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Telecommunication sector is the largest one across UK and one of the major contributors in UK’s economy. There are number of telecom players in UK telecom sector and among these players, Vodafone is the leader having 34% market share. The company launched every time new product/service in the market to delight its customers. Sometime the customers face number of issues or problems with the services for which the company has set up its separate customer care center (Deurinck, 2007). The customer care standards therefore play significant role if delivering services and satisfying the customer need. Therefore with this consideration the area of the research is to measure the satisfaction level of customers of Vodafone (Bloom, 2006). Further the research will identify the importance of customer care standards in telecommunication business and how to imply it into the business to retain the customer. The overall aim of this research will be to increase the business profitability and growth through high level of customer satisfaction. The research study is focusing towards the customer care in telecom sector to understand the problems faced by the customers of Vodafone. The following research objectives will be achieved in this research:
To determine the key elements of customer care standards to be maintained for the purpose of delivery high satisfaction and retaining the customers in Vodafone.
to understand the current level of satisfaction among the Vodafone customers with its services
To determine the training and development needs to be fulfilled to deliver the services above customer expectations.
To recommend the suitable strategies to Vodafone for improving the customer satisfaction level and increasing the loyalty of the customers
2. Research Methods:
In order to achieve the above listed research objectives, an efficient research method needs to be designed. A research onion method has been used to design the research methodology for completing the above e research objectives. A special emphasis has bee given to the operational function of Vodafone, hence with such sensitivity, it is essential to critically review the available research methods to design the suitable framework. In the research onion process designed by Saunders et al (2003), the following layers exist and by removing out each layer, a suitable step is obtained. Integration of each part from the selection of available methods provides the appropriate research methodology.
Validity/Reliability of the Data
3. Research Aims and Objectives:
As mentioned earlier the aim of the research is to understand the satisfaction level of customers at Vodafone and customer care standards in Vodafone.
4. Research philosophy:
Saunders et al, (2003) research philosophy is the technique to initiate the research by means of development thinking and the way in which the research want to conduct the research study. A researcher can make the choices among positivism, interpretivism and realism research philosophies. Positivism and realism research philosophy is not relevant in this research since both the philosophical approaches work on the behavioral studies; however this is the independent research where the satisfaction level of the customers will be tested. In this study there is no connection of the behavioral studies. Hence interpretivism research philosophy will be adopted to conduct this research work. Moreover the interpretivism research philosophy enables the researcher to determine and analyze the different variables. The discussion of the research findings is more exploratory with in-depth discussion. Therefore the interpretivism research philosophy is more relevant than the positivism and realism. The results of the study will be interpreted based on the real world findings by interviewing the customers at Vodafone.
5. Research Approach:
The second layer of the research onion is research approach which enables the researcher to further make out the selection of data collection and data analysis methods. Also the right research approach enable the researcher to take further decided on line of action item that help the researcher to fulfil the research objectives in case any constraints occurs. A researcher therefore can make the selection among deductive, inductive and abductive research approaches. Since the philosophical approach is interpretivism which can be better aligned with the deductive research approach as per the argument provided by Saunders et al (2003). Deductive approach is useful where the data is collected from the external respondents and analyzed to improve the current state. Since the research is focusing towards the customer satisfaction level at Vodafone which will eventually increase the company’s profitability. Looking at such usefulness the ab-ductiuve and inductive research approached are irrelevant to use in this study. Further to justify the selection of deductive research approach, it is provided the base to verify the theoretical results with the primary findings. Hence the deductive research is relevant in this study. It will enable the researcher to establish the link between the evaluation of research objectives and summary findings which has been derived from the primary and secondary research.
6. Research Strategy:
The third layer of the research onion includes the choices of research strategies. According to Saunders et al (2003), a researcher can make the selection between the qualitative and quantitative research strategy. In qualitative research, a thorough discussion in held with the qualitative data whiles the quantitative research methods is based more on the quantitative data. Qualitative research is more useful where the researcher wants to develop the opinion based on the small sample size. On the other hand the quantitative research is useful where the researcher wants to develop the opinion based on larger sample size. In-depth discussion analysis is used to achieve the aims and objectives in qualitative research methods, while the numeric analysis is conducted to achieve the aims and objective of the research. However, sometimes the researcher can also use the mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Since the researcher wants to collect the opinion of customers of Vodafone to understand their satisfaction level, therefore the quantitative as well as qualitative both the research strategies will be used in this research.
6.1 Qualitative Strategy:
As per the opinion of Saunders et al (2003), the qualitative research is emphasized on exploring the key points and issues related to the research objectives. The qualitative research methods enable the research to determine the way to gain the insight from the research. Further it seeks the behaviour, value system, motivation, attitude and culture. A lot more approaches for example conducting primary research interviews, feedback, reports and other sources are searched out to get the right information.
6.2 Quantitative strategy:
According to Saunders et al (2003), quantitative research methods enable the researcher to extract the information from the opinion of the target respondents and conducted a statistical analysis to test the opinion and develop the conclusion of the research. The quantitative data can be extracted using primary research, financial documents, ratio calculation for the purpose of understanding the company performance. It is essential to understand how company is developing the standards for resolving the customer issues for the increasing the loyalty and business profitability. Therefore it is separate method of collecting the information apart from the qualitative analysis.
Under the qualitative and quantitative research strategies, the following data collection methods will be utilized.
Data Collection using Primary Research:
According to Saunders et al 2003, primary research for data collection is useful to collect the honest and real opinion to achieve the research objectives and draw the conclusion in more realistic way. In primary research, the researcher can collect the information through various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations. Hence it is purely based on the field research. Since, the research focuses on the customer satisfaction which will be analyzed by collecting the opinion from large set of Vodafone customers. Hence the survey method is more useful to collect the information. Under the quantitative research strategy, a structured questionnaire will be utilized to collect the information towards the satisfaction of the customer towards the Vodafone services. Interviews and observations are irrelevant in this research since it can be conducted only with smaller sample size which is irrelevant to draw the conclusion about the customer satisfaction with the Vodafone services. The survey will be conducted among large group of customers of Vodafone to measure their satisfaction level. Given below is the details of sampling method used and profile of the target respondents.
Sampling is required to define the method of selecting and defining the sample of target respondent from the universe. The research will use the random sampling method since the research is customer focused and large universe of customer available. The researcher therefore can identify the Vodafone customers only after proper screening. Simulation technique will be used to generate the random samples. Random sampling enables the researcher to reach the right target respondents where the universe is large though the incidence is also high (Banker and Morley, 2007). Since Vodafone is the largest provider of telecom services in UK, therefore the universe of people using Vodafone services will be very high. The following sample size will be used to collect the opinion of the customers towards satisfaction with the Vodafone services:
Target respondents will be consumers of age more than 18 years who are the Vodafone customers and must be using for Vodafone services for minimum last six months. Research will conduct 50% of the surveys with female customers and remaining 50% with male customers.
According to Saunders et al (2003), questionnaire is the best survey tool to collect the information. A researcher can use either the structured, semi structured or unstructured questionnaire. Structured questionnaire includes all close ended questions, semi structured questionnaire includes mix of close and open ended questions while unstructured questionnaire includes all open ended questions. The unstructured questionnaire is more regarded as discussion guide. The research strategy adopted by the researcher is mix of quantitative and qualitative research strategy. Primary research is used under the quantitative research methods, therefore the structured questionnaire will be utilised to collect the information.
In addition to the primary research, secondary research will be conducted to collect the information from various secondary sources such as company website, news articles, research reports, blogs, academic journals and web articles. Secondary data will be collected under the qualitative research strategy. Information collected through secondary research will used to develop the literature review in this research by reviewing the views from different authors in the context of customer satisfaction.
7. Data Analysis:
Data analysis is the sensitive part of the research. Therefore it needs special emphasis while selecting the methods and tools for data analysis. The right selection of data analysis method enables the researcher to meet the desired level of outcome and achieve the research objective efficiently (Bush et al, 2008). The data will be collected in the line of research aim and research objective. Since both the qualitative and quantitative research strategies have been used to collect the information therefore the researcher will represent the qualitative information through discussion & critical analysis while the data collected through quantitative method will be presented through graphs and discussion will be made. Moreover the quantitative data will be analyzed using statistical tools such as regression analysis and measures of central tendency (Bucklin, 2004).
8. Reliability and Validity of Data:
It is essential for the researcher to maintain the reliability and validity of the data to ensure that the conclusion drawn from the research is academically and ethically appropriate and should not be biased or skewed towards a particular variable. In this view the research will ensure the reliability and validity if the data by suing valid sources of information. Pilot test will be conducted to ensure that the information collected though the instrument should not be biased and 100% accurate. Further the information collected through primary research will be cross checked through secondary information. Only academic journals and authenticated websites will be used to collect the information.
9. Peer’s Review and Suggestions for Improvement:
I have administered the questionnaire among the peer group and after reviewing it, my peer’s have identified some issues in the questionnaire. Initially the feedback provided by peer group was to make the questionnaire in a proper sequence as per the recommendation of Deurinck (2007). Also some of the options in each question were not clear for example the service portfolio was incorrect. I made it clear by collecting the information from company website. I have included the likert scale questions and less of the dichotomous questions as per the suggestion provided by peer group.
10. Limitations & Difficulties:
There could be several limitations the researcher might face while conducting this research. Due to time constraint the sample size small to generate the consensus about the satisfaction with the services provided by Vodafone. Also it could not be the reflection of the whole customer base of Vodafone towards the satisfaction. The analysis and interpretation may not be 100% accurate and free from error. The random sampling approach will be used to define the samples which may not be of the quality which is expected as obtained by the complete enumeration survey as it is not possible due to financial and time constraint (Bucklin, 2004).
The area of the research is customer satisfaction towards the service offered by large telecom service provider Vodafone. In order to achieve the desired level of objectives and aim, qualitative and quantitative research methods have been used to collect the information. Interpretivism research philosophy will be used to generate the desired level of outcome. Primary and secondary data will be used to collect the information. Within the primary method, surveys will be administered among the customer of Vodafone to collect their opinion towards the Vodafone services (Deurinck, 2007).
Appendix A Questionnaire
Dear participant, my name is____________ and I am pursuing my _________________ from university. I am conducting a research study in UK telecom sector with emphasis on Vodafone to understand the satisfaction level of customers with the services provided by Vodafone and customer care standards maintained by the company to resolve the customer issues in the partial fulfillment of my degree. I ensure that the complete research work is conducted only for the academic purpose and will not be used for any commercial activity. I am assuring that the information provided by you will be used solely in this research and will not publish any where else I will be highly obliged for your participation in this survey.
Would you wish to continue?
No (Thanks for your time and terminate)
Q1. Please select from the following which mobile connection do you have?
Q2. Please tell me which of the following telecom connection do you have?
Q3. Please rate the service provider based on the service offerings provided to you on the following scale?
Q4. Please tell me which of the following offers influenced you to purchase the services from Vodafone?
Q5. Please tell me which of the following value added services are most satisfactory to you?
Concession call rates
Full talk time
Q6. Please tell me how long have you used these services from Vodafone?
> 1 Month
6 M – 1 Year
< 1 Year
< 3 Year
Q7. Please rate your overall satisfaction level with the services provided by Vodafone?
Q8. Please rate the service provided by Vodafone on the following scale based on which you think the services are for value for money?
Q9. Please tell me what kind of issues you have faced so far for which you need to contact customer care/service department of Vodafone?
Information of VAS’s
Q10. Please think about recent experience you had with Vodafone, how much satisfied are you with the customer care service from the company?
Q11. Please tell me how satisfied are you with the process of getting your queries resolved?
Thanks for your participation!
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