We are currently in the modern age of change, consumers/customers play the
most crucial role in business nowadays. Business trends are moving forward rapidly.
Companies can no longer simply sell what they can produce but they are obligated
to produce what they can sell. Every business success and achievement significantly
depends on its customer. According to Zairi (2000) customers are the main purpose
of what companies do because purchase decisions will be made by them. They will
choose to buy products or service that can maximize their satisfaction which has
become more challenging and complicated for the company because customers are
also more sophisticated, educated and well informed. For these reasons, many
companies these days’ concern and give a great deal of attention to the concept of
service quality and customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction can be seen as a key performance indicator which reflects
customer fulfilment response after making purchase decisions. In the market, it is
considered to be a key element of business strategy for company’s success. Some
researchers have proved that service quality is one of the best customer
satisfaction’s determinant especially in service industry. However, many other
factors can affect customer satisfaction such as quality, price, expectation, image of
the company and personal desires. Service quality is crucial for business processes
particularly for business growth and development of service sector, it is an approach
which helps improving business effectiveness and competitiveness (Zairi, 2000).
The development of transportation issues in Bangkok is recognized as the most
critical problems, the record has shown that the number of cars registered has been
increased more than doubled within 10 years. (Bangkok Post, 2014). The title the
‘world’s worst commute’ has been given to Bangkok, people usually spend around
2 hours traveling to and from work during the rush hours (Express, 2014). Thai
government have tried to encourage its citizens to commute within the city by using
alternative public transit system which include the Bangkok Mass Transit System.
The Bangkok Mass Transit System is commonly known as the BTS or the Sky Train,
which is currently operational in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. It was built and
operated by Bangkok Mass Transit System Public company Limited (BTSC) under
a concession granted by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) in 1992.
This project was entirely funded by private enterprise (BTSC), all revenue derives
from the system operation are entitled to the company for 30 years. In order to assist
in traffic relief within Bangkok city and provide its citizens with a fast and effective
transportation between the main district and business area, the BTS Skytrain was
the first electric mass transit railway system to launch operation in Thailand. It was
designed to change travelling patterns and enhance critical traffic problems in
Bangkok. BTSC aimed to benefit both economically and socially to meet customers’
need. Since then until now, BTSC has claimed that Bangkok traffic has been
improved, an inability to arrive at designated destination on time has been
substantially reduced. BTS users from the past addressed that they were rather
satisfied with the outcome from the project. They were pleased with the convenient
transport system which the company claimed to improve traffic situation. Yet they
were also strongly recommending that a proper extension and system improvement
are needed to bring more satisfaction and benefits to customers and commuters
(Tangkitsiri & Ogunlana, 2004).
BTS has been operating in Bangkok for almost 20 years. Since 1999, a lot of
complaints from many users and customers have been received constantly. There
are more than 700 complaints which is accountable for approximately 60% of all
feedbacks from customers of this transit system during the past 2 years (BTS, 2016).
BTS is unable to offer service to meet high demand and expectation of its customers.
The frequency of each train are not enough especially during the peak time. It is too
crowded in the morning, commuters have to wait for a long time at least two trains
to finally get on the train. Some said, the train broke down too often as well.
According to their website’s feedbacks, poor manners, poor performances and
attitudes from staffs also have been reported. Because of those service quality and
unresolved issues, BTS Skytrain has been selected in this study. This research aims
to measure the quality of BTS service along with customer satisfaction in order to
improve users’ experience and their satisfaction.
According to Robinson (1999) conclusion, there is only a few consensus of
opinions about how to measure service quality has been found while there is so
much disagreement on this subject. The best value perspective of service quality’s
measurement in service sector should take perception of service as well as
customer’s expectation into an account, compare them to receive the best and
reliable result. To measure the service quality performance of BTS Skytrain,
SERVQUAL Model will be used in this study. It is one of the most widely used and
mostly preferred among those service quality measuring model developed by
Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985). SERVQUAL is often used in various
industry such as retailing, restaurants, banking, telecommunication, service, airline,
catering, hotels, hospitals, automotive, education, etc. (Ladhari, 2009). As the
principal mentioned in this model, service quality has been defined as the difference
between what customers expect and the level of perception of actual service
performance. There are five dimensions to measure service quality which are:
tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy (Parasuraman, et. al,
1985). The key strategy for any business success is the quality of service
deliverance towards customers. Service quality that one’s business offers will
determine the satisfaction of customers and their long term loyalty (Naik, Gantasala
& Prabhakar, 2010). This research aimed to investigate the relationship between the
five dimensions of SERVQUAL model and customer satisfaction of selected public
transit system in Bangkok, Thailand.