Six Sigma Approach to Improve Quality in E-Services: An Empirical Study in Jordan

Six Sigma Approach to Improve Quality in E-Services: An Empirical Study in Jordan

Salah Alhyari (AlBalqa’ Applied University, Jordan), Moutaz Alazab (Deakin University, Australia), Sitalakshmi Venkatraman (University of Ballarat, Australia), Mamoun Alazab (Australian National University, Australia) and Ammar Alazab (Deakin University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jegr.2012040103
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Abstract

This paper investigates the application of the Six Sigma approach to improve quality in electronic services (e-services) as more countries are adopting e-services as a means of providing services to their people through the Web. This paper presents a case study about the use of Six Sigma model to measure customer satisfaction and quality levels achieved in e-services that were recently launched by public sector organisations in a developing country, such as Jordan. An empirical study consisting of 280 customers of Jordan’s e-services is conducted and problems are identified through the DMAIC phases of Six Sigma. The service quality levels are measured and analysed using six main criteria: Website Design, Reliability, Responsiveness, Personalization, Information Quality, and System Quality. The study indicates a 74% customer satisfaction with a Six Sigma level of 2.12 has enabled the Greater Amman Municipality to identify the usability issues associated with their e-services offered by public sector organisations. The aim of the paper is not only to implement Six Sigma as a measurement-based strategy for improving e-customer service in a newly launched e-service programme, but also widen its scope in investigating other service dimensions and perform comparative studies in other developing countries.
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Introduction

The changes in the global environment in using Internet and the World Wide Web for various day-to-day operations have led to many organisations venturing into electronic services (e-services) as they believe it would help them to stay competitive among firms and to cater towards the growing expectations of its customers. There are benefits for both individuals and organisations (Batagan, Pocovnicu, & Capisizu, 2009). Many developed countries have successfully embarked on e-services as a means of convenience and customer reach to their community and people. However, in developing countries, nearly 85% of e-government projects have either totally failed (e-government projects were either not implemented or implemented but immediately abandoned) or partially failed (major goals were not attained and/or there were undesirable outcomes) (Holmes, 2001; Heeks, 2003; Dada, 2006). The major problem behind e-government project failure in developing countries is the gap between the e-service design and the reality, which embraces a variety of factors including information, technology, process objectives and values, staffing and skills, management systems and structures, and more importantly meeting customer expectation (Heeks, 2003; Kumar & Best, 2006; Udo, Bagchi, & Kirs, 2010). Hence, the main objective of this research paper is to address this problem by investigating the application of Six Sigma approach to improve quality in e-services

In any firm, the quality of the e-service is the main feature that distinguishes one from another, and in achieving a competitive advantage (Batagan, Pocovnicu, & Capisizu, 2009; Miller, 2010). Hence, firms try to apply the quality e-service commensurate with the needs and desires of customers, and to reduce the gaps between the visions of top management and the actual quality service based on the perspective of the users of this service. We could relate reducing this gap to reducing defects or trying to achieve zero errors, which is the doctrine of Six Sigma approach (Pyzdek, 2001).

The Six Sigma was originally developed for manufacturing processes by Motorola in late 1980s, but today service firms and service functions within almost every sector are using Six Sigma to improve profits and performance (Antony, 2002). However, unlike products, services are based on information flows that are not easily measured, tested or controlled for quality. Hence assessing service quality continues to be a challenging topic. There are various perspectives to service quality and the information flows that exist in manufacturing organizations are quite different to the information generated by services (Abdolshah & Yusuff, 2008). These complexities have allowed very little work in applying Six Sigma to a limited number of services. This forms the basic motivation of our study and our objective is to investigate the application of Six Sigma in e-services, especially in a developing country as their e-service success rates are quite low.

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