Purpose – The purpose of the study is to report on an in‐depth exploration of service quality in an Information Technology service department in a Higher Education Institute (HEI) and to evaluate the instrument used. Design/methodology/approach – The study surveys customers using the SERVQUAL instrument, which is one of the most widely used and applied scales for the measurement of perceived service quality. Findings – A focused and rigorous examination of customers' views of the importance of the service elements is provided. The study confirmed previous research that the application of SERVQUAL in the public sector can produce different service quality dimensions from those found in private sector services. It was also found that the service quality gaps, and the relative importance of the five dimensions of service quality, were the same for students and staff, albeit with some specific differences. Reliability was the most important dimension for all customers and the greatest improvement in service quality would be achieved through improved service reliability. Practical implications – The implications of these findings for the department are discussed, together with the value of SERVQUAL to the public sector, in general, and Higher Education, in particular, in assisting with improvement of services. Further research at the HEI which would benefit the department is identified as well as a broader project to survey service provision and approaches to quality measurement across HEIs. Originality/value – In an increasingly consumerist environment, a serious approach to service quality can only enhance the reputation of HEIs which address the area in a coherent and consistent manner. This study details a useful approach.
Quality Assurance in Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 17, 2007
Keywords: Universities; Communication technologies; Service levels; Quality; SERVQUAL; United Kingdom
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