Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Management Studies

Providing a Multidimensional Measurement Model for Assessing Mobile Telecommunication Service Quality (MS-Qual)

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Management Studies

Providing a Multidimensional Measurement Model for Assessing Mobile Telecommunication Service Quality (MS-Qual)

Article excerpt

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Introduction

Mobile telecommunication service industry is on a fast growth path in the world as well as in Iran. Over the last few years, the mobile telecommunication market in Iran has undergone dramatic changes. This market has followed a transformation from a monopoly to a deregulated, almost open and free competitive market. At the time of this study, there existed two mobile phone operators in Iran, and the third one was going to start its operation soon. Business Monitor Internationals' (BMI) forecast for Iran, expects the mobile sector expanding by over eight percent in 2012, with the mobile subscriber base forecast to grow to 80.85 mn by the end of the year. BMI continues to expect the Iranian mobile market to cross the one hundred percent penetration threshold in early 2012 (BMI, 2011). Because of this changing dynamics, the Iranian mobile phone operators face some significant challenges. First, retaining existing customers in a high churn market has become very difficult and costly. Second, new customer acquisition is becoming more difficult than ever because potential subscribers now have more alternatives to choose from according to their perceived performance and service quality and also mobile phone operators offer charming deals to attract them. In such a competitive market, it is essential to consider customer satisfaction as a strategic priority.

There are many benefits for a company from a high customer satisfaction level. Research evidence shows that customer satisfaction has a direct effect on the financial performance of a company (Gupta & Zeithaml, 2006; Smith & Wright, 2004). Also, satisfied customers have a higher tendency to stay with their existing service provider (Kim et al., 2004; Lim et al., 2006) and are more likely to recommend the service provider to others (Eshghi et al., 2008; Sweeney & Swait, 2008). Research evidences also show that the main driver of customer satisfaction is the customers' perceptions of service quality (Kim et al., 2004; Zeithami & Bitner, 2002). In mobile telecommunication industry, several previous researches have proved the positive effect of service quality on customer satisfaction (Wang & Lo, 2002; Eshghi et al., 2008; Negi, 2009; Gunjan et al., 2011). Thus, it is important that mobile phone operators not only provide services that customers need but also improve their service quality simultaneously.

Our review of service quality literature points out two limitations. First, several researchers have considered mobile telecommunication service quality from different perspectives and there is no consensus on its measurement, which is important for mobile phone operators to identify and improve their service quality. Second, as noted by Babakus and Boiler (1992), there is a need to develop industry- specific measures of service quality. The more specific the scale items are in a service quality instrument and the more applicable they are to a manager's own contextual circumstance, the better he or she will be able to use the information. Thus, instead of taking an existing instrument and trying to fit it to the context, a better approach is to develop an instrument, specifically for that service industry (Karatepe et al., 2005). On the other hand, compared with other services, mobile services have unique characteristics such as mobility, anytime and anywhere computing, and social conditions. Because generic service quality scales do not take these characteristics into consideration, it is important to develop a scale of service quality specifically for mobile telecommunication services (Lu et al., 2009). This paper tries to acquit these limitations and develop a multidimensional service quality model specifically for assessing mobile telecommunication service quality.

The rest of the paper consists of the following sections. The next section provides a review of the relevant literature. …

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