PASSENGERS’ RATING OF SERVICE DELIVERY OF TRANSPORT BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
From time immemorial, people have being moving from one place to another in carrying out their daily activities. This simply refers to transportation and to say what transport industry of’ any country is an integral part of the structure of an economy cannot be overemphasized. The rendering of quality service to customer (passengers) is no doubt one of the most significant and a very important issue in the transport industry. Transportation which can be seen as activity that provide for the movement of goods and individual from one place to another, creating place utility fall under the service sector of the economy.
A service has been define as an intangible benefit provided to individual, business, government establishment of activity or the provision of physical facility, product or activity for another’s (Inegbenebor, 2008). The service sector covers a carried range of industries. The government provides a major array of service in most countries including Nigeria. These services include education, health, legal, military, and social, transportation and information services. Private sector services include profit-oriented business such as transport business, banks, insurance, and solicitors among others.
Managing services raise special issues. These arise from the characteristics of most services, the intangibility of offering the inseparability of production and consumption, the difficulty of achieving standardization and perishable nature of the service such feature prioritize three management concern not normally centre stage in marketing. These are quality, control problem concerned with the productivity of the operations and the management of human resources.
The general myopic view held by most of the transport business operation seems be that of providing quality. Service and crowning the customers as ‘number one” is necessary only because of the need for a large market share or increased customer patronage. Their traditional way of thinking is that passengers will always be there. Those views tend to ignore the fact that customers wants, need and satisfaction should be taken into consideration and that organization’s focus should be on the customers.
The study of customer’s satisfaction in relation to transport businesses is base on the conviction that the customers (passengers) in any service system are the only true judge of the service worth. In many cases, it is easier to access in quantitative terms business operators than in qualitative terms. The fact that, it is difficult to measure service delivery does not make it impossible to achieve. In the line of the foregoing this research work intends to investigate passengers’ satisfaction with various services they receive from transport service providers.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Over the years, passengers of transport businesses have been complaining about the type of service they receive from their respective providers. As a result of this, this researcher will examine and analyze the quality of services rendered and satisfaction derived by the passengers.
1.3 Research Questions
In view of the above, one would want to find answers to the following question.
(1) To what extent have transport businesses been satisfying their customers (passengers)?
(2) Is there any significant difference between services provided by private transport businesses and their public counterpart?
(3) What degree of cordial relationship exists between passengers and service providers?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to ascertain passengers’ rating of service delivery of transport businesses and the level of satisfaction derived from patronizing them.
(1) Specifically, this study will seek among other things to:
Examine the extent to which passengers are satisfied with the level of service they receive from the transport service providers;
(2) Determine whether difference exist between service provided by private transport businesses and their public counter parts;
(3) Find out the extent of cordial relationship existing between customers and service providers.
(4) Ascertain passengers’ complaints and how such complaints are handled;
(5) Examine how passengers seek redress in the face of service failure.
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses
In order to be able to deal with this topic, some research hypotheses that are going to guide in the research process are as follows:
(1) There is no significant difference between service provided by private transport businesses and their public counterparts.
(2) Customers are not always satisfied with the kind of services rendered by transport businesses.
(3) There is no cordial relationship that exist between passengers and service providers
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is restricted to service delivery and customers’ satisfaction in transport businesses in Nigeria using some selected private and public transport service providers in Delta State as case study. The emphasis in this research work is on road transport with particular reference to the bus transit system.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The study is relevant in the sense that it will enable the management of transport businesses to find out how sensitive they are to their customers’ needs and hence, the extent to which they are applying their marketing concept. Also, planners and executors of essential services whether transport in nature or not, will learn a lesson or two from this study as a useful guide towards customers’ satisfaction and delight. Above all, the study is a further attempt to apply the marketing concept to the Nigerian situation and to that extent; it is contribution towards sustaining academic debate in this area of marketing services.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
As expected, every study is bound to have a limitation(s). The limitations of this study come from the following areas: smallness of sample size; this limitation is due to the fact that although the study is meant to cover all organizations in transports businesses in Nigeria, only few of such organizations in Delta State were studied.
The unwillingness of some respondents (passengers) to fill and submit the questionnaire that were administered to them, the level of the questionnaire that were administered appeared to be too high for some respondents especially for those of them that were uneducated.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
The keywords used in the course of this study shall be defined in order to make it as simple as possible for any interested reader who may not have verse knowledge in the field of rendering services.
Service: intangible benefits provided to individuals, businesses, government establishments and other organizations through the performance of a variety of activities.
Intangible: things of value but do not exist physically. And mostly used in businesses.
Inseparable: things that are always together, very friendly. People who are inseparable; are always together and are very friendly with each other.
Transportation: a means of moving from one place to another in carrying out activities.
Service Provider: individuals and organizations that renders services to people in need of it.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
From the analysis of data collected through the questionnaires administered, the following findings were made:
Firstly, the passengers are to a large extent satisfied with the level of services they receive from transport service providers in terms of number of passengers per row, nature of vehicle tyres, personnel apparent knowledge of their jobs, speed and overtaking and convenience of location of passengers. However, passengers are dissatisfied with no availability of food and drinks for passengers, lack of entertainment which makes journey to be somehow boring, inability to rest to complaint promptly, lack of respect from passengers and “dirtiness &’ of the motor park.
Secondly, cordial relationship was seen especially the passengers and the cashiers, complaint managers, conductors and drivers. This is because they are always in constant touch with one another.
Thirdly, there is a wide gap between the services provided by transport companies and their public counterparts. The differences can be examined in terms of courtesy/politeness of employees, willingness to help passengers, initial reception upon arrival at the park, time spent in rendering services, respect for passengers among others as private transport companies perform better than their public counterparts with respect to the aforementioned variables.
However, public transport company (Edo City Transport Service) is known for safety as customers’ satisfaction index with respect to speed and overtaking is higher than that of private transport companies especially town service city park drivers. More so, the study shows that services personnel are competent and prompt handling customers’ complaints.
Finally, customers’ sometimes complain when there is service failure by reporting to complaint managers, drivers, cashiers and other service persons that they can easily access. Also, services issues like loss of important luggage are reported to enforcement agencies if the companies hesitate to respond promptly.
The place of customers in achieving corporate growth and sustainable cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, transport companies should be customers-oriented by providing services that will enhance customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer can easily recommend the company to others thereby increasing the market share of the company. However, dissatisfied ones will discourage others from patronizing the company hence reducing its market share.
Based on the research findings, the following recommendations are made:
1. Drivers which can be seen as line personnel in transport companies that convey the passengers to their respective destinations should be properly catered for because the happier the drivers, the more committed they would be in discharging their responsibilities which will result to higher customer satisfaction. Also, staff personnel like conductors, cashiers and complaint managers should be well compensated as flawed in discharging their responsibilities can connote bad image for the organization.
2. No second chance to make the first impression personnel which include managers, drivers, conductors, cashiers, etc should be kept neat always as their appearances go long way in establishing good corporate image in the minds of the customer towards the organization.
3. Since some passengers are addicted smokers which may displease others that are not, transport companies should create a strategic position for them and strictly prohibit smoking inside the vehicle. Also, statements like “thank you for not smoking” can be written in a strategic position to create the consciousness of not smoking around the motor park.
4. Transport companies must continuously engaged in research seminars and workshops to update their service personnel and friend but the changing needs of their customers and to enhance quality service delivery.
5. They should welcome, facilitate and accommodate customers’ observations, suggestions and complaints to enable them improve on their operations.
6. They should employ disciplined and professional staff especially drivers.
7. Fantastic stickers carrying statement like “Don’t hurry the driver” can be posted around the buses to reduce passengers disturbing and pressuring the drivers unnecessarily.
8. As well known that customers are “kings”, they should be celebrated and compensated by giving them items, like biros, t-shirts, exercise books, quarterly or annually carrying the name of the company so as to make them become brand loyal and attract more of the potential customers.
9. Transport companies should have vehicles to ensure larger market share.
10. Light refreshment like snacks and bottled water should be given to customers to create a cordial relationship with the company..