This chapter is about previous research to the subject on the service quality and customer perceptions at the petrol station.
2.1 Service quality definition
Service quality is not same with the object quality which is hard to define and is not distinct so. In other word, it is as the service delivery measurement but not the end of outcome. Crosby (1979) indicated quality is a “requirements of conformance” but we may measure the object quality by tangible and unique comparative measures. The characteristics of service quality which is not tangible, heterogeneous and not separable make the service quality measurement is difficult. ( Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry 1985).
Firstly, services are not tangible because they are more to performance but not an object. Object's quality can be ensured by specifications or manufacturing process but it impossible to be quantified, verified or tested. As a result, this is difficult to know consumers perceptions of services and service quality evaluation. (Zeithmal, 1981)
Second, services are not consistent. Service comprises the process of service provider with the customer. The variability between two parties will procedure the process. The consistency by behavour in the service personnel is hard to assure (Booms & Bitner, 1981) because customer service perception may different with the service that the service provider wish to provide.
Third, the service of consumption and production are inseparable (Carmen & Langeard, 1980). This is meant customer could influence the service delivery processing like acquiring financial advice. Consumer may rely on tangible variable like clean, well decoration of reception area, appearance of worker and equipment used in appraise the service quality. It has been stated that price is a vital quality indicator with the absence of tangible quality. ( Zeithmal, 1981).
2.2 Service quality and attitude
Researcher ( Zeithaml 1987, Olshavsky 1985) suggested that evaluation of a service from customer is the quality and quality is something similar to attitude. The consumer's perception on a product, process or stores indicates the attitude. The researcher develops a function to represent the concept that service quality is an attitude:
Service quality = ∑ Bi ∙ li
Where, Bi represents the belief of a brand's attribute performance which held as constant
li represents the important of an attribute
i represents the attributes 1 to n0 measured
2.3 Service quality of Petrol Station
This paper is a research into the consumer's perceptions of service quality at petrol station which examined consumer's perceptions, on the 6 major attributes included ease of entry and exit, ease of payment, responsive staff, clean appearance, high product quality, and extra facilities. The study concludes that ease of entry and exit is the single most important factor in influencing brand choice.
A) Ease of entry and Exit
The petrol station should have larger entry and exit space. This is to enable the big size vehicle to easily get in the petrol station like tanks or vessels that have difficult of the entry mean. Beside this, the ease of entry and exit is important since customer don't like to drive through a crowd of cars. Based on the study (Mile Magdic andPeter Sjostrand, 2002, ), the researcher found out that the truck driver will spend some times or stayed for a short period in the petrol station in order to take a break after a long journey. The driver may leave the petrol station immediately after consume the fuel. This is implied that one of the customers of petrol station is the truck driver, large entry and exit space will encourage them come along the petrol station.
From the conferences paper (Frank Azimont and E.M.Lyo, 2009), the presenter mentioned that mostly the car driver don't like petrol stations where stations with too many truckers. These kinds of vehicles occupy the entry space and also occupy many parking place. The presenter suggested that to have a larger of entrance size to manage more cars to easy access or to separate between the car petrol and truck petrol station. The presenter also suggested that to identify of the main truck transportation lines, as well as the ideal distance between two stations.
Based on the study, many drivers will park their car near with the station or along the station, not consuming but have a break in a car. It is wisely to have a large space in the station to fulfill their needs too.
The petrol station should have suitable and good location. The most suitable place for the petrol station is at the place with high traffic volume which is proximity to densely populated housing estates and also the frequently travelled roads such as roads loading into and out of express way.
Petrol station not only facing the price competition in the industry but it is also face pressure from the non-strategic location (Sidaway, 1998). On the researcher view, location is one of the most important factors when to position he or she business activity. A firm may choose the location that most maximize the profit because location is a growth determinant (Hoogstra, 2004).
According to the study ( Mile Magdic and Peter Sjostrand), the suggested place of petrol station is at about 30-40 km located from shopping complex and situated on a big area which is near to the highway. There are many cars around this kind of place and is frequent that driver will refueling after shopping to continue their journey or a high propensity of traffic to turn into a station.
If the direction of a road where a petrol station is located is towards the commercial area and residential area, this petrol station able to attract more customer. If the road is heading toward a small town, the quantity of customers is slow. In this circumstance, petrol sales looked to be closely relying on the movement of people (Friedman, 1978).
The writer (Mile, 2002) also focuses on the outdoor area of petrol station. He mentioned the parking facilities for the truck parking and also car pool parking. This is to provide service to different type of consumer to fulfill the difference needs. He also stated that provide many diesel pump to suit the truck driver need at the truck parking spot.
In the research (P. Adams and G.C. David, 2007), he suggested to place the diesel pump at the truck space and differentiate it with the petrol pump. This is to ensure customers will not incorrect refueling like fuel petrol into a diesel-driven car. In the study, a good product differentiation is located the difference oil pump like diesel pump at a well viewing angle or the pump body to be signified with the fuel type in words at more than 15 minimum high.
There should be more than one entry and exit street at the petrol station. Mostly consumers are not willing to spend too much time just waiting for an available petrol dispenser. Based on the conference paper (Frank Azimont and E.M.Lyo, 2009), most consumer will come to petrol station to refuel on morning before rushing the way to their office to start the work. So, the consumer will not expect to spend more time on refueling.
In the study, Frank Azimont stated that petrol station should assist time-pressured people on the starting or ending of the day better like help them provide the breakfast by selling bread or sandwich or take away leverage and food solutions. Therefore, the petrol station will full with people during the morning and evening time. More than one entrance will help more cars to drive in and faster the fueling processing.
The number of people in one area also is a consuming factor for petrol, and then it can affect the sales at a petrol station (Leibbrand, 1976). This is mean that the increasing in the population will indirectly to influence the number of vehicle. Then, there is a high demand in the petrol purchasing at petrol station as car ownership increase. As a result, it is vital for a petrol station to have more than one entry enable more cars access at once time.
Petrol station has to comprise neat and orderly pathway. Once entry the petrol station, customer will be able to decide the location of their vehicle for fueling (P. Adams and G.C. David, 2007). This is able to save time rather than customers have to search the suitable pump for fueling and it may to avoid incorrect of refueling like refuel diesel in a petrol-driven car.
In the research( Mile Magdic and Peter Sjostrand), researchers stated that it is better that petrol station to provide diesel terminal at truck parking spot while petrol pump at car parking spot. Therefore, this enable customer easy to get the petrol they wish. For example, the consumer will not pump diesel in their petrol car.
The petrol station may suggest have three different areas signed as parking lot where the two along at the left and at the right side of the pathway to the store with a narrow path between station and the parking lots. The other parking area was at the outer entrance of the petrol station towards the road. (Daniel Normark, 2004) From this design, customer was easily toward the terminal to refuel and also easy step out of the station to the main road after refueling.
The petrol station must be accessibility. The accessibility is meaning the ease of enter and exit from a specific area in the petrol station (Segdwick, 1969). It is to measure that ease of enter and exit for consumer on a station. The more orderly pathway in the station, there are more accessible for the customer.
The petrol station should only have one-way entrance which is the entrance design for entry-only and exit-only. To ensure success, the petrol station should have its entrance that allow easy to enter and make exit from the station (Jones, 2003). Which this is meant that the entrance only design for entry or exit, so the vehicle will not congest with the other cars. This is because all vehicles are coming from the same site and toward the same way. .
In the paper, the writer mentioned that the largest the number car at one entrance, the more difficult for the driver from different site to enter the petrol station (Jones, 2003). This is more difficult when other vehicle to step out the station using the same entrance. It may have accidents between the cars too. So, all this will discourage driver to visit the station to avoid this kind of problems, then will decrease the sales volume of the station.
Sales volume of a petrol station is also affected by the visibility of the related station (Friedman, 1978). Visibility of petrol station from the road is mean to enable customer to catch up the petrol station or customer able to know the existence of such petrol station.
The relevant characteristics of one product is either observable or not upon purchasing, it to be relevant to the effect of purchasing on the consumer. Caswell (1996) stated that product quality is a group of quality characteristics that influence the product's function or performance. Based on the product function, customer will determine the consumption decision.
Without the attribute of product, consumer is hard to differentiate among the product. However, these attributes are related closely with the consumer (Teisl et al, 2002). Consumers are care about the quality of product and may change their consuming pattern according to it.
A product can be separate into different attributes like attribute, experience attribute, quality and so on. By this, consumer can determine the product before purchase (Nelson, 1974). After consume, customer will experience the product quality or service. If it fulfills the customer requirement or customer satisfies with it, customer has a high product perception on it. Then, customer will continue to purchase from the supplier.
Customer experience the attribute of product or service will determine the level of product perception. And the customer perception will affect the purchase pattern (Joshua Frank, 2005).