This study aims at measuring how customer satisfaction correlates with service qualities (assurance and responsiveness) with specific reference on Abu Dhabi municipality’s non-citizens. The niche in the customer perceptions and expectations is investigated in this research paper to ascertain the quality of services in Abu Dhabi municipality. The correlations in these areas are measured through SERVQUAL. In order to meet the study objectives of this research, it adopts the causal and explanatory design.
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The collection of data in this research will be carried out through questionnaire method whereby 382 participants will be involved. The random sample technique will form the basis for the distribution of the questionnaires in this study. More techniques, for instance reliability, descriptive, frequency, regression and correlation analysis will be employed. Improvement of the societal welfare and high business growth is achieved through enhanced services delivery.
This achieved through improved employee responsiveness and assurance. Quick response results into reduced time wastage hence, higher output per employee within a given timeframe. It is important to note that such a move has a resultant effect on effective and efficient use of resources and a reduction of over pressuring employees. The services offered daily in such a setup increase every day, hence enhancing societal development.
Abu Dhabi Municipality’s organizational process is highly influenced by the customer focus. This is because the management views customers as one of its core tenets that must be prioritized. The significance of customers in Abu Dhabi Municipality prompted in 2007 to create a Department of Municipal Affairs. This department was created to replace Department of Municipalities and Agriculture with the sole objective of ensuring the satisfaction of customers through efficient production. This adjustment according to the National Policy Agenda marked a new beginning in the delivery of Municipal services from Abu Dhabi Municipality to the customers (O’Brien, Keivani, and Glasson 202).
The delivery service policy in Abu Dhabi Municipality has been successful in ensuring effective and efficient delivery of services for a long time. However, customer satisfaction concerns are emerging, arising from the city growth eliciting fears on possible reduction in customer satisfaction. The rapid unchecked growth of the municipality has brought with it a number of challenges. One of these challenges includes the overstretched sewer systems and waste management system because of the rising population.
In 2013 alone, construction sites and delivery sites generated 65% of the total solid waste in the city, which stood at 11.9 million tons. O’Brien, Keivani, and Glasson (202), however, note that the figure presented did not capture the rampant dumping of high quantities of solid wastes in a number of illegal sites across the city. This turn of events made city residents dissatisfied. The dump sites are health hazards and environment pollutants according to the infuriated residents.
There is a strong relationship between customer satisfaction and service quality based on previous studies (Negi 34). There is therefore a significant need for the Abu Dhabi Municipality to measure perceived customer satisfaction in relation to the quality of services offered. As indicated earlier, SERVQUAL is a critical instrument in the studying of consumer preference and customer satisfaction on a service quality scale. It is important to note that through the use of this service quality scale, Abu Dhabi Municipality is better placed to identify the niche in the services they render and strive to enhance customer satisfaction through implementation of best practices.
This research paper aims at an in-depth investigation and measuring the link between the quality of services offered in terms of assurance and responsiveness. It also aims at using the relationship to enhance the current Abu Dhabi Municipality situation, streamline service delivery, as well as enhance the delivery of services. This is done to ensure customer satisfaction and efficient delivery of services to the Abu Dhabi Municipality’s non citizens. Special attention should be paid to the responsiveness and assurance in the customer satisfaction evaluation process.
Abu Dhabi Municipality implements responsiveness to ensure that the services required by the customers are at their disposal and they are able to derive satisfaction in their use. This results in the customers being satisfied. In order to evaluate the customer perception of Abu Dhabi Municipality, customer perceptions set by the Abu Dhabi Municipality must exceed their responsiveness, assurance, and expectations. These will be evaluated in the research paper.
Evaluation of customer satisfaction regarding various services offered by the government is one of the most notable ways in which a government can make its services better. This is a significant segment in the management decision-making aimed at enhancing the quality of services tailored towards the perceptions harboured by customers on government services. Abu Dhabi municipality strives to enhance its customer services so that it finds a place in the top ten best municipalities worldwide.
It is imperative to note that Abu Dhabi municipality has not undertaken to roll out formal non-citizen customer satisfaction measurement despite boasting to be a technology-conscious municipality employing various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of services offered to the customers. A number of complaints have been pointed out by the Abu Dhabi municipality indicating customer dissatisfaction with the firm services provided to them (Krajewski and Ritzman 172).
Recent studies conducted across the world indicate that a number of municipalities have not been able to provide customer-tailored services. The services provided have indicated high customer dissatisfaction, for instance, in the South African municipalities (Boshoff and Mazibuko 14). Assurance and responsiveness have been noted to improve the satisfaction of customers regarding the services offered to them. This was confirmed by Saudi Arabian-based International Journal of Business Administration that confirmed a direct proportionality in the customer satisfaction and the organization’s responsiveness and assurance(Al-Saadon and Das 346).
Customer dissatisfaction has been confirmed in situations where responsiveness and assurance are insufficient. Based on the studies discussed above, it is evident that in order to achieve customer satisfaction, it is important to ensure responsiveness and assurance in the services offered.
It is paramount to point out that assurance is significant in building customer trust and confidence. This is achieved through provision of vivid conceptualization of procedures of offering services so that employees can implement it to the betterment of the customer needs. Failure by an employee to follow a laid down procedure in the offering of services to consumers will cause an obvious negative ripple effect on the customer approval of the service, as that case will be un unsatisfactory.
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The same case applies to the responsiveness. Employees must be able to show the willingness to offer assistance to the customer needs. Neglecting customer requests records a negative customer approval, which is customer dissatisfaction. It is therefore clear that in the measurement of customer satisfaction, responsiveness and assurance play significant role. A reduction in the level of customer satisfaction is thus directly proportional to the reduced levels of responsiveness and assurance.
However, it is worth noting that in some instances, the increase in the responsiveness and assurance might not necessarily translate into corresponding customer satisfaction, because other factors also remain cognizant. These other factors that determine the level of customer satisfaction include the quality dimension of the service and the pricing of the service offered.
Also, in some instances, insufficient increase in the responsiveness and assurance could not elicit a corresponding effect in the levels of customer satisfaction. Therefore, in this study, the measurement of responsiveness and assurance will be conducted to ascertain their corresponding effects on the levels of customer satisfaction. This will help in the provision of required information that will inform what kind of services the organization should provide to improve customer satisfaction.
This study therefore has a core objective of measuring the relationship that exists between the quality of services (responsiveness and assurance) and non-citizens customer satisfaction in the Abu Dhabi Municipality. The non-citizens in Abu Dhabi Municipality are selected because they have little knowledge of the local procedures, thus being able to give unbiased opinions. The outcomes of this study will determine whether there is need to improve the quality of services based on a clear understanding of the levels of customer satisfaction.
- To measure the link between non-citizen satisfaction in Abu Dhabi municipality, and service qualities that is responsiveness and assurance. The non-citizens in Abu Dhabi Municipality in this case are the customers.
- To enhance the quality of services offered to the residents of Abu Dhabi Municipality.
Research Impact and Benefit
Research benefit from Assurance and responsiveness dimensions:
Assurance is a significant tenet of this research focus on the ability of the customer service agent to utilize his or her knowledge to offer solutions to the issues raised by customers with the intent to satisfy their needs. For instance, the customer service agent should be well versed with the services offered by the municipality, coupled with his or her communication skills in responding to queries raised by the customers.
Service delivery is enhanced through improved assurance among employees, and this in turn results into enhanced customer trust and satisfaction. Societal welfare and business growth are attained as a result of improved delivery of services. For instance, delay in the provision of licences to the building sector will result in a corresponding delay in apartment building, thus impacting the leasing economy and sharply increasing the price of rentals. Assurance is thus critical if the Abu Dhabi Municipality wants to positively impact its customers.
Responsiveness involves the willingness of the customer service agents to offer services and help to the customers. It is believed that every encounter that a customer has with a service provider in any aspect should be a moment of treatment similar to a five-star hotel. What customers acknowledge emanates from the encounters that they have with the customer service agents. How they feel about the organization is due to the quality of their encounters.
Each interaction between a service professional and a customer is a single moment in the chain of customer’s experience. That contact grants the customers a chance to revise their impressions either negatively or positively (Al-Saadon and Das 348). If one is a service person and gets it wrong at the link in the chain, then there is a possibility of erasing all the memories of good treatment from the customer’s mind that they may have had up to that moment.
But if it is done correctly, then there is a chance to undo all the wrongs that may have occurred before the customer interacted with the employee. This are referred to as responsiveness. Responsiveness takes place any time a customer comes in contact with any part of the organization and utilizes that contact to judge the quality of the organization.
Risk of poor customer service
Customers are vital assets for the growth of an establishment. For maximization of their contribution, their satisfaction has to be ensured. As a result, Abu Dhabi Municipality should come up with several strategies to ensure the establishment of responsiveness and assurance. It is hard to establish a relationship with customers if their needs have not been ascertained since customers would wish to align themselves with businesses that provide solutions to their problems.
Therefore, organizations must always strive to overcome various technical and administrative challenges they face. These challenges that need to be overcome by organizations include low experience of employees, work pressure, shortage of manpower, and inadequate knowledge regarding services offered by the municipality. It is significant to acknowledge the various services offered by Abu Dhabi Municipality range from society services, leasing and lands sector, and investment to building licences. However, the customer service centre cuts across all the sectors, therefore, the Municipality must ensure responsiveness and assurance in all the sectors in order to ensure customer satisfaction.
Risk of non-compliance with government laws and regulations
Compliance with government laws and regulations is an obligation for every public entity. Compliance should be enshrined in an organization’s culture, code of ethics, the quality standards, and their service charters. The Abu Dhabi Municipality complies with the government regulations on quality and collection of revenues using E-dirhams system (Krajewski and Ritzman 120). The government laws help in regulating the conduct of organizations, businesses and corporations. Mainly, the Abu Dhabi Municipality laws have been set to promote fair competition to ensure benefit of consumers. The government legislation tries to restrict the formation of cartels with prohibition of undertaking any other collusive practice that may be regarded to restraint to quality service.
Non-compliance with the set regulations results in unfair practices that negatively affect the assurance factor and responsiveness, hence customer dissatisfaction.
Abu Dhabi Municipality strives to be among the top ten best municipalities across the globe. This can only be achieved through enhancing the quality of the services it offers to the customers. The difference between the type of services provided and the expectations of the customers from the services is referred to as the service quality. In circumstances where the customer expectations are met, a high-quality service is attained and vice versa.
Recent studies point at the inefficiency in the provision of services in municipalities globally. These services are noted to be critical in the improvement of the city facilities offered by the government. SERVQUAL is a base technique utilized across the world in measuring quality of services. This technique will be employed in this research to evaluate the quality of services offered in Abu Dhabi Municipality.
Parasuraman, Valarie Zeithaml and Len Berry in 1988 established this model of measuring service quality that came to be known as the SERVQUAL used to identify the main tenets of high quality service (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 140). The original authors of SERVQUAL came up with ten elements of measuring the quality of a service. However, the ten elements were later on reduced to five factors, namely assurance, empathy, tangibles, responsiveness, and reliability.
Service quality consists of tangibility, assurance, reliability, empathy, and responsiveness as illustrated in the Figure 1 above. However, it is important to note that customer satisfaction is influenced by various factors including price, service quality, product quality, personal factors, and situational factors. Assurance and responsiveness will be applied in this Abu Dhabi Municipality study (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 140).
Responsiveness involves the willingness and readiness of customer service agents to offer support to the customers through the provision of timely and prompt services, for instance, prompt scheduling of appointments or immediate mailing of transaction receipts (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 140).
- SERVQUAL model in the research indicates that based on customer perspectives, responsiveness is the most crucial dimension of a quality service. This dimension also serves as the most significant of the six mentioned dimensions. It is therefore evident that responsiveness in the issuance of services that require intensive and extensive interaction between the service provider and the customer is paramount (Fournier and Passet 3).
- In case of Bouygues Telecom, the quality of mobile service (responsiveness) was measured from the perspective of customer perception and expectation. The results placed the responsiveness at the second position in order of importance with 4.4 points depending on the customer expectation. The desired level of service expectations from the customer was in this score. Therefore, Bouygues Telecom should strive to meet the expectations of the customer through increasing the level of quality of its services (Fournier and Passet 3).
- A separate study determined the perceived quality of service of TTCL (TANZANIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY LIMITED) through the employment of the SERQUAL technique indicated a negative gap score for the entire five dimensions. The responsiveness posted a -0.75 score, an indication of high customer expectation from the employees from TTCL, for instance, enhancing accessibility of information, provision of prompt services, willingness to support customers and prioritizing customers’ requests. (Molony 339).
- Another study was conducted within the Mauritian public center with the objective of assessing the quality of services rendered using the SERVQUAL model. This model recorded a negative gap score in all five dimensions including Assurance and Responsiveness (Ramseook-Munhurrun, Lukea-Bhiwajee, and Naidoo 40).
Assurance revolves around confidence and trust developed by the consumer towards customer service agent based on his or her courtesy and knowledge (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 140).
- It is important to note that over the past years, the concept of the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer service has always existed. A research conducted to ascertain how customer satisfaction is affected by service quality in Mobile service sector indicated that network quality and reliability were significant contributors to the satisfaction of the customers. It is, however, advisable to overlook empathy, tangibles and assurance when ascertaining quality service (Negi 33). All the factors should be identified and evaluated if overall customer satisfaction and the perceived customer service quality are being determined.
- The Bouygues Telecom research focused on the assurance measurement to ascertain customer satisfaction perspective based on the quality of the mobile services. It indicated a 4.17 score in favor of assurance, indicating that the customer service agents had the knowledge and experience regarding the service offered. The customer service agents also prioritized customer service in their engagement with the customers, as indicated by the score. This pointed at the company’s adherence to the needs satisfaction of their clients (Fournier and Passet 3).
- On the contrary, a negative average gap score was achieved in the study of the quality of service offered at TANZANIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY LIMITED (TTCL). The study used the SERVQUAL technique. An average assurance score of -2 presented the worst customer trust and dissatisfaction. That means that TTCL need to intensify their efforts in enhancing the output of its employees, for instance through trainings and workshops (Molony 339).
The focus of this research is on discussing the quality of service offered in government institution in UAE, Abu Dhabi Municipality. The two main tenets of this study are:
The two factors selected for this study are from the five factors that determine Quality Management Framework in SERVQUAL, which were discovered in the 1980s. It is worth indicating that this multi-item scale, SERVQUAL was created with the sole objective of assessing the perceptions of customers in terms of the quality of services they receive, especially in the retail businesses (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 140).
Illustration of the link between independent variables, which in this case are the factors, and the dependent variables, which in this case is the effect on customer satisfaction of Expats in the Abu Dhabi municipality, is shown in the figure below.
- H1: The correlation between customer satisfaction and Assurance quality of Expats in Abu Dhabi Municipality.
- H2: The correlation between Customer satisfaction and Responsiveness quality of Expats in Abu Dhabi Municipality.
Data Collection Method
This research is derived from its topic and objectives that purport to trigger the attributes of the participants. Data collected in this qualitative study will be taken from questionnaires. This method will give the participants a chance to demonstrate their esteemed ability in understanding the purpose of this study. Moreover, the method allows the participants to share the experiences they have in respect to the research questions. This method is suitable for this study since it ensures in-depth data from the participants. This method is cost-effective, saves time, and limits reliability, practicability and validity. The method is also capable of easily enlisting many participants using technology.
Qualitative research methods have also always come in handy in the description of complex phenomena. A researcher is able to analyse the issue in question from different perspectives, hence improved understanding.
SERVQUAL framework will guide the formation of the questionnaires and they will be administered to expat customers from various countries.
This study will be created on a qualitative idea. It will get the responses from the participants through a qualitative phenomenology and use it to establish the link between non-citizen satisfaction and service qualities in Abu Dhabi municipality. This research is derived from its topic and objectives that purport to trigger the attributes of the participants. This method will give the participants an opportunity to demonstrate their esteemed ability in understanding the purpose of this study. Moreover, the method allows the participants to share the experiences they have in respect to the research questions. This method is suitable for this study since it ensures in depth data from the participants’ in respect to their knowledge of services offered in Abu Dhabi municipality.
This research design is best suited for this study because it is normally used to determine if a policy, procedure, practice or program is working. Subsequently, this will be an impact analysis that will assess the link between expats satisfaction in Abu Dhabi municipality and service qualities (responsiveness and assurance). The expats are chosen because of their reliability and high involvement in the activities at the Municipality.
The intended information will guide the formulation of the questionnaires. The questionnaires that will be used in this study will have two distinct parts, where part A will have 9 questions on demography, race, income and social status, while Part B and Part C will have focus on the variables of customer satisfaction. The content validity of the questionnaires will be checked by four experts (Burns and Grove 86). Ideally, 15 expats will be used for test-retest, which will be done a week later. Data collection from every participant will take approximately 8-10 minutes. The responsiveness and assurance will be measured in Part B and C.
This study will take samples from expats that live in Abu Dhabi. These Municipality customers will be selected to participate in the study to fulfil the aim of the study as indicated in the topic.
Exclusion criteria will strictly focus on customers who are non expats. Permission to interact with the participants will only be done on the account on research ethics warranted by a relevant committee.
Letters of invitation shall be circulated to the participants at homes and work places. This letter of information will assure the willing individuals of confidentiality during the study as well as maintaining anonymity (Burns and Grove 86). Consequently, the participant will get more detailed information from the letter that will thank them for agreeing to participate in the study. The letter will also have a space for particulars of the participants as well as a consent form which will be signed during the administration of the questionnaires.
For this study, a small manageable sample size would be recommended to ensure synthesized data. The research presumes a detailed approach seen in various qualitative research studies. This type of sampling ensures that the right information is found from the right expat customers that live in Abu Dhabi. Additionally, such definitive samples will be relevant for this kind of research study. This research will use a smaller number of (382) expats that live in Abu Dhabi.
Inclusion criteria focus on the attributes necessary for redefining the members of the population:
- The participants must be non -citizen customers of ad municipality.
- They must be municipality customers.
- Must be residents of abu dhabi municipality.
Probability sampling technique will be employed through the simple random sample method.
Reliability and Validity Analysis
A two factor SERVQUAL framework will be chosen to assess customer satisfaction issue represented as authentic information source on service quality. This technique has been applied in various researches aimed at ascertaining service quality perceptions, for instance, A Case Study of the Croatian Hotel Industry, a case which resembles our research topic (Markovic and Raspor 196). This is a confirmed reliability and validity of the SERQUAL model in the assessment of customer satisfaction.
Demography information of expats in Abu Dhabi Municipality will be used in the frequency analysis. The research problem will then be analysed using the related factors in the SERVQUAL model questionnaire. Percentages from consequences of questionnaires will then be used to assess and analyse the expats percentages that trust Abu Dhabi Municipality’s electronic services.
The reliability analysis will rely on the SERVQUAL framework and various studies that focused on service quality impact on customer satisfaction.
Assurance and responsiveness were the identified important factors that influenced customer satisfaction. Through the SERVQUAL framework we believe that the following hypotheses could be drawn:
- If the assurance of the customer services agents increases, customer satisfaction will increase, and the opposite is true.
- If the responsiveness of the customer service agents increases, satisfaction will increase, and the opposite is true.
Assurance and responsiveness are the two independent factors used in our research believed to influence the satisfaction of expats customers in Abu Dhabi Municipality.
SPSS will be used to process Completed Questionnaires and subsequently coded into numeric values for every question.
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