This study focuses on the ability to survive and operate successfully in the coming business environment challenges so that to help in coming up with the better suggestions and recommendations. The study would also analyze the application of the customers’ expectation management of the service quality towards the e-commerce and globalisation – the 21st century organizational strategic thinking to offer superior value to customers in the airline industry.
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The global marketplace has been changing rapidly affecting the operation of all businesses intensifying the international competition. The continuous business changes the instant evolution in technology, new needs, wants, preferences, and customers’ urge for paying more attention in service quality especially in the service sector. The globalization trends necessitate that service organisations altering their marketing strategies philosophy on the service quality concept in order to take into consideration the customer’ expectations and exceptions and gain competitive advantage over rivals.
Today, the service industry has become the most important segment of the world economy. Thus, many researchers have studied service quality and struggled to identify the factors that affect customer satisfaction and loyalty in various industries to increase the service performance (Parasuraman, Berry & Zeithaml, 1988). However, there is a paucity of research on the service quality of the airline industry, despite the fact that the airline industry traditionally faces high level competition, a situation which makes airlines strive to find ways to improve their service quality to gain competitive advantage.
As per Robledo, “Customer satisfaction and loyalty – secured through high-quality products and services providing value for money for the consumer, are essential for long-term survival, let alone long-term success” (Robledo, 1996, 1998). Due to its significance, a lot of studies have being conducted in the field of service quality, although, some controversies are still under discussion for the sake of coming up with better solutions.
In this study, it has being analyzed and evaluated that the conventional marketing concentrate on the need to be competitive in the fierce environment of the airline industry by examining the service quality factors as perceived by the customers and discuss the strategic effort which should be made to monitor and manage customers expectations of service quality in the airline industry.
Significance of the Study
Precisely, this study seeks to examine and review consumers’ perceptions on service quality factors in the airline industry and compare them with written standards in order to find where there is any inconsistency.
The core idea of this study is that, if service quality assessment and management depends on customer expectations, as previous studies recommended, subsequently a deliberate attempt is to be adapted to observe and direct such standards. Knowing how customers’ perceive the service quality and being able to identify and prioritise service quality services can benefit airline industry companies.
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It has been elaborated that retention and acquisition of new clients are the core objectives of any organization these days. If the customer management is effective and up to the mark, then not only in airlines, but also in all other fields, success is obvious. Therefore, identifying and prioritising service quality factors are of utmost importance for airlines in the current competitive market. Therefore, this study seeks to review the airline industry service quality factors for prioritising these dimensions according to customers’ perceptions.
The core objective of this study is to examine service quality factors in the airline industry as they are perceived by consumers.
To meet above primary objective, following are the extended objectives:
- Identify service quality factors, in the airline industry, as perceived by consumers.
- Prioritize service quality factors, in the airline industry, according to consumers’ perceptions.
- Examine whether there is inconsistency between consumer’s perception on service quality as examined in the managerial strategy/approach and written standards on service quality in the airline industry.
- Recommendations to manage customer’ expectations of service quality.
Area of Study-Sources of information
In order to meet the objectives set for the research, it was decided to use a combination of both secondary and primary data as effective mechanisms for efficient data collection.
This study diagnoses service quality perceptions of customers using different airline companies used by Cypriots for leisure and business. It compares actual reported data (written standards) on service quality factors with results of an exploratory questionnaire on the perceived service quality factors.
It was necessary to decide that the primary means of investigation would be from the consumer’s prospective. This appealed for two reasons: Firstly, the consumer is the ideal person to evaluate service quality as they are the ultimate receiver and unbiased. Secondly, no study was identified with exactly the same research aim. A questionnaire was thus used to examine service quality perceptions.
Secondary data will be based on Literature and academic review on service quality aspects. Also secondary data will be collected from the European Standards on service quality in the airline industry and from other possible written standards.
Why is this study interesting?
Various channels of service quality, followed by the areas discussed earlier, were evaluated in the establishment of any airline. By examining service quality factors in the airline industry as they are perceived by consumers, recent research on service quality is extended and in order to concentrate on aspects that are already discussed and to back the practitioners of airline with the evaluation and measurement of service quality.
Thus, it is clear that the airline industry of Cyprus has a fundamental effect on travel and tourism industry. In the wake of increasing competition and the dramatic changes occurring in the tourist arrivals in Cyprus, there is a need for airline managers to recognize the importance of service management improvements in establishing a competitive advantage.
Service quality promotes customer satisfaction, stimulates intention to return, and encourages recommendations. Customer satisfaction increases profitability, market share, and return on investment. In a highly competitive airline industry, managers must find ways to make their services stand out amongst the others. To achieve this, managers must identify service quality factors and then use such information to manage customers’ expectations.
Finally, this study will contribute to all service organizations, either large or SMEs, as well as to business students; emphasizing the need to be proactive in the highly demanding service sector of the airline industry so as to gain competitive edge in the forthcoming globalisation trends.
Structure of Dissertation
This paper is organized as follows:
Chapter one is about introducing the purpose / cause of the study and also illustrates the stages and flow of different chapter of this dissertation.
Chapter two is “Literature Review”. In this chapter, various similar studies, conducted by other researchers are to be discussed. Literature Review of any dissertation plays a key role like a platform. Literature Review enables the researcher to strengthen his grip over the topic and over different aspects of the proposed cause. This enlightens different gaps and allows researcher to actually design a research. With proper review, researchers come to know which areas are to be tested in real research. This is quite important as many times, in several topics, there is a wide gap found between the literature standards and the real time application.
Therefore, it is quite important to analyze such gap. To analyze, it is necessary to actually gather the real time finding with the help of a questionnaire. That is actually done in chapter three of any dissertation. Chapter three is “Methodology”. In Methodology part of this study, research approaches and methods that are actually used will be discussed. For this study, qualitative and quantitative approaches are both used. A case study method and the survey method are used to test the real and unique practices.
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In Chapter Four, research findings will be discussed in detail. For better understanding, graphical presentation of survey findings will be added and discussed in chapter 4.
Chapter 5 will be the last chapter of this dissertation. In this chapter, conclusion will be added on the basis of the finding of the survey, case study analysis and the findings of the literature review. The literature review of this study is based on the concept of service quality. A theoretical model is also added to identify the airline service quality factors on the basis of previous research, then the result of the survey of passengers of various airline companies operated in Cyprus are presented.
Limitations of the Study
The limitations of the study are as under:
An excellent study covers all different aspects of any topic so needs a lot of time. Regular academic schedule does not really allow covering all aspects of any topic. On completion of each study, students feel not completely satisfied due to lack of covered areas. Expansion and areas for further study are always in mind.
Secrecy and Confidentiality Issues
While conducting a real research like survey or interview, participants do not really feel comfortable sharing all key information of their employers. This may create limitations for any researcher so as for me. To gain the trust of participants so that they confidently help us in getting the real picture, they are assured that their names and details will be kept confidential to avoid any stress. It has also being declared that their provided information will not be used for any destructive approach, but will help in determining a productive solution. However, there are certain limitations due to participants’ contract with the employer that might prevent us from gathering complete information.
Parasuraman, A, Berry, LL & Zeithaml, VA 1988, ‘SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale For Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality’, Journal of Retailing, vol 64, no. 1, pp. 12-40.
Robledo, MA 1996, 1998, ‘Integrating Customer Expectations’, Measuring and Managing Service quality, pp. 22-31.