CHAPTER FOUR

RESEARCH FINDINGS: ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

4.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter attempts to analyse questionnaire findings regarding customer satisfaction with the two land transport companies involved in the present study: a publicly-owned company (referred to as Company 'A) and a privately-owned company (referred to as Company 'B'). Satisfaction rates of customers of both companies are also compared against each other in Chapter Five to illustrate which company provides more satisfactory services to its customers. Seventy questionnaires were distributed to the passengers of Company 'A' and sixty to the passengers of Company 'B'. Fifty questionnaires were completed by passengers of each company and returned to the researcher. This gives response rates of 71.4% and 83.3%, respectively. These return rates are acceptable response rates. Passengers who declined to participates either they claimed that they were not interested in the survey, whereas some other claimed they did not have the time to complete the questionnaire.

4.2 FACTORS MOTIVATING CUSTOMERS TO DEAL WITH THE COMPANY 'A'

Responses to the factors that have motivated the customers of this company are presented in Table 4.1 and illustrated in Figures 4.1 to 4.3. Factors motivating customers are divided into three groups: Reliability and Customer Service (RCS) factors (eight factors), Convenience and Accessibility (CA) factors (nine factors) and On-Board Services (OBS) (five factors). Responses to the eighteen statements are illustrated in Table 4.1. To facilitate data analysis, responses to the "Strongly Agree" and "Agree" groups were combined and presented in Figures 4.1 to 4.3 as "SA/A". Similarly, for the "Disagree" and "Strongly Disagree" groups were combined as "DA/SDA". The "No View" responses (NV) were left as it is. Table 4.1 indicates that between 4% and 20.0% of responding passengers declined to express their views. This indicates their indifference to the questionnaire items.

Table 4.1. Reasons for choosing to travel with Company 'A'

 

Variables

SA

A

NV

DA

SDA

CA

Convenient reservation and ticketing

76.0

16.0

8.0

0.0

0.0

CA

Prompt and accurate reservation and ticketing

44.0

40.0

16.0

0.0

0.0

CA

Good checking-in service

44.0

44.0

12.0

0.0

0.0

CA

Frequent journey programme

40.0

40.0

20.0

0.0

0.0

CA

Convenient journey schedule

36.0

48.0

12.0

4.0

0.0

CA

Seat allocation

28.0

56.0

16.0

0.0

0.0

RCS

Courtesy of employees

28.0

56.0

16.0

0.0

0.0

RCS

Employees' willingness to help passengers

36.0

48.0

16.0

0.0

0.0

RCS

Employees' knowledge to answer passengers' questions

40.0

48.0

8.0

4.0

0.0

RCS

Passengers are given personal attention

44.0

40.0

8.0

4.0

4.0

RCS

Neat appearance of employees

40.0

44.0

16.0

0.0

0.0

RCS

Safety of Driving

44.0

44.0

8.0

0.0

4.0

RCS

Sincere interest in solving problems

36.0

44.0

16.0

4.0

0.0

RCS

On-time performance

36.0

48.0

16.0

0.0

0.0

OBS

Seat comfort

40.0

40.0

12.0

8.0

0.0

OBS

Meal service

48.0

32.0

8.0

12.0

0.0

OBS

On-Board entertainment services

40.0

44.0

4.0

4.0

8.0

OBS

Up-to-date coach and on-board facility

40.0

44.0

4.0

4.0

8.0

CA = Convenience and Accessibility
RCS = Reliability and Customer Service
OBS = On-Board Services

4.2.1 SATISFACTION WITH CONVENIENCE AND ACCESSIBILITY FACTORS

Passengers (thereafter referred to as respondents) were asked to express their agreement or disagreement with the six items relating to convenience and accessibility factors: Convenient reservation and ticketing (Item No. 1), Prompt and accurate reservation and ticketing (Item No. 2), Good checking-in service ((Item No. 3), Frequent journey programme (Item No. 4), Convenient journey schedule (Item No. 5), and Seat allocation (Item No. 6) (see Table 4.1, Figure 4.1). Patterns of their responses are analysed below.

It is noted in Table 4.1 and Figure 4.1 that 92.0% of the respondents were satisfied (strongly agreed/agreed, SA/A) with the reservation and ticketing procedures undertaken by the company (Item No. 1). Only a small minority of respondents showed their indifference to this item, whereas none of them disagreed with it. The majority of the respondents (88.0%) were satisfied (SA/A) with check in service (Item No. 3) (Table 4.1, Figure 4.1), and a minority (12.0%) did not express their views, but none of the respondents were dissatisfied with this service.

In terms of prompt and accurate reservation and ticketing (Item No. 2), convenient journey schedule (Item No. 5), and seat allocation (Item No. 6) (Table 4.1, Figure 4.1), 84.0% of the respondents were satisfied with these three items, and only 4.0% of the respondents were dissatisfied with convenient journey schedule (Item No. 5).

4.2.2 SATISFACTION WITH RELIABILITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE FACTORS

Respondents were asked to indicate their rate of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with eight items concerning reliability and customer service factors. The majority of respondents (88% of the sample) indicated that they were satisfied with employees' knowledge to answer passengers' questions (Item No. 9), and with safety of driving (Item No. 12). Only 4.0% of the respondents were dissatisfied with these services and 8.0% of them indicated their indifference.

With regard to courtesy of employees (Item No. 7), employees' willingness to help passengers (Item No. 8), passengers are given personal attention (Item No. 10), Neat appearance of employees (Item No. 11) and on-time performance (Item No. 14), the majority of respondents were satisfied (SA/A) with these items. However, between 8.0% and 16.0% of the respondents expressed their indifference to these items, and only 4.0% to 8.0% of them were dissatisfied with some of these items, as indicated in Table 4.1 and Figure 4.2.

With regard to the item: sincere interest in solving problems (Item No. 13), 80.0% of the respondents were satisfied with it, and 16.0% of them expressed their indifference, whereas only 40.0% of them disagreed with it.

4.2.3 SATISFACTION WITH ON-BOARD SERVICE FACTORS

Respondents were asked to indicate their rate of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with four items concerning on-board service factors. Table 4.2 and Figure 4.4 clearly show that 84.0% of the respondents were satisfied with on-board entertainment service (Item No. 17) and up-to-date coach and on-board facilities. However, 12.0% of them were dissatisfied and 4.0% expressed their indifference.

Figure 4.3 also illustrates that 80.0% of the respondents were satisfied with the seat comfort (Item No. 15) and meal service (Item No. 16). However, 8.0% and 12.0% of the respondents were dissatisfied with Items No. 14 and 15, respectively, and 12.0% and 8.0% of them expressed their indifference with these two items, respectively. It can be noted that more respondents were dissatisfied with these four services than with the other items in other two dimensions.

4.3 FACTORS MOTIVATING CUSTOMERS TO DEAL WITH THE COMPANY 'B'

Responses to the factors that have motivated the customers of this company are presented in Table 4.21 and illustrated in Figures 4.4 to 4.4. Table 4.1 indicates that between 20% and 40.0% of the responding passengers declined to express their views. This indicates their indifference to the questionnaire items.

4.2.1 SATISFACTION WITH CONVENIENCE AND ACCESSIBILITY FACTORS

Data presented in Table 4.2 and illustrated in Figure 4.4 show that 76.0% of the respondents were satisfied (strongly agreed/agreed, SA/A) with the reservation and ticketing procedures undertaken by the company (Item No. 1). However, the remaining 24.0% of the respondents expressed their indifference to this item, whereas none of them disagreed with it.

Around two-thirds of the respondents (68.0%) were satisfied (SA/A) with prompt and accurate reservation and ticketing, whereas the remaining 32.0% of the respondents did not express their views, and none of the respondents were dissatisfied with this service (Table 4.2, Figure 4.4).

With regard to the remaining four items (good checking-in service, Item No. 3; Frequent journey programme, Item No. 4; Convenient journey schedule, Item No. 5; seat allocation, Item No. 6), 60.0% of the respondents were satisfied with these services. The remaining 40.0% of the respondents either expressed their indifference to these items, or were dissatisfied with them (Table 4.2, Figure 4.4).

Table 4.2. Reasons for choosing to travel with Company 'A'

 

Variables

SA

A

NV

DA

SDA

CA

Convenient reservation and ticketing

36.0

40.0

24.0

0.0

0.0

CA

Prompt and accurate reservation and ticketing

28.0

40.0

32.0

0.0

0.0

CA

Good checking-in service

20.0

40.0

40.0

0.0

0.0

CA

Frequent journey programme

16.0

44.0

32.0

8.0

0.0

CA

Convenient journey schedule

20.0

40.0

32.0

4.0

4.0

CA

Seat allocation

24.0

36.0

28.0

4.0

8.0

RCS

Courtesy of employees

16.0

46.0

30.0

4.0

4.0

RCS

Employees' willingness to help passengers

20.0

42.0

26.0

8.0

4.0

RCS

Employees' knowledge to answer passengers' questions

16.0

42.0

32.0

4.0

6.0

RCS

Passengers are given personal attention

18.0

34.0

38.0

6.0

4.0

RCS

Neat appearance of employees

20.0

44.0

20.0

8.0

8.0

RCS

Safety of Driving

10.0

42.0

24.0

12.0

12.0

RCS

Sincere interest in solving problems

12.0

40.0

32.0

12.0

4.0

RCS

On-time performance

16.0

30.0

36.0

12.0

8.0

OBS

Seat comfort

20.0

28.0

32.0

16.0

4.0

OBS

Meal service

16.0

12.0

40.0

20.0

12.0

OBS

On-Board entertainment services

12.0

24.0

44.0

12.0

8.0

OBS

Up-to-date coach and on-board facility

16.0

44.0

24.0

4.0

12.0

CA = Convenience and Accessibility
RCS = Reliability and Customer Service
OBS = On-Board Services

4.3.2 SATISFACTION WITH RELIABILITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE FACTORS

Respondents were asked to indicate their rate of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with eight items concerning reliability and customer service factors. About two-thirds of the respondents (64.0% of the sample) indicated that they were satisfied with employees' neat appearance (Item No. 11) (Table 4.2, Figure 4.5). One-fifth (20.0%) and 16.0% of the respondents expressed their indifference or dissatisfaction with this item.

Most respondents (62.0% of the sample) were satisfied with the courtesy of the employees and employees' willingness to help passengers. However, many of them either expressed their indifference, or were dissatisfied with these services. Less than three-fifths (58.0%) of the were satisfied with employees' knowledge to answer passengers' questions (Item No. 9), and 32.0% of them expressed their indifference and 10.0% of them were dissatisfied. Around half of the respondents (52.0% of the sample) were satisfied with passengers are given personal attention (item no. 10), safety of driving (item no. 13), and sincere interest in solving problems (item no. 14). The remaining half either expressed their indifference or, to a lesser extent, was dissatisfied with these items. However, only 46.0% of the respondents were satisfied with on time performance (Item No. 14), and the remaining 54.0% of them either expressed their indifference or were dissatisfied with this item.

4.3.3 SATISFACTION WITH ON-BOARD SERVICE FACTORS

Respondents were asked to indicate their rate of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the four items relating to onboard service factors (Item No. 18) (Table 4.2, Figure 4.6). Figure 4.6 indicated that about two-thirds of the respondents (68.0% of the respondents) were satisfied with up-to-date coaches and on-board facilities, whereas the remaining respondents either did not express their views (16.0% of the sample) or were dissatisfied with this item.

Data presented in Table 4.2 and Figure 4.6 clearly indicate that less than half of the respondents were satisfied with seat comfort (Item No. 15) (48.0%), meal service (Item No. 16) (38.0%), and on-board entertainment services (item No. 17) (44.0%). The remaining respondents (62.0% to 52.0% of the sample) either did not express their view or were dissatisfied with these items.

On the whole, it can be said that more respondents either showed their indifference to these three items (30.0% to 36.0% of the sample) or were dissatisfied with them (20.0% to 32.0% of the sample).

4.3 DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS OF RESPONDENTS

The demographic characteristics of the respondents from both companies, Company 'A', and Company 'B' are analysed and compared in this section. Figure 4.7 clearly demonstrates that the majority of respondents of both companies (88.0%) were young between 21 and 50 year old. This is not surprising given that these ages represent people who are more active and more mobile than in other age groups.

Forty-six respondents (92.0% of the sample) of Company 'A' were Libyan nationals and the remaining four (8.0% of the sample) were Arab nationals. As for Company 'B', all fifty passengers were Libyan nationals.

In terms of gender, thirty (60.0% of the sample) of Company 'A' respondents were males, and the remaining twenty (40.0% of the sample) were females. As for Company 'B', twenty-six respondents (52.0% of the sample) were males and the remaining twenty-four (48.0% of the sample) were females. It can be argued that females represented a high proportion of the total number of respondents.

As regards their income, Figure 4.8 clearly demonstrates that the majority of respondents of Company 'A' (72.0% of the sample) and Company 'B' (88.0% of the sample) were on the high salary scale of between Libyan Dinars (LD) 201 and over LD350. People with these high salaries, in the Libyan context, are those who can afford to travel more than lower paid people.

With regard to their occupation, the majority of respondents of both companies were managers, employees of a company, or government employees (Figure 4.9). Respondents referring to themselves as 'professional' or 'students' were not represented in Company 'B' sample. Most Company 'A' respondents (60.0% of the sample) have been working for periods of 3 to more than 6 years, and 64.0% of Company 'B' respondents were also working for that period of time. The remaining respondents have been working from less than one year to three years.

As for their qualifications, Figure 4.10 indicates that the majority of respondents were highly qualified educationally. Most of the respondents of both companies held Diplomas and Bachelor's Degrees.

In the following chapter, the rate of satisfaction with the eighteen questionnaire items indicated by the respondents of Company 'A' and Company 'B' will be compared and contrasted against each other. Research conclusions will be drawn out and recommendations for both companies and for future research are also outlined in the following chapter.

Figure 4.10. Distribution of respondents according to their qualifications.