Consumer perceptions of services quality within the customer service centres at eThekweni Municipality.
eThekwini Municipality, as one of the public sector organisation, also subscribes to the Batho Pele approach. In improving the service quality, it has provided greater accessibility by introducing the Sizakala Customer Care Centres throughout its boundaries. In the public sector the endeavour should always be for actions which lead to the improvement of the quality of service rendered. Public sector institutions should constantly strive towards improving their service delivery. The concept of the Sizakala Centres within eThekwini Municipality is to ensure that services are easily accessible to its customers. This study focuses on the customer expectations and evaluation of the Sizakala Customer Care Centres, using the SERVQUAL model. The Sizakala Customer Care programme is a special programme aimed at helping people gain equal access to municipal and government services. It forms an important part of the city's Integrated Development Plan (IDP), and shows the municipality‟s commitment to ensuring service delivery and a better quality of life for all its citizens. The research aims to investigate customer perceptions on service quality in the Sizakala Customer Services Centres of eThekwini Municipality. Questionnaires will be used as a data collection tool for this study, and will be self-administered. These will be administered to the community which get services from these centres and officials working for the municipality. The collected data will be statistically analysed to obtain meaning, using SPSS. The empirical data will be the responses from community members who visit the Sizakala Customer Service centres and people who are responsible for the functioning of these centres. The findings of this study showed that the tangibility dimension achieved the highest average score (3.78) in the perceptions section and the assurance dimension achieved the highest average score (4.38) in the expectations section. When comparing the customers „expectations of service quality in the Sizakala Customer Centre to customer perceptions of service quality, it was evident that that gaps occurred in all 5 of the service quality dimensions. It was found that Sizakala Customer Centre needed to improve most on their responsiveness dimension which had the highest (-0.73) average gap score, in order to enhance the quality of service that they provided. It was indicated from the results obtained in this study that the major recommendations for improvement were with regards to Sizakala Customer centres insisting on providing error free service and ensuring that the centres‟ service levels are kept at the same standard all the time.