The objective of this study is to examine use of the SERVQUAL method in the airline industry. This work will examine five articles on use of SERVQUAL.
The work of Bozorgi (2007) entitled "Measuring Service Quality in the Airline Using SERVQUAL Model (Case of IAA)" reports that competition in the airline industry is constantly growing and that airline companies should pay close "attention to their competitors." (p.1) Bozorgi notes that it is important as well for airlines to "understand their customers." (2007, p.1) The work of Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) entitled "10 Years of Service Quality Measurement: Reviewing the Use of the SERVQUAL Instrument" reports that research on service marketing has traditionally focused primarily on the "analysis of service quality." (p.101) Additionally stated is that there are researchers in this discipline that "emphasize the explanation of the perceived quality by using the SERVQUAL dimensions, reproducing, in general the process followed by Parasuraman et al. (1988)." (Ibid, 2002, p.101) The stated reason for the popularity of the SERVQUAL Model is "its ease of use and by its adaptability to diverse service sectors." (Ibid, 2002, p.102) The SERVQUAL model is reported to remain "the most complete attempt to conceptualize and measure service quality." (Ibid, 2002, p.102) The work of Huang, et al. (2009) entitled "The Effect of Service Quality on Passenger's Behavioral Intentions Using SERVQUAL Scores: A Taiwan Case Study" reports that in an environment that is highly competitive the "provision of high quality services passengers if the core competitive advantage for an airline's profitability and sustained growth. Delivering high-quality service to passengers is essential for airline survival, so airlines need to understand what passengers expect from their services." (p.1) The work of Gilbert and Wong (2002) entitled "Passenger Expectations and Airline Services: A Hong Kong-Based Study" states that the airline industry " is undergoing a very difficult time and many companies are in search of service segmentation strategies that will satisfy different target market segments." (p.1) The work of Zainol and Romle (2003) entitled "The Trusts of Service Quality (Passenger Handling) in Airlines Industry: A Descriptive Exploration Between Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia" states that the "very essence of airline survivability is the services and facilities provided. However, with the introduction of cheap frills discounted airline, Air Asia, the need of service quality itself is being questioned." (p.1)
II. Scope and Objectives
Bozorgi (2007) states the purpose of the study reported to be the provision of "a better understanding of how satisfaction level among passengers within Iran Aseman Airline is and how its managers can improve their service quality. Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) reports a study with the objectives of: (1) describing a state of practices regarding validity in research that has used SERVQUAL; and (2) evaluating the influence of research design characteristics on SERVQUAL reliability. (Ibid, 2002, p.102) Gilbert and Wong (2002) report a study with the objective of attempting to "identify the service dimensions that matter most to current airline passengers." (2002, p.1) Zainol and Romle (2003) report a study with the objectives stated as: (1) exploration of service quality practices from the view of airlines passengers; (2) examination of the service quality provided by Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia from the view of expectations; and (3) investigation of the passenger's initial decision making criteria in choosing an airline. (Zainol and Romle, 2003)
Bozorgi reports a methodology that studied different models and uses of service quality measure and specifically the SERVQUAL model. The methodology reported in the work of Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) involves an examination of 40 articles published since "the appearance of SERVQUAL (1988)" that were collected from 18 periodicals. (2002, p.103) The study reported by Huang et al. (2009) reports the development of a model that considers airlines service quality, service value, satisfaction and behavioral intentions. The study uses a conceptual model to "explain the relationships among behavioral intentions, satisfaction, service value and airline service quality." (p.5) Huang et al. uses a "Confirmatory factor analysis (DFA) to develop a measurement model that achieved an acceptable fit to the data. Reliability is assessed at first, and then convergent validity is analyzed. The study uses a multivariate technique known as SEM, which "combines confirmatory actor analysis modeling from psychometric theory and structural equations modeling. The primary aim of SEM is to explain the patterns of a series of inter-related dependence relationships simultaneously between a set of latent constructs, each measures by one or more manifest variables. By using LISREL, the simultaneous estimation of: (1) a measurement model can be obtained that items in each scale to the construct represented, giving factor loadings for each item; (2) a structural model that related constructs to one another, providing parameter value. The LISREL model represents a series of hypothesis, and how the variables are related. The design of the survey questionnaire is based on multiple-item measurement scales. The measurement items are adapted for an airline setting and all of the measurement items are based on a 5-point Likert scale related from 1 = strongly disagree/unimportant to 5 = strongly agree/important." (2009, p.6) The methodology reported in the work of Gilbert and Wong is reported as a "combination of key purchase criteria formulated by Mason (1995), whereby a multi-attributes approach to service is formulated utilizing secondary data on airline service criteria to inform the questionnaire content, and by the use of SERVQUAL (Parasuraman et al., 1988, 1991). However the main approach comes from SERVQUAL. SERVQUAL is a survey instrument that purports to measure the quality of service rendered by an institution along ?ve dimensions: reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness (RATER). Assurance and empathy contain items representing seven original determinants -- communication, credibility, security, competence, courtesy, understanding/knowing customers, and access. Therefore, while SERVQUAL has only ?ve distinct dimensions, they capture facets of all 10 originally conceptualized determinants." (2003) Zainol and Romle (2003) report a methodology that uses a convenience sampling in a survey that questions customers of airlines based on their expectations, perception and the gap scores are used to provide a clue "as to whether there are any difference in terms of service quality being provided by both airlines in the eyes of the passengers."
IV. Limitations and Implications for Service Marketing
The SERVQUAL model is found in the work of Bozorgi to include the five dimensions of service quality including: (1 ) Tangibles; (2) reliability; (3) responsiveness; (4) assurance; and (5) empathy. (2007, p.42) Service quality defined in the SERVQUAL model is reported to be such that "determines the gap between customers' expectations and perceptions. Namely, AQ = P -- E where SQ is denoted to service quality, and P. And E. are denoted as customers' perceptions and expectations, respectively." (Bozorgi, 2007, p.43) Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) report that the use of SERVQUAL in several sectors "raises questions on the number of dimensions and their stability from one context to another." (p.105) Huang et al. (2009) reports "Reliability analysis was performed on the basis of both internal consistency and interrater agreement methods. Firstly, the internal consistency reliability of all questions was assessed by the Cronbach's alpha coefficients of measurement items for each construct are presented in Table 2. Hair et al. (2006) suggested that Cronbach's alpha coefficient over 0.6 is adequate for basic research. The reliability of each construct was assessed by using Cronbach's alpha measure which is in the experiment ranging from 0.89 to 0.93, indicating that the scale are internally consistent and reasonably free of measurement error. As a second, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test the adequacy of the measurement model using LISREL 8.52. The results indicated a good fit between the model and the observed data. The large x 2 -value was not surprising because the x 2 statistic in LISREL has been shown to be directly related to sample size. Goodness-of-fit index (GFI), adjusted goodness-of-fit index (AGFI) and comparative-of-fit index (CFI) all exceeded the recommended 0.9 threshold level. In addition, root mean square residual (RMSR) and root mean square error of approximation (REMEA) were lower than .0.5 (Hair, et. al, 2006)." (2009, p.9) Gilbert and Wong (2002) reports that the strength of SERVQUAL is "it can measures what the customer expects from the airline in relation to these dimensions. In addition the personalization and customization aspect of service, which is overlooked in other research, is also advocated in the SERVQUAL model. Concerns about the use of SERVQUAL include that Parasuraman (1988) defined "…desires or wants of consumers, i.e. what they feel a service provider should offer rather than would offer." The expectations component was designed to measure customers' normative expectations, and is "similar to the ideal standard in the customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction literature" (Zeithaml & Bitner, 1996). Teas (1993a, b) found explanations of the desires and wants of consumers as vague and has questioned respondents' interpretation of expectations battery in the SERVQUAL instrument. He believed that respondents might be using any one of the following six interpretations: (1) Service…