Perception of African immigrants of service quality at the Department of Home Affairs in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.
Edwin, Benjamin Owusu.
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Service quality is a concept that has been around for many years. The concept of quality in the service industry is measured using five dimensions, namely; tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. Service quality remains a major issue in South Africa, both in government institutions and in private companies. Purpose: The study determined the perceptions, expectations and measured the satisfaction level of services by using the SERVQUAL model because of its proven effectiveness to measure and manage service quality, expectations and their perceptions. It also determines the relationship between service quality dimensions and the overall customer satisfaction at the department of home affairs. Design/methodology/approach: The primary data was collected with the help of a standardised questionnaire of service quality which was administered to a randomly selected sample of 265 respondents from five African countries accessing service quality of DHA services in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. The response rate was 98%. The study applied the spearman ranked correlation, the chi square (χ2) and other statistical tests to analyse and evaluate the hypothesized relationships. Findings: While the importance of the five SERVQUAL dimensions has not changed dramatically over the years, few discrepancies were found between customer expectations and their perceived performance of DHA services. Revealingly, the lowest score for perception and expectations was responsiveness dimension, with a mean score of 2.69 and 2.37 respectively. Originality/value: This is the first study which determines the perception of African immigrants of service quality in the region of Mthatha. Significantly, the study adds to the knowledge and understanding of how service quality can influence the prospects of an organisation, and also contributed to the model by addressing gaps in the model.