The literature review deals with the points of view of the eminent scholars, who have assessed the chosen topic from different angles. Therefore, the chapter would assess the chosen topic from different angles to understand in a better way. The chosen topic would be assessed by using different models and theories such as, SERVQUAL model of service quality and SPC model related to the factor of customer loyalty. The aspect of customer satisfaction would also be depicted.
(Source: created by author)
The term service quality refers to the assimilation of two factors that is service and quality. Therefore, maintaining a perfect equilibrium, between the two factors would enhance the overall scenario. As opined by Bansal & Taylor (2012), service quality can be measured according to the judgment given by the customers after using the products or services. On the other hand, Barnes (2009) has stated that the service quality can be said to be positive when, the features of the products or the services can meet the implied needs. Therefore, service differentiation is prerequisite to take the companies to the path of growth.
The service sector is highly heterogenous. However, four basic aspects are there, which differentiate the service sector from the product selling sector. These are such as, intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability and perishability. Intangibility means that services cannot be attributed to a thing. Therefore, Bowen & Chen (2011) has stated that services are consumed but the services cannot be possessed. On the other hand, heterogeneity refers to the factor of keeping the service quality equal on all the parameters. Products have their own standards, as opined by Caruana (2012). However, services have the factor of heterogeneity. According to Chada & Kapoor (2009), inseparability refers to the factor that services are produced and distributed among the users at the same time. Therefore, services cannot be stored for an indefinite time. Lastly, the factor of perishability does not persists in the case of services as, these have no shelf life.
SERVQUAL model of service quality refers to measuring the service quality by using the gap between the delivered services and the expected level of service. The model speaks of five aspects such as, reliability, responsiveness, empathy, assurances and tangibles. The model is a type of analytical tool. This model can help the management of a company to assess the gap between the provided service quality and what the customers desire from the company. Chen (2011) has stated that the model is an exploratory one and does not describe the actual gaps in the offered service.
(Source: Chow & Komaran, 2012, p.82)
Dick & Basu (2010) have opined that perceived value for the customers refer to the overall assessment of how the presented service provides the intended benefit to the users. Therefore, the value for money products or the services would obviously satisfy the customers. Five dimensions are there according to Howat, Crilley & McGrath (2009), such as, quality, price, behavioural price, emotional response and reputation. Therefore, customer satisfaction is the ultimate criterion to decide whether the services meet the perceived quality standard or not (Hafeez & Muhammad, 2012). The researcher has thus observed that customer value and customer loyalty are the two important factors of customer perceived value.
Customer satisfaction refers to fulfilling the demands and wishes of the customers through providing effective service. Different customers have different level of expectation from the companies. Therefore, the telecom companies would find it quite difficult to understand the general notion of perceived service quality. As opined by Huang & Yu (2012), the Indian telecom sector has a varied customer response as, the gap between the provided service and the desired quality varies considerably.
The model specifies that there is a relation between the aspect of customer loyalty and employee productivity. Therefore, if the companies are trying to appease the customers to retain them, the best way would be to make the employees happy. One of the most important derivatives from this model is that customer satisfaction can result into customer loyalty (Eshghi, Roy & Ganguli, 2009). Therefore, the telecom companies have the option of encouraging the customers to work positively to make the customers loyal. The model also reveals that if the employees are happy and contented, the quality of service provided would automatically improve. Therefore, ultimately the companies would secure a positive image and credibility in the market. Figure 2.3: Service-profit-chain (SPC) model
(Source: Akbar & Parvez, 2010, p.52)
The researcher has thus evaluated the process of securing the criterion of retaining the existing customers by assessing different models and theories. Therefore, the Indian telecom sector has seen many ups and downs regarding customer loyalty. On that note, John (2011) has noted that the telecom companies has tried to lure the customers by providing enough rewards and offers at first. However, gradually the companies have understood that retaining the customers is a tedious job as, the plethora of options before them make the customers look for better options. However, Paulrajan & Rajkumar (2011) have argued that the telecom companies can retain the customers without providing any additional bonus by simply developing the quality of service. If the customers are loyal, retaining them would not be a problem. The problem of low frequency band is plaguing the Indian telecom companies to offer better service to the customers (Punniyamoorthy & Raj, 2009).
This chapter has thus described the relevant models and theories that are helpful to assess the applicability of customer retention policies. Various problems faced by the telecom companies have found a proper mention here. As the paper has described, the service profit chain is quintessential to understand the criterions that are quite helpful to make the customers loyal. On the other hand, SERVQUAL model has helped the researcher to evaluate the factors that influence the service quality meted out to the customers.