Customer perception of service quality at the Business Studies Unit of the Durban University of Technology
Customer satisfaction is the key ingredient to the success of any business. This is the most important factor that creates loyal customers. Presently, organisations are attempting to obtain increased customer satisfaction by focusing on the quality of their products and the service provided. Students were identified as customers of HEI’s. This research focuses on the determination of customer perception of service quality at the Business Studies Unit (BSU) of the Durban University of Technology. The objectives were: to identify expectations of students of the BSU; to identify the perceptions of students of the BSU and to measure and compare the expectations and perceptions of students using the SERVQUAL score. Customer perceptions were determined by means of a quantitative survey conducted at the BSU lecture venues using the self-administered SERVQUAL questionnaire. One hundred and ninety five respondents were surveyed. Data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The questionnaire measured students’ expectations and perceptions in five dimensions of service that consists of tangibles, reliability, assurance, responsiveness and empathy. The results demonstrated that in each of the five SERVQUAL dimensions, there was a negative quality gap. The largest gap was in the tangibles dimension. Also, there were significant differences between perceptions and expectations of students in all of the five SERVQUAL dimensions (p<0.001) Improvements are needed across all five dimensions. Results have shown that students’ perception of service quality at the BSU falls below their expectations, presenting a great challenge to the institution. In order to improve service quality, it is recommended that the BSU regularly assesses employees, as well as customers’ experiences and provide prompt feedback.