This study is about the effects of service quality on customers‟ satisfaction in the mobile phone industry of Tanzania as assessed by customers and service providers. The research problem is that with different expectations and perceptions, customers and service providers might assess quality factors differently in predicting customers‟ satisfaction level. The main objective of this study is to find out to what extent service quality factors can be used to predict the level of satisfaction by customers compared to service providers. There were four specific objectives for this study. Firstly, to establish the quality factors that influence the assessment of mobile service quality by customers. Secondly, to determine how service providers assess themselves regarding customers‟ satisfaction. Thirdly, to compare the assessment mobile phones service quality by customers and service providers. Fourthly, to determine the effect of location on the assessment of quality factors by customers. The study was designed to be descriptive. The study population consisted of 10,990 university students from two selected universities. A sample of 468 university students was drawn to represent customers. Out of 468 questionnaires distributed, 420 were collected hence a response rate of 90 percent. A linear regression analysis model was used to determine the factors that are important in predicting satisfaction. A t-test was used to compare the results from customers‟ assessment with that of service providers. It was found that three quality factors (reliability, responsiveness and empathy) are important in determining the overall customers‟ satisfaction of the mobile phones network industry. It was further found that the important factors in predicting satisfaction are different from one location to another. The quality assessment by customers is found to be different from that of service providers. This is because the t-value obtained through a T-Test, was found to be statistically significant. It is therefore concluded that the factors of service quality affect the level of customers‟ satisfaction in the mobile phone industry differently. The results of this study can be used by service providers in the marketing management for mobile phone networks. The Service providers ought to focus their strategies on the three important factors in the mobile phone industry of Tanzania. It is recommended that service providers need to understand the assessment of their customers in order to eliminate the service quality gaps which emanate from variations in assessment of service quality of service providers compared to customers.
This chapter discusses the background of the study, statement of the problem, significance of the study, objectives and research questions. The purpose of the study, scope, basic assumptions as well as conceptual framework also form part of this chapter.
Background to the Study
The focus of this study is the link between service quality factors and customers‟ satisfaction. The target group for this study consisted of university students (customers) who use the services of various service providers in the mobile phone network industry in Tanzania. Quality is considered to be made up of five major factors (Tangibility, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy).
The scores for perception (p) were used to establish mean scores for quality in respect of each of the factors. The difference between perception (P) and expectation (E), is used to derive the score of the level of satisfaction (S) for each customer to each of the quality factors i.e (S = P – E). Customers have different perceptions about the factors of quality in determining the overall satisfaction level.
Like many countries in East Africa, Tanzania boasts of a small but thriving mobile phone industry. The five major operators Tigo, Vodacom, Zain, Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited Mobile (TTCL) and Zantel are busy rolling out networks. The pressure
to grow and provide greater national coverage has seen the companies begin to invest in
networks linking smaller regional towns and villages where most Tanzanians live. Customers differ when it comes to assessing the relationship between service quality and customers‟ satisfaction.
Moreover there is always a likelihood of differing appreciation of satisfaction by customers when compared to that of service providers (Varey, 2000). For this reason, all companies are working hard to strengthen their network across the country. According to the reports of Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), there is an increasing growth of the mobile phone customers in Tanzania. The industry is about a decade old. As at September 30th 2007, the industry had already attracted more than 7.7 million users (Nkoma J.S, 2007).