The impact of self-service technologies on perceptions of customer service quality in a Business School in South Africa

Dube, Lawrence Thulani
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There is increased usage of self-service technology in efforts to deliver superior service quality in business schools. This transition from face-to-face interaction has led to both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with service quality delivered. This study sought to ascertain the impact self-service technologies have on the perception of service quality (Servqual) dimensions of reliability, tangibility, assurance, responsiveness and empathy. A survey research instrument based on an adapted Servqual questionnaire that was self-administered was employed. Convenience sampling was utilised on the Wits Business School campus, with 210 students’ views captured. Then, the data was analysed using GAP analysis and descriptive statistics extrapolated from the data. The results of the study indicate that a transition to self-service portals does not lead to customers having a positive view of all the service quality dimensions as most customers were neutral in their perceptions. Students, therefore, need to have both self-service technologies and walk-in centres for face-to-face interaction. The study contributes to the ever-increasing knowledge on the usage of self-service technology in higher education in emerging markets. While there are significant shifts towards usage of the portals in business schools, there is a need to control the pace of change and avoid drastic adoption without other options as it may not lead to positive customer perceptions. The study recommends that transition not be drastic, that focus be on user-friendliness of the portals, that there be increased use of interactive technologies such as chatbots to increase responsiveness as well as a provision of people to engage with when there is need for escalation of issues aiding service recovery.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in the field of Strategic Marketing, Johannesburg 2019
Dube, Lawrence Thulani, (2019) The impact of self-service technologies on perceptions of customer service quality in a business school in South Africa, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,