“Are The Services Enough”: The Issue of Service Quality in Higher Education

Dr Ijeoma Onwumere , Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School

How service quality affects students and its continuity has been a recent debate phenomenon in Higher Education Institutions (HEI). The way student perceived service quality has been a growing research interest in higher education (HE). Service quality includes all form of services rendered to student in HE which can be defined as a method of assessment that results from the evaluation of customer expectations with perception of performance; in other words, with regards to how customers really evaluate the services rendered.

Student perceptions of service, results from the comparison of expectations before service is received and the actual experience of that service. Therefore, the importance of service quality not only to HE but to all organisations cannot be neglected as it is regarded as a critical element of competitiveness through service superiority and differentiation. However, the question of what forms Service quality within the HE is a controversial one.

Services are not marginal activities but must be acknowledged as an intrinsic part of a society, which form an influential force in today’s global economic development. Owing to high financial GDP contribution by students in HE which leads to a progressive thriving economy in today’s competing environment. HEI are more concerned with and continuously seek to develop the quality of service of education that they provide to the student, firmly focusing on student centric mission, guaranteeing assurance of student satisfaction and quality provided. This is because students are now faced with eccentric challenges and fee-paying student (international student) like other consumers are now demanding attention to their student service and experience, greater value for money, and wanting their voice to be heard. More so, irrespective of high cost of fee, an institutional reputation can be improved by high performance of services.

Therefore, the need to understand how a student perceived the quality of service received is quite essential for every institution. The reason being that when HEI provide analyses and understand how student evaluate services, it may assist in attracting and retaining student. Higher education sectors need to improve their services, through consistent heightening of their service strength through quality teaching, innovative facilities, pastoral care, improved customer services in order to meet the needs, demands and expectations of their student and maintain student satisfaction.


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