Service quality gap analysis to improve public water service delivery in Lilongwe city: tapping customer’s voice

Jackie Julio Gowela, Tracey Alleyne, Gashirayi L. Chinopfukutwa


For a long time, high urbanisation rate, poor revenue collection, high levels of non- revenue water coupled with erratic rainfall have been affecting water supply services in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe city. Even though efforts have been put on supplying potable water to the majority of the residents, water intermittence still remains a common characteristic in the city. Information on how water is delivered and whether its supply meets customer expectation has not been explored. Therefore, a water SERVQUAL model was used to identify specific areas in which customers' expectations were not being met and provide information on customers' needs to enable public water utility supplier to improve its services. A total of 266 customers were sampled from Southern, Central and Northern water supply zones of the city. The results indicated that customer expectations are not met as there are negative gap scores for all service quality dimensions. Overall, results indicated that central zone had the widest gap score of -2.76 followed by -2.50 for northern and -2.18 southern zone. The service quality dimensions such as reliability, responsiveness assurance and tangibles had the widest gap even though they were viewed as very important by customers. There is a need for the Lilongwe Water Board to improve its service delivery by focusing on the dimensions that have the widest gap while taking into account those with nearest gap scores for sustainable water supply.

Keywords: SERVQUAL, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), water service quality delivery, expectation, perception

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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