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Log of services quality and customer satisfaction

International Log for Quality research UDK- 656. 025. 2: 658. 56 Short Scientific Newspaper (1. 03)

SERVICE QUALITY AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTS Filipa Fonseca1) Sofia Pinto1) Carlos Brito2) 1) Teachers of Economics and Administration, Catholic School of Italy, Portugal 2) Faculty of Economics, School of Banchina, Portugal Abstract: The objective of the paper is always to identify the determinants of service top quality as well as it is impact on the satisfaction of public transportation commuters. The paper explores the relationship among service quality and customer satisfaction in a community transport services taking into account both internal and external perspectives.

In order to analyse this marriage, the ideas of assistance quality, client satisfaction and dissatisfaction happen to be assessed. An auto dvd unit of analysis is definitely developed taking pictures explaining this kind of relationship and guiding the empirical study. This is depending on an exploratory case study of the metro firm in Europe.

The results of the examine put in evidence two essential findings. The very first is related to the degree of service quality in its primary dimensions.

We deduce that reliability, security, rate, comfort and being on time are top quality dimensions of greater importance for people transport solutions. Secondly, the study explores fulfillment and their determinants. Despite literature stipulates the presence of a differentiation between the constructs of quality and pleasure, this examine found the transport firm, noncustomers and customers obviously do not make this kind of a distinction. Keywords: service quality, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, community transport

1 . INTRODUCTION Promoting researchers have got, for a long time, known the importance of service top quality as well as buyer satisfaction. Significant investigation has become conducted in both domains, particularly in services (cf. Andreassen, 1995; Edvardsson, 1998; Friman e Garling, 2001; Higgs ou al., 2005). However , handful of studies possess explored the both sides with the service method: operations (the internal side) and customer (the external side) perspectives of quality and pleasure. In the general public sector this is certainly likely to be of particular interest. Public solutions, such as public transportation, have to meet the needs of the customers playing, at the sametime, a role in economic and urban sustainability. They obstacle operations to supply quality to serve customers and noncustomers while making the best use of company solutions.

Read more: Investigation Into Customer support

The objective of this article is to identify the determinants of service top quality and its effect on the satisfaction of community transport relevers. It is split up into five parts beyond this kind of introductory section. It starts with a overview of the literature that produces and covers some concepts considered relevant for the research. Then it addresses the methodology used in the research, as well as a quantity of considerations about the quality of the investigation design. The next section reveals the studies, which are and then a discussion of possible significance. Finally, the paper ends with the main conclusions, bureaucratic implications and a few suggestions for additional research.


The theoretical backdrop is developed around three main issues: top quality, satisfaction and dissatisfaction. In the management circumstance, the word quality can be used to make reference to different things: compliance with the specifications (Levitt, 72; Juran and Gryna, 1991); excellence (Garvin, 1984); accordance with the requirements, adequacy of use, prevention of losses, or perhaps how to solution to or to go beyond consumer anticipations (Grönroos, 1984, Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Super berry, 1985, 1988). Through this sort of a variety of concepts, the common level of most from the definitions, exception for the first one, is that of focusing on the consumer.

In this research, top quality is shown in the perspective of recognized quality because it is the most commonly used in the companies area. Furthermore, the research resulted in a better comprehension of the presence or the nonexistence of dissimilarities between quality and pleasure. These fights were rampacked by the materials review of each theme, specifically satisfaction which is presented next. Literature about satisfaction should be adapted for the context to be studied. Client satisfaction is seen as an answer to completion and fulfilment of needs (Oliver, 1996); a psychological state (Howard and Sheth, 1969) and as a great assessment of overall analysis (Westbrook, 1987). Moreover, consumer satisfaction is viewed as a cognitive response (Bolton and Came, 1991; Tse and Wilton, 1988), a great emotional solution (Cadotte and Turgeon, 1988; Halstead, Hartman and Schmit, 1994; Westbrook and Reilly, 1983) so that as

a direct result a

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development procedure (Oliver and De Sarbo, 1988; Tse and Wilton, 1988; Swan, 1992; Erevelles and Leavitt, 1992). Even though literature involves diverse meanings for satisfaction, they all discuss common factors. When reviewed as a whole, three general pieces can be determined: (i) client satisfaction can be described as cognitive and emotional reaction; (ii) the reaction belongs to a certain focus, (iii) the reaction occurs in a particular period (after consumption, after choice depending on experience and expressed after and before choice, following consumption, after extensive experience of using). Through the literature in addition, it seems that there isn’t a general general opinion regarding the mother nature of this idea. If a lot of authors argue that consumer fulfillment results from a particular transaction that happens at a given time and by the benefits and value from the transaction, others see buyer satisfaction regarding cumulative total satisfaction, based on all contacts and encounters with a organization and the patient’s experience right up until a certain moment.

Literature upon customer satisfaction as well clarifies the idea of dissatisfaction. For a few researchers, both of these concepts are totally different while for others, unhappiness is using one end and satisfaction can be on the other end of the same constant line, and it is stated that some of the determinants are generally a method to obtain satisfaction or dissatisfaction. So , this research also hopes to make crystal clear the differences between the two principles. Dissatisfaction has been the focus of considerable research in the services region (Swan and Combs, 1976; Maddox, 1981; Cadotte and Turgeon, 1988; Johnston, 95; Edvardsson, 1992, 1998, Liljander, 1999). In the literature, again, contradictions between authors tend to arise. According to some analysts

satisfaction and dissatisfaction are two several concepts, that is, the consumer may be satisfied or dissatisfied in line with the level of received quality. However , for some various other authors, both the concepts aren’t opposing, but rather a continuum, because, some determinants tend to always be, firstly a source of satisfaction and others a source of discontentment. A number of research (cf. Edvardsson, 1998) include focused on just how passengers of public transport value top quality factors, as well as the final result provides a measure of the cost of different factors and ranks these people.

Nevertheless, you will find not significant studies about satisfaction in public places transports, especially in metro services. Another space in materials is that many studies analise customers, yet leave noncustomers aside. Furthermore, most studies use an exterior analisys based on surveyss. Finally, the majority of the books does not implement further examines about the correlation between customer satisfaction and insatisfaction.


In this study the process of data analysis started before it is collection, simply by developing the study questions and model of examination. The model of analysis designed would look at how top quality relates to satisfaction and how this kind of relationship takes place in a open public transport providers company. To make sure coherence and reliability of the empirical info, the factors which were below investigation and the respective parameters were defined, as outlined and offered in Physique 1 .

Discontentment (Johnston, 1995) (Bo Evardson, 1996)

Client satisfaction (Tse electronic Wilton, 1988) (Rust elizabeth Oliver, 1994)

Zone of Tolerance (Berry e Parasuraman, 1991) (Johnston, 1994) Personal Needs Experiencied Quality Technological Functional (Grönroos, 1982) Perceived Quality (Grönroos, 1982) Advise Positioning Targets (Teas, Boulding, Oliver, 1993) Pass-Word

Morals Consumer Comunication Quality Sizes: ¢ Stability ¢Security ¢ Speed ¢Confort ¢Pontuality (Parasuraman, Berry, Zeithaml, 1885) Earlier Experience

Physique 1 ” Framework for Analysis


F. Fonseca, S. Pinto, C. Brito

Relating to this plan, the relationship between quality and satisfaction can be understood by using a clarification of how customers measure the dimensions of quality. The zone of tolerance is apparently used as being a unifying link between objectives, performance and results.

Earlier service promoting challenges have prompted several research concerns about the relationship between top quality and pleasure, specifically: RQ1: In public transportation services, precisely what are the determinants of service quality that influence perceived quality? RQ2: How does the perceived quality influence fulfillment and unhappiness of commuters in public solutions transports? Overall performance evaluations result in an overall evaluation of service satisfaction, the results that can be started again to possibly satisfaction or perhaps dissatisfaction generally speaking terms. The zone of tolerance emerged as crucial in the comprehension of the relationship among quality and satisfaction.


The research explains the key proportions of companies quality that influence customers’ perceived quality. It also explains how the perceived top quality influences consumers’ satisfaction and dissatisfaction. In addition , the study is exploring and expands on results or current theories regarding the differences and the relationship between satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Evidence was identified that there are two different realities in the market: the customers’ as well as the noncustomers ‘ complex perceptions. Finally, your research identifies the relevance from the zone of tolerance and its particular relationship with quality and satisfaction.

Conditions case study procedure seemed to be ideal in this study. Within qualitative methodologies, an instance study strategy was implemented, based on the interaction among theory and empirical info. Yin (1994) defines case study as an empirical analyze that investigates a contemporary trend in real world context, especially when the restrictions between the trend and context are not clearly evident. With regards to features linked to the processes under study, this seemsimportant to focus on contexts where the phenomena created. Moreover, this process allows primary on belief processes a lot more than outcomes, and just how the participants interpret their particular experiences and give them meaning.

Exploratory and “how questions are becoming posed, and the researcher is focused on a modern day phenomenon within just its real life context (Yin, 1994). Your research objective was going to describe and understand procedures and relationships in a client services corporation. Attention was drawn to processes, which was the study’s device of analysis. Primary of analysis with this research was teams, groups and departments. Data was collected by simply both selection interviews and emphasis groups, along with through files. The

selection interviews focused on you can actually perspective of quality and customer satisfaction, while the focus teams with customers and noncustomers provided the market’s point of view. The selection interviews included persons from different functional areas (operations and marketing) and hierarchical amounts (executive vicepresident, director of technical devices, director of marketing and communication, manager of operational protection, lawyer and supervision of securities and marketing director ” finalizing of complaints and suggestions). In addition to the selection interviews, focus teams were conducted outside the firm with customers and non-customers.

The main aims of the emphasis groups would have been to identify the main determinants of satisfaction and dissatisfaction of both consumers and non-customers, and to get or set up a list of the determinants regarded as most relevant and a lot often portrayed by the individuals. Specifically, the analyzed papers consisted of: annual company information, market research information on support quality and satisfaction and internal memos. A pilot focus group was carried out to test the discussion guide as well as the survey. Consequently, four focus groups were created. There were a total of 26 people included (men and women).

Age range of the participants picked was 13-35 years of age, this kind of because preceding studies had indicated that 65 percent of the commuters using the metropolitan were in this particular age range. The choice criteria utilized aimed at choosing participants including customers whom use the city, at least once a week and noncustomers who had under no circumstances used this kind of transport assistance.

The focus groupings were documented and written by hand transcription remarks were taken for later research. The focus lessons weredivided in two distinctive parts. In the beginning, the discussion centered on the reasons that will lead customers to use or not utilize the metropolitan. Subsequently, the focus was shifted on the determinants of satisfaction and dissatisfaction and the characteristics which can be most respected in this assistance. The process of research and interpretation of data started with the transcribing of the selection interviews and group focus. This met with the objectives with the research, which includes with evaluating and different the different sights of stakeholders on issues of the exploration and brought about individual analysis and side by side comparisons of the case research.

Data was also analyzed and assembled, then codified and decreased employing a methodical approach that complies with this proposed simply by Miles and Huberman (1994). 5. OUTCOMES AND CONCLUSIONS The study dedicated to a company developed in 1993 to operate a light rail system in the second largest city of a European nation. For a matter of confidentiality, it is going to


N. Fonseca, T. Pinto, C. Brito

be referred to as Metro Europe. This is a network of electrified railways that goes subterranean in the metropolis centre, and above the surface area in the suburbs. It is split up into five individual lines (with seven solutions, including a great express service) spread over half a dozen municipalities in the city city area. That comprises an overall total of 68 stations over 60 kms of commercial lines, with 8 kilometres of underground network. In 08, this company utilized about a hundred and twenty people and carried 45 million commuters. Metro Iberia is a participant in a context of a strong competition and it is one of the corporations responsible for the operations of public travel in the metropolitan area. The analysis with this mass buyer service comes after in the next section.

The study effects point out two main views. One associated with the level of service quality in its main sizes. It was concluded that reliability, protection, speed, comfort and punctuality are definitely the quality proportions of increased importance to get the public transportation services organization. Secondly, the analysis explores pleasure and their determinants. The results showed which the dimensions of satisfaction pertaining to the company had been exactly the same asthose of dimensions of support quality, particularly, security, reliability, comfort and speed. This analysis shows us that the organization does not differentiate quality via satisfaction. Evidently, it seems that the dimensions of quality and the determinants of satisfaction will be identical. Right now there appears to be no clear big difference between top quality and satisfaction, findings which can be no amazing. The main goal of this research is to understand the partnership between top quality and fulfillment. It was identified that the business under analyze does not make a difference between those two concepts. For that reason focus groups with the provider’s customers were also conducted and undertaken.

The aim would be to identify and discover the key determinants of satisfaction, evaluating them with benefits obtained inside the organization. Inside the focus groups it was discovered that travelers value exactly the same determinants of satisfaction as those advanced by the business, in particular comfort, punctuality, velocity and reliability. One exception is security, the conclusion being that customers suppose from the outset the metropolitan is secure. This is based on the Johnston’s (ref? ) argument about the hygienic factors having potential for unhappiness instead of fulfillment.

The effects also helped to further understand the views of non-customers, from which we can conclude that the most mentioned determinants had been reliability, comfort and cleanliness, security and punctuality. For these reasons it really is concluded that despite the literature’s stipulation of the living of a difference between the constructs of quality and satisfaction, this examine found which the company, noncustomers and buyers clearly do not make such a distinction. Apparently business, clients and non-customers all

utilize dimensions of quality to describe satisfaction. A far more careful research of the case contributes to the conclusion that quality and satisfaction are generally not entirely unique and there is also a relationship between the two principles. The relationship among quality and satisfaction exists when satisfaction is certain. Their capacity to meet the needs of the consumer with the services, must consider the quality of service and its particular dimensions. One other view proven in this paper was the difference between pleasure and dissatisfaction. The study acknowledges that for noncustomers fulfillment and dissatisfaction are opposition concepts.

Furthermore, the determinants of unhappiness are exactly the opposite of satisfaction, specifically: reliability/failure to comply with plans; comfort and cleanliness/discomfort and dirt and grime; security/insecurity; punctuality/failure to abide by schedules. An appealing finding is the fact, these the desired info is in line with literature. For customers there is absolutely no such romance between pleasure and discontentment; dissatisfaction in such a case is commonly linked to the technical facets of the services. It is therefore unclear to buyers that pleasure is the contrary of dissatisfaction. While for the corporation, the conclusion is the fact these concepts are in contrast, when talking about cofort/discomfort; security/insecurity at night/delays and robberies. Finally, the results can be and non-customers tolerance zones were analyzed.

The newspaper confirms that customers include a greater patience zone for the service than non-customers. Quite simply, noncustomers are less tolerant to failures than customers. This kind of conclusion can be evidenced by customers if they say that in the case of failures or problems with the service, such as delays, not enough cleanliness and lighting, or perhaps lack of with capacity of, these reasons alone would not lead to abandoning the service. It is figured in the case of clients there may be some oscillation in the levels of satisfaction (very satisfied, satisfied, unsatisfied) within the sector of tolerance. Non-customers are much less tolerant. In these discussion groups’ several scenarios or scenarios of dissatisfaction emerged that could cause abandoning the service, including inability to adhere to the vehicle agendas, frequency of carriages and disabled entry to the stations.


This kind of study giving an answer to RQ1 extends on existing knowledge by simply identifying that service top quality dimensions serve as points of starting for businesses to develop action plans and strategies that generate perceptions of top quality by clients. Thus, for each type of support there may be a particular set of several dimensions of quality, because they presume different instructions of goal. Additionally there is yet another


F. Fonseca, S. Pinto, C. Brito

likelihood that each firm may possess dimensions that are specific to each/its sector. The classification of the assistance quality proportions is important since each 1 brings different approaches, which help the managers of the corporations providing providers to understand the value of each sizing and their impact on customer satisfaction. The empirical info of this case indicates that reliability, basic safety, speed, enjoyment punctuality are definitely the dimensions of service top quality which the business believes most influence the perceived top quality. This examine also solved and thus plays a role in identify the real key dimensions of service quality that affect the recognized quality service, in a certain means of public transportation.

Furthermore, this study implies that if the dimensions of services quality are assured then this customers acquire a degree of satisfaction and discontentment in accordance with the requirements, answering RQ2. The research outcomes also confirmed that depending on subway range that is used with a particular customer, he/she generally chooses the same dimension like a priority, according to the satisfaction of his/her needs. The research benefits showed that the client that uses for example the yellow-colored line gives preference towards the quality proportions of consistency and rate, since the choice of this line indicates the necessity to get to the location centre quickly. The customers who have already select the red line value the dimension of comfort, because it is a line with a even more extensive network, which is important for the customer who would like to get a chair. From this we can conclude that if the main dimensions of quality for customers are assured, they will be happy or disappointed. There appear to be several effects of this research for services management.

The first useful implication seems to be that it is vital that you reveal that if the managers know which usually dimensions of quality services their customers many value, (depending on the sort of service we could dealing with), the customers could become more happy. This will happen because the organization will know specifically which measurements of assistance quality will further fulfill the customers. Therefore, organizations can focus their efforts on improving and increasing the dimensions of service quality which create satisfaction. The second managerial inference appears to be the evident want forclarification in the link between satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Regarding contribution to management, it is vital that managers know that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are on a continuum, which knowing of the dissatisfaction elements specifically, place then be transformed into satisfaction, thus avoiding the loss of a buyer in a particular service. Another practical inference shows that for the noncustomers if the companies and the managers know

what quality sizes this group value many, the company can focus purchase on the progress these, which includes increasing a chance to attract new customers and customize marketing and connection campaigns expecting to to obtaining this. The amount of contributions presented serve not just in increase understanding of the relationship among quality and satisfaction, but also encourages reflection over a topic that ought to be of utmost importance intended for managers plus the vast majority of service corporations, who happen to be faced with the requirement to offer service quality in its main dimensions and the consequent satisfaction of their buyers.

It is also expected that the advantages of the research encourage businesses and their managers to connect with their customers and noncustomers. In relation to the customers it is vital that the company be aware of the quality dimensions that they value most in order to tailor the service to their needs, maximizing pleasure. This paper has constraints which are anticipated to be resolved in future studies. The limitations could be divided into three groups, particularly: selection of the truth and the process, limitations in data collection and finally the limitations of data evaluation. One of the limitations is the small number of cases examined in public transport services which in turn determines the skills and spread or validity of the a conclusion. The addition of other cases matching to other paradigms or variations with the paradigms used here, can enrich the knowledge acquired.

There are a range of other issues that were not investigated which could improve the research. There was other problems that emerged and seemed interesting but again, offered the constraints, were not totally explored. For example , the id of the elements that effect the formation of consumer anticipations. When the interviewees were asked, in an open up ended problem, what elements influence anticipations, theanswer was unanimous: communication with other buyers. Nevertheless, other factors could have been further more explored. It will be even more interesting to emphasize the value of targets in a pre and post-consumer, or consider the role of emotions inside the construction or development of fulfillment and unhappiness of the client.

Replication with this study could be carried out in various public transfers, which may be compared with another company in the sector. Furthermore, it will be interesting in case the theoretical romance model recommended had an psychological and trial and error element. This kind of study could be performed in several scenarios, especially in areas of different service industries, such as luxury hotels chains, or telecoms network companies. In addition to providing additional results, these would certainly further enrich the data currently available.

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