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The study examined how service quality of airlines and customers satisfaction in Nigeria with a particular interest on Arik air contractors and also to examine the implementation of total quality management. To achieve this objective intensive literature review was carried out and primary data was gathered using likert scale questionnaire format administered o 120 respondents out of these, a total number of 100 copies were returned. Three hypothesis were postulated to test the significance of the research problem. Data analysis was done using Pearson moment product correlation coefficient, which proved the alternate hypothesis significant in the hypothesis tested. Findings showed that service quality of airlines and customer satisfaction of airlines and customer satisfaction with total quality management were not implemented in Arik air contractors in all the departments, the employees do not fully understand the principles and application of total quality management. Further, it shows that service quality of airlines and customer’s satisfaction in Arik air contractors can be very instrumental in improving the productivity of the organization and ensuring that customer’s satisfaction is a guaranteed. In conclusion, the study recommended among others a full and immediate installation of the principles of total quality management formation of quality circle and the creation of a department that ensures that quality is upheld as a standard and implemented in all department.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The quality of services or products a company or manufacturer offers for sale is the core foundation of the company or manufacturer’s success, Parasuraman et al. (1985). Before a company or manufacturer can survive in a competitive market and achieve their aims and objectives, it must assess itself in terms of products or services offered in the market. The result of such assessment must be either positive or negative depending on the reaction of customer’s present and future buying behavior in the market.
Service quality is one of the major concerns of the service industries such as Airlines Industry because it is basically people oriented. In the service industry, the definition of service quality tends to focus in meeting customers’ needs and their expectations. In order to top deliver and maintain service quality, an organization must first identify what constitutes quality to those whom it serves, Groroos, (1988). Service quality is also referred to as a number of interrelated factors including the way in which individuals are treated by service providers. Thus, it is an outcome of a comparison between expectations of a service and what is perceived to be received, parasuraman et al. (1985).
Continued success therefore depends on passionate pursuit of customers’ satisfaction. It plays a dominant role in the growth and survival of business organizations, which the airline industry is not left out.
Fulmer, (1976) observed that when the quality of services offered by a company satisfies the customer and he/she derived the expected value from the services offered, he/she would always come back to patronize the organization. The quality of services offered by a company goes a long way in determining the rate of patronage and loyalty of their customers. A satisfied customer talks favorably to others about the company or establishment. Furthermore, Fulmer, in his view ascertained that customers’ good opinion about the company is the most valuable asset the company would ever have. Invariably, whatever the company can do to sustain such good opinion would be of advantage to the organization. Therefore, all efforts should be directed towards the quality of service or products offered to the customers.
In this context therefore, the quality of services or products offered to customers depend on how the customer asses or perceive the product offered in terms failure and utility derived from it.
In the airlines industry, quality of services offered to their numerous customers may promote or inhibit customers’ satisfaction thus having negative or positive effect on the growth and sustenance of the organization. It is therefore expected of Arik Air Contractors as a firm to differentiate itself by delivering consistently higher quality services than its competitors provide. They need to identify what target customers expect in regards to service quality. A customer cannot own a service, neither can the firm that sells it, it lasts for the duration of the use of that service, such as an aircraft flight lasting five hours. The attention to the service needs to focus on that time that the customer is using the service because the customer also knows the duration of that service, their expectations are focus on that period too.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Arik Air contractors has been at the limelight in marketing and promoting airlines industries in Nigeria, but despite the growth and tremendous progress in the industry, the industry is still faced with low level of service standard as the case may be. This research work is aimed at investigating the service quality of airlines in Nigeria, the kind of impression a customer gets in a particular service that is being rendered in Airlines Company and the customers’ satisfaction.
According to Ebri, U. E. (2003) quality has become a key concern for the operations management. This is so because quality is an economic problem. If a good, service due to good quality of may be that particular airlines.
1.3 OBJECTIVES/PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to carry out a research work on the quality of services rendered by airline operators to their numerous customers.
The research work is aimed at:
i. Examining how equality of services rendered by airline operators contribute to the satisfaction of their customers.
ii. Determining if the attitude of airlines staff towards their customers influence the choice of airline.
iii. Examining if the high quality services rendered by airline companies lead to satisfaction of customers and promote the repeat visit.
iv. Determining the factors that influence service quality and customers’ satisfaction before, during, and after service encounter in Arik Air contractors.
v. To examine the cause of dissatisfaction (if any) from customers.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION:
In order to achieve the objective of this research, the researcher attempt to find solution to the following questions:
1. Does customers satisfaction depends on the level and quality of service rendered by airlines operators?
2. Does the attitude of airlines staff towards customers influence the choice of airlines?
3. Does the high quality service rendered by airline companies lead to satisfaction of customers and promote the repeat visit?
4. What are the factors that influence service quality and customers’ satisfaction before, during, and after service encounter in Arik Air contractors?
5. Will airlines operators be able to identify the causes of customers’ dissatisfaction?
1.5 HYPOTHESIS TO BE TESTED
The following hypothesis will be tested in the null form.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between the quality of service and customers’ satisfaction.
Ho: The attitude of airlines staff towards their customers does not
significantly influence the choice of airlines.
Ho: High quality service may not lead to customers’ satisfaction and promote the repeat visit.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This research work attempts to highlight the service quality of airlines and its effects on customer’s satisfaction. Furthermore, it attempts to analyze other factors influencing the delivery of quality services in airlines industry as well as the process and activities involved in delivering the services. It does not in any way intend to highlight the service quality of all airlines in the country; its focus is on the Arik Air contractors due to the efficiency of the management and activities of its service delivery department. In the course of conducting this research study, certain factors serves as limitations to some extend required of the researcher. Prominent among them are:
Time: Time constraint is a factor that limits the scope of this research. The period of time schedule for this research may not be long enough for proper collection, process, and analysis of data.
Finance: This is another factor that might limit this research to some extent. There may not be enough funds to go about collecting data from different airlines from far and near, so it is restricted to Arik Air contractor’s airlines alone.
The Respondents’ Response: The researcher would be restricted to work with those responses given by the respondents. Those responses may or may not be genuine and correct, but it is anticipated that favorable and correct responses will be given.
Access to Acquiring Information: there was a problem of not being able to interview the managers of the airlines due to perhaps their busy schedule. Access to get the right interview at the right time may also be the problem. Inability to acquire genuine information from, the customers due to may be tarnishing the image of the airline in case of poor service. Also obtaining information form customers was a very difficult task as they are always busy to catch up with time.
1.7 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This work is divided into five (5) chapters for ease of analysis and comprehension. Chapter (1) serves as the introductory part to the entire works, it covers the background of the study, the statement of problems, objective of study area, scope of the study, hypothesis to be tested, significance, and historical background of the study.
Chapter two (2) delves into the review of related literature which formed the ingredients on which all important and relevant theories relating to the topic of the study and also reviews the work of most written as regards service quality and customer satisfaction in any organization.
Chapter three (3) deals with research methodology and design, which include model specification and sampling plans. It deals with provision of details on data collection methods, limitation of the study, estimation, validations, and data treatment.
Chapter four (4) focuses on data analysis, presentation, and findings which are subdivided according to the analysis of data collected and the presentation of research hypothesis and its treatments are done here.
Finally, chapter five (5) summarizes the entire study and findings, recommendations; conclusion and references are provided for further research from the final analysis of the research work here.
1.8 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
Terms repeatedly in use and that are important to this study are defined below in order to bring to the readers and users of the research work a better understanding.
Customer: A customer is a person or an organization that buys products, logistics, and intangible (services) from a shop, store, or business firm or an organization. The word book encyclopedia dictionary (1989).
Customer Satisfaction: This is the feeling or an attitude of a customer towards a service rendered if it has meet his/her expectation after it has been offered. Folmer,(1993).
Service: This can be seen as the act of serving. It can also be seen, as the duty require of servant or other employees. It may also b an act that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in ownership, Kotler (1995).
Quality: This is the value or worth of a product or services.
Service Quality: This is regarded as a customer’s evaluative perception of service encounter at a specific point in time. It is the way a service is created and handled in a manner, knowledge and attitude of the people who deliver it and the environment which I is delivered, Groroos (1988)
Customer Value: This is the extent to which a service product perceived performance matches the buyer’s expectations. If the product, or the services fall short of expectation the customer is dissatisfied, but if the services matches or exceeds expectation, the customer is satisfied.
Product: Means the goods-and-services combination the company offers to the target market for attention, usage, acquisition and consumption which may satisfy wants or needs products includes physical objects, persons, ideas, places, Kotler (1986) etc.
1.9 HISTORICAL PROFILE OF ARIK AIRLINE CONTRACTORS AIRLINES.
Arik Airline Contractors Company of Nigeria limited or simply called “Arik Air” is a Nigerian airline based at Murtala Muhammad International airport in Lagos State, Nigeria. It operate domestic and international scheduled services, air charter and third party aircraft operations, largely in support of Nigeria’s extensive oil and gas industry.
Arik Air contractors was formed in 1959 and officially registered in Nigeria in 1960. At that time, it was wholly owned by Schreiner Airways B.V. of the Netherlands. It became a company with initially 40% Nigerian holding in 1973 and subsequently 60% in 1976, anticipating the requirements of the indigenization decree. In January 2004, Schreiner airways was bought by Canadian Helicopter Co- operation (CHC) which acquired 40% holding in Aero while the 60% majority share remain within the Ibru family.
In 2010, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru was convicted of Bank and securities fraud by a former Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Dan Abitu after she was arrested, detained, and arraigned in court. Faced with total exclusion form her banking constituency, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru who was said to have completed her jail sentence in March has no option but to step into the family airlines business where she presently controls the affairs of the 53 years old aero contractors’ airlines.
Since 2010, the company has been wholly owned by the Ibru family, although Arik Air still has a technical partnership with Canadian Helicopter Corporation (CHC) regarding its rotary wing division.
Arik Air contractors has two divisions:
· Fixed wing – provides scheduled passenger services in Nigeria and western Africa.
· Rotary wing – provides helicopter services for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
The company have the following key officials – koenNeven (CEO) Chief Executive Officer, Rikkerink (CFO) Chief Flight Officer, Dapo Olumide (Manager Fixed Wing, Mark Snoxell (Business Development Manager), Charles Onychelkwa (HR Director).
The company is a member of Heritage Lounge. Their slogan is “The Reliable Way to Fly”. They serve the following destinations:
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