TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 3 LITERATURE REVIEW… 4
2.2.2. Antecedents of customer satisfaction. 7
2.5. Assessment and Benefits. 8
2.6. Identification of Customer Satisfaction. 9
Chapter 5 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION.. 13
4.4.1. Customer satisfaction. 15
Chapter 6 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS. 19
Customer satisfaction is important for any firm to retain its services. It is an indicator that shows that a business is meeting the tasks for which it was created to serve. For Dubai’s Roads Transitional Authority (RTA) customer satisfaction indicator that the authority is meeting it mandates in the proper way the meets clients’ expectations. In the recent past Dubai’s Roads Transitional Authority (RTA) made ceaseless effort to improve customer service. The authority made partnerships with other subsidiaries to provide outsources services the saw RTA service provision improve. As a result, Dubai’s Roads Transitional Authority (RTA) customer satisfaction rating greatly improved. In the wake this improvement Dubai’s Roads Transitional Authority (RTA) understands that it will take even more efforts continuously improve these ratings as well as sustain them. This study explores the factors that saw Dubai’s Roads Transitional Authority’s customer service rating rise and how the authority can sustain them as well as improve on what it has already achieved.
List of Table
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
DURL- Dubai Rapid Link
GDP- Gross Domestic Product
QSR- Qualitative Software and Research
RTA- Road Transport Authority
SMMA- Sequential Nixed Method Analysis
UAE- United Arab Emirates
Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION
The Dubai city Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is an agency that was created by the decree (17) of 2005 and is bestowed with the responsibility of overseeing and planning the rail, marine and road transportation networks in the city of Dubai and other Emirate cities of the UAE and neighboring countries. Its mandate is to provide safe, effective and integrated transport systems that include taxis, buses, rail engineering, tolls, marine transport, traffic safety and licensing and registration. Dubai plays a pivotal role in the UAE, and one of the fastest growing cities of this decade, and it is imperative for the government to provide advanced transport network and high quality infrastructure for its people. Initiatives to enhance and improve the public transport facilities are evident from the upgraded roads across the Emirates, which makes travelling smoother and safer. Furthermore, due to an abundance of tourist and business people moving from place to place, the government ensures that the customers who use their public transport system are as comfortable as possible. In the paper present, the role played by the RTA towards customer satisfaction is investigated.
Since the formation of the RTA, Dubai has greatly improved the services to its citizens and corporate clients. Due to this, it has realized enormous customer satisfaction and still aims at achieving more. The body (RTA) maintains a relationship and embraces low cost solutions with complimentary firms that ensure its services improve (Avaya Inc., 2011). The city has significantly improved its road, metro and port services.
The RTA runs the largest bus system in Dubai. The system consists of 193 routes, thus transporting more than 30 million people per week. Though large and advanced, the bus system cannot accommodate the volumes of persons who use it. It is unfortunate that the number of service vehicles (buses) at a particular route, do not increase as much as people do. This makes the problem worse over time. In order to curb the overflow of passengers on the limited buses, the RTA, announced the purchase of 1616 new buses for the Dubai transport system. The vehicles will be of various models and sizes and manufactured to the highest safety and security standards.
Dubai city has an extensive taxi system. This is by far the most preferred transportation choice within the Emirates. The taxis are both private and government operated and they approximately total 7500. With the growing populace, commuters in the city experience traffic congestion. The time spent on the traffic congestion; to and from work, averages more than one hour. Though the government has spent heavily on the road infrastructure, it has not kept up with the increasing number of vehicles.
The major concern among Dubai’s residents is the traffic congestion. It inflicts a loss of close to Dh4.6 billion of the city’s gross domestic product (GDP) per year. Traffic experts claim that the city is suffering from a flawed road system. The investments of Dubai Metro, flyovers and new bridges are expected to ease congestion. The city has committed to building 500 Km of road before 2020. In addition, 120 multi-level interchanges have been earmarked for construction at a combined cost of Dh. 44 billion ($12 billion).
The city is serviced by two commercial ports, Port Jebel Ali and Port Rashid. Local traders who operate on dhows use the Port Saeed and the Dubai Creek. Crossing across the waters, from Deira to Bur Dubai across the Creek is by the use of traditional boats (abras). The Marine Transport Agency, part of the RTA, began implementing the Dubai Water Bus system. Its operation started in 2007
Dubai constructed a $3.89 billion metro project for the city. The contract was awarded to Dubai Rapid Link (DURL): a Mitsubishi Heavy Industry consortium. The metro comprised of two lanes: the Red lane that runs from the airport to Jebe Ali and the Green lane that runs from Rashidiya to the city center. Both metro lanes have a combined distance of 70 KM of track with 43 stations: 10 underground and 33 above ground. The city built the train system to ease congestion on its road network and to meet the growing population’s demand for better transport system.
RTA certainly acknowledges this fact and has consistently made moves toward improving its services to maximize customer satisfaction (Avaya Inc, 2011). This research seeks to explore the customer satisfaction at RTA, which has doubled its customer satisfaction ratings in the last decade. RTA benefits greatly from the use of outsourced support services, and its interactive websites that are customers oriented (RTA, 2013). RTA realized this success through improving customer experience, consolidating communication channels, integration of its operation with partner agencies, reduction of cost and adoption of state of art technologies.
RTA has recorded phenomenal increase in customer satisfaction. In 2009, RTA recorded 30 percent increase in customer service ratings from 60 percent to 90 percent (Avaya Inc, 2011). This is a phenomenal increase that took a lot of efforts to realize. At the moment, RTA faces the challenge of sustaining this rating and ensuring it continues to satisfy more customers
RTA needs to find new ways of continuously improving the quality of services and products it gives to clients. RTA must find creative and innovative approaches of improving the services through seeking and incorporating customers’ feedback, and adopting best practices within the industry. Customer satisfaction can be improved further by involving the clients in the redesigning of agencies services, adoption of proper customer feedback mechanism, conducting consistent market research and adopting the finding, maintaining strong links with strategic partners and keeping up with technological developments
- How does RTA solicit and incorporate customer feedback into its activities?
- What are the best practices within the industry, has RTA adopted any and what is RTA position of the best practices it is yet to adopt?
- How does RTA position itself to maximize the benefits from opportunities and strengths opportunities and how does it hand threats and weakness?
This research study will encounter a number of limitations. Firstly, there are limited available literatures on customer satisfaction of the RTA in Dubai. Secondly, the scope of the study is wide. RTA is an organization that is mandated to ensure the safety and smooth running of the transport sector in Dubai. The transport sector comprises of the roads, port and metro services. This being a wider area; the study will tend not to go in-depth, but offer an insight and approaches to customer satisfaction in these stated areas.
Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter will give an overview of literature and models that are related to the research problem presented in the previous chapter. This chapter will introduce the concepts of customer satisfaction, service quality, relation between customer satisfaction and service quality, traditional service quality dimensions, online service quality dimensions and service quality model of the Road Transitional Authority (RTA) in order to give a clear idea about the research area.
2.2. Customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction in the transport industry can be defined as the extent to which the customers are happy with the services and products provided by the government. High levels of customer satisfaction are imperative to any government and its institutions because customers who are satisfied are most likely to remain loyal and use a wide range of services that the government may offer (National Research Council, 2003).
Several studies have indicated that it costs close to five times more to gain a new customer as it does to keep an existing ones (Cook, 2011). This results into more awareness and interest in customer relationships. This has resulted to several government agencies adopting customer satisfaction strategy as their operational goal with a carefully designed framework. Hill and Alexander (2000) wrote in their book that “corporations now have big investment in customer planning, relationship management and database marketing and to move closer to their customers”. Kumar (2003) wrote that “attaining customer satisfaction is the chief goal for most service institutions today”.Improvement in customer satisfaction has been proven to directly impact the corporate image and survival (Povah, et al 2011).
There are two principle interpretations of the concept of customer satisfaction as expressed by Parker and Mathew (2001). The first principle defines satisfaction as a process, while the second principle defines satisfaction as an outcome of consumption experience. The two principles are complementary: one approach depends on the other.
The process principle of customer satisfaction is defined as an evaluation between what was expected and what was received(Szwarc, 2005). It emphasizes the psychological, evaluative and perceptual processes that contribute to customer satisfaction.
However, Parker and Mathew (2001) noted that the process of satisfaction definition concentrates on the antecedents to satisfaction rather than satisfaction itself. The process principle is the most widely adopted description of customer satisfaction and most research efforts have been directed at understanding this principle’s approach of satisfaction evaluation (Parker and Mathew, 2001). This principle has its origin in the discrepancy theory which argues that satisfaction is determined by the difference between the actual performance and perception.
A contrary theory was developed by Cardozo (1965) and Howard and Sheth (1969), which is explained in the International Conference on Value Chain Management book by Jodlbauer and Olhager Schonberger (2012),showed how consumers would exaggerate any contrast between expectations and product evaluation. Olson and Dover (1979) developed the assimilation theory, which meant that perceived quality was directly increasing with expectations. The assimilation effect usually occurs when the difference between expectation and quality is too small to be perceived. Anderson (1973) further developed this theory into assimilation-contrast theory, which meant that, if the discrepancy was too large to be assimilated then the contrast effects occurred. The assimilation-contrast effect occurred when the difference between quality and expectations was too large to be perceived, and this difference was exaggerated by consumers.
According to Parker and Mathews (2001), the most popular descendant of the discrepancy theories is the expectation disconfirmation theory, which stated that the result of customers’ perceptions of the difference between their perceptions of performance and their expectations of performance. Positive disconfirmation leads to improved satisfaction, and negative disconfirmation being the opposite effect. Parker and Mathew (2001) expressed that customers purchase services or products with pre-purchase expectations about anticipated performance, once the purchased service or product has been consumed; outcomes are compared against expectations. If the outcome reflects expectations, the result is a confirmation. When there is a difference between the expectation and the outcome, disconfirmation occurs. Positive disconfirmation usually occurs when the service or product performance exceeds their expectations. Therefore, satisfaction results from positive disconfirmation or confirmation of customer expectations, while dissatisfaction is the negative disconfirmation of customer expectations.
While several studies support the disconfirmation paradigm, others do not. For instance, Hoyer& MacInnis (2008) established that neither expectations nor disconfirmation had any effect on customer satisfaction with durable products.
Hoyer & MacInnis (2008) proposed the attribution theory that stated that when a customer buys a service or product, and it is below expectation, the customer is convinced that the supplier caused the dissatisfaction. The complaining customer is focused on restoring justice, and the satisfaction outcome is driven by a perceived fairness of the outcome of complaining.
Hoyer and MacInnis (2008) suggested the value-percept theory that summarises satisfaction as an emotional response instigated by a cognitive-evaluative procedure is the comparison of the service or product to one’s values rather than an expectation. Thus, satisfaction is an inconsistency between the desired and the observed.
Martinko (2004) recommended the equity theory, which indicated that individuals compare their outputs and input ratios with those of other people and feel equitable treated. Fair judgment is founded on two steps; one, the customer equates input to the outcome and two, performs is a relative comparison of the outcome to the other party.
There are two additional distinct theories of customer satisfaction apart from the seven aforementioned (Martinko, 2004) ones and these include:
- Generalized negativity
The outcome principle of customer satisfaction definition is the end-state satisfaction occasioned from the consumption experience. This post-consumption state can be a cognitive state of reward or an outcome that occurs without comparing expectations or an emotional response that may occur as the result of comparing expected and actual performance.
Also, Parker and Mathews (2001) expressed that attention has been focused on the nature of satisfaction of the principle of outcome which include:
- Emotion – Satisfaction is observed as the surprise element of product or service purchase and or consumption experiences, or is an effective response to a specific consumption experience (Oliver, 2010). This is an acknowledgment of the input of comparative cognitive processes.it goes further by stating that these may just be one of the determinants of the affective “state” of satisfaction (Park and Mathews, 2001).
- Fulfillment –The principles of motivation state that people are driven by the desire to satisfy their needs (Jetten, et al 2006) or by their behavior aimed at achieving the relevant goals. Nevertheless, satisfaction can either be viewed as the end-point in the motivational process. Therefore, consumer satisfaction can be seen as the consumer’s fulfillment response (Hemon, et al 2010 p. 138).
- State – Oliver (2010) conveyed that there are four framework of satisfaction that relates to arousal and reinforcement. Satisfaction-as-pleasure results from positive reinforcement: when the service or product is added to an aroused resting state then “satisfaction-as-relief” results to negative reinforcement. In relation to arousal, low arousal fulfillment is defined as “satisfaction-as contentment”, a result of the product or service performing adequately in an ongoing passive sense. High arousal satisfaction defines satisfaction as either a positive (delight) or a negative surprise which could result to shock (Oliver, 2010).
The other customer satisfaction definitions include: Satisfaction is “the cognitive state of the buyer about the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the reward received in exchange for the service experienced (Hill, 2007); the evaluation of emotions (Hill, et al 2003); or the favorability of the individual’s subjective evaluation.
Customer satisfaction for this study originates from Hill & Allen (2007) which states that it is an experience-based assessment made by the customer on how far her own expectations about the overall functionality of the services obtained from the provider have been fulfilled.
The applicability of this definition to this study indicates how customers assess the various services based on experience of use and that rating is done in accordance with the services rendered. In this study, customer satisfaction with the Dubai Roads Transitional Authority services will be evaluated based on customer’s experience of the services offered by the government agency.
2.2.2. Antecedents of customer satisfaction
Hill and Alexander (2006) identified a number of factors that precede customer satisfaction. His assertion was that these factors strongly influence the extent of customer satisfaction. Some of the antecedents include:
Understanding of the customers’ expectations and needs
Customer satisfaction is closely related to the understanding of their expectations and needs (Hill et al, 2006). According to the Kano Model (2001), customers’ expectations are divided to:
- Basic expectations and needs –if the basic needs of the customer are not meet, he will be dissatisfied. However, meeting his needs in some way may not necessarily be enough to satisfy him. His satisfaction results in “must be quality.”
- Expected needs – these comprise of the important needs that the customer is fully aware of, and he expects satisfaction in every purchase he makes. Their satisfaction creates “expected quality.”
- Excitement needs – these comprise of the unspoken and unconscious needs of the customer. Companies which identify and satisfy such needs create an added value to its customers and can win customer loyalty. This creates the “attractive quality.”
Some studies have supported the notion that expectations precede satisfaction (Hill, 2006). They describe expectation as an accumulation of information about quality from the outside sources (like advertisement, word of mouth and the media) and previous experiences. However, other researches conducted have disputed these findings. They include Jetten & Postmes (2006) who reported that expectation have no impact on satisfaction. Investigations conducted on some products like cameras indicated that there is no significant relationship between these two variables.
With the aforementioned literature, we noted that customers buy services based on their needs and have expectations that the service bought will meet their need. Customers also access service performance in accordance to how well it meets their needs. Even though customer expectation is not an emphasis on this research study, the customer satisfaction measurement is vital in understanding customer expectations and satisfaction.
2.3. Service Quality
(2011) defines service quality as the difference between customer expectations and perceptions of service” or “as the customers’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction formed by their experience of purchase and use of the service.
Service quality is a casual antecedent of customer satisfaction because of how service quality is perceived at transactional level and how satisfaction is viewed to be an attitude. Werth (2002) noted that the service quality divisions are related to the overall customer satisfaction. He argued that there is a causal relationship between satisfaction and service quality and that the perceptions of service quality affect the feelings of satisfaction. The author states that in the service environments, customer satisfaction is built on a combination of two kinds of quality characteristics; technical and functional”.
- Functional quality refers to the way the service is delivered. It is the procedure in which the customer is a co-producer and participant, and in which the association between customer and service provider plays an important role (Wiele et al., 2002).
- Technical quality relates to traditional quality of control in manufacturing. It entails the proper way of producing the core benefit of the service.
Technical quality is related to what customer gets (transaction satisfaction); functional quality is related to how the customer gets the result of the interaction (relationship satisfaction). This classification may be the core (contractual) of the service, and the relational (customer- employee relationship) of the service. The outcome or the core quality denotes what is delivered and the relational or process quality. It talks about how it is delivered as the basic elements for most services.
2.4. Internal satisfaction
Research carried out has shown the importance of internal satisfaction (employee satisfaction) to customer satisfaction. Companies that carry out employee loyalty and motivation achieve customer satisfaction (Hill, et al 2000). Studies have shown that internal satisfaction of customers is one of the basic factors of external satisfaction
2.5. Assessment and Benefits
Reasons for the measure of customer satisfaction vary among companies. This may depend on whether the measure is incorporated into the company’s corporate structure. Reasons for measuring the level of satisfaction include:
- To know the customer – this helps understand the customer’s needs. Communication with customers helps improve the company’s performance. The invaluable insight brought forward by the customers assist the management of the company incorporate specific structures that enable its corporation function better and improve its standings among its trusted and loyal customers.
- To measure continuous progress of the company – internal measurement of the corporation incorporates the customers attribute. The company compares its performance against internal standards and external standards.
- To achieve customer-driven improvement – information collected from the customers helps to develop and boost the company’s innovative ideas. This generally ensures customers satisfaction.
- Measure of competitiveness, it strengths and weaknesses
2.6. Identification of Customer Satisfaction
RTA identifies its customer satisfaction levels through;
- The number of direct complaints by e-mail and phone contacts
- The number of returned services and the reasons offered
For the company to fully understand its customer satisfaction levels, it adopted the following hypotheses, which are also adopted by the study:
- The relationship between customer satisfaction and age
- The relationship between customer satisfaction and gender
- The relationship between customer satisfaction and location
- The relationship between customer satisfaction and employment
Chapter 3 METHODOLOGY
This study used a mixed method design. This means that the study employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches to collect and analyze data. The rational for combine the two approaches is that neither of the two can capture the RTA Customers service scenario on its own. When both qualitative and quantitative approaches are used together they complement each other and therefore facilitate a more complete analysis. The design used is sequential explanatory mixed method design.
In quantitative research, studies depend on numerical data. Positivist claims are used to evaluate information, for instance, cause effect thinking reduction of specific variables, questions and hypotheses, exploitation of observations and measurement and testing of theories. The researcher can choose the variables to investigate and the instruments to use, and yield valid and reliable scores. It is possible to establish the magnitude and frequency of relationships.
Conversely, for qualitative research there is dependence on the inquiry process of comprehension. The researcher comes up with a holistic complex picture, evaluates information and report detailed views on the information, while performing the study from a neutral perspective.
In the first phase of the sequential explanatory mixed method design, numeric, quantitative data was used. Data was collected using a questioner and then subjected to discriminant function analysis. The objective of this quantitative phase was to examine internal and external variables that influence customer satisfaction at RTA to determine the sustainability of these variables. In the qualitative phase of the study, the research took a case study approach to evaluate the finding of the statistical tests of the first study. In this phase, the research question addressed both internal and external factors found to be differently influencing the customer satisfaction.
The goal of the quantitative study in this research was to determine the influential ability of selected variable on the customer satisfaction rating at RTA. In this phase data was collected using surveys using a five to seven point Likert scales that reflected the variables that influenced customer satisfaction. The factors were identified through analysis of related literatures, customer service earlier studies on customer satisfaction.
Selection of participate (1) knowledge of the agency or services provided by the agency; (2) being an employee of the agency; being a customer to the agency, and being in the management team of the agency. A total of 277 participants met the criteria. 208 respondents responded to the surveys, which had a 74.5% rate of response. The respondents were categorized into four groups depending on their relation to the agency and their homogeneity. The groups 1 is that of employees of the agency (n=78); the second group is that of the customers of the agency (n=78); former employees of the agency (n=26); and the management team of the agency (n=25).
The study used multivariate and univariate statistical approaches to evaluate the survey data. Discriminant function analysis was employed to decipher the predictive ability of the chosen variables of customer satisfaction. The study did not give much attention to age and gender. The descriptive analysis of the survey scale items indicated that most of the respondent found the level of customer service satisfactory.
In the second phase of the study, qualitative study, a case study approach was used to elaborate why a number of internal and external factors, evaluated in the statistical phase of the study are significant or insignificant predictors of customer satisfaction. A case study is a simple investigation of a case of a bounded system that captures a specific length of time using detailed, exhaustive data collection made up of multiple data source that are contextually rich. The data for this section was collected through exhaustive semi-structured telephone interviews capturing response from 10 respondents; follow up interview to confirm and get more information from the respondents; service provision documents from RTA; responses of participants to open ended multiple choice questions. The data collected was analyzed using thematic evaluations. The findings of the of the qualitative study revealed the confidence in the service provided by RTA that the customers and employees have.
The sample selection process for this study is judgment sampling and quota sampling. Judgment sampling involves selecting a sample for a specific purpose and is based on the researcher’s judgment. Based on what the researcher what to investigate the research selects a sample that has knowledge on the subject matter. Due to the purposive nature it is also known as purposive sampling. This approached to sampling is cost effective and convenient. Quota sampling, on the other hand, involves sampling in proportion that represents various strata of the population the sample is drawn from. The researcher defines the strata from the target population as well as stipulates the size for each stratum that makes up the entire sample size. Use these two approaches ensured that first through judgmental sample only people who have adequate knowledge about RTA are sampled, while the quota system ensured adequate sampling of all different strata of the population that can give information about RTA namely clients, employees and the management.
There are two main types of data and the study sought to tap into both the two type. These are secondary and primary data. Secondary data is collected from sources such as agency records, government document, journals, and personal documents. On the other hand, primary data is collected through interviews, questioners, and observation. In qualitative analysis data is collected using interviews, observation, audio-visual material and documents.
Quantitative surveys proved important for data collection in this study since the study was interested classifying the dimension of service quality as perceived by the clients of RTA. The customer is the main focus. A questionnaire was thus provided to capture customers experience in the use of RTA services. Surveys are effective tools for collecting primary information from respondents. The data collected can range from age, gender, education, company characteristics and income levels. They are effective with both small and large samples.
The questioner used for the study was developed base on the research question, with a logical structure meant to capture service quality dimensions and satisfaction. To understand the significance of the satisfaction, each customer satisfaction dimensions were surveyed using a scale of 5 parameters (1=very unsatisfied to 5=very satisfied). The first question was distributed to five respondent and their responses used to refine the final questionnaire.
The data analysis depended on Sequential Nixed Method Analysis (SMMA). SMMA was undertaken to analyze and evaluate primary and secondary data through analytical approaches in a sequential manner. The discussion combines both the findings of the quantitative and qualitative phase of eh study to better understand customer satisfaction at RTA. This is because both phases were designed to generate an understanding of the Quantitative data analysis depended on statistical approaches multivariate and univariate approaches. Descriptive statistics were screened and analyzed for frequencies and validity. Qualitative data was analyzed using Qualitative Software and Research (QSR) N6, software that is specifically designed for qualitative data analysis. It will take a total of five steps listed bellow to analyze the data
- Exploring the data
- Coding the data
- Using t code to develop theme
- Interrelating and connecting themes
- Creating a narrative
Using narration, the analysis provided a detailed narrative of RTA its existing customers service, present customer satisfaction rating, future prospects followed by a SWOT analysis the that gave an amicable positioning of RTA in terms of customers satisfaction
Chapter 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Prior to the analysis of the quantitative data, the raw data was subjected to screening through univariate level and later multivariate level. Screening of raw data is important since it facilitates identification of potential multicollinearity within the data. This is because multivariate tests have a high rate of sensitivity towards extreme correlations within predictor variables. The analysis must exclude all the outlaying cases since categories of information that for in a different category may still fall in another variable category. As a result, they can lead to a poor fit model. All ethical issues were addressed before commencing the research permission was obtained from Dubai authority and the RTA administration. The anonymity of respondents was observed by coding each questionnaire and interview. Some were given fictitious names and, therefore; it will be difficult to pinpoint them when the findings are made public.
In conduction, the research priority was first given to quantitative research which came. The study started by collecting quantitative data and analyzing it followed by collective qualitative data and analyzing it. The reason for this sequence was to seek contextual and filed based explanations of the statistical results. The data was collected using physical questionnaires and web based survey. The purpose was to determine the existing predictive power of the selected variables on customers’ satisfaction. The findings of the quantitative study offered a general insight of the external and internal factors. The qualitative assessment, on the other hand, secured the needed explanation regard the reason what some factor significantly or insignificantly influenced customers satisfaction.
Integration is necessary to integrate the outcomes of the two researches. There are numerous possibilities for integration of the data. According to Teddlie and Tashokkari (2003) this many include combining the two at the starter of the study while developing the purpose and introducing the two approaches research question. Onwuuegbuzie and Teddlie (2003) also note that intergradations of the two can be done at the interpretation stage of the findings. The two stage or phase of these study are strongly connected thus the two approaches are linked. For instance, at the intermediate state the finding of the quantitative analysis can help guide the qualitative analysis. Crosswell et al (2003) observed that In sequential explanatory designs researchers normally link the two phases through using the quantitative finding to select the respondents for the next phase. Connection can also be established by coming up with data collection protocol for qualitative data that are deeply rooted in the results of the initial phase which may serve subjecting the findings of the initial phase to a thorough qualitative analysis.
This study connected the two at the intermediate level and selected the participant of the qualities survey from the sample that hand participated in the quantitative study using their numeric scores. The second connection was the development of interview questions from the basis of the results and that data of the first phase
4.4. Quantitative phase
In the quantitative phase, A total of 277 participants met the criteria. 208 respondents responded to the surveys, which had a 74.5% rate of response. The respondents were categorized into four groups depending on their relation to the agency and their homogeneity. The groups 1 is that of employees of the agency (n=78); the second group is that of the customers of agency (n=78); former employees of the agency (n=26); and the management team of the agency (n=25)
The questionnaires in the quantitative phase enlisted varied responses from the respondents. Most responded sited improve customer service as the main source of improved customer satisfaction rating, responded in all categories, managers, employees, clients, and partners stetted that customer service has a significant role in the agency. About 78% of the respondents strongly felt that customers service strongly influenced the satisfaction while 22% only felt that customers service has a role, albeit, significant to play as far as customer satisfaction if concerned. Feedback from clients is very important for continuous product and service improvement initiatives. Where as most of the participant state that the feel that RTA actively seeks customer feedback most of them were ambivalent in regard to whether. 90% of the respondent stated that feel that RTA actively solicits customer’s feedback while 10% were not sure whether the firms actively seeks customer feedback or not. As a variation to this question, the questionnaire asked responds to state whether the felt that RTA incorporated customer feedback into their quality improvement practices. The managers and employees stated that RTA incorporated some of the feedback into quality improvement practices. On the other hand, the customer and partner stetted that either they did not know, or that they were not sure. Next the questionnaire how they felt abut market research and if the felt it would benefit RTA. All the participants felt that market research was important and that it would benefit the agency. Asked whether RTA conducted frequent market research 52% of the respondents which comprised of management members, employees, partners and a few clients state that it conducted market research, but not frequently. The rest hand no information about any market research being conducted by RTA. In regard to partnership for strategic reasons 60% of the respondent stated that they felt that strong links with strategic partners was important for RTA. They also felt that such strong links would help RTA continue to enhance its service and improve customer satisfaction. The RTA partners respondent that RTA was an important partner in their businesses.
Technology is an important factor for service delivery. In this regard, the questionnaire had question on technology. Over 90% of the participants stated that they strongly felt that technology was an integral component for customer satisfaction. Seeking to find the clients understanding of the firm and technological associations, the questionnaire participant whether RTA has incorporate technology into its services and process 70% said yes while 30% said they did not know. Asked whether they would encourage RTA to continue adopting modern technologies, over 90% of the participant stated that they would strongly encourage the company to adopt new technologies.
4.4.1. Customer satisfaction
The questionnaire also asked customer directly about their satisfaction rate hoping to replicate the result posted by (AYA 2013). The customers were asked about their satisfaction rates.60% were very sissified, 24% satisfied, 4% dissatisfied, 2% very dissatisfied and 10% had no opinion
The pie chart represents the analysis outcome of Dubai residents customer satisfaction with the RTA. The frequency distribution is in % (percentage)
Factors customer find satisfactory
As what factors made the find the service provides by RTA satisfactory, 30% of the customers stated coherence, 5% stated directness 20% stated safety 10% stated comfort while 5% stated attractiveness. 15% stated easy accessibility and mobility while the other 15% cited equality in terms of access to all user groups within the country.
4.5. Qualitative stage
The quantitative survey was followed by the qualitative survey which aimed at putting in context the numerical result generated by the quantitative analysis and further provide a narrative of actionable analysis. The qualitative analysis used structure interviews to gather information. It used the respondent that had participated in the first phase of the study. A lean judgmental sample of 20 respondents was used. The sample also was also chosen on a quota basis and comprised of member of the management team of the company, employees, representatives of RTA strategic partners and client. All these respondent hands participated in the first phase. The use of judgmental sampling was meant to select individual and hand a lot of knowledge about ART in order to ensure that the interviews collected as much information as possible for the qualitative analysis. These were the participants believe to have quality information about internal and external factors that would strongly influence RTA customers’ satisfaction. Additional information was source from secondary data. Through the interview, it endangered the RTA has manage to improve and sustain customer satisfaction through ceaseless efforts to improve customer service. RTA realized improved customer satisfaction through improved customer experience, consolidating communication channels, integration of its operation with partner agencies, reduction of cost and adoption of state of art technologies. Although there are other challenges that this firm faces, a focus on the above parameters would see the company continues to improve its customer satisfaction rates. The evaluation of the opinions and responses to the qualitative interviews lead to the SWOT analysis below.
4.5.1. SWOT ANALYSIS
4.5.1. a. Strengths:
RTA Dubai has one of the most advanced and modern transport infrastructures in the world. With its vast resources, the city can afford to put up the latest state-of the art facilities for its residents. It vast resources can be seen as a strength due to the ability to afford whatever they develop. The RTA has begun preparations for the roll out of the next face of its major transport infrastructure initiative. The project focuses on constructing roads for key residential areas. Mr. Al Tayer; chairman and executive director of RTA noted that the city had channelled funds for the construction of its earmarked infrastructure for the next six years. The improved infrastructure will help improve the connectivity between the city and with the neighbouring Emirates cities. Its city rail projects are worth USD 76.2 billion over the next decade, and some are already under construction.
Another strength that RTA has is availability of the governments support towards the construction industry. The city’s ruler and vice president of the United Arabs Emirates; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has endeavored to support his city’s construction industry. His Highness has endeavored to provide all necessary support towards the RTA’s initiatives in providing a better transport system to its residents. All the RTA comes up with, gets direct funding from the royal family and the government.
Another strength that RTA possesses in the construction of its vast industry is the availability of available labor force. Since most Dubai residents are not natives of the city, other countries that have established their work force have provided the necessary support to the government agency.
Another strength that RTA has acquired is the subsidization of the country’s petroleum products and petrol. Due to the vast consumption of fuel during construction, fuel costs take up much of the budgeted funds. Since the city has subsidized its petrol, construction is affordable, and RTA can be able to afford the massive construction boom.
4.5.1. b. Weaknesses:
Among the weaknesses of RTA is the lack of sufficient public transport. Shortages of taxis have emerged as a threat to the sustainability of the city in the long-run. Six million business executives and tourist visit Dubai every year often complain about spending several hours and compete for the taxis that come around.
Congestion on the roads is also another weakness that the agency (RTA) has to tackle. Tourist who visit the city, talk of not returning due to its congested roads. Business hours are lost on the time spent on the roads.
4.5.1. c. Opportunities:
Opportunities for RTA Dubai are enormous. It is well established technological capabilities are tantamount to competitive advantages for the city. RTA capitalizes on this by stimulating innovative activities to secure long-run customer satisfaction. Implementation of such policies requires identification of technological strengths and weaknesses and to which extent technological positions acquired by agencies, have led to customer satisfaction. From the early 1990s onwards, responsibilities over technology policy have been increasingly and more decentralized from the federal to the regional level in city. Therefore, RTA has the benefit of capturing the latest technological knowhow to help improve its customer satisfaction level among its residents.
Another opportunity for RTA can be seen from the government’s level of commitment towards improving of the RTA infrastructure. With the construction of new roads, extension and refurbishment of existing roads and development of new and improved port facilities will greatly improve customer satisfaction for RTA.
Lack of sufficient public transportation enabled the agency improve its fleet of buses and taxi. This greatly improved its customer satisfaction as the residents now have a better chance of finding taxi’s and busses for transportation. Moreover, the improved metro services have enabled the agency maneuver the tiresome congestion on its road network system. However, more can still be done.
4.5.1. d. Threats:
RTA faces threats in its endeavor to provide improved infrastructure to its people. RTA being a government agency; the threats faced by the government, by extension are faced by RTA. Its major resource (oil) is said to be depleted by 2025. Its reserves cannot contribute considerable amounts of revenue for the government and thus RTA faces reduced funds in the future. This will greatly limit its functionality as a service provider to Dubai and ensure customer satisfaction.
Another threat is the ever changing technological transformation. RTA has invested heavily towards technology to enable it serve better its customers. Due to the changing technological knowledge, the agency finds itself faced with the decision of declaring its infrastructure redundant. The agency needs to transform itself faster than the transformation that is advanced by technology.
The agency also faces increased population rates. More people using the transport infrastructure cause a strain on the existing facilities. This eventually causes reduced customer satisfaction. With increased immigration to Dubai from other countries for work prospects, RTA faces a daunting task of ensuring that its infrastructure works efficiently and promptly. To add on its frustrations, Dubai is increasingly seen as a tourist destination and a financial hub for the region and the world. This increases the flow of people through its transport systems.
Chapter 5 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This study aims to investigate the customer satisfaction of the RTA government agency and factors influencing satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is an experience-based assessment made by customers how far their expectations about the overall functionality of the services obtained from RTA have been fulfilled. With regards to customer satisfaction measurement, the results demonstrated that customers are satisfied with the performance of the agency. The interpretation of this result could be that RTA Dubai residence and customers are truly satisfied with the service performance or that the customers are new to satisfaction measurement and may not be in position to convey their opinions well. The result also demonstrated that customer satisfaction level varies among the particular population groups. Within the age groups, the older customers appeared more contented than younger ones. The low satisfaction of the young customers could be due to greater familiarity of the RTA agency and its workings and that they were more demanding. The male customers showed more satisfaction than the female counterpart. The high satisfaction of the male customers could be due to the fact that culture and religion favors them more than it does the females. Lastly, the low-income areas showed more satisfaction than the high-income areas. The low satisfaction of high-income areas customers could probably be due to the fact that they own vehicles and are often found congested roads. Traffic also played a role in their low satisfaction rate. The high-income customers are also subjected to the punitive traffic laws set by the agency. However, RTA Dubai needs to strive to maximize customer satisfaction which in turn can influence the extent of loyalty and trustworthiness. Customers continue to expect the agency to operate more efficiently. This study will advance RTA efforts to meet and exceed customers and stakeholders expectations and to guide the agency provide its services in a timely, cost effective and high quality manner.
Maintaining and achieving superior customer satisfaction is a continuous process that will last throughout the lifespan of the RTA agency. The services that the agency provides revolve around customer demand. As long as this factor exists, the agency must continuously modify and review its customer strategies to meet and exceed its customers’ expectations. Among the numerous recommendations that the agency should incorporate and improve include:
- Listen – to increase customer satisfaction, the agency must understand its customer’s concerns and needs. This data can be generated through customer surveys and forums as well as through the interactions that occur during normal transactions. The concerns and comments should be used by RTA to achieve better response. The agency should gather ideas from various individuals within the agency so as to gain an insight of how potential adjustments will impact the customer and the agency.
- Training – effective customer service is the first step towards customer satisfaction. RTA’s employees should be thoroughly trained on their services, and be able to confidently answer questions and converse on the service/product. The implementation of continuous education and training programs are very effective methods for maintaining and improving customer satisfaction.
- Responsiveness – through the evolution of technology, customer support has transcended to more than just a phone call service. Modern agencies offer their customers multiple customer service options such as video conferencing, live chat or e-mail. While customary phone support remains, implementation of multiple lines of communication helps improve the business’s responsiveness, and this ultimately improves customer satisfaction.
- Operative or effective website – due to the fact that Dubai has a large number of internet users, RTA should invest and upgrade its website. The new age bracket of internet savvy users, often prefer to look towards the agency’s website for information before reaching out to RTA. The agency should implement a thoroughly versed website for its business and it should include a “frequently asked question” section that addresses that most common questions and concerns posted by customers
Chapter 6 REFERENCES
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