The Relative Importance of Service Quality Dimensions: An Empirical Study in the Tanzanian Higher Education Industry
Authors: Dr. Amani G. Tegambwage
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Service quality can be improved if service provider directs improvement efforts on the dimensions which customers consider most important when assessing the quality of service. Since service quality is determined on the basis of five SERVQUAL dimensions, and the fact that the five dimensions differ in importance to the customer across cultures, countries, and industries, it is important to find out which dimensions are considered as most important by customers in a particular setting, so as to prioritize service improvement investment decisions, given the limited resources available to management. Since customers have different service quality requirements which carry different weights in the evaluation of perceived service quality, the assessment of the importance attached by students to each dimension would enable managers in higher education institutions to set priorities in order to make appropriate investment decisions, given the limited resources available. Thus, this study investigates the relative importance of service quality dimensions in the Tanzania higher education industry, an under-researched industry in an under-researched cultural setting. Data was obtained from 500 students in two public universities. Findings indicate that, among the five dimensions of service quality, Reliability ranked as the most important dimension, followed by: Tangibles, Assurance, Empathy, and Responsiveness in that order of importance. Thus, given the limited resources available to management of higher education institutions in Tanzania, service quality improvement should be prioritized in this order: Reliability, Tangibles, Assurance, Empathy, and Responsiveness.