements is clearly depicted in Table
2.4. Three of the original ten elements^tangibles, reliability, and responsiveness
remained unchanged. The other seven original elements were combined into two
elements. Those elements known as competence, courtesy, credibility, and seciffity
Vf&e coinbined to form one of the new elements known as assurance, and the
elements of access, commimications, and understanding the customer were combined
to Jscm the new element known as empathy as noted in Table 2.4. Now, the five
^^nd&ts that made up what the authors called SERVQUAL were the following five
dimensions of service quality: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and
emprthy, which are defined in Table 2.3. Based upon the five elements or dimensions,
they postured that service quality could be measured by obtaining the difference
between perceptions and expectations of those dimensions. A series of questions were
presented to the customer, who was a^ed to rate their particular choices as to their
expectations of servicefi-omthe service provider.

Further, the customer was told to give their perceptions of the service being delivered
by the service provider. An additional rating scale was used to corroborate the results.

The modified SERVQUAL dimensions are tangibles, reliability, responsiveness,


assurance, and empathy which Zeitiiaml, et al (1988) determined to be the best
determinates for measuring service quality. Not unexpected, SERVQUAL received
critiquesfit>mseveral marketing researchers, such as Babakus and Mangold (1989)
who hsd serious reservations about the ability of SERVQUAL's scales, reliability,
and discriminant validity. They noted that the measurement techniques called into
question a substantial potential for error and left a number of unanswered questions
relating to its validity

Teas (1993) also found serious objections to SERVQUAL. He felt that the
interpretation of the expectations standard was flawed. Additionally,
operationalization of the expectation standard was not a workable option. He had
problems with the evaluation of alternative models specifying the SQ construct as set
out in the SERVQUAL instrument. His concerns were similar to Brown et al (1993)
with regard to whether the five key dimensions capture all of the possible
determinants of service quality.

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Table 23 Definition of Modified SERVQUAL Dimensions

Sr.iK). Dimension Definition

1 Tangibles Appearance of physical facilities, equipment,


personnel, and communication materials.

2 Rdiability Ability to perform the promised service


dependably and accurately.

3 Responsiveness Willingness to help customers and provide


prompt service.

4 Assurance Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their


ability to convey trust and confidence.

5 Empathy Caring, individualized attention the firm


provides its customers.

Source: Zeithaml, Parasuraman& Beny, (1988), Delivering Quality Service, New


York, NY: Free Press, p. 26.

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Table 2.4 Correlation between Modified SERVQUAL Dimensions and Original Ten
Dimensions

Sr.No. Original Ten SERVQUAL Modified SERVQUAL Dimensions


Disnensions
;1 .;;.. Tangibles Tangibles
2 - Sjgiiability Reliability
3 Rss|K>nsiveness Responsiveness
4 CiQpn^)etence, Assurance
Courtesy,
Credibility,
Security
5 Access, Empathy
Conununications,
Understanding
the Customer

Source: Zeithaml, Parasuraman& Berry, (1988), Delivering Quality Service, New


York, NY: Free Press, p. 25.

Cronin and Taylor (1992) stated that perceptions of service quality more closely
spptoach customer evaluations of service provided. Parasuraman, et al (1994)
disagreed with the Cronin and Taylor (1992) perceptions, feeling that disconfirmation
is valid since it allows providers of service to establish gaps in the provided services.
Dabholkar, et al (1996), Spreng and Mackoy (1996), and Taylor and Baker (1994)
were sonong the few to use muhi-item measures to ascertain overall service quality,
which was accomplished with factors as antecedents. In all cases they only tested
using a single-item measure that would prove unreliable in looking at factors as
components versus factors as antecedents.

Howcroft (1992) in a pilot study of service quality in selected United Kingdom banks
found that there were a number of inconsistencies between staff interpretations and
what was observed with the customer. He noted that: "The different schools of

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thought on quality service would seem to agree on the basic premise that customer
preferences of service quality are based upon a comparison between expectations and
actaai service performance." (Howcroft. 1992: page 126.) Interestingly enough
Howcroft (1992) concluded that most researchers would agree customer preferences
es^ hest be measured on the basis of comparing expectations to actual service. He
fotitflil tort outcome and process as a "holistic approach" best served the measurement
pnKiess.

A sUgJiUy differoit approach was taken by Dabholkar, et al (2000) who found that
perceptions aixl measured disconfirmation are more advantageous than computed
disconfirmation, but they suggest further study to determine their study's ability to
predict the power of service quality and customer satisfaction evaluations. They also
rec(nnmend measured disconfirmation if gap analysis is used, and noted that cross-
sectional design for service quality measurement would be more advantageous than
longitudinal design. Bahia and Nantel (2000) in a Canadian bank study devised a
measurement system modifying SERVQUAL to ex^nine the specific service context
on a six-dimension scale called BSQ. ESQ by admission of the authors was limited in
that its scale construction was based entirely upon expert opinion, published literature,
and a small sample. They felt it would have more validity if the sample were larger.

In another recent study, Oppewal and Vriens (2000) noted that the use of integrated
conjoint experiments to measure the perceived level of service quality provided a
method of hierarchical information integration theory, which in^ their judgment avoids
some of the measurement pitfalls of SERVQUAL; Unfortunately for the study, they
noted: "It is therefore unclear whether in this study the substitution and replacement
of terms that underlies the derivation of one overall utility function was valid at all."
(Oppewal and Vriens. 2000: page 169.)

Perhaps, the study may have raised more questions than the answers it yielded;
however, it did give some food for thought about another means of measurement
through conjoint experiments to measure service quality perceptions.

Beckett, et al (2000) approached consumer behavior from a different concept. They


utilized a consumer behavior matrix developed through focus group discussions to
determine what impact electronic-based delivery systems will have on service and
consequently, the quality of service.
86
Their consumer behavior matrix plotted consumer confidence against the factor of
involvement, using lour quadrants. Those quadrants representing what the researchers
termed "four ideal types of constimer behavior" were rcpeat-passi\ e, rational-active,
no-purchase, and relational-dependent.

This section has shown a number of different studies of service quality measurement.
It could be noted that there is no one study that fully and completely measures service
quality and that there is a need to fill knowledge gaps with additional studies such as
this one that might modify one of these studies.

2.4 Dimensions in Measuring Service Quality " .'

After a thorough examination of the research in the areas of service quality and
customer satisfaction, it would be in order to examine the variables that impact the
measurement of service quality. In the initial research relating to SERVQUAL,
Parasuraman, et al (1985) established ten dimensions for measuring service quality.
Those original dimensions defined in Table 2.2 above were tangibles, reliability,
responsiveness, competence, courtesy, credibility, security, access, communication.
and understanding the customer. This ten-dimension breakthrough approach to
measuring service quality was criticized by Cronin and Taylor (l')92) who not only
did not agree with the measurement isstie. but also criticized the conceptualization of
SERVQUAL, and reported that the perceptions aspect of SERVQUAL was a better
measurement device that SERVQUAL itself.

Parasuraman, et al (1991 ) re\'ised their SERVQUAL instrument by conducting a new


study, which in its refined form changed some scale measurement elements and
changed wording relating to those scales. They provided a direct measurement
relating to the importance of each dimension reported by the respondents. After
substantial research and an evaluation of various critical reviews of SERVQUAL. the
modified dimensions as defined in Table 2.4 above are tangibles, reliability.
responsiveness, assurance, and empathy (Parasuraman. et al, 1988 and 1994)

87
2.5 The SERVQUAL Model

As previously set out above, a number of researchers (Bateson, 1979; Berry, 1980;
Bovfm & Cummings, 1990; Groonoos, 1983, 1990; and Karwan & Rosen, 1988,
amoBg others) suggest that the various strategic opportunities for services
maqilgement, includii^ quality assurance, differ substantially from those in
main^^icturing management. Other researchers (Langevin, 1977; Levitt, 1972;
Rjestikert, et al, 1985; Walker and Reukert, 1987) found that there was no essential
(Ufference and viewed marketing management as a function or a task, and did not
embrace the services marketing approach across the organization. Those who noted a
substantial difference saw the severe limitations of the usual manufacturing concepts
in dealing with intangibles such as service. They also noted that you could not
separate the customer from the process of delivering service.

88
Figure 2.1 Conceptual Model of Service Quality (PZB 2006)

CUSTOMER

Wod>ofMouth P0fsenal Ntis Past Exprinc


Cemmvnicaiions

1
Expctl Sarvka

Gap 5 ^ -

Pfevd Service

PROVOSR Qap 4
Service External
< k Comfntirticatioes
OeliwerY to Customers

Gap 3

Gap 1 Service Quality


Se*iicatin

Gap 2

Maeaattneni
Perceptions of
Customer Expeciasions

Source: Zeithaml, Parasuraman& Berry, (1988), "Communication and Control


Processes in the Delivery of Service Quality," Journal of Marketing, 52 (April), p. 36.

89
Following the concept that service quality could be measured utilizing customer
perceptions, Zeithaml, et al (1988) in their model provided for the customer to judge
the process of quality throughout the delivery of service and then, examined prodvict
quality after the service delivery. He noted that the intangible, such as a friendly
gree^g or smile, during the delivery of service is a part of process quality, and the
prcmer handling of the business transaction constitutes output quality.

Tt^'model by Zeithaml, et al (1988), as shown above in Figure 2.1, seeks to examine


the atnoimt and direction of the discrepancy between expected levels of service and
the customer's perception of a delivered service noted as Gap 5 in Figure 2.1. In order
to eliminate the discrepancies between expectations of service and the perception of
the delivered service, the provider of the service must close the four gaps (Gaps 1-4).
To close G ^ 1, the management must know what the customers expect and Zeithaml,
et al (1988) noted this is, in all likelihood, the most important gap to close. It was
alsonoted that in service companies the absence of well defined "cues" may cause
Gap 1 (see Figure 2.2) to be larger in service companies than in manufacturing firms.

Additionally, a lack of adequate marketing research can cause Gap 1 to be more


difficult to close. Translating the customer expectations into service quality can close
gap 2 specifications. An inadequate management commitment is the single largest
cause for widening Gap 2. From Figure 2.3, it can be noted that perception of
infeasibility, inadequate task standardization, and absence of goal setting are also
major fectors in widening Gap 2. Hax and Nicolas (1984) observed that most U. S.
firms suffer significantlyfi-omshort-term accounting-driven measures of performance
used to establish the reward mechanisms for high-level managers, who are mainly
responsible for implementing strategic actions. It was also noted by Zeithaml, et al
(1988) when managers are not dedicated to providing service quality from a
customer's point of view, their entire focus is to bottom-line objectives without any
consideration to improve service quality. For Gap 3 to be closed, Zeithaml, et al
(1988) model indicated that it would be necessary as set out in Figure 2.4 the key
elements necessary to close Gap 3 are elimination of role ambiguity, role conflict,
poor employee-job fit, poor technology-job fit, inappropriate supervisory control
systems, lack of perceived control and lack of team work. Care must be taken to
ensure when evaluating the elements that too broad an inteipretation does not distort
the evaluation.

90
Figtffe 2.2 Key Factors Contributing to Gap 1

CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS

KEY CONTRffiUTING FACTORS

1. Lack of Marketing Research Orientation

InsulHcient marketing research

Inadequate use of research findings

Lack of interaction between management

and customers

2. Inadequate Upward Communication

3. Too Many Levels of Management

MANAGEMENT PERCEPTIONS OF
CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS

Source: Zeithaml, Parasuraman& Berry, (1988), Delivering Quality

Service, New York, NY: Free Press, p. 52.

91
Figure 2.3 Key Factors Contributing to Gap 2

MANAGEMENT PERCEPTIONS OF

CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS

KEY CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

1. Inadequate Management Commitment

2. Perception of Infeasibility

3. Inadequate Task Standardization

4. Absence of Goal Setting

SERVICE QUALITY

SPECIFICATIONS

Source: Zeithaml, Parasuraman& Berry, (1988), Delivering Quality

Service, New York, NY: Free Press, p. 72.

92
Figure 2.4 Key l''actors ConlribLiting to Gap 3

SERVICE QUALITY

SPECIFICATIONS

KEY CON IRIBUTING FAC lORS

1. Role Ambiguity

2. Role Conflict

3. Poor Employee-Job Fit

4. Poor Technolog) -Job Fit

5. Inappropriate Supervisor Control Systems

6. Lack of Perceived Control ' , ' ' ' ' '

7. Lack of Team Work

SERVICE DELIVERY

Source: Zeithaml. Parasuraman& Berry. (1988). Delivering Qualit\ Serxice. New-


York. NY: FreePress. p. 91.

93
Figure 2.5 Key Factors Contributing to Gap 4

SERVICE DELIVERY

KEY CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

1. Inadequate Homontal Communication

Inadequate communication between

advertising and operations

Inadequate communication between

salespeople and operations

Inadequate communication between

human resources, marketing, and operations

2. Propensity to Overpromise

EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION

TO CUSTOMER

Source: Zeithaml, Parasuraman& Berry, (1988), Delivering Quality

Service, New York, NY: Free Press, p. 116.

94
2.6 Using SERVQUAL to Evaluate Service Quality

Regazdless of the conflicting research evidence presented above, the SERVQUAL


detetMinants have been widely accepted in the areas of service quality and customer
satiiHiction. Since the original ten determinants (Zeithaml, et al, 1988) have been
nuD^ipied into five determinants, only the current five will be addressed. A discussion
of the five revised determinants developed by Parasuraman, et al (1991, 1994):
tiai^bles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy is set out below:

2.6.1 Tangibles

Tangibles would include those attributes pertaining to physical items such as


equipment, buildings, and tlw appearance of both personnel and the devices utilized to
communicate to the consumer. Bitner (1992) presented her conceptual framework for
examining the impact of physical surroundings as it related to both customers and
employees. Berry and Clark (1991) provided validation of the physical appearance on
the consumer's assessment of quality. With the research by Bitner (1990), it was
noted that physical appearance might influence the consumer's level of satisfaction.
Tangibles were one of the original dimensions that were not modified by Zeithaml, et
al(1988).

2.6.2 Reliability

Reliability relates to the personnel's ability to deliver the service in a dependable and
accurate manner. Numerous researchers, including Garvin (1987) found that
reliability tends to always show up in the evaluation of service. Parasuraman, et al
(1988) indicated that reliability normally is the most important attribute Passengers
seek in the area of quality service. It was also determined by Parasuraman, et al
(1991) that the conversion of negative wording to positive wording as suggested by
Babakus and Boiler (1991) and Carman (1990) increased the accuracy of this
dimension. Negative wording in the request for a customer response caused the
customer to misinterpret this particular determinant. Walker (1995) found that if there
is an adequate delivery of the basic level of service, then peripheral performance leads
Passengers to evaluate the service encounter as satisfactory. Reliability was one of the
original dimensions not modified by Zeithaml, et al (1988).

96
2.63 Responsiveness

The desire and willingness to assist customers and deliver prompt service makes up
the dimension of responsiveness. Parasuraman, et al (1991) include such elements in
responsiveness as telling the customer the exact time frame within which services will
be performed, promptness of service, willingness to be of assistance, and never too
busy to respond to customer requests. Bahia and Nantel (2000) disregarded
re^K)nsiveness in their research, claiming a lack of reliability even though they
recognized SERVQUAL and all of its dimensions as the best known, most universally
accepted scale to measure perceived service quality. Responsiveness was also one of
the original dimensions not modified by Zeithaml, et al (1988).

2.6.4 Assurance

Knowledgeable and courteous employees who inspire confidence and trust from their
customers establish assurance. Parasuraman, et al (1991) included actions by
employees such as always courteous behavior instills confidence and knowledge as
prime elements of assurance. Assurance replaces competence, courtesy, credibility,
and security in original ten dimensions for evaluating service quality (Zeithaml, et al,
1988).

2.6.5 mpathy

Empathy is the caring and personalized attention the organization provides its
customers. Individual attention and convenient operating hours were the two primary
elements included by Parasuraman, et al (1991) in their evaluation of empathy. The
degree to which the customer feels the empathy will cause the customer to either
accept or reject the service encounter. Empathy replaces access, communication, and
understanding the customer in the original ten dimensions for evaluating service
quality (Zeithaml, et al, 1988).

97
2.7 Validity of SERVQUAL in Measuring Service Quality

Much has been written in support of SERVQUAL, and conversely, much has been
written critical of various aspects of the instrument or the measurement obtained. It
seems appropriate to present challenges to and arguments for SERVQUAL as
di^ussed in general and as it relates specifically to Service quality measurement.

HdUl Zaim, Nizamettin, Bayyurt, Salim Zaim (2010) did study, to Examine the
important criteria for measuring service quality in Health care Industry in Turkey.
They used Factor Analysis, Logistic Regression models used to investigate the
relationships. It was found that Tangibility, Reliability, Courtesy and empathy were
significant for customer satisfaction and responsibility and courtesy were not.

Philip Gerrard, Bart Cunningham, did research regarding Bank service quality;

A Comparison between a publicly quoted bank and a government bank in Singapore


.To find of out difference in service quality dimension between government Bank and
Public bank Correlation & multiple regression analysis was used .The Publicly
quoted bank was perceived as having significantly better service portfolio"
specifically in regard to making customers aware of its services and offering a variety
of services through its ATMs The Govt. Bank was perceived as having better Staff
also deliver the service specifically in the way the staff dressed and the efficiency
with which they served customers.

Naceur Jabnoun & Hussen, Hassan Ai- Tamimi did research named Measuring
pCTceived service quality at UAE commercial Banks ,Objectives of Study was to
measure service quality by developing a model.An Instrument is used which consists
30 items covering these dimensions. It is concluded that Only three dimensions of
service qudity are valid i.e. Human Skills, tangibles and Empathy. The human skills
dimension has are significant than dimension of tangibles and empathy.

Xin Guo and Angus Duff, Mario Hair, Service quality measurement in the Chinese
corporate banking Market Objective of Paper was to construct a measurement
instrument to capture service quality in the Chinese corporate banking market.
General servqual literature was utilized .18 financial managers were interviewed to
identify how other aspects of the Chinese banking market could be included in the
new Instrument. Elaboratory and confirmatory factor analysis was used. Factor
98
analysis identifies that service quality in Chinese corporate banking is measured by a
nested model, consisting of two higher-orders constructs functional &
Techiucal).Bank should provide reliable services in order to achieve high levels of
customer satisfaction. Bank management should regularly provide Training for Bank
staff. Recruit staff with social skills. The bank management should emphasize the
communication dimensions and its related items. Bank management should pay
attentions to the influence of the latest Technology on service quality.

Prabha Rameseock-Munhurrun Perunjodi Naitoo Soolakshana Desai Lukea- Bhiwajee


did research on Measuring service Quality: Perceptions of Employees. Objectives
were to assess the service quality of a call centre as perceived by its employees using
the servqual model. Servqual model item were modified to collect data. Research
design was based on RATER model 19 item were selected from original 22 items and
modified accordingly each item was required to measure internal service quality. 5
point likert scale was used. Questionnaire had 3 sections: - Section 1: Demographics
of employees. Section 2: Expectation & perception of 19 items, Section 3: Employee
satisfaction and loyalty .SPSS 14.0 for wdndows. Descriptive statistics used to
investigate gaps. A paired't' test is used to evaluate internal service quality.
Regressions Analysis was used to identify the servqual dimensions influencing overall
satisfactions and FLE loyalty. Results indicated that loyalty was best predicted by
overall satisfaction, tangibles and responsiveness.

Rajesh Nair, Ranjith P V, Sumana Bose and Charu Shri, did a Study of Service
Quality on Banks wdth Servqual Model. The study attempts to find out the Service
quality of Banks in Navi Mumbai. It tries to look whether there is gap between
customer expectations and perceptions of service offered. One of the most popular
models, SERVQUAL, used in Service marketing is used in the study. SERVQUAL is
based on tlw perception gap between the received service quality and the expected
service quality, and has been widely adopted for explaining consumer perception of
service quality. An undisguised structured questionnaire, SERVQUAL by
(Parasuraman, et al 1985), was used for the research. The sample used was 101
respondents. The study was conducted in Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra), India. It was
observed that there were five important factors for service quality analysis which are

99
Tangibles, Reliability. Responsiveness. Assurance and Empathy. The Tact is evident
that there is a gap between customer expectations and service perception and it can be
reduced only by employing effective training methods by banks. The limitations of
the study are that the sample size is limited and it is restricted to Navi Mumbai Area
in Maharashtra. !.

B. Prabheharan. A Anuray. V. Rajagopal. studied Service quality on Tourism


Applications of structural equation modeling Objective of Study was; To study to
service quality perceptions of domestic as well as foreign tourists in the service
quality of tourism and to llnd out the mediating factor for service quality in
tourism.Methodolog\:-Populations- Kerala Tourism. Time Period- .Ian Feb.2008.
Sample - 100 domestic tourist. 50 foreign tourist. Modified Servqual scale was used
consisting Tangibility .Responsiveness, Reliability. Service product. Assurance.
Service Responsibility .SPSS-15 & .Amos- 16 used for analysis, finding of Study
were Media factor for service quality of domestic and foreign to units are totally
different, l^angibility Influences domestic tourists and Responsi\eness Influences
foreign tourists JJ^ tjn n-a

"A Handbook for Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Ser\ice Quality".


Transportation Research Board fCRP Report .47.national academy press
Washington. D.C. 1999, elaborated that Transit agencies are concerned with
delivering quality service to customers, which is often defined b\' on-time
performance, comfort, safety, and convenience. Transit agencies continually strive to
define quality service, yet a problem existsdefinitions of such service often evolve
from management's perceptions of what constitutes quality, fhese management
definitions may vary signilicantl}' from what current and potential customers perceive
to be quality service. Consumer definitions of quality service could prove helpful to
the transit industry. Under TCRP Project B-11. Customer-Defined Transit Service
Quality, research was undertaken b>' MORPACE International. Inc.. to develop a
methodology to assist transit agencies in identifying, implementing, and c\aluating
customer-defined service qualit) and in defining performance indicators that include
customer-defined quality service measures for fixed-route transit. Ihis research
includes rural, suburban, and urban markets, fo achieve the project objective of
prodticing a handbook, the researchers conducted a review of current literature related
to customer-defined transit service quality measures, customer satisfaction

100
measurement techniques within transit and other industries, and transit performance
measures and indicators. Next, the research team developed a comprehensive list of
service-quality measures from the customer's perspective, ensuring that each measvire
was specific and clearly defined. A survey was administered to customers to arrive at
Sk ranking of service-quality measures, in order of their impact on overall customer
^(tis&ction. The survey instrument was developed and refined based on the results of
pretests. Alternative methods for ranking service quality measures were explored and
evaluated, and a new approach was introduced. Finally, the list of service-quality
measures was compared with the list of agency performance indicators, and the
performance measures were revised to reflect customer defined service. Using the
researchfindingsfiwmthe field test, the methodology was refined and a preliminary
method for assessing transit operations was developed. Methods for benchmarking
and tracking information were also identified as follows,

Example List of Transit Service Quality Measures


1 Absence of graffiti
2 Absence of offensive odors
3 Accessibility of trains/buses to handicapped
4 Availability of handrails or grab bars on trains/buses
5 Availability of monthly discount passes
6 Availability of schedule information by phone/mail
7 Availability of schedules/maps at stations/stops
8 Availability of seats on train/bus
9 Availability of shelter and benches at stations/stops
10 Cleanliness of interior, seats, windows
11 Cleanliness of stations/stops
12 Cleanliness of train/bus exterior
13 Clear and timely announcements of stops

101
14 Comfort of seats on t^ain^us
15 Coni^crtlng bus service to stations/main bus stops
16 Cost efifectiveness, affordability, and value
17 Cost of making transfers
18 Displaying of customer service/complaint number
19 Easeijf opening doors when getting on/off train/bus
20 Ease CHTpaying fare, purchasing tokens
21 Explanations and announcement of delays
22 Fain^ss/consist^cy of fare structure
23 Freedom from nuisance behaviors of other riders
24 Frequency of delays for repairs/emergencies
25 Frequency of service on Saturdays and Sundays
26 Frequent service so that wait times are short
27 Friendly, courteous, quick servicefrompersonnel
28 Having station/stop near destination
29 Having station/stop near my home
30 Hours of service during weekdays
31 Number of transfer points outside downtown
32 Physical condition of stations/stops
33 Physical condition of vehicles and infrastructure
34 Posted minutes to next train/bus at stations/stops
35 Quietoess of the vehicles and system
36 Reliable trains/buses that come on schedule
37 Routi/direction information visible on trains/buses
38 Safe and competent drivers/conductors
39 Safety from crime at stations/stops

102
40 Safety from crime on trains/buses
41 Short wait time for transfers
42 Signs/information in Spanish as well as English
43 Smoothness of ride and stops
44 Station/stop names visiblefromtrain/bus
45 Tem^irature on train/bus not hot/cold
46 The tmin/bus traveling at a safe speed
47 Trmn^uses ttat are not overcrowded
48 Transit personnel who know system

A Multivariate Analysis of Airline Service Quality Vasanthakumar N. Bhat, analyzed


the association between thefinancialand operating characteristics of an airline and its
service quality using canonical correlation analysis. The service quality variables
were denoted by the complaint rates, delays, and involuntary denials of boarding; and
operating and financial variables by market share, revenue per passenger mile,
revenue grov^ rate, debt-to-capital ratio, current ratio, load factor, employees per
departure and operating revenue per employee. Analysis indicates that airline delays
are directly related to load factors, and complaint rates to debt to capital ratios. Paper
analyzes the link between service quality variables and financial and operating
characteristics of an airline. All relationships had formed in the paper could have been
obtained by performing a large number of multiple regressions. Therefore, canonical
correlations are an economical way of identifying relationships between two sets of
variables. Since canonical variables are uncorrelated, we can identify several
relationships existing between two sets of variables. This kind of analysis is extremely
usefiil in quality improvement projects including benchmarking where an analyst is
looking for relationships between various variables.

103
Laura Eboli and Gabriella Mazzulla ,In the paper, "A New Customer Satisfaction
Index for Evaluating Transit Service Quality" an index based on customer perspective
was proposed for evaluating transit service quality. The index, named Heterogeneous
Customer Satisfaction Index, is inspired by the traditional Customer Satisfaction
Index, bitt takes into accomit the heterogeneity among the user judgments about the
different service aspects. The index allows service quality to be monitored, the causes
generating customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction to be identified, and the strategies for
impiQFVing the service quality to be defined. The proposed methodologies show some
^ i v ^ i t ^ ^ ccmipared to the others adopted for measuring service quality, because it
can be easily ai:^Med by the transit operators.

Gabriella Mazzulla, Laura Eboli "A Service Quality experimental measure for public
transport" In this paper, the importance of service quality attributes for public
transport was established by Importance Value calculation. Attribute weights (FV)
were calculated by a specific empirical procedure in which a rate was assigned to each
attribute according to the preferences of passengers. Finally, a Service Quality Index
(SQI) for measuring the effectiveness of supplied services is calculated according to
the main service quality attributes and their weights. This index could be useful to
planners to choose more appropriate public transport agencies. Furthermore, it can be
used by transport agencies to improve supplied service regarding more convenient
service quality attributes.

In this ^per transport service quality attributes which influence global customer
satisfaction had been analysed. The importance of each attribute perceived by the
University of Cali^ria students had been evaluated, particularly the students who do
not live in the urban area of Cosenza.
With the aim of determining the relative weights of all the attributes on global
customer satisfaction, the Importance Value (IV) technique had been proposed. As a
result it emei^es that service quality attributes with a major weight on global
customer satisfaction are service frequency and seats on the bus.
The introduced technique can be debatable, because it uses rank data transformed into
rate data. Nevertheless, the results are realistic and fi*equency, as expected, has the
major weight. The degree of discretionarily introduced by the transformation of
ranking in rating could be compensated by asking the users both ranking and rating
104
preferences, hi this way, some checks can be carried out. Firstly, the correspondence
between ranking and rating data could be verified. Secondly, the degree of
discreti<mat^y of assigned rates from the IV procedure can be measured by comparing
assigned jartes with rates expressed by users. Finally, the IV procedure can be also
verifid by using expressed rather than assigned rates.
Moreover, unlike the statistical analysis techniques for measuring service quality and
customar satisfaction, IV technique allows the relative weights of the entire attribute
on g l D ^ customer satisfaction to be determined. Furthermore, by using these weights
an agp^gate index can be calculated (Service Quality Index). This index permits
supplied s^rices effectiveness to be measured and service qiiality attributes to be
ideirtiiied to improve it. As an example, SQI with reference to the real situation has
been calculated. For this aim, a perceived level of each attribute was asked the users.
From the results, it is deduced that the actual public transport service used by students
to reach the campus is satisfactory tecause SQI has a value higher than 60, on a scale
from 1 to 100. SQI can be useful to plaimers to choose more appropriate public
transport agencies and to the said agencies to improve supplied service regarding
suitable service quality attributes.

Laura Eboli & Gabriella Mazzulla (2008), "A Stated Preference Experiment for
Measuring Service Quality in Public Transport". The paper developed a Stated
Preference (SP) experiment that provides a way to measure service quality in public
transport. The paper introduces an empirical procedure for optimizing the SP
experiment. This procedure permits the identification of the choice alternatives
defining fee experiment by simulating the choices of a user sample. By using the data
collect^fi^oman experimental survey, a Multinomial Logit model was calibrated.
This model is a way of identifying the importance of service quality attributes on
global customer satisfaction and calculating a Service Quality Index, which provides
an operationally appealing measure of current or potential service effectiveness.
The main pupose of this research has been to explore the optimal design of an SP
experiment for measuring service quality in public transport. For this aim an empirical
procedure for simulating user choices has been proposed. The procedure, based on the
use of real data collected by a preliminary survey, allows the most convenient
couplings of the SP treatments to be chosen and the experiments to be defined. The
procedure was necessary because the experimental design was very complex owing to
105
the numerousness of the selected treatments and the attributes defining the treatments.
Generatty, in a typical SP experiment, the number of treatments and attributes is so
small that all the selected treatments can be submitted simultaneously to the
interviewees, or blocks of treatments can be submitted to groups of Interviewees; but,
in the experimental context considered in this research, there were too many selected
treatments defined by a very high nimiber of attributes. Therefore, the simulation
procediB^ was indispensable in order to generate the couplings of SP treatments to
submit to the interviewees with the alternative representing the current service.

Chang, H. (2006), did study named, "A Study of Service Quality, Customer
Satisfaction and Loyalty in Taiwanese Leisure Industry." The independent variable in
this study was the age and marital status of those who visited Yueh-Mei Sightseeing
Supu* Mill in Taiwan. The dependent variable of the study was the scores for service
quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty that they registered on the questionnaires.
The hypothesis of the study was that the age and marital status would have an effect
on the satisfaction ratings of service quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty. The
null hypothesis of the study was that the demographics mentioned would not alter the
results of the questionnaire. Upon the pre-test analysis it was determined that the null
hypothesis could be rejected and there was significant difference between the results
of the questionnaires as related to the demographics of the respondents. The overall
hypothesis as related to the assessment of impact of the questionnaires was if there
was a connection between customer satisfaction and loyalty. The purpose of the study
was to find a relationship among service quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty.
This study was done so procedures could be created to improve the quality of the
leisure industry and help make decisions in investment and development strategies.
This study was completed using a questionnaire method administered to visitors of
Taiwan that visited the Yueh-Mei Sightseeing Sugar Mill. This questionnaire was
created to assess service quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Each dimension
was measured on numerous factors including: tangibles, such as employee's or
facility's appearance, reliability, including product quality and questions being
aiutwered, responsiveness, including sales people and employee's behavior, assurance,
including prices and salesperson's understanding, and empathy, encompassing the
attitude of the employees and salespeople. Customer Satisfaction was measured in

106
two different ways. The first measured by single item method, each answer on the
questionnaire that related to customer service were added together and a single overall
satisfaction score was created. It was also measured as a multiple item method, a
general sctide assessing the satisfaction level by summing numbers of all responses
together. Customer loyalty was assessed by the inquiry of whether the respondents
would repurchase their item or recommend the item to others.

The qii^ionnaire was composed of 21 questions and was distributed to 200 people
with 182 responding. This equates to a 91% respondent rate. The questionnaire was
pie-tested with 40 questions to determine validity and clarity of questions. There were
30 questions retained that had a correlation factor score for reliability of .9078, actual
satisfaction of .8542 and loyalty of .7124. This indicated that these items were
independent of each other and that the questions accurately elicited a response from
the questionnaire respondent that was correlated to their actual experience and
feelings on the subject. This determined the questionnaire to be reliable; it was
eventually narrowed further to the 21 questions actually used in the study. The results
were foimd to be significant and indicated that age and marital status did have a
significant effect on the overall satisfaction as evaluated by the factors of service
quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty. It indicated that married people were more
satisfied than single people and that those aged 41-50 years were more satisfied that
any other age groups in the study. It is proposed that those married often bring their
families with them and therefore are more likely to note the service they receive while
on vacation. It is further proposed that those people aged 41-50 had independent
children with more time for leisure and were much more interested in the service they
receive while on vacation.

Maruvada Devi Prasad, Dr Raja Shekhar Bellamkonda, in their paper "Analyzing the
Passenger Service Quality of the Indian Railways using Railqual: Examining the
Applicability of Fuzzy Logic"; identified the attributes to evaluate the quality of
Railway Passenger Services and develops a comprehensive instrument "RAILQUAL"
on the basis of SERVQUAL and Rail Transport quality. Fuzzy set Theory had been
applied to evaluate the service quality of the Indian Railways. This paper develops an
analysis architecture, which consists of fuzzy measurement of S-I (Satisfaction -

107
Importance) degree. The measurement of S-I gap with fuzzy approach is to reduce
subjectivity and ambiguity of passengers' judgment of service quality. Fuzzy logic
helps in representing the vagueness of evaluators' judgment. Using SERVQAUL
metho4i^ogy, the optimal fiizzy interval of gap scores was determined for each item.
Fuz3^ ilpproach was a more realistic way to use linguistic assessments instead of
numerical values. An empirical study is conducted using the proposed approach. They
developed a valid and reliable scale RAILQUAL for measuring service quality in
Railway Passenger Services. The use of Fuzzy Set Theory had taken care of fuzziness
of subjective human judgment and vagueness of evaluators. By using fuzzy approach,
they achieved more expressive results with linguistic data and also covered loss of
data. Compared to the traditional statistical approach. Fuzzy logic offers a better
means to avoid misleading results and their wrong interpretation. They proposed
fuzzy architecture with RAILQUAL which could be used by Indian Railways to
effectively investigate and track the trends periodically to improve service quality.

Girish Prayag ,Kiran Dookhony-Ramphul stated in their paper named "Clustering


passengers' expectations and perceptions of service quality at air Mauritius" that
Service quality was recognized to be the cornerstone for operational efficiency and
business profitability. Customer loyalty through improved service has become vital
for small airlines to survive in the increasingly competitive global environment. Their
study investigated passengers' expectations and perceptions of Air Mauritius using
the SERVQUAL model. Cluster analysis was used to identify different segments of
customers based on their expectations and perceptions that enable Air Mauritius to
customise its services. Three groupings of customers were identified, namely those
that are indifferent to service levels, those that perceive service quality to be poor and
those that believe service levels are good. The research shows that nationality has a
significant influence on both expectations and perceptions of South Africans, British
and Mauritians. Demographic characteristics of passengers had a significant impact
on clusters of service levels. Thefindingsallowed the airline to emphasize the right
service dimensions in its marketing commimications to different target markets.
Service and branding strategies should reflect the cultural and social background of
the traveler.

108
M. Devi Prasad, B. Raja Shekhar, mentioned in their research paper," Development
of Railqual: A Service Quality Scale for Measuring Indian Railway Passenger
Services" The main objective of their study was to present a framework developed for
assistii^ Railways to monitor and control the quality of services provided to
passengers. The study evaluated the passenger Rail Service quality of Indian Railways
by ^veloping RAILQUAL instrument on the basis of SERVQUAL and Rail
Trani^rt quality. Three new transport dimensions (comfort, security and
convenience) were added to the original five SERVQUAL dimensions (i.e. assurance,
empathy, reliability, responsiveness and tangibles). The instrument is tested for
reliability and validity. Empirical study was conducted at Secunderabad Railway
station of South Central Railway, India, using a pxuposive sample of 100 respondents.
Valid responses from the questionnaire were statistically analyzed by using factor
analysis. That study identified the attributes to evaluate the quality of Railway
Passenger Services and developed a comprehensive instrument "RAILQUAL", which
can be used by the Railways for collecting feedback from passengers. The study
would help the Railways to monitor, control and improve the service. It could also be
used as a tool for comparing the performance of various Railway Zones and Divisions
across the coimtry. Improving the quality of service was one of the ways to improve
the competitiveness of the Railway Passenger business. The application of
RAILQUAL may be one of the steps in improving the railway passenger service All
the Divisions and Zones can use the instrument to keep track of the service quality
scores. The instrument will help identify the gaps in each of the dimensions over a
period of time and enable managers judge the performance of Divisions on a more
objective scale. Another application of the RAILQUAL instrument can be to
categories passengers into several perceived quality segments (e.g. high, medium, and
low) on the basis of their scores on expectations and perceived performance. These
segments can be then analyzed on the basis of different profiles, relative importance
of the dimensions in influencing the service quality perceptions, and the reasons
behind the perceptions reported. Thus, the RAILQUAL will help in pinpointing the
areas of managerial attention and action to improve service quality in Railway
passenger services. In essence, the study defines the concept of railway passenger
service quality, designs its operative variables and demonstrates its applicability in the
railway passenger services.

109
Feng-I LING , Knang LIN, Jin-Long LU, in their research paper "Difference in
service quality of cross-strait airlines and its effect on passengers' preferences"
I^wlied and developed an instrument, based on the SERVQUAL model, to gauge the
chaiaeleiistics of specific cross-strait routes, in order to measvire the service quality,
percdved by travelers fi^om Taiwan and Mainland China, of cross-strait airlines.
Fui^!&, they analyzed the differences in the perceived service quality provided by
Taiwui cross-strait airlines and explored the relationships between service quality
difference and passoiger satisfaction and preference behaviors, using a path analysis
model. The results iwiicated that there were significant differences between the
perceptions of Taiweinese and Mainland Chinese travelers related to cross-strait
airlines, in all service attributes. This implies that even though the peoples of Taiwan
and Mainland China share the same culture and speaks Mandarin; their perceptions of
airline service quality can be quite different. Finally, the path analysis model results
showed that not all services significantly affected passenger satisfaction. It was also
foimd that some services affected passenger preferences towards certain airlines. In
the service industry realm, the airline business is quite typical. Passengers' perception
of quality of service plays a key role in airline management, whether in Taiwan or
Mainland China. This study had examined the service quality of cross-strait airlines
fi"om the perspectives of travelersfi"omboth Taiwan and Mainland China, and has
discussed the differences in service quality, between these coiuitries' airlines, and
their effects on travelers' preferences. Through this analysis, some significant
conclusions were drawn:
1. From the service quality analysis, it was evident that the overall service
performmice of Taiwanese airlines was better than that of Mainland Chinese airlines,
fi-om the perspectives of both travelers' sample groups. The perceptions of service
quality differed significantly between the travelers from Taiwan and Mainland China.
This indicated that travelers' habits, cultural backgrounds and social environments
mig^t mShiSDce their perception of service quality.
2. From the perspectives of Taiwanese travelers, the service strengths of the airlines
of both Taiwan and Mainland China were 'Assurance' and 'Empathy'. The service
weaknesses of the airlines of Taiwan and Mainland China were 'Responsiveness' and
'Tangibles', respectively. However, from the viewpoints of Mainland Chinese
travelers to both groups of airlines, it was evident that the services of 'Assurance' and

110
'Tangibles' were the weakness in the airlines of Taiwan and Mainland China,
respectively.
3. Not all service dimensions had an obviously direct impact on customer satisfaction.
'Tabbies', 'Reliability' and 'Assurmice' may be the three services that did directly
afifo^ Taiwanese travelers' satisfaction with Taiwanese airlines, while 'Reliability'
and ^Assursi^e' may influence the satisfaction of travelers from Mainland China with
the i^ines of Mainland China. In addition, travelers' airline preferences were not
difeotty depradent on their satisfaction, but were directly affected by some service
dim^isions, soch as 'Tangibles' as well as 'Reliability' for Taiwanese travelers and
'Banpa&y' forfliosetravelersfromMainland China.
4. Tl^ fiiutin^ of this study indicated that the cross-strait airlines should have
different maiketing strategies as well as progress programs in terms of service quality.
For Taiwanese airlines, they should keep 'Reliability' and 'Assurance' progressing
for attracting more Taiwanese as well as Mainland Chinese travelers and upgrading
their satisfaction. While for the airlines of Mainland China, they should pay more
efforts on improving total service quality, especially the dimensions of 'Tangibles',
'Assurance' and 'Empathy'.

Lars Eriksson mid Margareta Friman, Karlstad ,Ann-Catrin Norman, stated in their
paper ."Electronic Service Quality: Public Transport Information on the Internet" that,
as public transport companies market new self-service technologies, it has become
increasingly important to understand the factors affecting the users' perceived service
quality of these services. Electronic Service Quality has been broadly defined as
encompasmig all phases of a customer's interaction with a website. The E-S-QUAL
scale compdses four dimensions. This article investigates the importance of three of
the si^e^ed quality dimensions (efficiency, system availability, and fulfillment) for
overdl sa^fiK;tion when using information-based websites. A survey was conducted
wilfci respoiadents being asked to use and evaluate an existing website delivering
pu^lki l^ab^ort information in their region. The results revealed that efficiency
(ad^essing the ease and speed of using the site) was most important for overall
satis&ction. Furthermore, it is concluded that a modified E-S-QUAL scale is
appropriate for this purpose as it was possible to adapt it to a pure service-related
website. One objective of the study was to examine passengers' overall satisfaction
empirically with a public transport information site and how overall satisfaction

111
relates to dimensions of service quality. We used a modified raulti item version of the
E-S-QUAL scale for measuring the service quality. Thus, an additional objective of
tiUss itseioch v^as to propose an evaluation tool for assisting public tnmsport
i&esECSffl^^s in quantifying their service qu^ity level on the Internet. Consequently, tibe
dOimill^on made by this reseax;h is twofold. First, it shows that experiences and iise
of fn| Internet increase the probability of using public transport information on tibe
Inteflilt. This indicates the potential growtii and development of online information
sisfisftiitfie numbor of Internet users does not seem to be decreasing. Second, efficiency,
syfiksoi availability, and fulfillment were all positively associated v^ith overall
satisfaction (Wolfinbarger and Gilly 2003; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Malhotra
2005; Yang et al. 2(X)5; Yee-Man Siu and Chi-Wah Mou 2005). Thus, as the
perceived ejfficiency, system availability, ^idfiilfiUmentrise,so too does the overall
satisfaction. More importantly, efficioicy (tiie eai^ and speed of accessing and using
the site) was the most critical contributor to ttie usere' perceptions regarding overall
satisfaction. The effect of efficiency on the dependent variable was positive and
significant, whereas the effects of system availability and fulfillment were no
dgtnficant. Tlbe consistency of this result underscores tiie need for public transport
companies to place extra emphasis on the website attributes pertaining to this
dimension. One plausible explanation for the no si^ficant efSects could be that the
efficiency dimension is relatively important and a core dimension (Yee-Man Siu and
ChirWah Mou 2005) when determining overall satisfaction, whereas the system
availability and the fulfilhnent dimension are not that critical with regard to
satisfaction. In line with this reasoning, system availability and fulfillment may
insteali'bf related to dissatisfaction when the performance of these is unsatisfactory.
Obtaint^ fee correct price of the journey was difficult for the majority of the
respondents; 57 percent of the respondents did not state a price at all. One explanation
HOT this is that the fere table is zone based. The possibilities of understanding where
the zone boundaries are located on the website are limited, so it is not actually
possible to determine the price of a journey with any degree of certainty. An
explanation for that seven respondents stated the correct price could be that they
already knew it. Although thefindingsare encouraging and useful, the present study
has certain limitations. We selected one public transportation-related information site
for ourresearch,which has an effect on the generalize ability of our conclusions. The
need exists to further examine the perceived service quality and overall satisfaction in

112
the context of more diverse transport information sites. Furthermore, it is necessary in
future studies to expand and randomize the sample to fully imderstand perceived
electronic service quality. In future studies, it could also be valuable to add additional
questions to capture broader attitudes tow^ard public transport. It is then possible to
analyze the impact of satisfaction with public transportation information on the
Intei|^t on satisfaction with public transport in general. A more thorough
ps^diometric assessment of the modified scale also needs to be made in future
studies.

M. Devi prasad ,Dr. B. Raja shekhar did study namely "Evaluation of passenger
satisfaction and service quality in Indian railways - a case study of south central
railway using railqual" which stated that ,Indian Railway Passenger Services today
faces consumer challenges, competition from Super Luxory Bus Services and Low
cost Air Lines and with thease challenges a related and equally important issue has
emerged - Service quality and evaluating the service encounter. Using Railway
Passenger Services as the primary study setting, they explored the concept of Rail
Transportation Services quality and its evaluation from both the Passenger and
Railway perspectives. Standard scale of SERVQUAL developed by Parasuraman et al
has been used with modified attributes to suit the Railway passenger Services used to
conduct the survey. The findings provide special empirical insights on the gaps in the
services provided by Railways. The five dimensions used to measure Service Quality
are Tangibles, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy. This Study gives
useM insights to boost customer satisfaction towards Railways customer Satisfaction
Meastatment. Improving the quality of service is one of the ways to improve the
competitiveness of Railway Passenger Business. In all the trains and stations the
above questioimaire can be used for collecting the feedback from passengers. The
results point towards the need for South Central Railway to formulate management
policies such as training of staff so as Staff has to be more responsive to customers'
needs. Bureaucracy in SCR has to be reduced or eliminated as it's a government
department with less dynamism. Hence the human touch is more required as we can
see in Airlines services which we are missing in Indian Railway Passenger Services.
If this aspect is improved there will be definitely improvement in the satisfaction
levels of the Passengers.

113
Randall, E.R.; B. J. Condry, and M. Trompet. (2007), reviewed the development of a
standardized measurement system for the purposes of benchmarking the performance
of a group of major urban bus systems from around the world. The set of performance
Wimsams, known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), identifies bus systems who
perform exceptionally in their operation. Developed from past benchmarking
e^p&Aence and a literature review, and modified based on member input, the KPIs
ptGvi^ a means of comparing performance and identifying best practice for the
I^ticipating bus systems. Practical experience with the KPIs has identified a variety
of challenges in collecting consistent and comparable data. Overcoming these
challenges, producing comparable data, and conducting research to identify and
imderstand the basis for good performance has been a process that offers lessons for
other benchmaridng efforts. This paper reviewed (1) the principles of the group's
benchmarking process, (2) the performance measurement system's process of
development, (3) general issues with data collection and compatibility, and (4) some
results of the benchmarking.

Kazi Omar Siddiqi, mentioned in their research paper titled "Interrelations between
service qualities attributes, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty in the retail
banking sector in Bangladesh". The main objective of this study was to find the
intorelationships between service quality attributes, customer satisfaction and
customer loyalty in the retail banking sector in Bangladesh. The study sought to
identify the most important attributes in bank settings, which may be used to review
characteristics of the banks as experienced by customers. In Bangladesh, no study has
yet invi^gated the above mentioned interrelationship. The purpose of this study is to
fill this g ^ . The study suggested that SERVQUAL [service quality model] is a
suitable instrument for measuring the bank service quality in the Bangladeshi context.
Therefore, bank managers can use this instrument to assess the bank service quality in
Bangllesh. Based on hypothesis Hlaa and HlaO, a mediiun positive correlation was
found between tangibility and customer satisfaction. It means that as banks'
tangibility increase, customer satisfaction also increases. According to hypothesis
Hlba and HlbO, reliability and customer satisfaction has medium positive correlation.
This positive relation means that as bank employees' performance and reliability
increase, customer satisfaction also increases. Hypothesis Hlca and HlcO
114
demonstrate the medium positive correlation between responsiveness and customer
satisfaction. It means that as the v/illingness and ability of bank employees' increase,
customer satisfaction also increases. Hypothesis HI da and HldO show the large
positive correlation between assurance and customer satisfaction. This means that aS
die assurance from bank employees' increases, customer satisfaction also increases.
AcccKRling to hypothesis Hlea and HleO, empathy and customer satisfaction has large
p ^ t i ^ correlation. It means that as the customer and employee interactions increase,
cmtamsr satisfaction also increases. Hypothesis H2aa and H2a0 demonstrate that
tfiswe is a large positive correlation between customer satisfaction and customer
loy^ty. That means that as the customers are satisfied, there is a high chance for
loyalty

Kokku Randheer, Ahmed A. AL-Motawa, Prince Vijay. J stated in their p^>er,


"Measuring Commuters' Perception on Service Quality Using SERVQUAL in Public
Transportation" tiiat, in the current scenario of glot3^izi^on, public transportation
service (PTS) need to introspect sensitivity towards the quality of services offered. In
this context, study examined the commuters' perception on service quality offered by
the public transport services of twin cities of Hyderabad and Secimderabad, India. The
SBRVQUAL s6ale is administered to measvire the commuter's perception on service
quality. A survey was conducted among the commuters who were regularly availing
pubtic transport services for travelling. A random sample of 534 respondents were
tidbnf^data collection, among them 512 woe finalized for final analysis. The study
concluded tiiat the service quality delivery meets the perception of commuters. In
general, people of twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are benefited with the
service qwdity delivery by public transport services. The paper brought out a service
quality image which can be adopted by other cities whose population depends on
public tnyos^rtation services. The aim of this study is measuring the commuter
perception <m service quality in public transportation using SERVQUAL, at the same
time it also insists on the extension of generic SERVQUAL dimensions with
additional dimension representing the study context. Culture as a new dimension was
added (Paul and Alain, 1996; Malhotra, Agarwal, & Peterson, 1996; Malhotra et
al.,1994; Malhotra et al., 2005; Mattila, 1999; Winsted, 1997; Liu and McClure, 2001;
Karen and Boo, 2007; Satyabhusan et al., 2009) have identified culture to be an
important aspect in measuring service quality context. Public transportation is no
115
reception, (Pe'rez et al., 2007). In the initial phase of understanding the operational
and st^itegic issues involved in running the public transportation, researchers had
i^mihe help of public relation officers of the transportation corporation, the sessidi
ha$ thiwn light on culture being a part of service design, and hence its inclusion into
the stody was established.
i ^ ti^ught iffocess on the instrument development resulted in six dimensions and
twco^ e i ^ t items, a pilot study with forty five respondents resulted in the elimination
of tvw) items, bringing the item count to twenty six. Data is finalized fi-om five
htmdred twelve questionnaires. Factor analysis was used to analyze the data resulting
in Hie elimination of one dimension: tangibility and three items,fiirtherbringing down
the item count to twenty three; this revealed that the remaining dimensions are
reliable and valid. In several service quality measurement studies done by
(Parasurainan et al., 1988; Parasuraman et al., 1991; Parasuraman et al., 2005; Sahu,
2006; Snipes et al., 2006; Stafford, 1999; Vandamme & Leunis, 1993; Yu et al., 2008)
the scale refinement was done resulting in elimination of some items and dimensions.
Based on the regression model, it was assessed that culture is one of the important
dimension of so^ce quality in public transportation. This exposes that measuring
service quality using SERVQUAL need to be modified /extended under different
study contexts. The personal and demographic profile of the commuters indicate that
majority of the service users are professionals belonging to the middle aged; monthly
income is reasonably well and travelling distance is moderate. Most of the commuters
are using the service over a considerable number of years. As we compare the
indiviilual statements, employee's willingness to help and behavior instilled
confidence are given the highest preference, which is true in the twin cities context.
Cammsters often ask bus drivers to stop the bus for a while more at bus stops, most of
tte times commuters also expect the bus to stop in places other than bus stops, so as
tiney avoid walking backfixMnbus stop to office or home. The next set of statements
receiving higher scores are timely promised services and convenient operating hours,
as twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad is densely populated, huge employee
and student population is dependent on public transport services, as such reaching the
office or college and back home at appropriate time needs buses to maintain time
accuracy and also availability of buses at office start and finishing timings are very
important. Since time factor is most important for commuters, they are interested in
reaching the destination on time instead this may not be true for leisure travelling

116
which is not a part of this study. The statements receiving next higher scores are in
line with local values and attention to women, children and handicapped, the design
of public transportation services in twin cities is done in line with local culture ai&
womm and children seats are reserved and they expect bus conductor to help them
Identify reserved seats for them. There are bus services dedicated only for women,
ittey WK called ladies special, this is very unique in itself Women derive more respect
intibelocal culture hence it has influence on service qiiality. As of, in most of the
SERVQUAL studies done by (Akan, 1995; Brysland & Curry, 2001; Buttle, 1996;
Ofa et al., 2003; Parasuraman et al., 1988) tangibility was found to be the most
SBtportant dimension, but this study reported it in reverse. Comparison of means of
dimensions V0I&B^ timt responsiveness assurance, reliability, culture and empathy
form the o i ^ . The resefffch reveals that the expectations of the commuters in terms
of service quality are delivered by the public transport services. In this con^^tive
global business environment, the consiuner expectations are ever increisuo^ the
service jsoviders can meet the expectations only if they are sensitive to customer
issues. Thus, the public transport service must imderstand the core responsibility of
providing reliable services to the commuters consistently, which will yield better
results in terms of service quality.

Todd Litman wrote an article, "Measuring Transportation Traffic, Mobility and


Accessibility". The article compared three ajqsroaches to measuring transportation
system performance and discusses their effects on plaiming decisions. Traffic-based
n^asurements (such as vehicle trips, traffic speed and roadway level of service)
evalu^ motor vehicle movement. Mobility-based measurements (such as person-
miles, door-to-door traffic times and ton-miles) evaluate person and fi^ight
movenwft. Accessibility-based measurements (such as person-trips and generalized
travel cd^ts) evduate the ability of people and businesses to reach desired goods,
services tmd activities. Accessibility is the ultimate goal of most transportation and so
istibebest i^proach to vise. There are many ways to measure transportation system
peifoimmice, each reflecting particular perspectives concerning who, what, where,
how, ^ e n and why. Different methods favor different types of transport users and
modes, different land use patterns, and different solutions to transport problems.
Vehicle traffic was easiest to measure, but this approach only considers a narrow
range of transportation problems and solutions.
117
Mobility was more difficult to measure, since it requires tracking people's travel
behavior. It still considers physical movement an end in itself, rather than a means to
an end, but expands the range of problems and solutions considered to include
alternative modes such as transit, ridesharing, cycling and walking.
Accessibility was most difficult to measure, because it requires taking into account
land use, mobility and mobility substitutes, but most accurately reflects the ultimate
goal of transportation, and allows widest range of transport problems and solutions to
be considered. For example, an accessibility perspective may identify low-cost
solutions to transportation problems, such as improving local walkability;
encouraging land use mix so common destinations such as stores, schools and parks
are located near residential areas; and improving communications services for isolated
people and conununities. There is no single way to measure transportation
performance that is both convenient and comprehensive. Transportation professionals
should become familiar with the various measurement methods and units available,
learn about their assumptions and perspectives, and help decision makers understands
how they are best used to accurately evaluate problems and solutions.

Gabriela beirSo, jose sarsfield cabral, studied "service quality for public transport
contracts: assessing users' perceptions" Public transport faces a continuous decline in
market share and increasing competition from private car. The challenge for public
transport was to find a way of maintaining and attracting clients, which implied
improving the quality of the service through a market oriented approach, particularly
increasing the responsiveness to the users' and potential users' needs and
expectations. Accordingly, service quality was becoming more and more important in
public transport contracts.
Specifying quality raises important questions in designing contracts for public
transport. Quality must be unambiguously specified and monitored. To address these
issues, a project supported by a large Portuguese urban public transport operator is
l^ing developed in order to produce a reliable model for measuring service quality
and enabling the inclusion of service quality indicators in future contracts. The first
stage of the project was based on qualitative methods to obtain a deeper
understanding of the underlying individual's perceptions of the service and attitudes
towards public transport. Namely, tofigureout how and why do people use or not use
public transport, what factors influence these decisions, and how do customers
118
evaluate the service offered. To grasp these questions, a series of in-depth interviews
of both public transport users and car users as well as to the transport operator staff
were conducted. This paper presents the results of the qualitative study.

This qualitative study has identified some key factors influencing mode choice and
the main influences that affect it positively and negatively and to investigate the
motivations and barriers to public transport use. These findings served as the basis for
developing a model tiiat attempts to structure the mode choice process. This model
and the qualitative study will be used to design a survey questionnaire that will be
administrated to tiie general public in the metropolitan area of Porto.

The key findings indicate that in order to increase public transport usage, the service
should be designed in a way that acconunodates the levels of service required by
customers and by doing so attract potential users. Also, attitude towards transport is
important for mode choice. It is not expected that all car users in general, will change
fi-om driving a car to using public transport exclusively by improving the public
transport system. But the intention to switch mode expressed by car users and
occasional publicfransportusers shows that improving the image and levels of service
being offered can attract potential users to the public transport service. However if the
public transport service in unreliable, has a low frequency or lack of comfort, people
are likely to shifl to using cars because they do not perceive public transport as a
viable alternative to them.

Also, it is necessary to understands people's needs and expectations and acknowledge


that different people have different needs and are motivated by different factors. This
implies having not only a detailed knowledge of public transport users but also of
non-users. There is a need to identify the primary reasons for not using public
transport and, if possible, remove potential barriers to public transport usage. Car
users have lower perceptions of public transport than public transport users, which
mean that public transport is actually better than they think. So one strategy to attract
potential users could be improving public transport image and provide the general
public more information about the system.

Chalermkiat Thantongpaiboon , Thananya Wasusri, studied "Ocean transport service


quality assessment" mentioned that, Ocean transportation was certainly a service
activity that is one of the key logistics functions. The level of customer service relies

119
very much upon the quality of transport operators. However, quality of service is
difficult to identify. This study provides directions for measuring service quality
performance. It provides methodological guidelines as well as suggestions on
predicator variables which can be used for monitoring performance. The analysis of
the selected cased reveal the Service Quality Gap Model is useful to assess service
quality but it ought to be used with care. Service quality is perceived differently by
thefrontlinestaff and customer in each country. Tangibility features of service quality
do not have much important to the customer in determining service quality for B2B,
especially shipping company. To lift the level of quality, service customiaation for the
customer in each country is necessary. Customer know-how and strong commitment
from management of all level is the prerequisite for firms.

Bexley, James Byron, Submitted for Fulfillment of the Degree of PhD December
2005, thesis named- "Service quality: an empirical study of Expectations versus
perceptions in the delivery offinancialservices in community banks"
The study was an in-depth empirical investigation that seeks to establish a method to
predict service quality in community banks in the southern United States. The
motivation for this study was provided by a lack of any useful instrument to predict
and evaluate service quality in community banks to aid the retention of customers. It
was noted by Bahia and Nantel (2000) that there are no publicly available standard
scales for measuring perceived quality in banks. While the literature is replete with
empirical studies on service quality, customer loyalty, customer retention, and
customer relationships in general, there is a scarcity of empirical studies relating
specifically to predicting customer retention. If a bank can meet or exceed the service
expectations the evidence in this study would appear to be clear that the customer
would either be a satisfied customer or as a possible altemative, the customer did not
expect much from its bank; therefore, any delivery above the low expectations would
be tolerated. Since there is no way to determine through the respondent results in this
study what the customer was thinking, the assumption has to be that the customer
would not compromise his/her standards This study adds to the body of knowledge by
establishing a means to test expectations versus perceptions by utilizing four quadrant
grid plots to determine the full likelihood of customer retention. There are no other
studies uncovered in the literature that have attempted to utilize a grid to plot

120
expectations versus perceptions to determine the likelihood of customer retention,
which makes this study uniquely original in the field.

Recti Agarwal, studied "Public Transportation and Customer Satisfaction: The Case
of Indian Railways", the study mentioned for building and a healthy relationship the
customer, organizations need to understand and meet the expectations of its customer.
The organizations today should aim not only at satisfying the customer but should
also focus on delighting him. Thus it has become imperative for organizations to
identify parameters that cause customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction and consciously
measure them so as to try and bring about the necessary changes on the basis of
customer perceptions. The present study has been undertaken to find the factors
related to Indian Railway services that have an impapt on customer satisfaction. The
study was conducted using the survey method. Data was collected through a
structured questionnaire from a sample of 500. Factor and regression analysis was
used to analyse the data and identify the effect of customers' perception about the
quality of performance of various factors on customer satisfaction. The major findings
of the study depict that out of the various factors considered; employee behavior has
the maximvim effect on satisfaction level of customers with Indian Railways as a
whole.

E.marcucci and v. Gatta (2007) wrote paper named "Quality and public transport
service contracts", mentioned that Public authorities and transport operators are both
involved in the provision of public transport services. There is a contrast between the
social goals of the former and the private ones of the latter. Regulation plays an
importfflit role especially failing competition. Service contracts are the natural method
to set bilateral commitments. After a brief description of the most important
regulatory procedures, we focus our attention on the quality framework in service
contracts. In recent years the inclusion of quality requirements in contracts is
becoming common practice, especially when adopting price cap regulation. This
paper suggests a criterion for service quality definition, measurement and integration
in contracts for the production of socially valuable transport services. Using stated
preferences methods and choice-based conjoint analysis to analyse customer
preferences we estimate the passengers' evaluation of different service features and

121
calculate a service quality index. A case study demonstrates the procedure to follow
for measuring service quality in local public transport.
This paper has analysed service quality measurement and its integration in service
contracts so to provide correct regulatory incentives via the introduction of the
proposed quality specification and measurement. A case study illustrates the
mechanism. In order to obtain reliable results, in the future a carefully structured
sampling plan is needed. Using SP methods and CBCA we estimate passeYigers'
evaluation of different bus service features which users perceive to be the sources of
utility and via discrete choice models we calculate a SQL Future research will pursue
two different goals both related to the practical impact that SQI measurement might
have.
On the one hand, we would like to explore the role SQI might have within a service
quality contract based on a price-quality cap as recent contributions vmderline
(Bergantino et al, 2006; Billette de Villemeur et al, 2003; Cremer et ai, 1997). On
the other hand, we would like to study the potential applications a SQI might have in
defining a marketing strategy aimed at increasing profits. In fact, from the supplier's
point of view, there is a need to establish the optimum trade-off between the service
quality and its supply cost. The proposed method may also provide a useful
performance assessment tool, in fact the operators may well understand where to
focus their investment in order to reach a high level of service quality and increase
their competitive advantage without wasting financial resources in relatively less
important attributes amelioration. The focus on quality should be a shared goal by the
authorities and operators involved in the provision of transport services and the
adoption of the suggested framework could prove afirststep in this direction.

Kiew low yoke and Chee lee kum in their paper named "Quality measurement of the
malaysian rail services using the servqual scale" mentioned that The purpose of the
paper was to utilize the SERVQUAL scale to assess customers' perceptions of the
service quality offered by KTMB based on a research study conducted by Low for her
MBA degree. The various dimensions of service quality of the rail services, the
overall level of service of KTMB and the relative importance of each of the
dimensions in influencing consumers' perception of service quality will be examined.
The findings of this study have important practical implications to management of
quality of the Malaysian rail services. This study demonstrates the usefuhiess of the
122
SERVQUAL approach as a measure of service quality. The results of the study
indicate that the SERVQUAL scale could make a valuable contribution by enhancing
the understanding of the perceived service quality of rail services. The measurement
scale also serves to identify symptoms and the underlying problems that inhibit the
efifective provision of quality services in rail transport. Once the attributes of rail
services from the. customers' perspective are more clearly known and understood, its
service providers will be in a better position to anticipate consumer requirements
rather than to react to consumer dissatisfaction. The attributes of reliability and
tangibles have been identified by respondents to be the most important dimensions of
service quality. These two dimensions were also found to have the highest gap
(perception minus expectation), implying that customers' expectation of reliability and
tangibles dimensions of the railway services are not met by KTMB. Although these
findings cannot be generalized to the overall passenger profile, KTMB should use it
as an impetus to assess their services, particularly to study ways of improving on their
reliability and tangibles dimensions. KTMB management could start by improving on
staff training, especially to train their staff to be more professional and courteous
when dealing with customers. The public confidence of KTMB has to be gained and
the best way is for the management to look at improving on aspects such as reliability
of services, improving physical facilities, training of staff and communicating precise
information on train schedules.

Keang Meng Tang, "Service Quality: An investigation into Malaysia consumers using
DINESERV" University of Newcastle Ursula Bougoure, Queensland University of
Technology The growth in services marketing research has been significant and is a
direct response to the growth of service industries and their increasing importance to
economies around the world (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000). Despite this global
impoitiince, most research has focused on western countries, with comparatively little
attention paid to eastern coimtries or economies, where in many cases service
industries are booming. As such, this study empirically tests western-based theory in
the east, using DINESERV to examine service quality in the Malaysian fast food
industry. Results serve to provide evidence for the external validity and applicability
of the DINESERV tool in Malaysia, with support gained for all hypotheses. For
Malaysian management, our findings indicate that reliability is the most important
factor associated with whether or not consumers will be satisfied with the offerings of

123
organisations in the fast food industry. Specifically, issues relating to staff, systems
and communication are key points that are involved in achieving a reputation as being
a reliable service provider. Also, this study found that tangible issues relating to
service quality were also of particular importance for Malaysian consumer. In this
sense, the ability of fast food operators to provide amenities such as parking areas and
attractive building exteriors appears to be of great importance for their consumers.
Moving on from the two most important dimensions of DINESERV found in this
study, are the findings relating to the study's hypotheses. Based on our findings, it
appears that fast food organisations may achieve overall customer satisfaction by
improving their provision of elements within DINESERV. Furthermore, customer
satisfaction and overall service quality can lead to repurchase intentions or customer
loyalty. While interest in research that examines corrmionly accepted western
marketing theory in the East is growing, little research has addressed Malaysia, which
itself is a melting pot of different eastern ethnic backgrounds, such as Malay, Indian
and Chinese. Theoretically, this research provides initial evidence that DINESERV is
valid in the context of Malaysian consumers. This study also provides external
validity for the hypotheses of this study, supporting the general literature and in
particular answering calls for the external examination of commonly accepted western
theory (Doran, 2002; Patterson and Smith, 2005). Particularly, our finding that
reliability is the most important dimension of customer satisfaction for Malaysian
consimiers supports prior researchfi"omthe west (Stevens, Knutson and Patton, 1995;
Gupta and Chen, 1995). One exception is ourfindingthat responsiveness is the fourth
most important dimension for Malaysian consumers, which differs fi-om Chow and
Luk's (1995)findingson Canadian fast food consumers. This suggests the possibility
of cross cultural differences between consumersfi"omdifferent countries and is an
area recommended for further study, particularly in terms of conducting multi-country
examinations of service quality via DINSERV and other associated constructs.

Eboli Laura and MazzuUa Gabriella, "Service Quality Attributes Affecting Customer
Satisfaction for Bus Transit 2007.1n the article a tool for measuring customer
satisfaction in public transport was proposed. Specifically, a structural equation model
was formulated to explore the impact of the relationship between global customer
satisfaction and service quality attributes. The public transport service analyzed is the
bus service habitually used by University of Calabria students to reach the campus

124
from the urban area of Cosenza (southern Italy). To calibrate the model, some data
collected m a survey addressed to a sample of students were used. The proposed
model can be useful both to transport agencies and planners to analyze the correlation
between service quality attributes and identify the more convenient attributes for
imploving the supplied service.
In the article a structural equation model has been proposed to show the relationship
betw^B passenger satisfaction on bus services and the attributes of the services
s t ^ l i ^ ^ Ai&ough SEM methodology is well known and widely applied in several
fields of research, presently there are not many practical applications in public
transport, and specifically for measiuing customer satisfaction. In this research we
hseve applied this methodology on the basis of needs and expectations expressed by
customers of a bus service. The proposed model identifies service quality attributes to
improve, with the aim of offering bus services characterized by higher levels of
quality. The major limitation of this research is that the experimental context is
circumscribed, because the sample survey was addressed to a specific category of
usersstudents of a university campus. A more accurate analysis of service quality in
public transport should be based on a survey addressed to all categories of public
transport users. However, in this specific case, the students are a relevant part of the
population that uses bus transit in the urban area of Cosenza. In spite of its limitation,
this study could be a starting point for more exhaustive research.

Lawrence Cunningham & Clifford young & Moonkyu lee, mentioned in their
research paper ( 2000),that overall, the public was more satisfied with the current
system than officials thought. As expected, however, a number of perceptual gaps
were foimd between the public and transportation policy makers on more specific
service ai^pects and issues. The officials overestimated the public's satisfaction with
some areas >*hile they underestimated its perceived importance and funding priorities
for o^ois. They also underestimated the public's concern with air quality and
caipooling issues in particular. Transportation plarmers should pay special attention to
these areas because such discrepancies will eventually bring about public
dissatisfaction and complaints.Another intriguing finding of the research was that the
public wanted to have more input into transportation decision making than it had, and
felt that it was not provided as much of an opportunity to express its opinion about

125
transportation issues as the officials thought. The implication of this finding for
transportation planners is self-evident: The time is ripe for this type of user survey as
a communication channel between the public and the planners. The perceptual gaps
o^sared in the study will be narrowed when the public's needs and wants are
edZQiniinicated clearly to the service designers, and the services, in turn, are
|tdequ9lely provided to the public (Mowen and Stone 1992). In addition, the present
typ& of fesearch should be conducted periodically, so planners can keep track of the
trends and cli^uiges in the public's transportation needs and perceptions. Study 2 foimd
tiiit ^ re^xjndents' general level of knowledge about transportation systems might
not always be as high as their level of interest in building or using such systems. This
study also found that there was a substantial lack of understanding among the public
regarding the state funding allocation process in terms of where the funds for
transportation came from or how they were allocated. There was a strong reluctance
to pay additional taxes until it was clear that the money would fund special projects.
Respondents in both studies indicated that they would like to have more input into the
transportation decision-making process. Transportation planners should consider
educating the public on topics such as transportation technologies, building and
operating costs, and funding processes. As the public is better educated on
transportation issues, they are better able to make mewiingful input into the decision-
making process and, at the same time, take ownership in the overall process. Thus,
transportation officials and decision makers should make every effort to identify and
incorporate public needs and opinions into the planning processes. By using the
me^Kiologies developed in this research to measvire and track transportation service
qimiity, transportation officials can build a true customer-based system. In conclusion,
the methodological/data triangulation approach in measuring service quality offers
public policy makers and marketers the opportunity to better understand the customer
percepticHis of the services they provide. It also allows decision makers to determine
the relative importance of the various service dimensions. Armed with this
information, service marketers can develop better strategies to make the customer
aware and convinced of the quality of their services.

126
SERVQUAL versus SERVPERF: Debate continued from year 1982 A.D.

Defining service quality and its components in a form that is actionable in the
workplace is an important endeavour that an organisation should not take lightly.
Without & clear and unambiguous definition, employees will be left with vague
instructions on improving service quality within the workplace. The result will be that
each employee will be left to form and act upon his or her own definition of quality
which, more often than not, may be incomplete or inaccurate. Fortunately, there are
researchers swch as GrQnroos (1983), Lehtinen and Lehtinen (1982), and
Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (hereafter referred to as PZB) (1985) who are
working to imcover the factors that determine service quality and to provide a number
of actionable tools that a marketer can use to gauge his or her firm's performance.
This section reviewed and analysed the literature on service quality, particularly those
that delineate its components as well as those that provide links to behavioural
intentions. It had also critically analysed SERVQUAL, a survey tool put forth by PZB
based on theirfindings,and showed that it is an inadequate tool for measuring service
qudity. This section was organised into four subsections. First, presented the
dimensions of service quality. Second, delineated the tributary gaps that contribute to
the customer gap. Third, presented two of the competing survey tools that are being
used in the industry today. Finally, this paper had presented possible future directions
of the service quality literature.
The IHmeiisiottS of Seri^ce Quality
Many scholais apee that service quality can be decomposed into two major
dimensions (GrOnroos, 1983; Lehtinen and Lehtinen, 1982). The first dimension is
concerned with what the service delivers and is referred to by PZB (1985) as
"outcome quality" and by GrOnroos (1984) as "technical quality". The second
dimension is comemed with how the service is delivered: the process that the
customer wait through to get to the outcome of the service. PZB (1985) refer to this
as "process quality" while Gronroos (1984) calls it "functional quality". However,
while PZB (1985) and PZ (2006) confirmed these distinctions, they often confusingly
use "service quality" when they mean "service process quality." Thus to avoid any
furth^ confiision a distinction will be made between "service process" and "service
outcome". Whenever the word service is used, it should be taken as the total service

127
which is a combination of process and outcome. Likewise, service quality shall be
used to refer to the totality of process quality and outcome quality.
PZ define service quality as "the degree and direction of discrepancy between
customers' service perceptions and expectations" (2006). Thus if the perception is
higher than expectation, then the service is said to be of high quality. Likewise, when
expectation is higher than perception, the service is said to be of low quality.
ReaHsing that there was not enough literature to produce a rigorous understanding of
service quality and its determinants, PZB (1985) conducted an exploratory
investigation to formally delineate service quality. Their investigation was composed
of interviews with executives from four types of service businesses (i.e. retail
banking, credit card, securities brokerage, and production repair and maintenance) as
well as a number of focus groups composed of individuals who have recently received
services from those businesses. One of the results of this investigation was the
identification often determinants of service process quality. PZB (1985) listed them
as follows:
RELIABILITY involves consistency of performance and dependability.
RESPONSIVENESS concerns the willingness or readiness of employees to provide
service.
COMPETENCE means possession of the required skills and knowledge to perform
the service.
ACCESS involves approachability and ease of contact.
COURTESY involves politeness, respect, consideration, andfriendlinessof contact
personnel (including receptionists, telephone operators, etc.).
COMMUNICATION means keeping customers informed in language they can
imderstand and listening to them. It may mean that the company has to adjust its
language for different consumersincreasing the level of sophistication with a well-
educated customer and speaking simply and plainly with a novice.
CREDIBILITY involves trustworthiness, believability, honesty. It involves having
the customer's best interests at heart.
SECURITY is thefreedomfromdanger, risk, or doubt.
UNDERSTANDING/KNOWING THE CUSTOMER involves making the effort to
understand the customer's needs.
TANGIBLES include the physical evidence of the service.

128
In a later paper, PZB (1988) found certain overlaps among the dimensions and
shortened the list intofivedimensions. This new list retained tangibles, reliability, and
responsiveness while competence, courtesy, credibility, and security were combined
into a new dimension called assurance. Access, communication, and understanding
the cuistomer, on the other hand, were placed under a common dimension called
empadny. Thus the dimensions are now known as follows:
AssitraBce - Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust
and confidence
Bw|Wiil^ - Cfoing, individualized attention thefirmprovides its customers.
Reliability - Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
Responsiveness - Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.
Tangil)les - Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and
communication materials.

In their 1988 revision, PZB claim that these five dimensions are generic and
consistent across different types of services by stating that there was "consistent factor
structure...across five independent samples." However, basing this conclusion on a
small sample raises doubts on its validity. Buttle (1996) foimd serious concerns with
the number of dimensions as well as their consistency in different contexts. Carman
(1990), after conducting a research which involved testing the five dimensions in
services other than those that were used by PZB, warns that "while the PZB items
provide a start for item development, all items need to have validity and reliability
checks before commercial application." Carman (1990) fiuther states that the
dimensions may have been over-generalised and suggests that some items of the ten
dimensions that were no longer explicitly stated in the five dimensions be retained
until fiirther factor analysis shows that they really are not unique. Peter et al. (1993)
also suggest that the overlap between responsiveness, assurance, and empathy was
understated by PZB in their original study. Woo and Ennew (2005), meanwhile,
found that in business services markets, the dimensions were completely different.
Thus, at its best, the five dimensions should only be considered as a starting point
rather than a tool that can be immediately used in the field.
In their papers, PZB (1985, 1988) and PZ (2006) consistently refer to the list as
determinants or dimensions of service quality. However, it appears, from their
definition of each dimension that they are only referring to process quality rather than
129
total service quality. Woo and Ennew (2005) confirm this finding when they stated
that PZB's work on service quality dimensions and the subsequent SERVQUAL tool
(discussed in a later section) seemed to neglect technical quality altogether and focus
mostly on the functional side. Furthermore, Richard and Allaway (1993) clearly state
that the dimensions of service quality as it is described by PZB totally neglects
technical quality. Parasuraman, in a later work specified that "service" and "services"
mean different things (1998). Services (plural), according to him, refer to the
intangible core product that a business provides to the firm. In contrast, service
(singular) refers to the supplement that accompanies the core offering. Essentially, he
uses services to refer to outcome quality, while service to refer to process quality.
Because of tiiis poor choice of words, Pareisuraman only added further confusion.
Assuming that a better set of words has been selected by PZB, the fact that their
model is focused only on process quality still remains. Asubonteng, McCleary, and
Swan (1996), on the other hand, defend PZB's model by stating that because outcome
quality is difficult to evaluate for any service, customers will often rely on otiier
characteristics of the service to determine its quality. That is, they will rely on the
process quality to determine or make an approximation of the total service quality.
Unfortunately, Asubonteng, McCleary, and Swan did not provide any empirical data
to confirm this. Their claim that outcome quality is difficult to evaluate for "any
service" is flawed and some examples that disprove their statement easily come to
mind. Consider tiie case of a machine shop that is involved in providing machine
r^air services to business and individual customers. After the service has been
provided, the customer is able to measure outcome quality by comparing the outcome
against the specifications it provided to the machine shop before the start of the
service. In another case, this time a plumbing service where a homeowner has
requested the plumber to repair a leaking faucet, the homeowner is able to measure
the quality of the outcome by checking if the faucet is still dripping. Apart from this,
Richard and Allaway (1993) found that PZB's model^measuring only process
quality^was less reliable than another model that measured both process and
outcome quality. Thus, PZB's five dimensions of service quality, while useful as a
starting point, is an inadequate tool for measuring a firm's total service quality.

130
The Gaps Model of Service Quality
Other than identifying the gap between expected service and perceived service, PZB
also identified four other tributary gaps that originate from the provider's side.
These gaps were described as follows:
The Four Provider Gaps (PZB 1988)
Gap 1 This gap is said to occur when what customers expect are not the same as what
management thinks the customers expect.
Gap 2 This gap exists when customer service standards are not aligned with
mmi^ement's findings of the customer's expectations.
Gap 3 This gs^ is a result of actual service performance not meeting the set
perfonnance standards.
Gap 4 This gap occurs when the organisation's external communication about its
service quality does not match the actual service performance.
PZB (1985) and PZ (2006) also provided a diagram to illustrate how these four gaps
interacted with one another and with the customer gap. Unfortunately, they were not
very clear about the purpose of some of the interconnecting lines between the boxes.
To clarify, the gaps are limited to the solid lines with double-headed arrows.

The dotted lines, on the other hand, represent the direction of influence. For example
the company's perceptions of consumer expectations influences service standards.
Likewise external commimication influences the customer's perceived and expected
service. Finally, the line that connects external communications with service standards
may be taken to mean that they must be coordinated with one another.

131
cusroMgn
We<4-of-Mui<i Panonai Naeas (*asl Experience
Communicattons

Excetd Sarvie* I 4.
>

Gap S ^

Pareaivad SrvK

PROVIOEn Gap 4
Snnca External
Citftry < k Cemmunieai'Oiis
to Cuswmars
k
4^ " i

Ga^ 3

Gap 1 Sarviea Ouality


SptciiicJttont
1

Gap 2

Managemeni
Pcfctpticns of
Customer Expectations

132
Gaps Model of Service Quality (PZB 2006) "SERVQUAL"
PZB, in their 1985 paper, identified the need for a tool that puts into operation the five
dimensions and gaps model of service quality. They later followed this up in their
1988 paper with a survey tool named SERVQUAL. The tool is divided into five
ms^or categories and labelled according to the five dimensions of service quality as
i^ntified by PZB. Within the categories, four or five items are listed, totaling twenty-
two. Each item must be answered by the customer two or three times depending on
the format being used. The two-column format asks for the customer's expected
performance ami his or her perception of the company's performance under each
item. Under this format, the customer has to answer a total of forty-four
questions. The three-column format adds a third question that asks for the customer's
expected minimum service performance, thus increasing the number of questions to a
total of sixty-six. The disadvantage of asking tiiis many questions is that it can
potentially lead to respondent fatigue which can negatively affect the quality of the
data. Carman (1990) states that because of SERVQUAL's long list of questions "it is
operationally difficult to follow the PZB procedure for collecting and analyzing these
data."

One observation of PZB's SERVQUAL tool is that, while the criteria forjudging are
embodied by the five dimensions of service quality and are therefore fixed, the scales
of each criterion may changefi-omtime to time depending on certain factors such as
the mood and past experience of the individual being interviewed. For example, a
person who is used tofive-starhotels will find a four-star hotel of lower quality while
a person who has never been to afive-starhotel will find a four-star of high quality.
This is one weakness of this market research tool. Perhaps a way around it is to spread
the survey across a diverse sample of the market and across various time periods to
mitigate the effect of unrelated events that can affect the perception of a group of
people. The problem with this, however, is that it can increase the survey cost.
Carman (1990) also recognised the possibility that the customer's familiarity with the
service can also play a role in setting his or her expectations. Thus his suggestion
involves measuring the customer's level of familiarity with the services and to
differentiate in that dimension among customers. While this seems like sound advice,
it still does not make up for the scenario where a user, after having experienced a
service of low quality, has lowered his expectations offiitureservice encounters. The
133
result might be that management will mistakenly interpret the SERVQUAL scores in
the next testing period as a signal that their service quality has increased when, in fact,
it is only the customer's expectation that decreased. This shortcoming has been
identified by other critics such as Buttle (1996). Unfortunately, it has not been
addressed by PZB to this day. According to PZB (1985) and PZ (2006), reliability
always emerged as the most critical dimension of service process quality. Boulding et
al. (1993) also confirms thisfinding.However, because PZB (1985), PZ (2006) and
Boulding et al. (1993) neither tested these finding across a wider set of service
industries as well as across different segments of each industry the validity of their
claim is questionable. O'Coimor et al. (1993) reported that reliability was not a
significant contributor to customer satisfaction in his research. Meanwhile, Woo and
Ennew (2005) indicate that, in their research on service quality in business services
markets, "social exchange" which roughly maps to the empathy dimension of PZB's
model, was found to be more important. Fomell et al. (1996) also confirms Woo and
Ennew's findings by stating that empathy had a greater impact on perceived quality
than reliability. Thus while reliability may be an important dimension in some
businesses, particularly the ones studied by PZB, it may not always be the case in
other industries or in other market segments. Asubonteng, McCleary, and Swan
(1996) recommend that firms who do not fall under the business types that PZB
investigated should conductfiirtherresearch to find out the dimensions relevant to the
service they provide. Unfortunately, it may not always be the case that businesses
have the necessary resources to conduct such a research.

SERVPERF Model of service quality.


Critics such as Cronin and Taylor (1992) have responded to the work of PZB stating
that SERVQUAL and the underlying gaps model are conceptually wrong. Likewise,
Buttle points out how "SERVQUAL fails to draw on established economic, statistical
and psychological theory" (1996). These scholars state that the literature's hesitance
to treat perceived service quality as an attitude is one of the key reasons why the
theory is difficult to put into operation. In their 1988 work, PZB stated that service
quality is "...similar in many ways to an attitude." Cronin and Taylor (1992) on the
other hand, found in their research that service quality is indeed an attitude.

134
Further, they providefindingsillustrated in the following conceptual equations:
ATT = f(EXP)(l)
PSQ = ATT (2)
SAT = f(PSQ)(3)
PI = f (SAT) (4)

Ohvet (1980) states that an individual's attitude is a function of his or her own
ej^pectations (eq. 1). Cronin and Taylor (1992) confirm this statement through
literature review and empirical data. They fiirther demonstrate that perceived service
quality is, in fact, an attitude (eq. 2). Satisfaction, on the other hand, is a function of
perceived service quality (eq. 3). Their results also show that satisfaction determines
purchase intention (eq. 4). Cronin and Taylor also state that it is satisfaction^not
perceived service quality^that has a significant effect on purchase intention.
For example, if a customer, who is mdifferent towards Starbucks, were to have coffee
there and found it a very satisfying experience, the probability of him or her cortiing
back would be high.

Based on these findings, Cronin and Taylor (1992) proposed a tool they call
SERVPERF as a replacement for SERVQUAL. They state that "the performance-
based scale developed (SERVPERF) is efficient in comparison with the SERVQUAL
scale." In reality though, SERVPERF is merely a subset of SERVQUAL. That is, it
only measures the perceived service process performance and disregards expected
service process level. The rationale for doing so is because a) measuring the
customer's expected service level before the service is rendered is not always
possible, leaving the firm to measure it instead at the end of the service and b)
measuring the expected service level after the service has been rendered is inaccurate
as the customer's expectation, by then, has already been biased by the service
rendered. Apart fi-om removing the distortions caused by measuring expectations,
SERVPERF also shortens the questionnaire from a maximum of sixty-six down to
just twenty-five, thus reducing the likelihood of respondent fatigue.
On the other hand, a niunber of questions also arise regarding the validity of Cronin
and Taylor'sfindings.Customer satisfaction and perceived service quality are entirely
different constructs, where the former is an evaluation based on a specific transaction
while the latter is a general assessment developed over a period of time (PZB 1994).
135
Since SERVPERF is designed to measure customer satisfaction, and SERVQUAL is
designed to measure perceived service quality, is it correct to compare the two? PZB
(1994) believe that it is not a valid comparison and point out that Cronin and Taylor's
paper is questionable at best in its conceptual, methodological/analytical, and practical
aspects. They further state that Cronin and Taylor's work "seem to discount prior
conceptual work i * e SQ literature" (PZB 1994).

2.7.1 Challenges in General Areas Concerning Validity

Since the introduction in 1988 of SERVQUAL by Parasuraman, et al (1988), there


have been numerous revisions to the original format, but most researchers who have
beenfrequentcritics of this measurement device (e.g.. Brown, et al; 1993, Teas, 1993;
Dabholkar, et al, 2000) accept and recognize the determinant roles of expectations and
perceptions in service quality evaluation. The area that is most troublesome for the
critics of SERVQUAL revolves around whether the five key dimensions capture all of
the possible determinants of service quality. Brown et al, (1993) would agree that
SERVQUAL is the most popular measure of service quality, but they have taken
exception with using a scoring method to conceptionalize service quality. Their
empirical investigation indicated that the problems they found with SERVQUAL
manifest itself empirically in that it failed to achieve discriminant validity for all of its
various components. When they utilized non-difference score measures they did not
manifest the same problems as SERVQUAL. In fact, their measures allowed for direct
comparison of expectations and perceptions without linear difference. They also had
serious doubts that modification of wording to fit conceptualization had validity and
felt that it should be studied further.

Teas (1993) found serious objections to SERVQUAL. He felt that the interpretation
of the expectations standard was flawed. Additionally, operationalization of the
expectation standard was not a workable option. He had problems with the evaluation
of alternative models specifying the SQ construct as set out in the SERVQUAL
instrument. His concerns were similar to Brown et al (1993) with regard to whether
the five key dimensions capture all of the possible determinants of service quality.

136
Dabholkar et al, (2000) also was critical of SERVQUAL's five dimensions. They also
foimd that perceptions and measured disconfirmation are more advantageous than
computed disconfirmation, but they suggest fiirther study to determine their study's
ability to predict the power of service quality and customer satisfaction evaluations.
They also recommend measured disconfirmation if gap analysis is used.

Caiman (1990) in his study foimd from six to eight dimensions, while Babakus and
Boiler (1992) determined that a two-dimension approach offered the most efficient
and effective measurement device.

Cronin and Taylor (1992) came to the conclusion that the five dimensions did not
hold for perceptions measured against performance, but did very well if only
performance was measured. Their study concluded that utilizing the consumer's
assessment of performance was adequate by itself to determine perceptions of service
quality. Their non-difference score measure evaluated service quality without relying
on the disconfirmation paradigm. They fovmd that the perceptions component of
SERVQUAL was able to outperform SERVQUAL itself, which caused them to
conclude that the disconfirmation paradigm is not appropriate for perceived service
quality. They observed that perceived quality should be reflected as an attitude, and as
a result their criticism of Parasuraman et al for failing to define perceived service
quality as an attitude in spite of their (Parasuraman et al, 1988) stating that service
quality was "similar in many ways to an attitude".

Parasuraman, et al (1994) responded to specific concerns raised by two of the


researchers (Cronin and Taylor, 1992; and Teas, 1993) relating to the SERVQUAL
instrument as well as the perceptions without expectations. In addressing the criticism
by Cronin and Taylor (1992), Parasuraman, et al (1994) noted:

"In short, every argiunent that Cronin & Taylor make on the basis of their empirical
findings to maintain that the SERVQUAL items form an unidimensional scale is
questionable. Therefore, summing or averaging the scores across all items to create a
single measure of service quality, as Cronin & Taylor have done in evaluating their
structural models is questionable as well." (Parasuraman, et al. 1994: page 113). They
fiuther noted that it would be important to determine the practical value of
SERVQUAL to Cronin and Taylor's (1992) SERVPERF from the standpoint of
asking if managers who measure service quality are seeking accuracy in determining

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service shortfalls or explaining variances. Parasuraman. et al (1994) agreed measuring
variances is the only area in which SE;RVPI-!RF performs better than SliRVQUAL.
but indicated that SliRVQUAI/s superior ability to be diagnostic more than
outweighs any loss in predictive power.

Parasuraman, et al (1994) noted that the three issues raised by Teas (1993) were (I)
interpretation of the expectations standard. (2) operationalization of this standard, and
(3) evaluation of alternative models specifying the SQ construct. While they
acknowledged that his conclusions have merit, there was in their judgment a need to
reexamine his results before several of the assumptions would pro\ ide an) true
evaluation of SERVQUAL.

2.8 Validity of SERVQIJAL Scale in measuring service quality in Public road


transportation industn.

2.8.1

Studies by Carman (1990). Brensinger and Lambert (1990). Babakus and Boiler
(1991). Finn and Lamb (1991) and Parasuraman et al (1991) to compare and assess
the validity of the rellned SERVQIJAL instrument. Of special note is the part of the
study by Parasuraman. et al (1991) which involved two Public road transportation
organizations. Additionally, each of these studies further reinforced SERVQLIAL as a
reliable instrument, albeit with slight modifications.

2.8.2

K. Rama Mohana Rao & U.V.Adinarayana Rao. did research titled "Quality
management in passenger Transport services- An application of Sur\'ival Model to
APSRTC .There objeclixes were lo analyze consumer opinion on the services
provided by the APSR'fC" by adopting servqual Model to Identify gaps in service
quality and to inactivate measures to till such quality gap. 3 ser\ices were selected
Volvo- Premium segment, [express service- Ordinary segment -middle income group
passenger. Ordinary service- Targeted lovxard lower middle and lower income
passengers. A sample oi' 300 customers equally divided among 3 ser\ ices and
between males and females .Respondents were interv iewed at the departure points. 5

38
points scale (Strongly Agree to strongly disagree) for 30 quality attributes. The values
were calculated by assigning to the five scale points. The score was converted into %
.Opinions of males and females were compared by using 'T' test. Two way Annova
was applied to study. The relation between the services and attributes were studied.
Researcher found that APSRTC was rated by the respondents at 71.51 out of 100.
Where 100 signify excellence .Researchers suggested improvements w.r.t. Volvo: -
Responsiveness. Express: - Tangibles. Responsiveness and Empathy; Ordinary: -
Tangibles and Responsiveness.

2.83

Kokku Randheer, (et.al.) did research titled," Measuring commuters' perception on


service qviality using SERVQUAL in Public Transportation". Objective of their
research was to study commuters' perception on service quality. They used
SERVQVAL Scale of 28 items. Sample size was 534 Respondents fh)m
Secunderabad / Hyderabad city. They added "Culture" in the scale. .5 point likert
scale is used. Where ; -2 =Strongly disagree,- l=disagree, 0=Neither disagree Nor
Agree, + 1 =agree ,+ 2 =strongly agree. Pilot study conducted and 28 item reduced to
26 items on 45 customers. Factor Analysis was used for analysis. Convenience
sampling method was used. Non response Rate was negligible. Researchers found
that. Reliability was topmost factor and then empathy. Tangibility was not important
factor.

2.8.4

K. Sai Kumar, did research titled, "Quality of Services in State Transport


Corporations: A Study of APSRTC". Objectives of the study were to know the quality
of services offered by APSRTC, in terms of number of trips operated, regularity,
breakdowns and rate of accidents; number of vehicles off the road; and to find out the
relation between quality of services and the material consumption as well as the level
of inventory. The study was based on secondary sources of data collected from annual
administration reports of the corporation, the records of the Management Information
System (MIS) wing of APSRTC. The statistical package for social sciences
(SPSS 16.0) has been used. The various suitable statistical techniques like Arithmetic
Mean (AM), Standard Deviation (SD), Coefficient of Correlation (CV), Linear
Growth Rate (LGR), Compoimd Growth Rate (CGR), Coefficient of Correlation (r),
139
and Students t-test of significance of growth rate had been applied to analyze the
empirical data.

Finding of the study was; the trips operated with regularity were a favorable situation
for the passengers to feel that the buses were available as and when they want and
reach their destinations on time. Similarly, the reduction in number of breakdowns
and the number of accidents demonstrate a feeling of satisfaction and safety to the
passengers. Further, the reduction in the number of vehicles off the road indicates that
the corporation maintained the required amoimt of inventory The quality of services
offered by APSRTC was good and satisfactory for the traveling public. The losses
obtained by the corporation during the study period did not have any adverse effect on
the services oflfered.

2.8.5

Dr.C.Vijaya Kumar, K.S.Muthupandian, (2012) ,did research titled "Measurement of


Passengers Service Quality In Public Transportation: Servqual Analysis", The
objective of this research was to measure the quality of the factors affecting the
current service delivery of the State Road Transport Undertakings (SRTUs) in Tamil
Nadu with the SERVQUAL instrument. In this research, convenience sampling was
used. The reason for this is that there is no available sampling frame i.e. a list of all
members of the population. The t-test was used to see if there were any significant
differences in the means for two groups in the variable of interest. In this study, the
paired t-test was carried out to test the significant difference between the two means
of expectations and perceptions. A comparison of passengers' perceptions of service
quality with their expectations, using paired t-test, showed a statistically not
significant difference on all of the 25 attributes examined in this study. Hypothesis
HI: There is no significant difference in the gap between passengers'perceptions and
expectations in service quality of SRTUs in Tamil Nadu. HOI: There is significant
difference in the gap between passengers' perceptions and expectations in service
quality of SRTUs in Tamil Nadu.

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