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   bhin v    International Monthly Refereed Journal of Research In Management & Technology   49   ISSN  –   2320-0073   Volume I, December’12   A STUDY OF THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR CONCERNING SERVICE QUALITY AND VARIOUS DIMENSIONS OF SERVICES PROVIDED BY AIRLINES SERVICES Prof. Chanduji Thakor  1  and Kinjal Mistri 2   1 Head of the Department, VJKM Institute of Management and Computer Studies, Vadu (North Gujarat) Email: 2 Lecturer, B.B.A College, Kalol, Gandhinagar INTRODUCTION What is Service? A type of  economic activity that is intangible, is not stored and does not result in ownership.  A service is consumed at the point of sale. Services are one of the two key components of economics, the other being goods. Examples of services include the transfer of goods, such as the postal service delivering mail, and the use of expertise or experience, such as a customer travel into Airlines. (Source: Characteristics of Services    Intangibility    Simultaneously    Perishability    Inseparability    Labour intensive    Heterogeneity An airline is a company that provides air transport services for traveling  passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their  aircraft with which to supply these services and may form  partnerships or  alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit. Generally, airline companies are recognized with an air operating certificate or license issued by a governmental aviation  body. Airlines vary from those with a single aircraft carrying mail or  cargo, through full-service international airlines operating hundreds of aircraft. Airline services can be categorized as   bhin v    International Monthly Refereed Journal of Research In Management & Technology   50   ISSN  –   2320-0073   Volume I, December’12    being intercontinental, intra-continental, domestic, regional, or international, and may be operated as scheduled services or charters. REVIEW OF LITERATURE   Literature review depicted that Scandinavian Airlines System was structured as per the demands and the recommendations of the customers, instead of those of the company and its management. “One of the key issues in the paper is the way SAS has chosen to develop the new services, namely to allow the passengers to define the process as op posed to defining it from the company perspective.” ( Gustafsson, Ekdahl & Edvardsson, 1999) the literature review also indicated that variations in the services provided to the customers and the high degree of customization has differentiated effects on the satisfaction level of the customers. Results of the study depict that “the relationship between process variation and customer dissatisfaction is contingent upon a company‟s average performance with regard to each  process. Consistency is at least as important as average performance for high performers, whi le it has limited impact for low performers.” (Tsikriktsis & Heineke, 2004)  Davidson (1978), discussed in his research the importance of managing customer contacts specifically in the service industries. The reason that was provided for managing the contacts was to increase customer loyalty, promote repeat purchase of the services as well as to create a position for the company in the market specific to the perceptions of the customers about the company and is service quality standards. Another research by Oyewole in 2002 also highlighted that moods and quality of life can also greatly influence the satisfaction level of the customer. The moods of the customer as well as the quality of life “tend to have significant influence on the level of satisfaction with services in the airline industry. However, some elementary services tend to be more influenced than others by these affective states of the consumer.” (Oyewole, 2002) As a result the airlines, specifically Singapore Airlines tries to improve the mood of the customers with specially designed in fight facilities and services. Source:   bhin v    International Monthly Refereed Journal of Research In Management & Technology   51   ISSN  –   2320-0073   Volume I, December’12   RESEARCH OBJECTIVES The research carried out during the project had many objectives related to the service quality of the Indian airline industry. Some of the objectives of the research carried out are listed  below:    To study the concept of service quality and dimensions governing service quality.    To study the service quality of different service providers in the Indian aviation industry.    To measure the service quality with the help of the service quality dimensions for the service providers.    To compare the service quality of different service providers with Kingfisher airlines and to find the airline service provider with the best service quality.    To understand the k  nowledge gap or the gap between the management‟s perception about the customer expectations and the customer expectations.    To measure the knowledge gap for the service providers of the Indian aviation industry. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The research methodology gives an idea about the type of research design, the sampling techniques, the process of data collection and the instrument used for data collection. Let us try to understand all the portions in detail. Research Design The research design in this project was descriptive research design. A descriptive research design describes marketing characteristics or functions. Also it is qualitative in nature. The research paper carried out involves measuring service quality with the help of service quality dimensions which are the attributes for that service provider or the brand. Data Collection   The data collection in this project was through both the primary and secondary sources. The  primary sources include the customers of the service provider who provided the primary data. Textbooks, journals, internet websites and other magazines provided the secondary data for the project. Hence both primary and secondary data were collected during the project. Questionnaire The instrument used for the collection of the primary data was a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire is to be filled up by the customers of an airline service provider. The questionnaire will have closed ended questions or multiple choice questions. Sampling Technique and Sample Size   The sampling technique used in this project was a non-probability sampling. A non- probability sampling relies on the personal judgment of the researcher rather than chance to select samples. The sampling technique in a non-probability sampling was that of a convenience sampling. Convenience sampling attempts to obtain a sample of convenient samples. The selection of the samples is left primarily to the interviewer. Often the   bhin v    International Monthly Refereed Journal of Research In Management & Technology   52   ISSN  –   2320-0073   Volume I, December’12   respondents are selected because they happen to be in the right place at the right time. The sample size was kept 200 for the research purpose. LIMITATIONS The limitations of the research carried out for this paper are as follows:    Only 4 service providers are taken into consideration while studying the service quality of the service providers and measuring and comparing them. Hence the whole industry was not covered.    Moreover only domestic airline services are taken into consideration because of the constraint of time and accessibility.    Sample size was 200. Hence it cannot be generalized to a larger population. Expanded Marketing Mix New P’s   People The frontline or service-provider employee plays a key role in the services delivery process since it is this category of employee that executes the service promise to the customer. The important points about people are as follows: People are the visible face of the service  provider. They are the only ones who are seen and heard by the service recipient. For example, the receptionist at the tax office receives the returns at the counters. We are not allowed to go in any further or meet with the taxation officers. Hence from this we can say that the service provider employee is the kingpin in the services delivery. They are also known as internal customers. If a service organization takes good care of internal customers then only they can ultimately satisfy the external customers. Hence we need to pay greater importance to their psychological and mental make up rather than mere qualifications. Physical Evidence The physical evidence of a service comes in different forms and guises. These include the  physical aspects of the location of the service delivery such as the design, functionality, and aesthetics of the place. The air flow, décor, temperature, etc. create the right atmosphere for the service delivery. The dress, uniform, appearance, and facial expressions of the frontline employees form a crucial part of this physical evidence. Process This means procedures, mechanism and flow of activities by which a service is acquired. Process decisions radically affect how a service is delivered to customers. For example, at a restaurant the process involves certain steps as following:    Providing information with the help of a menu    Consulting    Order taking    Delivering the service as per the order    Billing    Payment   bhin v    International Monthly Refereed Journal of Research In Management & Technology   53   ISSN  –   2320-0073   Volume I, December’12   This is a basic and simple process at a restaurant. There can be many such processes for different services. A process if changed can change the service delivery and hence can also change the service quality perceived by the customers. Hence process is supposed to be designed properly. It is also a very important mix of marketing in services. Classification of Services by Industry Service Quality Concept Quality is defined as "Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfils requirements"  by ISO 90 00.Quality is also defined as “ Fitness for use ” by Joseph M. Juran. Fitness in this definition is defined by the customer. Quality can also be defined in simple words as “ Conformance to Requirements ” as defined by Philip B. Crosby. The difficulty with this  is that the requirements may not fully represent what the customer wants; Crosby treats this as a separate problem.
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