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Managing the Customer Perceived Service Quality for Cellular Mobile Telephony: An Empirical Investigation
Anita Seth, K Momaya, and H M Gupta

Executive Summary

KEY WORDS Service Quality Cellular Mobile Services Exploratory Factor Analysis Confirmatory Factor Analysis Competitiveness

With the liberalization and internationalization in telecommunication, service quality has become an important means of differentiation and path to achieve business success. Such differentiation based on service quality can be a key source of competitiveness for many Indian firms and hence have implications for leadership in such organizations. For the past few years, cellular mobile service sector in India has been experiencing the highest growth rate in terms of subscribers and revenues . With the increasing demands of the customer, cellular mobile sector has become competitive. Despite this, most of the cellular mobile service providers in India are primarily focusing on expanding their customer base and tend to overlook investing in service quality. A thorough review of literature revealed that most of the studies reported on service quality focused on the service delivery aspects, ignoring the role of technical quality. The present study strives to develop a valid and reliable instrument to measure customer perceived service quality incorporating both service delivery as well as technical quality aspects. Through a survey of 225 regular users of cellular mobile services, a seven dimensional service quality instrument is revealed, which is empirically tested for unidimensionality, reliability, and construct validity using confirmatory factor analysis. The resulting validated instrument comprised of dimensions including reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, tangibles, convenience, and customer perceived network quality. Further, the results of the regression analysis highlighted the priority areas of service improvement. The study indicated that among the various dimensions, ‘responsiveness’ is the best predictor, followed by reliability, customer perceived network quality, assurance, convenience, empathy, and tangibles. Thus, superior performance on the most important dimension, ‘responsiveness’ may be helpful in providing enhanced quality of service. The major managerial implications of study include the following: • The service quality instrument so developed can be used by managers for periodic monitoring of service quality as perceived by customers. • The study also provides directions to service providers as to which particular dimension require attention in terms of their importance. This would enable the service providers to focus resources in accordance with the importance of these dimensions. • Further, the service quality index derived by aggregating the scores on these dimensions can also be developed, which can be used for benchmarking their performance against competitors. The instrument is developed and validated by collecting data from customers in India. There may be a possibility of cultural differences playing a role in the outcome of the study. Thus, there is a need to explore these results for other developing and developed economies. The future studies may also take into account the factors that influence service quality for corporate customers.



The customer’s overall impression of the relative inferiority/superiority of the organization and its services. It is the capability of a network to provide services and to fulfil user’s expectations. Booms and Tetreauly. service quality has become an important means of differentiation and is critical for achieving corporate success. combining both functional as well as technical aspects. 1996 Technical quality Hannikainen. In India. researchers in cellular mobile communication (Wang and Lo. Authors (Parasuraman. Leisen and Vance. network quality in cellular mobile context) attributes. and increasing demands of the customer for more sophisticated services have helped the cellular mobile sector to become increasingly competitive and market oriented. 4.e. health care. 2001). 20 MANAGING THE CUSTOMER PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY FOR CELLULAR MOBILE TELEPHONY . Zeithaml and Berry.. 1994.). service quality in cellular mobile communication can be defined as “an indicator of customer’s overall impression of services (concerning Definitions Global judgment or attitude. It is an indicator of performance of a network and of the degree to which the network conforms to the stipulated norms. 1985. education. cellular mobile service sector has been experiencing the highest growth rate in terms of revenues and subscribers in many countries as well as in India (www. thanks to the hyper-competitive telecom markets with the post-liberalization entry of several Indian and global players. 1990 AsubontengMcCleary and Swan. technological advancements. This would enable the service providers to understand and focus on customers’ quality requirements. 1985. As a result. 1988 Bitner. Ruyter and Wetzels. Zeithaml and Berry. No 1. 1990) agree that service quality is an abstract concept. at least in the urban areas. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND Over the last few years. 2003). However. etc. et.e. the study also aims at finding the relative importance of service quality dimensions from the customers’ perspectives. Carman.. 2.iberalization.. profitability (Thompson. the pursuit of service quality is essential for competitiveness and is gaining momentum. has been progressing.. Broad Category Functional quality Author. Previous studies in this area primarily focused on functional quality aspects (i. Although numerous researchers have made theoretical and empirical contributions to the study of Table 1: Select Definitions of Service Quality S. In light of this. al. difficult to define and measure. Year Parasuraman. 1993) provides a base to explore the subject in the cellular mobile context. Thus. 1988. In the context of such an intensifying competition in this sector. 3. Some of the contemporary definitions of service quality are summarized in Table 1. the area of cellular mobile communication is not adequately researched. pertaining to service delivery process or how the services are delivered) and inadequately addressed technical quality aspects (i. relating to the superiority of the service. 1999) and competitive advantage (Hampton. Bloemer. rapid diffusion of telecom. issues concerning what is actually delivered). in this study. For the past few years.nationmaster. 2002) emphasized that technical quality attributes play an important role in forming service quality perceptions of customers. For service providers. survival and success of the Indian players will depend on competitiveness. Johnson and Sirikit.e. In such a competitive service quality is imperative to achieve competitive advantage. most of the cellular mobile service providers (CMSP) in India focus primarily on expanding their subscriber’s base and tend to overlook investing in service quality. 5. Despite the ongoing concern about service quality. the objective of the article is to investigate service quality structure by combining both functional as well as technical quality (i. The difference between customer’s expectations for service performance prior to the service encounter and their perceptions of the service received. customer loyalty and retention (Ranaweera and Neely. *TRAI: Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India. The proven positive relationship of service quality with customer satisfaction (Danaher and Mattsson. In addition to this. DeSouza and Gale. 2002 TRAI*2002 L service quality in various industries (like banking. 2002. there has been a considerable research on different aspects of service quality leading to a sound conceptual base for both practitioners and researchers.

as both of them focus only on the functional quality attributes. Soteriou and Stavrinides (2000) developed the service quality model for bank branch in order to optimally utilize its resources. 2002) for its robust and well-defined structure. securities brokerage.. 1992). Several dimensions of competitiveness have become relevant in India and have been researched Rosen and Karwan (1994) Teaching. Dabholkar. Boulding et al. researchers (Mangold and Babakus. Zeithaml and Berry. insurance co. Zeithaml and Berry. Richard and Allaway. bookstore and health care Johnson. service quality is operationalized through performance only scores based on the same twenty-two items and five-dimensional structure of SERVQUAL. 1991. restaurant. Grönroos (1984) model divides the customer’s perceptions of any particular service into two dimensions. the most widely used service quality measurement tools include SERVQUAL (Parasuraman. namely technical and functional quality. Zeithaml and Berry (1988) Telephone co.MARCH 2008 21 . the present research adopted a unified approach by combining functional as well as technical quality attributes for service quality measurement of cellular mobile services. and not on the technical quality attributes. Sclegelmilch and Diamanto-poulos (1995) developed the service quality model for medical services. Pub type restaurants quality. SERVQUAL is appreciated by researchers (Carman. Jain and Gupta. Further. However. Zhu et al. many authors (Cronin and Taylor. Zhu. Researchers have tried to operationalize service quality from different perspectives for different service applications. Therefore. In the SERVPERF scale. Parasuraman. (1985) proposed the gap model of service quality that operationalized service quality as the gap between expectations and performance perceptions of the customer. based on the difference between expectations and performance perceptions of customers using twenty-two items and five-dimensional structures. 1996. 1993. 1990. banks and repair and maintenance Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy Tangibles Lehtinen and Lehtinen (1991) Lunch restaurants..” On service quality modelling.. Tsiros and Lancioni (1995) Bank Customers UK Siu and Cheung (2001) Service quality delivery of a department store chain Personal interaction Policy Physical appearance Promises Problem solving Convenience Alzola and Robaina (2005) Electronic commerce B2C Dimensions Physical quality Corporate quality Interactive quality Process quality Output quality Reliability Responsiveness Tangibles Access Knowing the customer Assurance Input quality Process quality Output quality Reliability Design Guarantee Empathy Security VIKALPA • VOLUME 33 • NO 1 • JANUARY . Also the issue of universal dimensions of the SERVQUAL scale for various service applications is debatable. Improvements in service quality can also enhance competitiveness. Wymer and Chen (2002) proposed the service quality model highlighting the information technology (IT)-based service options to investigate the relationship between IT-based services and customer’s perceptions of service quality.. However. 1993) agree that both SERVQUAL and SERVPERF scales may not be comprehensive in capturing the service quality construct. 2004) found the SERVPERF scale to outperform the SERVQUAL scale in terms of both reliability and validity. Disco. 1992.both functional and technical) delivered by an organization. The SERVQUAL scale measures service Table 2: Select Service Quality Dimensions Authors (Year) Application areas Parasuraman. researchers derived and proposed different service quality dimensions for various service applications as illustrated in Table 2. Further. 1988) and SERVPERF (Cronin and Taylor. Murfin. Based on their conceptual/empirical studies.

a set of dimensions is required. it needs to be modified as per the service in consideration (Seth. The semi-structured in-depth interviews focused on the following issues: • How do the customers evaluate service quality in cellular mobile communication? • What are the key factors influencing the customer’s perceptions of service quality in cellular mobile services? Observations from Literature Although service quality literature is found to be rich in empirical studies on different service sectors. Used SEVPERF scale for service quality measurement and found that network quality and empathy are the most important drivers of overall service quality in China’s mobile phone market. However. and their impact on competitiveness.across levels (Momaya 1998. Service quality has positive impact on customer satisfaction. Service quality assessment using SERVQUAL performed reliably in the Thai telecommunication service settings. 2003 Kim. SERVQUAL instrument is reliable for the measurement of service quality in the telecommunication industry in South Africa. 2002). For this. Pampallis and Bond. Momaya (2001) has discussed the basics about competitiveness and its evaluation. Several critical issues about the role of ICT for competitiveness have also been discussed by Momaya (2005). personal in-depth interviews. researchers have supported both SERVQUAL as well as SERVPERF tools. Insights from Exploratory Investigations The respondents provided valuable insights regarding the service quality measures and key factors impacting their perceptions. Further. Gerbing and Anderson (1988) and O’Leary-Kelly and Vokurka (1998). Park and Jeong 2004 Field of Study Fixed line telephone services Both fixed line and cellular mobile services Cellular mobile services Cellular mobile services Fixed line telephone services Cellular mobile services Key Findings SERVQUAL instrument seems to be the best fitting model of service quality in the US and Germany. using cellular mobile services of various service providers were randomly selected for interviews. were conducted. the dimensional issue of service quality requires re-examination in the context of cellular mobile communication. Service quality is important to overall customer satisfaction with telephone services. service quality modelling in cellular mobile services is not adequately investigated. Momaya and Shee. Study revealed that price perceptions and indifference moderated the relationship between service quality and customer retention. Exploratory Investigations An exploratory qualitative study was undertaken to better understand the key dimensions of service quality that are important to cellular mobile users. 2006). but there seems to be no universal dimension. comprising open-ended questions with the customers. Momaya and Gupta. In addition to this. The important insights obtained from Table 3: Select Work in Service Quality Measurement in Telecommunication S. more empirical investigation is required to study the causal relationship between service quality. linkage between service quality and competitiveness is less explored. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY In order to develop a reliable and valid service quality measurement scale. for service quality modelling. Service Quality in Telecommunication For service quality measurement in telecommunication (including fixed line and cellular mobile services). 2001 Johnson and Sirikit. Some of the key findings in this area are highlighted in Table 3. In all. Year Leisen and Vance. Thus. 2002 Wang and Lo. Banwet. twenty customers. No 1 Author. 2 3 4 5 6 22 MANAGING THE CUSTOMER PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY FOR CELLULAR MOBILE TELEPHONY . The methodology used to develop the instrument followed the guidelines given by Churchill (1979). customer satisfaction. 2002 Van der Wal. retention. Focused on the customer’s perception of service quality. Used SEVPERF with some modifications for service quality measurement. an empirical study was undertaken based on the methodology shown in Appendix 1. Study revealed that call quality is the most important issue that impacts customer satisfaction for mobile services. Each interview lasted 30 to 60 minutes. 2002 Ranaweera and Neely.

call drop. Zeithaml and Berry. The measures related to this dimension were derived from literature and the subsequent feedback gained during the exploratory interviews. Various measures used in this study are described below: For measuring functional quality. seven dimensions for measuring service quality in cellular mobile telephony were identified. which are summarized in Table 4. Zeithaml and Berry. Technical quality dimensions: In the context of cellular mobile communication.. Gagliano and Hathcote. Zeithaml and Berry.. network coverage. personnel and communication materials. equipment. and network congestion. 1988. with appropriate modifications. Zeithaml and Berry. It is an indicator of network performance in terms of voice quality. call drop rate. Zeithaml and Berry. Appearance of physical facilities. VIKALPA • VOLUME 33 • NO 1 • JANUARY . a new dimension ‘convenience’ emerged as an outcome of interviews for measurement of functional service quality. 2000 Empathy Tangibles Convenience Technical Customer perceived network quality a b Notes: Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India European Telecommunications Standards Institute. 1988. and network congestion. empathy. ETSIb . voice quality. Zeithaml and Berry. • Customers agreed that in addition to the above functional dimensions. Exploratory interviews further confirmed that in spite of the emphasis given to service quality by the cellular mobile service providers (CMSPs).. Markoulidakis et. call drops. 1996. Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their abilities to inspire trust and confidence. Identification of Critical Dimensions of Service Quality In-depth interviews with potential customers and an examination of past studies on cellular mobile telephony. and tangibles. Rosen and Karwan. few items related to ‘convenience’ were also incorporated. which could be categorized under two groups as follows: Design of Survey Instrument The questionnaire items for functional and technical quality were developed from the inferences obtained through the review of the subject and from exploratory interviews.MARCH 2008 23 . In all. namely. as promised. inside buildings. 1994 Parasuraman. Functional quality dimensions: This included five SERVQUAL (Parasuraman. responsiveness. 1988) dimensions. Naghshineh and Schwartz. These included items relating to network coverage (on highways. this dimension is related to customer perceived network quality. Willingness of the firm’s staff to help customers and provide prompt services. Rosen and Karwan. Implies flexible and comfortable facilities to suit the customers needs. reliability.analysing the customers’ responses are described below: • Consensus emerged towards items for measurement of service quality. etc. the customers seemed to be unsatisfied with the quality of services delivered. 1988. 1994 TRAIa. 1994 Carvalho and Leite 1999. voice clarity. the study employed modified and customized twenty-two items of Table 4: Critical Dimensions for Measuring Service Quality in Cellular Mobile Communication Broad Category Functional SQ Dimensions Relevant to Users Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Description Ability to perform the service accurately and dependably. Relevance from Literature Parasuraman. provided insights about the critical dimensions of service quality. 1994 Parasuraman. 1991 Parasuraman. Rosen and Karwan. • Customers agreed with the measures such as congestion. Saleh and Ryan. In addition to SERVQUAL dimensions. Further. and basement). assurance. Rosen and Karwan. 1988. 1988. Ability of the service provider to provide a caring and personalized attention to each customer. customer perceived network quality also affects the overall service quality. to evaluate network quality as perceived by them.1994 Parasuraman. al.

Babakus and Boller.501-1000 22. functional as well as network quality constructs were measured based on customer’s perceptions only.1 Education Graduate 58 U. Pre-testing A pilot study was conducted with a small sample size of 50 to clarify the overall structure of questionnaire. The details are provided in Appendix 2. 1978).2 Rs. For a measure to be acceptable. nology and 28 per cent of the respondents had subscribed to mobile services based on CDMA technology. 1992). The critical step involved in the development of a measurement scale is the assessment of the reliability of constructs..1 Rs. “your perception about overall service quality. For this. et al.2001-3000 1.graduate 12 P. of the 350 surveys individually administered. five items were included in the questionnaire. Respondent’s Characteristics % of Respondents Age group 18-20 30 21-30 42 31-40 14 41-50 10 >50 4 Monthly expenditure per month on mobile services Up to Rs. anchored at 1: “very bad” to 5: “excellent”. Further.8 Rs.70) to 0. Further. Further. ANALYSIS AND RESULTS Data collected was analysed through a series of validated tools and procedures. Owing to multidimensionality of service quality construct. Item-tototal correlation equal to or greater than 0. 72 per cent of the respondents used mobile services based on GSM tech- Assessment of Reliability The reliability of items was assessed by computing the coefficient alpha (Cronbach. The respondents provided comments on clarity of some items and confirmed face validity of items in the questionnaire. I. that measures the internal consistency of the items. 230 questionnaires were received at a response rate of 65. 1951). were personally distributed to customers of cellular mobile services.7 (Nunnally. all alpha coefficients ranged from 0. The demographic characteristics of the customers are summarized in Table 5. Respondents in the age group 18-20 yrs (30%) and 21-30 yrs (42%) were the major contributors. 2005. the corrected item-to-total correlation was computed. The results of the analysis are described in the following sub-sections. Data Collection The questionnaires including covering letter. who had been using the services for at least six months. confirmatory factor analysis was performed in order to confirm the findings.>3000 3.8 Rs. 1993. 225 responses were found to be completely filled. On further filtering. Convenience sampling method was used to collect the data from customers. In conjunction with this qualitative assessment. Finally. 500 67. Based on the earlier available guidelines of researchers (Boulding.83. The factor analysis of the collected data was conducted next.1001-2000 5. coefficient alpha should be above 0. Table 5: Demographic Characteristics of Respondents No. quantitative assessment was also done for further purification of scale items at this stage. Each of these items was evaluated on a five-point Likert scale.71 per cent.69 (close to the cut-off value of 0. Most of the respondents (about 67%) were pre-paid. coefficient alpha was computed separately for all the dimensions identified.” measured on a five-point Likert scale. the data was specifically collected from residential cellular mobile customers. III. during January-March. 30 items were chosen for the scale. In the present study.SERVQUAL instrument and four additional items for measurement of ‘convenience’ while for the assessment of network quality as perceived by customers. In the present study. while rest (33%) of the respondents accounted for post-paid services. IV.4 is considered acceptable (Nunnally. the overall perception of service quality was assessed using a single item. Out of 31 items. 1978). ranging from 1: “strongly disagree” to 5: “strongly agree”. indicating good 24 MANAGING THE CUSTOMER PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY FOR CELLULAR MOBILE TELEPHONY .graduate 27 Others 3 Occupation Business 8 Professionals 41 Educator 15 Home-maker 5 Clerk 10 Student 21 II.

593 435 0. discriminant. appropriateness of factor analysis needs to be assessed. It involves the assessment of the degree to which an operationalization correctly measures its targeted variables (O’Leary-Kelly and Vokurka.000 LISREL 8. Validity Analysis Some of the important validity tests generally considered includes content. it is further subjected to validation analysis (Ahire.5 were eliminated (Hair et al.90 as shown in Table 8. It is the degree to which multiple methods of measuring a variable provide the same results (O’Leary-Kelly and Vokurka. In this study. Individual items in the model were examined to see how closely they represent the same construct. From the Table. the communalities derived from the factor analysis were reviewed. These were all relatively large (greater than 0. Scale with values of 0. confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) provides enhanced control for assessing unidimensionality (i. the extent to which items on a factor measure one single construct) than exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and is more in line with the overall process of construct validation. establishing construct validity involves the empirical assessment of unidimensionality. 1996). The items in the respective category were individually subjected to PCA with varimax rotation and Kaiser Normalization using SPSS 10. Table 6: KMO and Bartlett’s Test Results for Customer Perceived Service Quality Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity Approx. Bratlett test results also show that the values are significant and thus acceptable. Further. 1998). reliability.. (1996). in order to check for unidimensionality. Convergent validity.6 can be considered as adequate (Kaiser and Rice. According to them. 1998). Convergent validity can be established using a coefficient called Bentler-Bonett coefficient. a measurement model was specified for each construct and CFA was run for all the constructs. Content validity. The results are shown in Table 7. The individual dimensions of the proposed instrument explained total variance exceeding 60 per cent. Once unidimensionality and reliability of a scale is established. suggesting that the data set is appropriate (Stewart.consistency among the items within each dimension. confirmatory factor analysis model is run through VIKALPA • VOLUME 33 • NO 1 • JANUARY .71 and the key model statistics are shown in Table 8. 1980).. it can be seen that KMO value is acceptable. Confirmatory Factor Analysis According to Ahire. 2005). Chi-Square df Sig.90 or above shows strong evidence of convergent validity (Bentler and Bonett. and criterion related validity. This indicates a strong evidence of unidimensionality for the scale. A comparative fit index (CFI) of 0. This can be done by examining sampling adequacy through KaiserMeyer-Olkin (KMO) statistic. suggesting the appropriateness of the process. The items having factor loadings less than 0. 1994).5). seven factors comprising twenty-eight items. construct. KMO value greater than 0.90 or above for the model implies that there is a strong evidence of unidimensionality (Byrne.0.e. thereby demonstrating strong convergent validity. and validity (convergent and discriminant validity). 1974). The content validity of a construct can be defined as the degree to which the measure spans the domain of the construct’s theoretical definition (Rungtusanatham. all having eigen values of unity and above were extracted and the results are shown in Table 7.MARCH 2008 25 .789 3833. In the present study. Construct validity. Finally. in order to assess the appropriateness of the data for factor analysis. 0. 1981). Table 6 provides the SPSS output of data for factor analysis. The CFI values obtained for all the seven dimensions in the scale are equal to or above 0. Exploratory Factor Analysis Before proceeding for the factor analysis. For the present study. Golhar and Waller. The values for the BentlerBonett coefficient are summarized for all the seven dimensions in Table 8. 1998).90. Golhar and Waller. All the dimensions have a value of more than 0. the content validity of the instrument was ensured as the service quality dimensions and items were identified from the literature and were thoroughly reviewed by professionals and academicians.

pamphlets.1978). Retailer network is easily located D5: Tangibles 19. and Model 2 as shown in Figure 1.654 0.307 0. Flexibility in payment of bills etc.865 0.756 D1: Reliability 1.e. Physical facilities are visually appealing 20.790 0. Quick complaints resolution 9. No. For assessing discriminant validity.775 0.651 0.833 0.) are visually appealing D6: Convenience 22. Name of Dimension Factor Loadings1 0. Understand your specific needs 18.782 0. The three compari- son models are referred as Model 0. Billing system accurate and error free 5.759 69.892 0.839 0. Call gets connected during first attempt 30.771 0. It is the degree to which the measures of different latent variables are unique. Model 2 consists of a structure corresponding to CFA full LISREL 26 MANAGING THE CUSTOMER PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY FOR CELLULAR MOBILE TELEPHONY . Well informed about progress of complaint 4.628 76 0.g.654 0. 1978).Table 7: Factor Extraction Results of Service Quality Measurement Items S. Finally.766 0.739 0. Able to make calls at peak hours Notes: 1 2 76 0.. etc.656 0.816 0. 25.412 0. Discriminant validity.733 0. Behaviour instils confidence in you* 13. Provides sufficient geographical coverage 27. CPSQ) and 28 unique factors.820 0.713 72 0. Materials (e.732 Factor loadings greater than 0.842 0. Performs the service right the first time 2. Adequate knowledge to handle queries 12. Willingness/helpfulness D3: Assurance 10.776 0. Premature termination of calls 28.845 0. Model 0 comprises a structure consisting of no traits (i.6 being acceptable (Kim and Mueller. Gives you individual attention 17. 1995).751 0. Easily accessible 15.864 0.780 Coefficient alpha2 (%) 84 KMO3 0. 3 KMO static value above 0.755 80 0.763 0. 1995). Model 1. Discriminant validity is ensured if a measure does not correlate very highly with other measures from which it is supposed to differ (O’Leary-Kelly and Vokurka.724 0. Contact employees appear neat 21.822 0. Friendly and polite 11.. Clear and undisturbed voice 29. 28 unique factors).5 is acceptable (Hair et al. 1998). They have your best interests at heart* 16. Simple application formalities D7: Customer perceived network quality 26. Convenient business hours 23.817 0.643 0. three chi-square comparison models were considered. Feel safe in your transactions D4: Empathy 14.. Queries taken seriously 8. Model 1 proposes a structure consisting of a single trait (customer perceived service quality. Provides the services at the promised time 3. Promptness of service 7. * Item deleted on account of low factor loadings (Hair et al. Timeliness of bills D2: Responsiveness 6. Ease of lodging complaints/queries 24.6 0.757 78 0. Alpha values of 70% or higher are considered acceptable (Nunnally.

external to the measurement instrument is correlated with the factor structure (Nunnally. it is clear that the correlation coefficient of customer perceived network quality construct with overall service quality (i.90 predicts strong convergent validity (Bentler and Bonett.446* 0. VIKALPA • VOLUME 33 • NO 1 • JANUARY . Table 9: Comparison of Model 0. the respondents’ ratings were collected. Criterion-related validity.e. from the Table. 1990). functional quality has drawn more Table 10: Correlations Among the Seven Dimensions and External Criteria S. 1.96 0. Chi-square differences are statistically significant thereby demonstrating discriminant validity. 1.41 378 Model 0 .Model 2 1747. 7. 2.96 0.94 0.67=1017.No.93 0. This shows that customer perceived network quality is a significant determinant of customer’s overall service quality assessment. The correlations are presented in Table 10. 28 factors) 729.MARCH 2008 27 . The results are depicted in Table 11. 6. 4.01 level (2-tailed). The Table indicates the mean values and order of importance for these dimensions from customers’ perspectives. Relative Importance of Service Quality Dimensions In response to the question relating to relative importance of functional as well as network quality from customers’ perspectives. 0.439* 0. Also.327* 0. criterion validity is established by correlating the customer perceived service quality scale scores with overall service quality. 5.No.98 0. and 2.90 0. Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy Tangibles Convenience Customer perceived network quality Overall Service Quality 0. 1 and 2 for Discriminant Analysis Model 0 (0 traits and 28 factors) Chi -square Degree of freedom Difference of Chi-square Difference of degree of freedom 5253. It is established when a criterion.98 0.410* 0. which is considered to be the outcome construct.90 0.67 343 Model 1.527* * Correlation is significant at the 0. Thus. The results show that the customers gave importance to both functional as well as customer perceived network quality in judging the overall service quality. GFI value of more than 0.92 0. 6.13=3506.93 0.97 0. 2.95 CFI value of 0.41-1747.618* 0. 4.93 Goodness of Fit (GFI)3 0.. 3. 1980).28 378-350 =28 Model 1 (1 trait.46 350-343=7 model.99 0.13 350 Model 2 (7 traits.527) is statistically significant. It consists of seven traits and 28 unique factors. 1978). Table 9 presents the chi-square comparison for Model 0. 5. Although marginally.99 0.Table 8: Unidimensionality and Convergent Validity Indices for the Seven Dimensions S.Model 1 5253. 3. Dimensions 1. In the present study. The comparison of chi-square statistic for Model 1 and Model 2 provides support for discriminant validity. which shows that all the dimensions have significant positive correlations with overall service quality.91 0.13-729.243* 0. criterion related validity is established for all the dimensions.95 0. 7. 1994).92 Bentler-Bonett Coefficient ( )2 0.9 shows best fit of model (Jöreskog and Sörbom. 28 factors) 1747. Bentler.9 and above testifies strong unidimensionality (Byrne.Bonett coefficient value above 0. Notes: 1 2 3 Factors Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy Tangibles Convenience Customer perceived network quality Comparative Fit Index (CFI)1 0.96 0.97 0.96 0.

23 (Cpnq) All the factors were found to be significant and remained in the equation explaining overall service quality. The results of Table 12 can be summarized as regression equation given below. they were subjected to regression analysis. the average Table 11: Relative Importance of CPNQ and Functional Quality Dimensions S.No. For this. multiple regression analysis model was followed in which the respondent’s overall judgement of service quality was considered as dependent variable and the seven customer perceived service quality dimensions were made independent variables. Zeithaml ad Berry’s (1988) approach.56 (Ass) + 0.06 (Tang) + 0.49 Order of Importance 1 2 Note: Relative ranking on a scale of 1to 2.29 + 0. 28 Factors importance but the difference is very small and hence it can be considered that both customer perceived network quality and functional quality are important in affecting the customer’s perceptions of service quality.51 1.00).37(Rel) + 0. in order to determine the relative importance of seven customer-perceived service quality dimensions. Further. The higher the beta co-efficient. 28 Factors D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 Model 2: 7 Traits. based on Parasuraman. score for each of the dimensions were regressed on the overall service quality score obtained from each respondent surveyed.95.Figure 1: Discriminant Validity Analysis Result I1 I3 I2 I4 I5 I6 I7 I8 I9 I 10 I 11 I 12 I 13 I 14 I 15 I 16 I 17 I 18 I 19 I 20 I 21 I 22 I 23 I 24 I 25 I 26 I 27 Model 0: 0 Trait and 28 Factors I 28 CPSQ Model 1: 1 Trait. with 57 per cent of the variance in overall service quality explained by independent variables. 1. Thus. The dimension with the largest coefficient represents the most important dimension in terms of its influence on overall quality perceptions.92 (Resp) + 0. The results of multiple regression analysis is summarized in Table 12 and it is observed that the overall regression model is significant (F=23. The beta (β) coefficients provided the relative importance. more the contribution of factors in explaining service quality. The next largest coefficient represents the second most influential dimension and so forth.33 (Conv) + 0. 2.34 (Emp) + 1. a Dimensions Functional quality Customer perceived network quality Meana 1. As shown in the 28 MANAGING THE CUSTOMER PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY FOR CELLULAR MOBILE TELEPHONY . Overall service quality as perceived by customers = 3. p<0.

MARCH 2008 of new factors—‘convenience’ and ‘customer perceived network quality’— in affecting the overall service quality.” i. ‘responsiveness.04).000). R2/Sig. The insights obtained from exploratory investigations revealed the emergence VIKALPA • VOLUME 33 • NO 1 • JANUARY . Beta (β) 0. Thus.Table 12: Regression Analysis Results for Relative Importance of Service Quality Dimensions Independent variables Reliability (Rel) Assurance (Ass) Tangibles (Tang) Empathy (Emp) Responsiveness (Resp) Convenience (Conv) Customer perceived network quality (Cpnq) Notes: Constant: 3. 2002.048 0.000 Order of Importance 2 4 7 6 1 5 3 0. The proposed instrument comprises of the previously known SERVQUAL dimensions. T 0. Looking at this individual dimension. it is suggested that the contact employees should resolve the customer’s complaints timely and that the customer’s queries are taken seriously.324 Sig. ‘reliability’ factor also appeared to 29 . Wang and Lo. responsiveness. followed by reliability. 2002). the results of the regression analysis highlighted the priority areas of service improvement and revealed that not all the dimensions contribute equally to the customers’ perceptions of service quality in cellular mobile context.000 Dependent variable: Overall service quality Table. This shows that the customers perceive “tangibles.e. for assessing customer perceived service quality. responsiveness.’ may be helpful in providing enhanced quality of service while the performance on less important dimension like tangibles may not significantly impact customer’s perceptions of service quality. 1984) model. For this. convenience. Zeithaml and Berry. and customer perceived network quality was revealed. tangibles. reliability. Additionally. etc.’ (with the largest β value) is the best predictor. assurance. 1988) and technical/ functional quality (Grönroos. Finally. tangibles. Thus.000 0. empathy.57/0..350 0. and customer perceived network quality.431 0.000 0. and additionally. convenience.040 0.244 0. This study provides significant contribution to theory by devising a reliable and valid measurement instrument which combines both SERVQUAL (Parasuraman. assurance.29. and tangibles. This suggests that managers should give attention to not only the service delivery aspects (functional quality) but also the performance of their cellular network. These findings were confirmed and validated through extensive analysis procedures.000 0. the results indicate that perceived service quality is influenced by all the seven dimensions with ‘responsiveness’ as the most important dimension.202 0. ‘responsiveness.431. they need to ensure that the employees are able to make important decisions regarding customers’ requirements at their level. empathy. a sevendimensional instrument comprising of reliability. superior performance on the most important dimension.000 0. The study indicated that among the various service quality dimensions. thereby providing adequate responsiveness. β coefficient = 0. t =7. namely.177 0. an exploratory qualitative study was undertaken to better understand the key dimensions. For this. = 0. Further. as the least important for influencing their service quality perceptions.. the appearance of contact employees and visual appearance of pamphlets. convenience.217 (sig. assurance. The results suggest that the customers tend to make service quality judgements based on these seven dimensions in order of importance as revealed in the regression analysis. empathy. the results of both the exploratory as well as confirmatory factor analyses clearly indicated a sevendimensional structure to measure service quality as perceived by the customers for cellular mobile services.000 0. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS A review of literature revealed that the earlier studies on modelling and measurement of customer perceived service quality were primarily focused on service delivery aspects while the importance of technical quality in cellular mobile services have been emphasized by various researchers (Johnson and Sirikit. and ‘tangibles’ appearing to be the least important (with β co-efficient = 0. This implies that cellular mobile service providers should invest in empowering the contact employees and providing them with adequate resources so that they can take prompt actions to customer queries. customer perceived network quality.

the service quality index (SQI) for a particular organization can be evaluated by aggregating the scores on these dimensions. Thus. assurance. Having focused excessively on services. These were confirmed by a detailed analysis and validation procedures. Thus. and focus on reducing the congestion level in their network.dimensional (reliability. the service providers would in effect. In this context. improve the customer’s perceptions of services delivered. and customer perceived network quality) structure. By managing the service quality dimensions in order of their importance. the present research can be seen as the study incorporating both functional as well as network quality attributes for assessing customer perceived service quality. the service providers are required to focus on important dimensions to achieve high levels of service quality and also aim at reaching acceptable level for not so important dimensions. this research also reconfirms that SERVQUAL is not a generic scale. While average organizations would manage passively—just follow leaders or as per customer’s whims—progressive organizations can shape customer perceptions or co-create and even drive customer perceptions with breakthrough innovations in services or related products. followed on a regular basis (monthly/ quarterly). may pose a big challenge as well as opportunities for leadership in achieving superior service quality for competitiveness. voice clarity. For this. Consistent with the findings of researchers (Table 2). customer perceived network quality. having adequate knowledge to handle queries on the part of contact employees assumed the fourth important place in overall rating of service quality. Therefore. The resulting instrument is devised after a review of the literature and exploratory investigations followed by a series of acceptable validation procedures. Relatively low customer sophistication due to low education on an average. in case of cellular mobile. the service providers need to focus on performing the service right the first time.’ assumed the fifth place in terms of importance. Thus. service providers need to pay attention on providing adequate network coverage. convenience. ‘convenience’ and ‘customer perceived network quality’ dimensions were added in the original SERVQUAL scale. ‘convenience. Like the product quality in manufacturing industries. Further. This requires that the service providers have convenient business hours and the procedure for lodging complaints/queries should be without any difficulty. This 30 MANAGING THE CUSTOMER PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY FOR CELLULAR MOBILE TELEPHONY . empathy. On the basis of the findings revealed during the exploratory investigations. ‘Tangibles’ appeared to be the least important dimension in affecting the customer’s perceptions of overall service quality. service quality needs to be measured using a an important role in influencing the overall service quality as perceived by the customers. it is imperative for the service providers to provide adequate training to their employees to improve their customer interaction skills and their knowledge. empathy. Additionally. The new dimension identified in this study. assurance. This is expected to enhance the customer satisfaction and thus competitiveness in the longer run. ‘Customer perceived network quality’ appeared at the third important place in the overall perceptions of service quality. Further. and tangibles. application formalities for getting a new connection should be easy and there should be flexibility in the payment of bills. tangibles. ensuring the correctness and accuracy of billing system and timeliness of bills. CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS The research resulted in the development of a reliable and valid instrument for assessing customer perceived service quality for cellular mobile services. responsiveness. The least importance given to ‘tangibles’ can be attributed to the fact that customers attach less importance to physical appearance and instead give more precedence to other service quality aspects. The SQI value so obtained would indicate the level of service quality delivered by an organization. keeping the customers well informed about the progress of their complaints. service quality has the potential to become a key differentiator in several industries. the study highlighted the relative importance of service quality attributes. The ‘assurance’ factor involving friendly and polite behaviour. ‘Empathy’ emerged at the sixth place in terms of importance. For this. followed by reliability. the monitoring of service quality should be a continuous initia- tive. and showed that ‘responsiveness’ is the most important dimension. it requires that the service providers should give individual attention to the customers’ queries and understand their specific needs. Finally. Service providers can use these indices for benchmarking their performance. such differentiation can be of a key source of competitiveness for many organizations in India and hence implications for leadership in such organizations. convenience. providing the services at the promised time.

MARCH 2008 31 .would enable the service providers to focus their resources in the areas of importance. refinement and finalization of the instrument Final scale development for measuring customer’s perception of SQ in cellular mobile services VIKALPA • VOLUME 33 • NO 1 • JANUARY . While significant findings are obtained from this study. It is hoped that the availability of this instrument would stimulate further research focusing on service quality and its impact on competitiveness for cellular mobile service organizations as well as telecom players. and competitiveness. there is a need to explore these results for other developing and developed economies. the present research work is an attempt to contribute to theoretically available literature while also proposing a tool for managers that can be used for monitoring and improvement of service quality from customer’s perceptions. Appendix 1: Research Methodology Adopted for Development of Scale to Measure Service Quality from Customer’s Perception in Cellular Mobile Services Exploratory interviews with users of cellular mobile services Review of literature Identification of dimensions of SQ from user’s perspective Data collection from customers using cellular mobile services Design of survey instrument by careful selection of items Pre-testing of the instrument by professionals and academicians (content validity) Data Analysis • Scale reliability using Cronbach alpha • KMO test • Exploratory factor analysis • Confirmatory factor analysis Validity Assessment • Face validity • Content validity • Construct validity (Convergent and discriminant) • Criterion related validity Pre-testing of the instrument objectively through pilot study Modification. • The study can be further extended to investigate the causal relationship between service quality. retention. certain limitations are inherent. Such a study would enhance the level of understanding for managers and academicians. Finally. which may provide extensions for future exploration. Thus. • The future studies may explore the importance of service quality dimensions and the factors influenc- ing customer satisfaction and retention for corporate customers. customer satisfaction. Some of the key areas for future research include the following: • The instrument is developed and validated by collecting the data from customers in India. This may provide comprehensive understanding of the service quality dimensions across different cultures. There may be a possibility of cultural differences playing a role in the outcome of the study. loyalty.

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J T (2001).ac. and cooperative business models. M J (1998). 51-62. N Y M and Cheung. Helsinki University of Technology. “Analysing Service Quality in the Hospitality Industry Using the SERVQUAL Model. He pioneered a unique IndiaJapan initiative to nurture leaders for tough challenges. she served in M/s Siemens India Ltd.” International Journal of Bank Marketing. Y (2000). e-mail: momaya@dms. G and Gale. 18. Ravi Shankar of Department of Management Studies (DMS) and Prof. email: seth_ani@yahoo. 11(3). USA.Rosen. Customer Satisfaction and Behavioural Intentions-Evidence from China’s Telecommunication Industry. 323-335. Drexel University. 7(4). She has delivered invited talks in conferences of national and international repute and has published papers in various journals. C (2002). 19(2). His current areas of research are accelerat- ing competitiveness journey through innovation.” International Journal of Service Industry Management. D W (1981). He has been an academic visitor to the University of Maryland. Her current areas of interests include cellular mobile communications. He has held faculty appointments at McGill University. e-mail: hmgupta@ee. He is the Editor of two reputed journals. specifically in quality of services. Canada.” The Service Industries Journal. “An Internal Customer Service Quality Data Envelope Analysis Model for Bank Branches. managing information technology. the first Coordinator of the Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology and Management at IIT. “A Measure of Retail Service Quality. 324-343. and photonic information systems. A C and Stavrinides. Siu. Undergraduate Studies. USA. A. “The Application and Misapplication of Factor Analysis in Marketing Research. “Service Quality in a Cellular Telecommunications Company: A South African Experience. MA: The Strategic Planning Institute. PimsLetter No. P. Zhu. 347-368. F and Ryan. mcommerce. I (2002). H M (2006). 246-252. A and Bond. C (1991).” International Journal of Services Technology & Management. H (2002).iitd.” Managing Service Quality.” International Journal of Service Industry Management.” Journal of Marketing Research. “Service Quality. K and Gupta. 13(1). F X. “Let’s not Overlook Content Validity. IIT Delhi. technology management. Wymer. “Intra-Organizational Quality Measurement: The Case of Cellular Mobile K Momaya. Van der Wal. Finland. Regulation and Strategy for Telecommunications Information and Media. Seth. Switzerland. DeSouza. Prof. Rungtusanatham. MIT. Pampallis. The Strategic Management of Service Quality. Head of the Electrical Engineering Department.” The Journal of Policy. His professional interests are telecommunication systems. Soteriou. computer communication networks. S G Deshmukh of Applied Systems Research Programme (ASRP). and studies relating to performance and competitiveness. Cambridge. K R (1994). Wang. 69-90. He has been the Dean. Delhi. as an Executive Engineer in the Telecommunication Department. Anita Seth is a member of the faculty at DAVV University.” Marketing Intelligence and Planning. is currently the Chairperson of the Strategic Management Group at the Department of Management Studies. Thompson. B T (1985). 50-60. D K Banwet and Dr. EPFL. W J and Chen. 39-52. 12(5).in 34 MANAGING THE CUSTOMER PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY FOR CELLULAR MOBILE TELEPHONY . R W E. “IT-based Services and Service Quality in Consumer Banking. Indore. V Gautam.iitd. Y and Lo. 4(6). multimedia systems. Stewart. Earlier. July. International Journal of Global Business & Competitiveness and Journal of Advances in Management Research and has written/edited (singly/jointly) three books and more than 40 papers in referreed journals. “Prioritizing the Dimensions of Service Quality. H M Gupta is a Professor at IIT. USA. L D and Karwan. e-commerce.” Decision Line. 88-96. 18(5). 5(4). Saleh. The authors would like to thank the following Professors for the inputs received at different stages of the research: Prof. 10-13. Momaya.

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