Three forces dominate the prevailing marketing environment in the service sector: increasing competition from private players, changing and improving technologies, and continuous shifts in the regulatory environment, which has led to the growing customer sophistication. Customers have become more and more aware of their requirements and demand higher standards of services. Their perceptions and expectations are continually evolving, making it difficult for the service providers to measure and manage services effectively. The key lies in improving the service selectively, paying attention to more critical service attributes/dimensions as a part of customer service management. It is an imperative to understand how sensitive the customers are to various service attributes or dimensions. Allocating resources in the fashion that is consistent with customer priorities can enhance the effectiveness in the service operations. In addition, customer service attribute priorities need to be fully explored in service specific contexts. This paper is an attempt to explore relative importance of service quality dimensions across a 'select' service context. The results suggest that (1) all the service quality dimensions are equally important as no proper order of their importance could be established, (2) the service performance in relation to the 'expectations' is poor in respect of nearly all the dimensions and in all the select services, and (3) the nature of service does not seem to have a role in establishing an order of importance of the dimensions.
RATIONALE OF THE STUDY
Two major factors that shape the practice of marketing in service organisations is a) the environment and b) how a particular business views and organises its marketing efforts. Both factors are equally important in creating and constraining managers' opportunities for effective action. For example, in the financial services industry the three major external forces that affect competition are: increasing internationalisation of all financial products and players, the change in the regulatory environment (which is removing many barriers to open competition and to the types of companies allowed to compete), and the accelerating impact and pervasiveness of information technology. Which create long-lasting change. In such a scenario the companies that react more swiftly and that anticipate or even create the change that offer the opportunity are likely to be the winners. There are three major tasks that a market oriented manager in a financial service organisation must accomplish in order to achieve success. The first of these is to identify the key strategic success factors operating in the specific industry and to build the company's unique strategy around these factors. Secondly, the manager must be able to establish an organisation and system capable of creating and implementing plans built around the company's strategy. Thirdly, the manager must be able to free market its departmental base and infuse and defuse it throughout the organisation. It must however be kept in mind that the second and third tasks can only be performed after the first one is accomplished.
A manager may therefore find it particularly difficult to identify a newer success factor given that most of the competitors...