Quality and satisfaction

Service Quality and Customer satisfaction

The distinction between service quality and satisfaction was initially unclear in literature (Anderson and Fornell, 1994). There was considerable debate whether service quality is a cause of satisfaction (Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Parasuraman et al., 1985) or a consequence of satisfaction (Bitner, 1990; Bolton and Drew, 1991).

Anderson and Fornell, (1994) contend that Satisfaction can be termed as a "post consumption'' experience that makes a comparison between expected quality and perceived quality, as contrasted to service quality which Parasuraman et al., (1985) refererred to as a "global evaluation of a company's service delivery system" . In support of this distiction the works of (Brady and Robertson, 2001; Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Frazer Winsted, 2000; Spreng and Mackoy, 1996) lead us to believe that satisfaction and service quality are distinct constructs and, that service quality is an antecedent of the broader concept of customer satisfaction.

Customer Satisfaction

Yi (1990) conceptualizes satisfaction as an attitude-like judgment following a purchase act or based on a series of consumer-product interactions. An accepted view is that the essential determinant of satisfaction is the confirmation/disconfirmation of pre-consumption product standards (Erevelles and Leavitt 1992; Oliver 1997). Several comparison standards dealing with positive aspects of product features and their implications for consumers have been used in past research. The most popular being the expectations-disconfirmation (ED) model of satisfaction response (Boulding et al. 1993; Oliver 1997; Tse and Wilton 1988). Satisfaction based on the desires of features and benefits that are considered ideal or aspirational in the product domain have also been studied (Westbrook and Reilly 1983).

Another model is based on what the consumer believes reasonably should occur given the product/service price (Oliver and Swan 1989).

These four models are the principle models used in determining customer satisfaction, however there are studies which have gone beyond the cognitive models to consider the affective nature of satisfaction (Oliver 1996; Westbrook 1987).

Nearly all satisfaction research has adopted the former, transaction-specific view, however a single transaction (i.e., an evaluative judgment following the purchase occasion) model is also possible according to Anderson and Fornell (1994). There are a few satisfaction studies that have adopted longitudinal designs and they are in conformance to the principle models (e.g., LaBarbera and Mazursky 1983; Bolton and Drew 1991; Richins and Bloch 1991).

Price perception was measured on a single item scale. ofThe study of the effects price in service settings is underrepresented in literature (Varki and Colgate, 2001). In literature convincing measures of price perceptions for a service could not be found. The wording of the single statement used in the survey was derived from Varki and Colgate's single item measure of price perception that emphasised the relative standing of one's service provider on price: i.e. "how competitive do you perceive your bank's fees and charges are?" or, "I perceive the fees and charges of my bank to be competitive". Consistent with this statement, the current survey uses the following statement: The prices charged by the restaurant are reasonable. This was measured on a five point scale.

Service quality was measured using a 21-item SERVQUAL instrument. In line with the conceptualization, Instead of measuring expectation and perception items separately, perception data relative to respondent expectation were collected directly as we treated service quality as a disconfirmation in satisfaction theory. For each item respondents were asked to consider their views in terms of their importance on a five-point scale. Was the importance of a particular item not important at all to extremely important. The components of service quality measured are displayed in appendix I.

The components of Customer Satisfaction measured were: Expectation, Perceived performance and subjective disconfirmation. Customer satisfaction was measured using a three item scale. Both in academia and practitioner studies of customer satisfaction, we come across these measures frequently (Brown et al., 1993; Hausknecht, 1990; Heskett et al., 1994; Jones and Sasser, 1995; Yi, 1990). The three items are summarised in table I.

Customer loyalty which consists of revisit intention, consumption frequency, consumption expenditure and recommendation intention was measured using the statements in table II. Each of the statements was measured on a five point Likert-type scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

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