Improving Customer Service in the Public Sector

 

 

 

Improving Customer Service in the Public Sector

Student’s Name

Institutional Affiliation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract

The public sector has always been accused of being inward looking and reluctant about improving its customer service(Wong & Baker, 2014). However, this should not be the case anymore as the public sector is facing stiff competition from private developers and investors. Nowadays, the increasing competition companies that hope to prosper should be able to create trusting relationships not only with their stakeholders but also with their customers. The provision of quality customer service is not only important for maintaining a competitive advantage but it is also essential for the provision of quality products to customers. It is important for businesses to understand that customers and clients have become increasingly sensitive about the products and items that they find in the market and service providers and producers that are unable to provide what meets the demands and requirements of their customers shall be phased out of the industry(Wong & Baker, 2014).

Ideally, customer service is a form of sale since if it is not carried out in a manner that impresses the customer, many clients will be lost. It is also considered a sale because companies and businesses need to upgrade and improve it regularly in order to maintain their competitive edge. As such, businesses need to be creative and innovative while approaching this topic.

In this proposal, an investigation of how customer service can be improved will be carried out. Prior to the discussion on the improvement of customer service, a review of related literature shall be carried out. The literature review shall consider how the customer service has been damaged. It will also provide a brief history on how customer service can cost the existence of the public service if the issues facing the customer service are not resolved.

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE………………………………………………………………………….……4

Chapter summary ………………………………………………………………………….….4

Background of the Study ……………………………………………………………….….…4

Problem Statement ………………………………………………………………………….…6

Purpose Statement ………………………………………………………………………….…6

Personal Involvement …………………………………………………………………………6

Hypothesis……………………………………………………………………………….…….6

Objective of Research………………………………………………………………………….6

Significance and Scope of the Study………………………………………………………….7

Research Questions……………………………………………………………………….…..10

Organization of the Research Proposal…………………………………………………..……11

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW…………………………………………………11

Customer satisfaction………………………………………………………………………….11

What Should Be Measured In The Determination Of Customer Satisfaction?……………………15

Customer Service Excellence …………………………………………………………………17

Measuring Customer Service ……………………………………………………………..…..19

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY ………………………………………………..…..23

Restate of Research Purpose and Research Questions……………………………..…………23

Research Design ……………………………………………………………………..……….23

Research Strategy ……………………………………………………………………….…….24

Data Collection Method ………………………………………………………………..…….24

Research Setting and Sample Selection ………………………………………………………25

Selection of Organization ……………………………………………………………………..25

Data Analysis …………………………………………………………………………………26

Limitation of Data Collection and Analysis……………………………………………….…..27

Validity and Reliability ……………………………………………………………………….27

Personal Reflections……………………………………………………………………….…..28

References …………………………………………………………………………………….30

Appendices ……………………………………………………………………………………32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

Chapter summary

The study will focus on ABC Postal Services, an important service provider in the public sector. This company has been able to maintain a competitive edge in the industry by investing in customer service. This chapter will introduce the concepts that will be studies, the definition of the case study, which is based on the extensive reviews from various authors will be made.

Background of the Study

There is no doubt that most companies today endeavor to maximize customer value. Hence, customer service has become a tool for marketing for every entity in any industry. In as much as a firm try to earn more profits, it should be willing to invest in its customer service because unless customers are satisfied, it will not be easy to retain them. Customer service is defined as the ability to address the needs, tastes, preferences and attitudes that customers have. The marketing concept posits that the most appropriate way to search for new ideals are through an analysis of the customers’ warns.

Thus, the success of a company will depend on the ability of an organization to integrate the knowledge of its customer service about what their clients need.

It is inarguable that customer satisfaction is a pillar in the increment of an organization’s customer base. Customer satisfaction enhances the reputation of an organization and in that way, customers will come its (the organization’s) way. The achievement of customer satisfaction does not come by chance. It requires an organization to focus its attention to customers before, during and after they make purchases. Hence, customer service constitutes series of activities that are designed to enhance customer satisfaction.

Customer service varies by industry; customer and product but it always assumes an important dimension in the delivery of services and sale of products. Nonetheless, customer service is an ingredient for survival and profitability in the corporate world(Marković & Raspor Janković, 2013).

The postal services industry is one of the industries that have experienced challenges in the recent years since the regulations involved does not seem to promote better service delivery. As such, customers have fallen victims of poor handling by the employees in the sector. The postal service industry is not the only industry that has been accused of mishandling clients. Several other public corporations have also been identified. Generally, this problem is rampant and appropriate measures should be put in place.

Many governments across the world have been wondering why they are losing their clients to the private operators who may even charge highly for their services. The truth is that customers have been forced to seek the services of expensive providers provided that they provide goods and services that are satisfactory(Marković & Raspor Janković, 2013).

The fight for customers between the private and the public sector has necessitated the need to create loyal customers through the provision of effective customer services. Loyal customers are reliable and they are likely to pass favorable words-of-mouth. The need to retain customers has therefore become a priority for most companies and managers and heads of public corporations have been compelled to consider factors that might improve customer retention when formulating their policies. After all, the cost of creating new customers is five times more expensive than the cost of retaining existing customers.

Because many companies have realized the benefits of satisfying customers, they have begun to invest in customer service. This study seek to find out how customer service can be improved in the public sector by analyzing what has been put in place in ABC Postal Services to enhance its customer service.

Problem Statement

For a long period, the public sector has lagged behind in customer service. What are some of the ways in which the public sector customer service can be improved?

Purpose Statement

This research is intended to create an effective mechanism that can be used by the public sector to improve its customer service. The researcher will carry out an extensive research and review of related literature in order to establish some of the most reliable ways of improving the customer service. As such, the researcher shall come up with innovative options and mechanisms that can enable the public sector to meet the expectations of the members of the public and other stakeholders.

Personal Involvement

Hypothesis:

H0: Customer service is not important in the public sector

H1: Customer service is important in the public sector

Objective of Research:

Many scholars explain that effective customer service creates a niche for an entity in terms of customer attraction and retentions. Therefore, customer service is a tool for combating increasing competition in the world today. The ultimate objective of the study is to examine how customer service can be enhanced in the public sector. The researcher intends to attain the goals of the study by examining the objectives listed below:

  1. To examine the nature of customer service practices in the ABC Postal Services
  2. To evaluate customer’s attitude towards ABC Postal Services
  • To recommend feasible options for improving customer service in the company
  1. To find out the product range that ABC Postal Services has for its customers
  2. To establish if customers are satisfied with the current level of customer service in the company.

Significance and Scope of the Study:

In order to describe the significance of this study, it is important to link the customer service with the marketing concept of a company. Towards the end of 1950, many organizations began to realize that customers were vital for the success of the business because their needs give every organization direction on how to carry out its operations. Hence, marketing is an activity that enables a company to understand and serve its customers better. In light of this argument, effective marketing can be carried out by a company that has implemented appropriate customer service strategies. Marketers occupy a central place in an organization and they ought to be integrated into every phase of a business.

According to the marketing concept, both the management and the employees should be consumer oriented when carrying out their activities(Marković & Raspor Janković, 2013). They should design and plan their tasks in such a way that customers will be satisfied at all times. This can be achieved by formulating relevant goals – goals that promote growth and profitability. The management should not only be oriented to making profits but it should also strive to serve its customers better. The profit that a company makes should be used as a measure of the quality of services that it offers to the customers. With respect to this statement, it is evident that profits and customer service have an intimate relationship.

This study is also significant because it points out the loopholes that have cost many firms in the public sector. The study will provide an insight on some of the factors that have contributed to the slow growth of the public sector.             As such, the study will determine:

What customers’ value

Studying the concept of customer service is important because it facilitates an understanding of what customers want. Apparently, customers have a set of needs that cannot be easily met unless the service provider understands them. From the public sector, members of the public desire various goods and services, which include food, clothing, health care, education, transportation and entertainment among others. The members of the public are always willing to give a price for products that meet their requirements(Marković & Raspor Janković, 2013). The offer that an organization makes determines the number of clients that it will attract. The offer should also be made in the right time and at the right place so that customers can be able to enjoy the benefits. Benefits can be categorized into form, place, possession and time and they will always involve customer service.

Studying customer service facilitates the understanding of the form benefit

The development of a product creates the form benefit. When a customer makes a purchase and finds problems with how the item functions, the customer service plays a significant role in the clarification of the issues that customers raise. Customers will always feel satisfied when the company stands with them whenever the find challenges with the products that they bought. Additionally, customers need additional help when they buy new items and it is the customer service that will always provide such assistance.

Customer service facilitates the enjoyment of place benefit

When a customer needs a good or service, he/she will always prefer a service provider that is located in a convenient place. This might mean the service provider should be located in a place where the customer lives or where he/she can easily access. The argument here is that most citizens believe that valuable items should be taken closer to them.

In view of this argument, this study is significant to the governments because it will provide information about how to serve the citizens best through the transfer of goods and services to where they are needed the most instead of centralizing them in cities and towns.

Customer service and time benefit

The public sector should put in place measures that facilitate the availability of goods and services at a time when they are required. This implies that the public sector can do well only if it serves the public in case of problems. The customer service is an important wing in the provision of services when they needed. They act as call centers where citizens can present their arguments and new developments that may not have been realized by relevant authorities. In terms of both time and place, ABC Postal Services is a perfect example of a firm that takes the two terms into account. Even though it may cost more to send a package via ABC, the company has made it easy to transact in terms of pickup and delivery of packages.

Customer service and possession benefit

Aspects such as security, credit terms and return of defective products are highly valued by customers and that is why they will always select companies that offer the best customer services(Panda & Rao Kondasani, 2014). Customers will always desire to have their issues addressed amicably and within the shortest time possible. As such, customer service representatives from reputable companies will always win the confidence of customers and they will always record huge profits.

The points that have been raised describe how important this study is. It will explain how public companies can make huge profits if they invest in their customer service.

This study shall be carried out on ABC Postal Services. This company has spent a significant amount of time in the industry and therefore it is representative of various public companies in the country. The company has also undergone series of transformations, which will enable the researcher to explore how the transformations have impacted the activities. Before the company’s customer service was overhauled, controversies surrounded it. These controversies are beneficial in this study as the researcher will be able to explore how they affected the operations and profitability of the company.

Empirically, this study examines how customer service can be improved in the public sector. Indeed, customer service is vital in maintaining a competitive advantage in the present day world of business. In a nutshell, this study will study the nature of customer service in the public sector and how it can be improved. Secondly, it will also examine the needs of customers so that feasible options of improving customer service can be suggested. Further, the study is a contribution to the knowledge in the area of customer service by exploring the general expectations of customers in ABC Postal services.

The reason for studying ABC Postal Services is because prior to its improvement of customer service, the company battled with serious cases of malpractice in its customer service department. However, after identifying the problems, it was able to resolve them and its improvement is confirmed from the fact that it had won the best customer service awards in four consecutive years. Thus, this work will provide direction to other public companies that desire to improve the quality of their customer service.

Research Questions:

The research questions that the study attempts to answer include:

  1. What is the nature of customer service in the public sector in the country?
  2. What is the nature of customer attitude in ABC Postal Services?
  • What are the probable options that can be used to improve customer service in the public sector?
  1. What are the various services that ABC postal Services offer to its customers?
  2. Are the company’s customers satisfied with the quality of service that they receive?

Organization of the Research Proposal 

This research proposal has been organized into three chapters.

Chapter one discusses the background and introduction of the proposal. This entails the background of the study, problem statement, and objectives of the study, research questions, hypothesis and the significance of the study.

Chapter 2 provides information on literature review. A review of related literature is necessary to obtain background information on the topic that the researcher intends to study.

Chapter 3 provides information on the methodology that will be used in the study. The methodology will include the study of case studies and online journals. This chapter also provided information such as the choice of the organization, data collections tools, and the reflections of the researcher. In the end, a list of references shall be provided.

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

Chapter two will give an overview of related literature and models that relates to the research problem that has been discussed in the previous chapter. In this chapter, the concepts of service quality, customer satisfaction and the relationship between customer satisfaction and service quality shall be discussed. Similarly, the dimensions of customer service and how it can be measures shall be analyzed.

Customer satisfaction

Within the literature of satisfaction, two interpretations of satisfaction exist. As such, satisfaction can be described as a process or an outcome(Sahai, Jain &Bahuguna, 2014). Authors who have explored the subject of satisfaction have explained that satisfaction is a choice evaluative aspect that concerns itself with a specific purchase decision. In light of this argument, satisfaction is a function of performance and expectation. Majority of studies on satisfaction suggests an analysis of four constructs in the quest to understand satisfaction and they include expectations, disconfirmation, performance and satisfaction. According to the studies, the impacts of expectations are through disconfirmation.

According to Ludwiczak (2014) satisfaction results from performance that fulfills expectations. On the other hand, dissatisfaction is experienced when performance fails to fulfill the expectations. Hence, satisfaction can be described as the discrepancy that exists between what is observed and what is desired. Apparently, satisfaction is consistent with the value-percept disparity theory. The proponents of this theory explain that satisfaction results from the emotional response that is triggered or prompted by the cognitive-evaluation activity. That is to say, it results from a person’s comparison of the ‘product’ to the values as opposed to what is expected.

D’Emidio, Dorton and Duncan (2014)confirm that clients and customers will always hope for a meeting between their needs and the objects of the evaluations that they have. The concept of customer satisfaction has undergone series of reviews and evaluation in the recent past. Many scholars have been attracted to review its application and meaning and this has led to the development of rather contradicting opinions about it. As a result of the increased inquiry into this subject, its nature has been changed. Recent literature has introduced two new perspectives about satisfaction. First, the literature argues that traditional models assume that customer satisfaction results from the cognitive processes. The new concept suggests that effective methods play significant roles in the prediction of the satisfaction. Second, satisfaction is basically a form of judgment that originates from the cumulative encounters that a customer has had with a product or service. Hence, satisfaction is not a transaction-specific aspect.

Many people believe that satisfaction is achieved when a person is pleased with the performance of the product. Similarly, dissatisfaction results from displeasure from the performance of an item(Panda & Rao Kondasani, 2014). To some degree, these arguments are true but it should be remembered that satisfaction has more to do with that. From the arguments, it can be concluded that customer satisfaction is the overall evaluation of the performance of an item or service. Satisfaction is related to the experience that is made with an entity concerning the products and services that are offered. It also encompasses the activities involved in the company or business for instance, provision of after-sale services and product-use guidance. It is after buying a product that customers shall be able to develop expectations(Sharma, 2008). When a customer buys a product or decides to use a service, he will definitely expect that the product or service will meet his requirements. If the product or service meets the requirements, then the level of satisfaction shall be determined. The formation of expectations results from a myriad of factors. The common factors include past experiences, reviews from friends, advices from marketers and reviews that are given by competitors among other factors.

Customers also determine the extent of expectations by evaluating their needs, customer value and the customer costs(Panda & Rao Kondasani, 2014). Many researchers argue that the selection of a product or service is one of the many steps that customers and clients have to take in the purchase process. Hence purchase decisions are influenced by the characteristics of buyers, which include social, cultural, personal, and psychological factors. The buyer’s decision process is also vital for during the purchase decision process. Buying process takes the following steps;

  • Recognition
  • Search for information
  • Evaluation of information
  • Decision making
  • Post purchase evaluation

The search for relevant information is considered the most important stage in the decision making process because it comprises the collection of both external and internal information. A buyer should gather relevant information that will facilitate the purchase of products that will meet the expectations. When a customer perceives that the risk of purchase decision is high, he/she should spend more time in searching for information so that a good number of uncertainties can be eliminated.

Many companies, especially public companies think that they offer what their customers want. It is not easy to predict what a customer wants because the customers’ wants are different and thus cannot be generalized. Consequently, the experiences that customers have are different and they are not necessarily similar to what they want(Srivastava & Shainesh, 2015).

In light of the statement above, companies should always endeavor to improve the level of satisfaction that their customers receive. The process commences with the analysis of customers’ voices before carrying out an analysis of their comments. The whole process has been summarized in the figure below:

 

Ideally, thorough satisfaction is achieved when the employee welfare is improved through the provision of good working conditions. When the employees are loyal, they will become loyal to the firm and their actions will influence customer satisfaction. This results in the following circle of satisfaction(Panda & Rao Kondasani, 2014).

What Should Be Measured In The Determination Of Customer Satisfaction?

There are several problem calls that can be used by organizations to understand the satisfaction of their clients. The number of complaints and the number of returned products are some of the problems calls that are used by companies today. Organizations should invest in gathering and analysis of relevant data that will facilitate the identification of real solutions to the satisfaction problems that they face. Normally, cases of misinterpretation and wrong specifications by customers contribute to the dissatisfaction and therefore, companies should capitalize on that.

Chang (2013) explains that customers play the role of the determinations of the criteria for the measurement of satisfaction. However, some companies determine the criteria for measurement by using internal measures, which will not give accurate information. On the other hand, certain firms rely on their suppliers, which should not be the case as the suppliers lack an understanding on the customers’ priorities. The solution to the challenge entails filtering out the information that is available so that specific dimensions that can address the problem can be dwelled on.

Evaluation of Information

Prior to the evaluation, there is the need to conduct a pre-study using a histogram of the perceive problems. It is after the conduction of a pre-study that a company shall be able to obtain assumptions. Histograms facilitate the determination of a wide array of aspects, which can be used to create questionnaires.

Types of customer satisfaction measurements

Customer Service Excellence

Different people give different arguments about customer service excellence. In fact, many people notice it when it is absent that when it is present in an organization. An organization that has an excellent customer service is honest and will always give good value for money to its customers. It respects its customers and deals with them in a friendly and non-biased manner. The perceive culture in those organizations is that of teamwork, professionalism and respect. The customer care teams also value seriousness and efficiency in their work and will always try to give the best to the company’s clients. The management of customer service is full of trade-offs and dilemmas because the management has to clarify a number of issues. For instance, there is the need to determine the whether the customer is right and how to identify genuine customer complaints from those that are not genuine.  A company will excel in its customer service if it considers all factors that will be recommended in this study. The findings are applicable in all companies in the public sector. Those operating as private investors will also obtain a great deal of helpful information.

There are three determinants of excellence in customer service and they include processes, technology and people. The three determinants overlap in a venn diagram and thus they are called the ‘sweet spot of service quality’. Success in customer service is achieved when the three determinants work in harmony.

Many firms are tempted into believing that raising the service targets can improve the services over time. The truth is that the expectations that customers have are not necessarily in line with the service standards of an organization. The provision of excellent customer services commences with the understanding of how the customers measure their service experiences. It also encompasses the determination of the expectations that customers have about the services and products that are offered by a firm. Once this has been understood, the company shall be able to come up with ways of meeting the expectations and also managing them. Apparently, the expectations that customers have play pivotal roles on their perceptions of the quality of goods and services that a company offers. As such, organizations that overpromise the clients will make them (the clients) to raise their expectations and if they perceive they are receiving lower quality services, their level of satisfaction will be reduced.

Measuring Customer Service

Good customer service is an asset to public sector and it should always be upheld. However, the understanding and determination of whether the public sector delivers good customer service is still a challenge in many states because it is not possible to determine the evaluation techniques that should be used in evaluation. This results from attributes of customer service such as the fact that it is intangible, perishable and too personal. As a result of these attributes, measuring it is complicated and not straightforward.

Many firms in the private sector are able to determine the performance of their customer service departments through the use of various parameters(Panda & Rao Kondasani, 2014). For instance, some companies can use their sales such that if the sales continue to rise over a period of time, the results shall be used to conclude that the performance of the customer services has been good. The sales statistics can also be used to rate the performance of other departments for instance, the sales and marketing department(Taeheeet al., 2014).

However, it appears that measuring the perception of the customer about the company’s goods is not easy as some authors have pointed out. In fact the sales figures show more of the improved performance of the sales and marketing department and teams than the activity of the customer service department. As such, there is the need to come up with better options that can be used to gauge the performance of the customer care. For a company to enjoy long-term profitability, it should be able to determine the changing needs of the customers so that it can meet those needs. If a business is unable to measure the customer service, there is no doubt that it will not be able to measure it. Every company talks about and documents how it intends to better its customer service but surprisingly, few companies implement what they have planned. The worst hit is the public sector. This explains why the public sector has been beaten by the private sector by huge margins.

It is important to understand that the public sector plays significant roles in the lives of citizens and thus it should improve its service delivery. For instance, the activities that are carried out by parastatals and other government agencies cannot be replaced by the public sector and unless the operations of these institutions are improved, customers shall not be able to receive the best services.

Marketing researchers have established that it takes 7 times for an investment to acquire a new client than to keep an existing one(Taeheeet al., 2014). With reference to this statement, it is much easier to keep an existing client/customer than to acquire a new one. The statement also confirms that the quality of customer service shall keep a firm ahead of others, which implies it is the only way to separate a firm from competition. The main methods of measuring customer service include:

Use of surveys

Customers can be asked to complete surveys that have been prepared by an entity(Taeheeet al., 2014). Through the use of surveys, customers shall be asked to rate the experiences that they have had with the company. They should also be asked questions about different areas and tools of customer service such as phone-calls, online services, speed of response, attitude of the company’s customer care team and the satisfaction that they get from the solutions that are offered by the company. Well-designed questionnaires shall enable an entity to make decisions on what to do in order to enhance the quality of customer service. The results of the surveys are also paramount when making decisions on how to respond to customer issues in the future. They are several ways of administering surveys and they have been discussed below.

Firstly, customers can be surveyed through direct mails. This entails sending out simple questionnaires to the customers as soon as the purchase a product or service from the firm. The surveys should be short and simple as they should not consume much of the respondents time. On average, it should take the client 2-3 minutes to complete the survey. In most cases, these kinds of surveys should be accompanied by simple notes or letters that explain the importance of taking the survey. Similarly, it should include a postage-paid return envelope that will enable the customer to send the responses back to the company without being charged.

The second form of doing survey involves sending the surveys to the customers through emails. It is the cheapest and the most convenient method because it eliminates the need to visit the post office. Customers complete the surveys online and submit them to the company at their convenience. For a company to utilize this option, it should collect the emails of the customers as they make their purchases.

Call monitoring can also be used to measure the customer services that a company offers. Call monitoring is one of the latest developments, which involves listening to the conversations between the representatives of the customer service and the customers who are raising issues of making complaints. By listening to such calls, the management shall be able to gauge the effectiveness and reliability of its customer service. The services of consultants are important during call monitoring as they will be able to provide additional assistance that will go a long way towards the improvement of customer service.

Another option that can be used in carrying out surveys involves telephone surveys. Telephone surveys should be given priority because they facilitate the collection of first-hand information from customers. For instance, if a company develops a strategy that 100 customers should be given phone calls in a week, the company shall be able to determine the performance of its customer service on a weekly basis. As such, it will be able to correct any problems in its customer service as soon as they arise. Apart from the fact that this method makes it possible to collect first-hand information within a short period of time, telephone surveys offers a good PR experience for the company. Telephone surveys, however, are associated with a major shortcoming – it promotes invasion of privacy. Similarly, the time allocated for the conversation may be limited, which gives the company a limited chance to collect information. It should also be understood that some customers may not be able to provide constructive responses especially where they are caught unaware.

Finally, customer care focus groups can also be used to measure customer care service. The use of focus groups is effective because the members of the customer care team as well as the management will be able to collect first-hand information from their customers. It is a powerful tool for companies that intend to obtain insights about the behaviors and attitude of the customers. Once a firm or business understands the attitude and behaviors of its customers, it will be able to provide what the customers require and in an appropriate time. They are two types of focus groups that a company can use and they include the physical focus groups and the online focus groups. As the name suggests, physical focus groups carry out their surveys by inviting the customers to attend meetings or seminars that are organized by the company. During their meeting with the representatives of the company, the customers are asked to give their opinions and comments on the quality of customer service that the company has.

The employees will listen to the reports keenly because their findings will be relied upon during the implementation of customer service changes in the organization. On the other hand, online focus groups carry out experiments via the internet to determine the perception that the customers have about a company’s customer service. This option is more reliable because the customers will express their genuine thoughts unlike during face-to-face meetings where they may be tempted to lie in order to please the representatives from the company.

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY

This chapter will discuss how the research will be conducted. It includes the purpose of the research, the approach, the research strategy, ethical considerations, methods of sample selection and the data collection methods that will be used. In the end, the validity and reliability of the methodology shall be discussed in details. From the review of literature that is related to this study, it emerged that several factors can contribute towards the improvement of customer service in the public sector. The key components that emerged from the review include improving working conditions, understanding customer needs and the concept of perceptions and expectations.

Restate of Research Purpose and Research Questions

In every research, the researcher is supposed to select a research design that will be used during the study. There are many research designs that exist but not all of them suit every study. As a result, every researcher needs to select an appropriate design depending on the nature of the study that he/she is carrying out. The thesis will undergo a series of research stages. First, a description of the research area will be provided so that an understanding of the research area can be achieved. Secondly, generalizations from the collected data will be made. This research will be exploratory in nature and the findings shall be supported by the customer satisfaction theories that have been discussed. The thesis will also explain different reasons that underlie the causes of the events that will be observed. Overall, this thesis is intended to shed more light on how customer satisfaction in the public sector can be enhanced.

Through this study, I hope to come up with innovative ways and options that can be used by public sector corporations to improve customer satisfaction. When customers and clients are satisfied about the services that are offered by an entity, they will come back while at the same time bringing their friends, which will improve the performance and profitability of the entities. To demonstrate how customer satisfaction impacts the activities of a public sector company in a positive way, the following research questions shall be examined in the study:

  1. What is the current state of customer satisfaction in the public sector?
  2. What factors contribute to the state of customer satisfaction?
  • What measures have been put in place to combat the challenges of customer satisfaction?
  1. How best can companies approach the problem of customer dissatisfaction?

Research Design

The research will commence with a review of the theory before moving to data and collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, which will be obtained by vising the company’s website and collecting relevant reviews from online sources. Similarly, interviews shall be conducted, which will pave way for the performance of the study through the conceptualization of the theory(Taeheeet al., 2014). Qualitative research is suitable for this study because it facilitates the understanding of events regarding customer satisfaction and the decisions that customers make about the company’s products. Pubic companies such as ABC Postal Services require larger platforms to manage customer satisfaction. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods are appropriate in research studies because they aid in the understanding of the research questions. For instance, when a quantitative research method is not sufficient to address the research problem, the qualitative research may do. Qualitative data shall be collected through a survey of 200 employees in ABC Postal Services.

The survey is targeted on employees who relate with the customers most of the time. The employees shall be interviewed on the items of the research questions. Emphasis will be on the aspects that prevail in the company. The respondents shall also be asked to give their contributions on the fourth item of the research question as they are deemed knowledgeable about how their organization can enhance its operations to meet the requirements and expectations of the customers.

Research Strategy

Benoit and Van dens Poel (2012) explain that case studies are favorable where ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions are asked. This thesis asks the ‘how’ question and to achieve the purpose, a case study of the company ABC postal corporation company shall be considered in the study. Precisely, a control of events is not necessary for the achievement of results in this study because the information shall be collected from the environment as they occur naturally. However, this research requires a focus on the contemporary activities and events, which makes case studies an appropriate approach to use. Because the thesis seeks to obtain a generalization from the data that is collected, a multiple case design is appropriate because it will facilitate the achievement of robust evidence. Consequently, multiple case designs are appropriate for studies that are intended to test the theory.

Data Collection Method

No single method of data collection can be voted as the best(Team, 2006). As such, each method suits a specific study. In this study, interviews shall be used to collect data. Through interviews, a better understanding of the subject will be made. For an effective interview to be conducted, an interview guide shall be created.

Research Setting and Sample Selection

It is not practical to collect data from the entire population. Hence, samples shall be used for purposes of the study. The use of samples is economical as it will reduce the costs and time that is required to collect data. A representative subset of the population shall be created using the non-probability method. This method is appropriate as much of the data will not be evaluated statistically. The non-probability method is ideal because it will give all members in the population a chance to be selected. The target sample consists of 200 employees who have spent at least ten years in the Postal Corporations industry. The survey will be carried out online because it is efficient. It will also promote anonymity, which is relevant in the protection of the interests of the respondents. Electronic mails are also appropriate as the researcher will not have to find time to visit the facility. As such, no appointments shall be made and the participants will spend limited time in giving their responses.

Selection of Organization

ABC Postal Services is one of the most important companies in the country. It is a leader in the provision of services to members of the public because it has restructured its mode of service delivery in a way that meets the demands and requirements of many. The company has been voted as the most innovative public company and that is why it has won the customer service awards for four consecutive years.

Studying ABC Postal Services is appropriate because it provides a mix of results. Twelve years ago, before, restructuring and reviewing its customer service, the company experienced series of challenges that almost led to its collapse. Hence, studying the company’s background is relevant in the ascertainment of factors that promote poor customer service in the public sector. Poor leadership and lack of appropriate strategies have been described as the main factors that contributed to the challenges that the company faced. The leaders during those periods never bothered to formulate and implement appropriate policies and this led to the provision of substandard services.

In 2001, a new form of leadership was introduced in ABC and it began to revolutionize the company’s customer care. The policies that were introduced by the new management restored the image of ABC and customers changed their perception about the company. The introduction of new management is not the only factor that led to the transformation of the customer service of ABC Postal Services, there are other factors that were blended together and this study will explore those factors.

With more than 10 years of leadership in customer service, ABC Postal Services is the company to emulate.

This company is also ideal for the study because of its proximity. The researcher will find sufficient time to implement the study since the company is located two kilometers from the university. The management of the company is also cooperative and there are high chances that the researcher will obtain relevant information during the study.

Data Analysis

Data analysis entails the examination, categorizing and structuring of the data that is collected during the data collection process(Whithem, Scales & Quain, 2014). Traditionally, case studies are difficult to analyze because there exists no specific techniques that can be used in their analysis. However, because all studies should have a general framework, the collected data should be analyzed to facilitate drawing of conclusions. Hence, the analysis of the data in this study shall be based on the framework that was developed from the theory. As such, general explanations shall be established before being compared against each other. Thus this study shall compare the prevailing conditions in the company against the concepts of customer satisfaction.

Limitation of Data Collection and Analysis

The data collection method that is involved in this study is not free from flaws and it is important to highlight them. Considering that this will be my first time to carry out interviews, I may not be in a position to carry out the activity skillfully and in a systematic way. I am also not free from the flaws of the selected method of data collection which include inconsistency of reports from the respondents, collection of inadequate and irrelevant information and inadequate preparation. I however hope to eliminate the challenges associated with interviews by undertaking the following measures;

  • Carrying out practical exercises prior to the actual test.
  • Reflecting on the good and bad aspects of the interviews that I have attended before.
  • Acquainting myself with factors that could impair my judgment so that I can be in a position to overcome them.

Validity and Reliability

Validity is one of the most important aspects of a research paper. In order to achieve validity in this research, multiple case study research is desired because it will aid in the derivation of valid findings. The validity and reliability of the research is built from the review of scholarly journals, case studies and books that have been authored by reputable authors. According to Barrett et al. (2015),reliability is of utmost importance when conducting interviews especially where biasness is likely to be experienced. Bias can be reduced or eliminated through structuring of interviews prior to the actual data collection. Validity has to do with the generalizability of the study too. As such, a valid research is one that can be applied to other research settings. Generalizability of research is possible in this study because multiple case studies shall be considered. As such the findings will not only reflect the situation in the ABC Company but also other companies in the industry.

Personal Reflections

In this research, I will address the following question that is becoming increasingly important to the public sector: is it possible to improve customer service in the public sector? If yes, what are some of the options that can be used to improve customer service?

The public sector is one of the most important drivers of the global economy. This sector appears to be performing poorly in several economies and there is then need to identify and fix the issues that lead to its stagnation.

On a personal note, the research process is rigorous and it will give me a chance to put what I have learnt into practice. This study will expose me to the outside world by giving me a chance to interact with the stakeholders in the public sector. Similarly, it will enable me to make contributions on the enhancement of the global economy through the focus on customer satisfaction. I owe my success in the program to many individuals. Everyone whom I have interacted with has been influential in the attainment of course goals. Specifically, I thank my supervisor for the support that he gave me during the period. Without his efforts, obtaining the degree would not be possible. Through the instructor’s assistance, I got to understand that college education is meant to prepare a person to face the real life issues that face the society. Hence, by carrying out this study, I will help contribute towards the improvement of the society by suggesting ways in which customer satisfaction in the public sector can be achieved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Prabhu, J., & Vargo, S. L. (2015). SERVICE INNOVATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE: KEY CONTRIBUTIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS. MIS Quarterly39(1), 135-154.

Benoit, D. F., & Van den Poel, D. (2012). Improving customer retention in financial services using kinship network information. Expert Systems With Applications3911435-11442. doi:10.1016/j.eswa.2012.04.016

Chang, C. (2013). Improving employment services management using IPA technique. Expert Systems With Applications406948-6954. doi:10.1016/j.eswa.2013.06.027

D’Emidio, T., Dorton, D., & Duncan, E. (2014). Service innovation in a digital world. Mckinsey Quarterly, (4), 54-62.

Ludwiczak, A. (2014). The role of customer orientation in improving services in public administration. Management (1429-9321),18(1), 356-369. doi:10.2478/manment-2014-0026

Marković, S., & Raspor Janković, S. (2013). EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SERVICE QUALITY AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN CROATIAN HOTEL INDUSTRY. Tourism & Hospitality Management19(2), 149-164.

Panda, R. K., & Rao Kondasani, R. K. (2014). ASSESSING CUSTOMERS’ PERCEIVED SERVICE QUALITY IN PRIVATE SECTOR BANKS IN INDIA. Serbian Journal Of Management9(1), 91-103. doi:10.5937/sjm9-4511

Sahai, V., Jain, A. K., & Bahuguna, P. C. (2014). Bridging the gap – interpersonal communication orientation to improving customer service. Industrial & Commercial Training46(4), 209-219. doi:10.1108/ICT-10-2013-0070

Sharma, A. (2008). Improving Customer Service and Profitability Through Customer Intervention in Service Relationships. Journal Of Relationship Marketing7(4), 327-340. doi:10.1080/15332660802508505

Srivastava, S. C., & Shainesh, G. (2015). BRIDGING THE SERVICE DIVIDE THROUGH DIGITALLY ENABLED SERVICE INNOVATIONS: EVIDENCE FROM INDIAN HEALTHCARE SERVICE PROVIDERS. MIS Quarterly39(1), 245-A19.

Taehee, K., Hyomin, S., Min Cheol, K., & Kyungro, C. (2014). Customer productivity in technology-based self-service of virtual golf simulators. International Journal Of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship16(1), 24-39.

Team, P. (2006). Improving Customer Service. [Place of publication not identified]: Team Publications & Worldwide Center for Organizational Development.

WHITHEM, C., SCALES, M. S., & QUAIN, B. (2014). Practical Guidelines for Increasing Customer Loyalty by Improving Service Quality in Atlantic City Casinos. Consortium Journal Of Hospitality & Tourism19(1), 59-73.

Wong, D., & Baker, D. (2014). Improving US airport taxicab services through governance arrangements. Journal Of Air Transport Management40126-131. doi:10.1016/j.jairtraman.2014.06.

 

Appendix A:  Introduction of Research Letter Inclusive of Informed

Consent/ Confidentiality Agreement

Director of Customer Care Division

ABC Postal Services

New York

Dear Sir/Madam

I am a student at Nyack College enrolled in the Organizational Management program.  The program requirements in my college require students to undertake research studies prior to graduation. Hence, I am writing to request for your permission to conduct a survey in your institution.

I selected your organization because of the success that it has attained in the customer service. This survey is being conducted to learn the factors that can enable companies in the public sector to improve their customer service.

 

With your permission I would conduct the survey on approximately 200 male and female, twenty-one years and older, of all diversities and ethnicities, in the orders to cash and supply chain division only. Be advised that the identity of the company and the participant will remain anonymous.  Once the surveys are complete a final copy of the summarized results will be sent to you.

 

Should you decide not to have the employees of ABC Postal Services participate in this survey please inform me via e-mail (enter email) or contact me at (indicate phone number) to select an alternate organization.

If you agree to participate in the survey, please sign and return the enclosed survey permission slip in the enclosed envelope.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

 

Best regards,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SURVEY PERMISSION SLIP

As the Director of Customer Contact Division, I hereby grant permission to (Name), in conjunction with Nyack College, to conduct a survey of the men and women of ABC Postal services.  As promised, let the details of those who will participate in the survey remain anonymous even after the survey.

 

Sign___________________________________________ Date_____________________

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