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Service Quality Assessment of Beauty Salons in Batong Malake, Los Baños Using Importance Performance Analysis

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A beauty salon is a business that provides services for both men and women through beautification of their hair, nails or skin. This study aims to evaluate the service quality provided by beauty salons at Batong Malake, Los Baños, Laguna using
  Service Quality Assessment of Beauty Salons in Batong Malake, Los Baños Using Importance Performance Analysis Patricia Bianca R. Asis Christian B. Balanquit Aldous Kim C. Bartolome Phebe Marie A. Mercado   * Department of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology,   University of the Philippines Los Baños IE 191 - V    Abstract- A beauty salon is a business that provides services for both men and women through beautification of their hair, nails or skin. This study aims to evaluate the service quality provided by beauty salons at Batong Malake, Los Baños, Laguna using Importance Performance Analysis (IPA). An online survey was conducted with 152 respondents through convenience sampling. The questionnaire consist of _ service attrbutes rated based on importance and performance. The mean ratings of each feature was obtained and plotted against the four quadrants of IPA matrix. ‘Concentrate Here’ is the main focus of the study where service features with high importance but low performance rating are located. It was determined that availability of service information, promptness of service, availability of internet connection and parking space must be improved. I. INTRODUCTION    A.    Background of the Study A beauty salon is an establishment that  provides services for hair, nails, and skin. These services are offered to both men and women. For hair services, these include hair cutting, styling, and dyeing. Manicures and pedicures are offered for the nails. Often, these salons provide other services such as facials, makeup, and makeover. Currently, the demand for these services increased which in turn has also increased the number of beauty salons. In 2012, according to Nancy Wagner, men and women from 35 to 65 years old rarely go to salons [1]. They contribute the least to the income of these service firms. Nowadays, salons' target market are teens and young adults which has the highest demand for cosmetic services especially the women of their age. In another online article by SBDCNet, there is an increase in the number of male customers in the  past years [2]. Also from the survey conducted, around 44.1 percent of the customers of the salons near UPLB are males. The result shows that the number of men that go to salons does not differ greatly on the number of female customers. With this, beauty salons expanded their target market to male young adults. In Los Baños, Laguna, it is observed that there is a booming economy specifically in the areas near the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). With the presence of the university, establishments increased in number. Since the  population of the university is mainly students in their teenage years and also young adults, areas near it is a good avenue for beauty salons which is evident with the number of beauty salons in the area. With this, the study wanted to determine the service quality of the  beauty salons near the area. According to a study conducted in Dhaka by Khan and Tabassum (2011), the service quality of a service industry can be measured by comparing the importance of the dimensions of quality that should be  provided by the firm to the actual experience of the customer [3]. Khan and Tabassum identified 18 attributes and these are:    environment (lighting, ventilation, space)    cleanliness of beauty salon    completeness of equipment/materials    completeness of facilities    accuracy of service     promptness of service    knowledge of executives/employees     behavior of executives/employees, safety    accessibility     advertisement/promotions    hygiene of beauty salon    availability of support facilities (comfort room)    service information    consistency of service    quality of service    safety An initial survey and interview from  beauticians around Batong Malake is conducted and suggestions from the interview and survey results showed that attributes like: value for money, variety of service, availability of wireless connection, availability of security cameras and availability of  parking space are the determining attributes to be considered as well. A total of 23 service attributes are assessed in the study. Most of these changes can be attributed to the technological advances through the years that are not accounted for in Khan and Tabassum’s study. Moreover  , for the beauty salons in near UPLB, the service attributes for evaluation are subdivided into categories, as indicated in the study of Khan and Tabassum, namely: ambiance and environment, the service itself, general measures such as accessibility and value for money, support facilities, and the employees and executives of the beauty salon. With the use of questionnaires, the satisfaction of the customers to the current service quality of these salons are evaluated which is shown in Table 1.1.1. Table 1. Service attributes and the corresponding average satisfaction rating Attribute Average Satisfaction Ambiance and environment 4.2304 Service 3.8435 General Service Measure 3.7826 Support Facilities 2.8283 Employees and Executives 3.772 Average 3.6913 Currently, the customers of beauty salons near UPLB has an average of 73.83 percent satisfaction rating. This shows that the current service quality of these establishments can still be improved. Moreover, with the survey results, about 59.9 percent of the customers are not a regular which supports the claim that there are still improvements that should be done for a better service quality.  B.    Research Problem The number of beauty salons within Batong Malake can satisfy both the customer and their demands with the services they provide. The satisfaction that the customers gain from them are attained through the variety of services they offer, comfort and cleanliness of the salon, ambience of the environment, output and behavior of employees among others. Although these factors are a standard to most, if not all, salons within Batong Malake, they do not guarantee the same quality of service. The  performance per salon differ through different variables that may prove either positively or negatively significant to the quality of service with respect to the output of the salon. Thus, this study addresses the following research questions: 1. How is the performance of each factor affecting the quality of service the salon provides within the customer’s perspective?  2. How important are each of the factors based on the customer’s demands?  The answer to these questions play a role in determining the features that customers look for in a salon, to assess the service quality of said area, and to  provide improvements and recommendations to the  beauty salon’s services.   C.   Objectives of the Study The general objective of this study is to evaluate the service quality of beauty salons in Batong Malake, Los Baños using importance-performance analysis. Specifically, it aims to: 1. assess the importance of different service attributes to customer’s preference;  2. measure service quality level and the extent of customer satisfaction; 3. identify the different critical-to-quality service characteristics; and 4. provide recommendations for the improvement of services offered by the existing beauty salons.  D.   Significance of the Study The growing number of beauty-conscious women and men, and their demand for variety of beauty services cater to the growth and importance of this industry. This increase in the demand for beauty services can be attributed to the high perception of society towards beauty nowadays. And in order to  grow and remain competitive in businesses like beauty salon, service quality and customer satisfaction are two important concepts that must be understood. The increasing customer sophistication has led to the higher demand of standards in business. This study will help beauty salons have an idea on the factors customers look for in an ideal salon,  provide a customer satisfaction rating in the different  beauty salon service attributes of their salon, and give them an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. This will help the management to pay attention on the critical service attributes/dimensions as a part of their service management. Moreover, this will give them an idea on how sensitive customers are to various service attributes or dimensions. Likewise, the company will have an idea on where to allocate their resources in a way that is consistent with customer priorities which can enhance the effectiveness of their service operations. This will provide a standard for their services and equipment availability, environment and ambience, employee behavior, and security, in order to make modifications possible. Therefore, satisfying the customers through higher quality services can result to sustainable advantages like higher customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and retention, reduced cost and profitability. As the beauty-care sector remained almost unexplored in Philippines in terms of research, this study can help researchers in establishing a method of evaluating beauty salon performance  E.   Scope and Limitation This study focuses on measuring the performance of various beauty salons situated in Batong Malake, Los Baños, Laguna based on the importance of its current standard features to the customers and their  perceived performance of each. Generally, the service quality of the beauty salons is assessed through importance-performance analysis. The respondents of this study are UPLB students and people who reside in Los Baños who has experienced going to a beauty salon anywhere in Batong Malake. Additionally, convenience sampling and a sample size with a margin of error of 10% was used. II. CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND Known for its simplicity and ease of application, importance-performance analysis (IPA) is a widely accepted method for developing marketing strategies by examining customer satisfaction and management strategies. It provides criteria for optimal categorization of IPA framework elements while testing its validity and reliability. The objective of IPA is to identify which factors or combination of factors contribute more on customer satisfaction which leads to repetitive customer purchase behavior. This information will help the company evaluate their competitive position as well as prioritize available strategies to improve customer satisfaction. As observed in Fig 1, the four quadrants of the IPA is divided by the importance attribute in vertical axis and performance of attribute in horizontal axis. The “keep up the good work” quadrant indicates that such attribute is being valued by the customers and that they are satisfied with its performance, thus must be maintained and exploited to achieve maximum benefits. The “concentrate here” means that the company fails to perform the attribute that the customers think is critical to the service. Immediate action must be done to address this to increase the company’s level of competitiveness. “Low priority” indicates that the attribute has low importance and low  performance. Although it means that the attribute is underperforming, no action is needed to improve it since customers do not consider it as important to the service. “Possible overkill”, however, are attributes that has excellence performance but do not actually essential as seen by customers. This can also be a source for improvement since the resources used in this attribute can be reallocated to other attributes which need more attention.    Figure 1. Importance Performance Matrix  Another tool used in the study is the Likert Scale. It is a tool used to scale the responses of the sample population. The answers to the survey ranges from 1 to 5 which corresponds to not important and important or unsatisfactory and satisfactory. From this, the user’s perception on the importance and  performance of the identified attributes are evaluated. III. METHODOLOGY The study is conducted in the beauty salons along Batong Malake, Los Baños. It started from May 5 until May 15, 2017. A gantt chart of the study is shown in Figure 2. In the study, Importance-Performance Analysis was used to assess the service quality of Beauty Salons in Batong Malake, Los Baños. The categories and features of service quality attributes are determined based from the previous study of Khan and Tabassum (2011) which are: environment (lighting, ventilation, space), cleanliness of beauty salon, completeness of equipment/materials, completeness of facilities, accuracy of service, promptness of service, knowledge of executives/employees, behavior of executives/employees, safety, accessibility, advertisement/promotions, hygiene of beauty salon, availability of support facilities (comfort room), service information, consistency of service, quality of service and safety. An initial survey and interview from beauticians were conducted. Initially, only 30  beauty salon customers were asked to answer the survey form which only includes the variables and attributes from Khan and Tabassum. Then, the result of the initial survey was gathered and results were analyzed. Respondents answered that: value for money, variety of service, availability of wireless connection, availability of security cameras and availability of parking space are relevant service attributes to be considered in picking a beauty salon to go to. Hence, the survey questionnaire was revised according to suggestions and interview of the initial respondents. The final categories considered in the study are (1) Ambiance and Environment of the Beauty Salon, (2) Service itself, (3) General Measures such as accessibility and value for money, (4) Support Facilities and (5) The Employees and Executives of the Beauty Salon. The final list of the service attributes are: A. Ambiance and Environment    Lighting of the beauty salon    Space Adequacy    Ventilation of the beauty salon    Cleanliness of the beauty salon    Overall ambiance and environment of the  beauty salon B. Service    Quality of Service    Variety of Service    Availability of service information    Accuracy of Service    Consistency of Service    Promptness of Service C. General Measures    Value for Money    Accessibility of the beauty salon    Completeness of the facilities    Completeness of the Equipment    Promotions and Advertisement of beauty salon    Safety     Hygiene of beauty salon (in general) D. Support Facilities    Availability of Wifi/Internet Connection    Availability of Security Cameras    Parking Adequacy    Availability of Comfort Rooms E. Employees and Executives    Behavior of Employees/Executives    Knowledge of Employees/Executives Online Survey Form through Google Forms was used in order to determine the assessment of the customers regarding the importance and the current  performance of the mentioned factors. Convenient Sampling was used to determine the samples or respondents for the study. The researchers have determined UPLB students and faculties as the respondents, because of the limited time and resources to conduct the project. From the start (May 5) until the last day (May 15) of the study, 152 number of respondents answered the online survey. The required number of sample size is determined using the formula for large and unknown population as shown in Equation 1. =(     ) 2  (Equation 1) The margin of error is 10% and confidence level of 90% due to time and resource constraints. The standard deviation is set at 0.5, which is according to Qualtrics an assumption for unknown and large  populations. [4] The computed required sample size is 68. In the online survey, 5 point Likert scale was used. Each category consists of sub questions in the survey. First, the importance of the factors was rated from 1 to 5, 5 being the most important. Then, the  performance of the establishments was also rated from 1 to 5, 5 being very satisfied, with the same set of questions. The questions used in the online survey is  presented in Appendix A. The data collected in the survey was plotted into the Importance-Performance Matrix having four Quadrants. These 4 quadrants specifically are: (I) “Concentrate Here” –   High Importance, Low Performance, (II) “Keep up the Good Work” –   High Importance, High Performance, (III) “Possible Overkill” –   Low Importance, High Performance and (IV) “Low Priority” –   Low Importance, Low Performance. Each element was analyzed to come up with solutions appropriate to the service industry. III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The importance and performance rating of  beauty salons in Batong Malake, Los Baños, Laguna was obtained from customers of beauty salons in the area. Beauty salon services were classified into five attributes such as ambiance and environment of the  beauty salon, general service, general measures such as accessibility and value for money, support facilities and the employees and executives of the beauty salon. Under each attribute are service characteristics that can affect the perception of the students to the service  provided by beauty salons in Batong Malake, Los Baños, Laguna. The first attribute is the ambiance and environment of beauty salon. The mean of the importance and satisfaction rating are summarized in Table 2. The quadrant where those service characteristics will fall is also shown in the table. Table 2. Importance-performance rating of the ambiance and environment of beauty salons in Batong Malake, Los Baños, Laguna and the corresponding quadrant of each factor. Categories, Attributes, Variables Importance Performance Quadr ant Mean Mean  A.    Ambiance and Environment 4.4883 3.8359  A.1. Lighting of the beauty salon 4.2759 4.0759 I  A.2. Space Adequacy 4.3862 3.9931 I  A.3. Ventilation of the beauty salon 4.6276 3.0483 II  A.4. Cleanliness of the beauty salon 4.7379 3.9931 I  A.5. Overall ambiance and environment of the beauty salon 4.4138 4.0690 I Based from the results of the survey, the importance rating of service characteristics under ambiance and environment is. 4.4883, which is equivalent to 89.8% importance rating. All of the service characteristics under the ambiance and environment attribute obtained an importance rating greater than 4; hence, it can be considered important when delivering beauty salon services. The most important service characteristic based from the result of the survey is the cleanliness of the salon, which garnered a 4.7 out of 5 importance rating. Meanwhile, the overall satisfaction rating of the ambiance and
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