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Issues of delivering quality customer service in a higher education environment

Johanna Julia Vauterin (Faculty of Technology, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Lassi Linnanen (Faculty of Technology, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Esa Marttila (Faculty of Technology, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 5 July 2011

2744

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to redress the lack of academic attention being given to the relationship between academia and industry in the competitive environment of international higher education‐related service delivery and use. It adopts a relational marketing approach to value creation in service interactions and explore the expectations and perceptions of employers and university academics and practitioners. The research focuses on a comprehensive mapping of gaps in the international higher education service at large, and specifically in the context of degree programme development, recruiting international students and associated service interactions with industry. It highlights some of the issues pertaining to service quality, customer orientation and sustainability in international higher education and associated service delivery.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is an exploratory case study set in the context of Finnish higher education. It relies on qualitative research methods and applies the GAP model for the analysis of the empirical data.

Findings

Five gaps and a surplus gap are identified in the delivery of high‐quality customer service in the context of university‐industry interactions in international higher education. To close the gaps between academia and industry, the relationship marketing approach is proposed.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the research stream on university‐industry relationships. The results should help to enhance understanding of customer service delivery in the linkage between academia and industry. The novelty of the paper lies in the integration of the language and logic associated with customer‐oriented service delivery into the operational context of higher education service interaction between academia and industry.

Keywords

Citation

Julia Vauterin, J., Linnanen, L. and Marttila, E. (2011), "Issues of delivering quality customer service in a higher education environment", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 181-198. https://doi.org/10.1108/17566691111146087

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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