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Service quality dimensions and customer satisfaction in a Brazilian university context

Luciene Eberle (University of Caxias do Sul, Caxias do Sul, Brazil)
Gabriel Sperandio Milan (University of Caxias do Sul, Caxias do Sul, Brazil)
Eric Dorion (University of Caxias do Sul, Caxias do Sul, Brazil)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 3 October 2016

1598

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and assess the perception of customers (students) about the services provided by Brazilian universities, through the identification of the attributes that impact on customer satisfaction and the dimensions or factors related to quality in services. This may generate a better management and seek more competitive edge in graduate courses.

Design/methodology/approach

The research method was developed in two phases: the first one is characterized by a qualitative and exploratory approach and the second one as a quantitative research of conclusive character. In the qualitative phase, in-depth interviews were implemented with a semi-structured approach. A survey was performed in the final phase and a multivariate statistical technique was used for the data analysis.

Findings

The results echoed in a set of 40 analyzed attributes (variables), distributed in six dimensions of quality in services, in the graduate courses (second cycle) of administration, which could serve as a basis for orienting other Brazilian universities.

Research limitations/implications

The data analysis did not include crossed techniques that could have enriched the analysis process. Another limitation that can be pointed out is the fact of having only adopted a factor analysis method to identify the dimensions of service quality that influence customer satisfaction (students). In addition, data collection was cross-sectional, which does not allow any change verification of the respondents’ perception.

Practical implications

Taking into account the current scenario of increased competition between the Brazilian universities to attract and retain students, the knowledge of student’s preferences and the dimensions of quality service can effectively contribute in the development of strategies and actions for an effective graduate programs management (second cycle), and for their consolidation in the Brazilian market.

Social implications

The development of more adequate courses, in terms of level of quality and relevancy.

Originality/value

The identification of the attributes that represent the quality dimensions, related to the services provided, can assist any Brazilian university to prioritize its strategies and actions and to contribute to excellence in education. In addition, it may encourage customer retention (students) and consolidate its market position. Moreover, the study can contribute as a source of empirical data for transferability and benchmark strategies in other contexts for Brazilian universities.

Keywords

Citation

Eberle, L., Milan, G.S. and Dorion, E. (2016), "Service quality dimensions and customer satisfaction in a Brazilian university context", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 23 No. 7, pp. 1697-1716. https://doi.org/10.1108/BIJ-09-2014-0089

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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