Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2014, 2, 213-216
Published Online September 2014 in SciRes.
How to cite this paper: Wong, M.L. (2014) Evaluating Online Shopping Service Quality—SERVEGAL in Taiwan Tourism In-
dustry. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 213-216.
Evaluating Online Shopping Service
Quality—SERVEGAL in Taiwan Tourism
Meiling Wong
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, National Chinyi University of Technology, Taichung
Email: mlwong001@gma,
Received July 2014
While SERVQUAL is the most extensively used measurements of service quality among industries
nowadays and its five-dimension measured factors are investigated with respect to the customers’
reaction, E-SERVQUAL thus is developed amid traditional service industries to cope with the in-
ternet markets. Both two models use measured data based upon after purchased instead of pre-
purchased which is considered as the main concern for service quality. Taking Magal’s instrument
into account, which indicates three dimensions that possess the function of customers’ comments,
customers’ demand and service planning to measure the service quality, we propose the SERVEGAL
model to include customers’ recognition on service quality pre-purchasing. And a case study in
tourism industry is applied to verify our proposal. The result of this study shows that SERVEGAL is
not merely a service planning provider, but also a tool to accommodate with the customers’ ex-
pectation for service quality.
Service Quality, SERVQUAL, E-SERVQUAL, Magal, Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process (FAHP)
1. Introduction
In the field of marketing, the construct of perceived value has been identified as one of the most important
measures for gaining competitive edge [1], and has been argued to be the most important indicator of repurchase
intentions [2]. It is believed leisure/tourism providers could benefit from refined measures of the construct of
perceived value. Valid and reliable measures of perceived value would allow for comparison of value between
leisure/tourism programs, and would allow individual leisure/tourism providers the ability to identify the dimen-
sions of perceived value in which they perform well or poor [3].
A fundamental base for the conceptualization of perceived value of a service was developed by Zeithaml [3],
whose research utilized focus groups and in-depth consumer interviews to explore the relationships between
consumers’ perceptions of price, quality and value. Perceived value has been defined as “the consumer’s overall
assessment of the utility of a product based on perceptions of what is received and what is given” [3]. And is
M. L. Wong
identified into four diverse meanings of value: (1) value is low price, (2) value is whatever one wants in a prod-
uct, (3) value is the quality that the consumer receives for the price paid, and (4) value is what the consumer gets
for what they give.
While repurchase intentions and consumer loyalty are often predicted solely by measures of consumer satis-
faction, and/or service quality [4] [5], Imrie et al. [6] argued that the fundamental role that culture and/or per-
sonal values perform through informing consumer evaluation and choice behavior was not considered in the
SERVQUAL model [7] when they conducted a field research within Taiwan to ascertain whether the dominant
service quality model holds in the “foreign” environment [6]. In their findings, three major themes of sincerity;
generosity; and courtesy/politeness were grouped under an umbrella dimension to reflect the supposed impact of
Confusion values upon the choice of evaluative criteria, and a richer conceptualization was required to capture
issues relating to the central role of personal relationships within the service encounter. The results of their re-
search indicated that not only do cultural values influence the hierarchy of service quality dimensions, but also
that the SERVQUAL conceptual model does not capture the breadth of criteria utilized by Taiwan consumers.
Chinese culture provides a tightly knitted social framework in which individuals are protected by one another.
It projects a preference for cooperation, group decision-making, and relationships. Thus, the importance of so-
cial network lies in their emphasis on collectivism and group harmony [8]. The Chinese strive to keep relation-
ships among guanxi members stab le and harmonious since guanxi is the basis on which they exchange a lifetime
of favors, resources, and business leverage [9]. And for each specific relationship, people in China reconcile
through interpersonal accommodation and negotiation [6] [10]. Therefore doing business in China is literally an
art of dealing with the interpersonal relationships [11]-[15].
2. Guanxi and SERVQUAL
Chinese are born with guanxi and socially linked to his guanxi network. Guanxi defines one’s place in the social
structure and provides security, trust and a prescribed role reciprocally with others. Harmonious guanxi (inter-
personal relationship) for the Chinese is ‘expected’ as well as required not only by individuals but also by the
whole society, either for strong or weak ties of guanxi w h ich is mostly predetermined by the ‘role’ accordingly.
Maintaining good guanxi thus refers to the delicate art of building and nurturing such ties that is a hybrid of af-
fection and benefit in business. Business with the Chinese thus is considered basically the issue in dealing with
Parasuraman et al., [1] [7] attempted to define the dimensions of service quality. A ten dimensional model
was later simplified into five major dimensions, namely reliability, responsiveness, assurance, tangibles and
empathy. Reliability refers to the ability to perform the service promised. Responsiveness concerns the readiness
and willingness in providing the services. Assurance involves the politeness and courtesy in delivering the ser-
vices and the believability and trustworthiness conveyed to customers. Empathy is defined as the understanding
of customers’ individual needs and specific requirements. Finally, tangibles include the physical evidence of the
service such as facilities equipments and personnel. While customers can judge the quality of manufacturing
goods in terms of functions and standards they find it difficult to measure service quality because they have to
assess not only the outcome of the service, but more importantly the process of the delivery of that service [16].
It was proposed E-Service Quality (E-SQ) to evaluate the online service quality by the means-end method
with the eleven dimensions: access, ease of navigation, efficiency, flexibility, reliability, personalization, secu-
rity privacy, responsiveness, assurance/trust, site aesthetics, and price knowledge [17]. And then by defining the
service quality as “the level of efficiency and effectiveness of online shopping for goods or services” revised it
into seven dimensions as efficiency, reliability, fulfillment, privacy, responsiveness and compensation. In last
couple of decades online purchase and travel itinerary customization have been the main trend of marketing in
leisure/tourism. Although two way interaction online programs are provided to collect and fulfill customer’s re-
quests, it seems virtual transaction is making it harder to concretize and further evaluate the service quality in
international business considering the cultural difference. The traditional Information System (IS) was not quite
adequate for online tourism since it is lack of in time Q & A with close two-way interaction which can provide
information of customers’ requests for better service prepared and preplanned ahead of time. Magal [18] thus is
designed with three dimensions of Quality of Information Center Service, Degree of User Self-Sufficiency, and
Quality of User-Developed Applications that evaluates the Service Quality with the forecasting function. It is
believed with Magal [19], the in-time information is provided by the two-way interaction between service pro-
viders and receivers for Q & A and therefore upgrades the service quality.
M. L. Wong
SERVEQUAL is to evaluate the service quality after service which is not as efficient as what is supposed to be
done prior to the purchase. Combining the SERVEQUAL and Magal, this study proposes SERVEGAL to over-
come the lag info collected based upon post sale of SERVEQUAL, also takes cultural factor into account to
evaluate the online shopping service quality in Taiwanese tourism industry.
To form up the SERVEGAL, we add in an extra dimension to supplement the forecasting function for
SERVEQUAL. This dimension is designed with 2 to 3 online questions that are based upon their perceived val-
ue which in fact comes from their cultural aspect (questionnaire provided upon request). And the answers of
customer’s demands are collected as the before sale information that can be considered for his/her customized
itinerary (upon request).
Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process (FAHP) is applied to verify SERVEGAL in this study for the intangible
and psychological characteristics of the service quality. Four effective complete questionnaires out of six senior
managers of different travel agents interviewed for their expert opinions with questionnaire designed according
to the above discussion are collected, and the weights of all dimensions are analyzed with paired comparison
matrixes for its consistency and the geometric average is calculated for the overall Fuzzy paired comparison ma-
trixes. In order to defuzzification, we need to find out the best non-fuzzy performance value (BNP). The BNP of
the fuzzy Ri can be calculated with the equation and the BNPs can be weighted (detailed upon request).
Accordingly the weighted ratio of the dimensions that evaluate the Service Quality in the above table shows
the forecasting is the most significant one in Taiwan tourism industry.
4. Conclusion and Perspectives
SERVEQUAL with five dimensions evaluates service quality with post sale data collected based upon custom-
ers’ satisfaction, which cannot provide the service quality that matches customer’s expectation at present trans-
action. In tourism online shopping, in order to minimize the gap of the perceived service quality between the
service provider and receiver, the customer’s demand of travel needed to collected and considered into customi-
zation before purchase. This study proposes SERVEGAL that combines SERVEQUAL and the forecasting di-
mension of MAGAL not just evaluates the service quality prior to transaction but also provides the customer’s
expectation for the service provider to consider into the delivery of the service. Applying FAHP, the
SERVEGAL is testified and result shows that the added dimension of forecast is the most significant factor
among all others, with a highest weighted ratio of 0.4327 which tells that Taiwanese customers care for interac-
tion and idea exchange the most. Secondary is the empathy with a weighted ratio of 0.2295 which shows it is
also important for Taiwanese customers to feel their demands are cared.
Taiwan is a society of Chinese social network. People are linked with guan xi based upon Confucianism phi-
losophy, with which sets up the social norm for interpersonal relationships. In order for the society to stay in
harmony, everyone is expected to play his/her adequate role accordingly with the social norm. So it is logical to
have the result with FAHP to prove that guanxi and its mechanism is the key in Chinese market. With SERVEGAL,
service providers (travel agent in this case) have the customer’s expectation collected as the forecasting data to
improve their service quality before transaction. And this prepurchase online interaction also reinforces the cus-
tomer relationship for the better mutual understanding.
For future perspective research, the following subjects are suggested:
1) Online shopping is growing and becoming inevitable for traditional industry to join. An online marketing
strategy is urgently needed.
2) The online shopping websites need to be upgraded to provide a more effective two-way interaction be-
tween good/service providers and receivers.
SERVEGAL and others alike enables a two-way interaction prior to transaction can be used as a well-estab-
lished platform for maintaining and reinforcing customer relationship. Its relevant software is expected to de-
veloped soon.
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