This paper seeks to explore satisfactory and dissatisfactory service encounters in higher education.
The data are collected through the well established critical incident technique (CIT) method. All the satisfied and dissatisfied critical incidents are then grouped on the basis of Bitner et al.'s classification under three headings, i.e. service delivery system (group I), (un)fulfilled needs and requests (group II) and polite behaviour/unprompted and unsolicited actions (group III). A total of 20 students took part in the study on a voluntary basis and reported 210 incidents. On average, every student provided ten to 12 incidents.
The study results identified both satisfied and dissatisfied service encounters in the three identified groups. A majority of the satisfied (62.5 per cent) and dissatisfied (74.5 per cent) critical incidents were related to service delivery system. However the remaining two groups, i.e. (un)fulfilled needs and requests and polite behaviour/unprompted and unsolicited actions, showed a smaller percentage of satisfied and dissatisfied incidents in higher education.
Owing to the exploratory nature of the study and the scope and size of the study sample, the results outlined are tentative in nature. The research study also only investigates the experiences of one stakeholder group (students).
Although universities periodically organise various training programmes and workshops for updating the knowledge of the teachers, these programmes are yet to be made more effective. Hence in this regard it is suggested to design an effective policy for monitoring the usefulness of such programmes.
This study makes a first attempt to pursue CIT across significant service dimensions of higher education that encompass teaching, examination, library, computer lab, administration and infrastructure encompassing both satisfied and dissatisfied incidents which till today has not been considered in the literature.
Chahal, H. and Devi, P. (2013), "Identifying satisfied/dissatisfied service encounters in higher education", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 211-222. https://doi.org/10.1108/09684881311310728Download as .RIS
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