SERVICE QUALITY IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE
Soolakshna D. Lukea-Bhiwajee
International Journal of Management and Marketing Research,
Service quality, SERVQUAL, Front-line employees, Customer expectations, Public sector, Mauritius
The purpose of this paper is to obtain a better understanding of the extent to which service quality is delivered within the Mauritian public service by drawing on front-line employees (FLE) and customer perceptions of service quality. The paper investigates how closely customer expectations of service and FLE perceptions of customer expectations match. SERVQUAL is used to measure service quality amongst FLE and customers in a major public sector department in Mauritius. The survey captures customersâ€™ expectations of an excellent public service and compares these with their perceptions of the service delivered by a particular public service department in Mauritius. The paper also reports on a parallel SERVQUAL survey of FLE to examine how well they understand their customersâ€™ expectations and how well its internal processes support the delivery of top quality public services. The findings reveal that while there is a significant shortfall in meeting customer expectations, the FLE appears to have a good understanding of what these expectations actually are. The FLE should focus onthose dimensions which receive lowest ratings and attributes with high gap scores. This research adds to the body of knowledge relating to public service quality management. It will also be of interest to strategic and operational public service managers and to academics investigating the reliability and value of service quality assessment tools. It addresses key relationships between service dimensions and service quality within the Mauritian public service.