Measurement of E-service Quality in University Website

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1 Measurement of E-service Quality in University Website 1 Sayyed Aliakbar Ahmadi 2 Naser Barkhordar 3 Amirhossein Moradi Firoozabadi 4 Asadollah Dolatkhah 1 Associate Professor, Department of Management Payame Noor University, PO BOX , Tehran, IRAN. 2 Ph.D Candidate for Organizational Behavior Management Payame Noor University, Tehran, IRAN. 1 3 Management Student, Payame Noor University, Tehran, IRAN. 4 Master of management, Azad University, Tehran, IRAN. Abstract: Since the birth of the internet, two-way communication through web has become progressively common in universities and publication, and other service applications. Based on SERVQUAL of Zeithaml et al., we investigate e-services characteristics in university website. A questionnaire developed on SERVQUAL and work of Li et al. (2002) in e-services attributions. A population selected from students of university. Results show that responsiveness dimension plays a critical role in user's perception from e-service quality of website. Keywords: service quality, perception, SERVQUAL. 1. Introduction The most important characteristic of services, and probably the only really unique one, is the fact that services are processes, not things. Other characteristics such as the fact that consumption and production are partly simultaneous activities and that customers participate in the service production process follow from the process characteristic. This means that a service firm has no products, only interactive processes (Gronroos, 2001). Service quality is an elusive and abstract construct that is difficult to define and measure (Cronin & Taylor, 1992). There is no value in a product or service until it is in the hands of its customer. Customer service is determined by the interaction of all those factors that affect the process of making products/services available to the customer (Christopher, 1998). Multiple-attributes models are widely adapted to measure service quality. The SERVQUAL model, first developed by Parasuraman et al. (1988), has been widely tested as a means of measuring service quality. The original SERVQUAL model contains five dimensions and 22 items used to measure the different elements of service quality across a broad spectrum of services. 1. Corresponding Auther. 107

2 Owing to the different characteristics between e-commerce websites and traditional business-tocustomer interfaces, it is worthwhile paying attention to the dimensions of service quality that would appear to possess the greatest difference between e-commerce and traditional interfaces (Li et al. 2002). In this paper, we attempt to identify web-based characteristics of services from literature. Then, we perform a web-based survey through in population for gathering information about customer service. 2. Literature review 2.1. Service quality Parasuraman et al. (1985, 1988) conceived that service quality is the difference between customers expectation and their perceived performance of a service. Based on this concept, Parasuraman et al. (1988) developed the SERVQUAL model (including five dimensions, namely tangible, responsiveness, reliability, assurance, and empathy) to measure service quality. This model has drawn attention from the academic and the practical circles. The SERVQUAL has been one of the most widely used and applied scales for the measurement of perceived service quality in recent years. However, many scholars have questioned about the conceptual framework and measurement method of this model. For instance, Cronin and Taylor (1992) pointed out that using service quality performance to measure service quality produces better results of reliability, validity, and predictive power than using SERVQUAL. Some other studies (Boulding et al. 1993; McAlexander et al.1994; Parasuraman et al. 1994; Zeithaml et al. 1996) also maintained that SERVPERF is more accurate than SERVQUAL in the measurement of service quality, and SERVQUAL can provide better diagnostic information. In the studies of the information industry, similar findings have been proposed (Van Dyke et al. 1997), and Zeithaml et al. (2002) proposed that it is not necessary to use customers expectation to measure the service quality of a website. Therefore, this study will directly use perceived service quality to measure the service quality of mobile value-added services. In the research of website service quality, various measurement dimensions have been proposed according to website properties. Kuo (2003) put forth a virtual community service quality scale, using advertising mail management, customer service management, online quality and information safety, webpage design and content and extra function and service to evaluate the service quality of a website. Yang, Cai, Zhou, and Zhou (2005) used usability, usefulness of content, adequacy of information, accessibility, and interaction to measure user s perceived quality of information presenting web portals Web-based service (e-service) Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Malhotra (2000) defined e-service quality as the extent to which a website facilitates efficient and effective shopping, purchase and delivery. In reviewing the literature on e-service quality, Sigala and Sakellaridis (2004) concluded that research on e-service quality has been mainly based on the SERVQUAL model and on efforts to adapt its dimensions on Internet-based environments. Long and McMellon (2004) provided evidence for the applicability of the SERVQUAL model on the Internet, 108

3 but they have also highlighted the need to adapt its dimensions in order to make it less reliant on interpersonal interactions and more technologically relevant. As a result, a number of studies have also adapted and included dimensions from the Information Systems (IS) field for developing e-service quality models (Sigala, 2004). Li et al. (2002) in their survey for identifying dimensions of web-based services based on SERVQUAL, indicated that Integration of digital and traditional communication and Quality of Information as two proposed dimensions could serve as a strong foundation Two dimensions more than SERVQUAL The challenges in measuring web-based service quality arise from differences between web-based and traditional customer service as well as the complementary functions of these two channels. Due to the growth of outsourcing, end-user-controlled information assets, joint ventures, and other alternative mechanisms by which organizations are meeting their needs for information system services, there has been a more pressing need to establish some means of measuring service quality and strategies to improve service quality. In particular, with the birth of the internet, large volumes of data demand effective statistical analysis. Based on the above discussion, two dimensions, Integration of digital and traditional communication and Quality of information, are proposed to be included to develop a framework for measuring web-based service quality. Call-back systems, one of the traditional communication systems, grouped two items focusing only the complementary role of callback systems in web-based customer services. (Li et al, 2002) Hypothesis H1: Responsiveness of the university's website is in favorable level H2: Competence of the university's website is in favorable level H3: quality of information of the university's website is in favorable level H4: Empathy of the university's website is in favorable level H5: Web assistance of the university's website is in favorable level. H6: Call-back systems of the university's website are in favorable level. 3. Methodology A questionnaire (table 1) developed based on SERVQUAL and work of Li et al. (2002) that including 28 items and 6 constructs. Reliability of questionnaire was measured by several academic experts that done modifications about wording and understandability. Validity of that obtained by Cronbach's Alpha near 0.81 that shows the tools has suitable validity. This survey population selected from University 109

4 students that engage always with e-services of university websites. 40 students from all degrees of education selected for reply to questionnaires. 4. Results More than 60 percent of respondents were male. Other demographic characteristics were shown in table 2. According to table 5, mean of Competence dimension variable is more than other variables. Therefore, this mentions that competence in e-service quality plays a key role, and improves service quality. Practitioners are recommended to pay more attention to this dimension when selecting characteristic to enhance the service quality of websites. After this, items related to responsiveness dimension also obtained high mean values which present a level and importance of attribute in evaluating web visitors expectations. Web assistance variable shows low rating value in mean. This shows that practitioners don't consider to assistance help for solving online problems. It is seems that this and Call-back systems aren't represented in population of this survey. 5. Conclusion In this paper, we attempted to investigate attributes of e-service quality from user's perception. With a questionnaire based on SERVQUAL and work of Li et al., we survey that. They mentioned that this developed scale may identify the strengths and weaknesses of e-service quality improvement. Responsiveness plays a key role in e-service for research population. Because managers should take into account this dimension of services. Competence of e-service is considered important from users' view point. The web designer can enhance this dimension with effective and efficient design of website. Quality of information that added to measurement tool by Li et al. (2002) shows that information assistance of website should have more attention to kind of data uploaded on website. Firstly, users evaluate effectiveness of information in website. Existence of web assistance didn't show important effect on practitioners of survey, but a technician assistant can improve user's satisfaction. Managers must attention to select a good assistance for website support. References Zeithaml, V.A., A. Parasuraman and A. Malhotra A Conceptual Framework for Understanding e- Service Quality: Implications for Future Research and Managerial Practice: Implications for Future Research and Managerial Practice. Unpublished Work. Gronroos, C., (2001), The perceived service quality concept- a mistake? Managing Service Quality Volume 11. Number 3. pp

5 Reimann, M., Lunemann, U. F., & Chase, R. B. (2008). Uncertainty avoidance as a moderator of the relationship between perceived service quality and customer satisfaction. Journal of Service Research, 11(1), Tsang, N. K.-F., & Ap, J. (2007). Tourists perceptions of relational quality service attributes: a crosscultural study. Journal of Travel Research, 45, Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L. L. (1988). SERVQUAL: a Multiple item scale of measuring consumer perceptions of service quality. Journal of Retailing, 64(1), Cronin, J. J., & Taylor, S. A. (1992). Measuring service quality: A reexamination and extension. Journal of Marketing, 56(3), Boulding, W., Kalra, A., Richard, S., & Zeithaml, V. A. (1993). A dynamic process model of service quality: From expectations to behavioral intentions. Journal of Marketing Research, 30(1), McAlexander, J. H., Kaldenberg, D. O., & Koenig, H. F. (1994). Service quality measurement: Examination of dental practices sheds more light on the relationships between service quality, satisfaction, and purchase intentions in a health care setting. Journal of Health Care Marketing, 14(1), Landrum, H., & Prybutok, V. R. (2004). A service quality and success model for the information service industry. European Journal of Operational Research, 156(3), Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L. L. (1994). Reassessment of expectations as a comparison in measuring service quality: Implications for further research. Journal of Marketing, 58(1), Zeithaml, V. A., Berry, L. L., & Parasuraman, A. (1996). The behavioral consequences of service quality. Journal of Marketing, 60(2), Zeithaml, V. A., Parasuraman, A., & Malhotra, A. (2002). Service quality delivery through web sites: A critical review of extant knowledge. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30(4), Van Dyke, T. P., Kappelman, L. A., & Prybutok, V. R. (1997). Measuring information systems service quality: Concerns on the use of the SERVQUAL questionnaire. MIS Quarterly, 21(2), Sigala, M., & Sakellaridis, O. (2004). Web users cultural profiles and e-service quality: Internationalization implications for tourism websites. Information Technology and Tourism, 7(1), Sigala, M. (2004). The ASP-Qual model: Measuring ASP service quality in Greece. Managing Service Quality, 14(1), Long, M., & McMellon, C. (2004). Exploring the determinants of retail service quality on the Internet. Journal of Services Marketing, 18(1), Li, Y. N., Tan, K. C. and Xie, M.(2002) 'Measuring web-based service quality', Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 13: 5,

6 Tables Table 1: developed questionnaire No. Items Q1 Website addresses are included in all existing documentation, publicity and advertising channels. Q2 Callback systems are stated on the website. Q3 Maximize hit rate by using multiple sites and suitable names, increasing service speed and bandwidth Q4 Hotlinks are available through sponsored websites or sponsored web search engines Q5 Integrate graphics, sound and video to make the website visually appealing Q6 Offer language or geographic options Q7 Information contained on the website is current and timely Q8 Information contained on the website is accurate and relevant Q9 Information contained on the website is rich in detail Q10 Intuitive on-page navigation improves ease of use Q11 Websites are available all the time Q12 Automated or human responses or serving. pages give customers prompt service Q13 responses are relevant and accurate, and website content is appropriate to customer Requirements Q14 Callback or system tells customers exactly when the required service will be performed Q15 The achievable service level is stated on website Q16 The tone of message is consistently courteous Q17 Relevant FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) helps customer to solve problems by themselves Q18 Various FAQs help different customers Q19 Online ordering process is simple Q20 Offer options on mode of payment Q21 Security of arrangements and privacy is stated on the website Q22 Privacy statement and notification accompany e-commerce orders Q23 Firewall is used to guarantee credit-card transaction security Q24 Offer personal responses and web pages Q25 Feedback is continuously changed in response to customers Q26 systems are both inbound and outbound to deal with customer complaints Q27 Customers might be reminded electronically to repurchase and be invited to special offers, etc. Q28 s or questionnaires are used to conduct customer satisfaction surveys Table 2: demographic characteristics of the respondents. Characteristic Number Percentage (%) Gender Male Female Age < Education Undergraduate Graduate M.A. and Ph.D

7 Table 3: mean and standard deviation (n= 40) Items Mean score Std. deviation Item-total correlation Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Variables Responsiveness Competence Quality of information Empathy Web assistance Call-back systems 113

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