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Rationale of the research

Write an essay on how defects in channels of communication can affect customer satisfaction.

An investigation into how defects in channels of communication can affect customer satisfaction.

Majority of the companies experience low level of customer satisfaction due to the disruptions within the channels of communication of the organisation. The service delivery is delayed due to communication gap between the agents and the managers within the organisation.Thus, the researcherhas focused on this particular research variable in order to evaluate the level of interconnection between customer satisfaction levels and the channels of communication.  

The defect in channels of communication between the employees and the senior management levels creates a non-congenial working environment within the companies.  Thus, if the employees are not satisfied with the communication levels within the organisation they will not have the proper information about the type and the nature of services they should provide to the customers.

The customers and the employees within the organisations have a direct link with each other. Thus, disruptions in the communication channels will disrupt the whole process if customer satisfaction levels.

International Consultants On Targeted Security (ICTS), is a security company that supply’s its services in various forms, in its aviation service it is identified that often there are delays in channels of communication, from the agents to mangers, which reduces efficiency, thus risking the chances of customer dissatisfaction. Therefore, the two variables that will study will be channel of communication and customer satisfaction. 

Rodriquez (1992) suggests that channels of communication are formal and informal ways that people communicate with each other. In addition, Bisen and Priya (2009) identify that the success of a company is largely based on how effective they are at conveying relevant information both internally and externally with partners, contractors and most importantly clients. Therefore, it is relevant to explore, how channels of communication can affect the ways the company fulfill the needs of their customers. 

This research is significant because it will provide an evidence base, backing up the relationship between communication channels and its affect on customer satisfaction. As a result this would aid the implementations of new strategies and guidelines at ICTS to promote effective intra and inter organisational communication; with the aim of improving customer experience and satisfaction. These guidelines will hopefully support all staff at ICTS in understanding why good communication is important and how best to utilise the available channels.

About ICTS

Bisen and Priya. (2009), identified that a company’s survival is largely based on its ability to communicate with all those involved throughout their various channels of communication.  They also add that a company has no future if their current customers are not fully satisfied, which would ultimately affect their ability to gain new customers.

Moreover, this research will be beneficial personally, as it will provide an understanding of how to effectively communicate to achieve customer satisfaction in my personal business endeavors. 

The main aim of this research will be to assess the various channels of communication to provide effective customer satisfaction at (ICTS), International Consultants On Targeted Security; their address is South Block, Entrance D, Tavistock House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9LG.

  • To assess the various channels of communication used in ICTS.
  • To evaluate perception of customer satisfaction.
  • To analyse ways in which channels of communication has advantages and disadvantages in satisfying customers.

The following research questions are asked to ensure that the objectives and aims identified above are acquired.

 What are the types of communication channels used in ICTS?

Are these methods of communication perceived to be effective?

How does communication at ICTS affect customer satisfaction? 

This critical review of the literature will seek to elicit an understanding of communication theories. In addition to this, an understanding of theories and concepts underpinning customer satisfaction will be analysed, this will be done through analysis of contemporary and classical literature.

Machi and McEvoy (2012) states that the purpose of a literature review is to gain an understanding of a chosen topic. Dawidowicz (2014) adds that this is done in a systematic way to exam the available knowledge, ultimately to provide a comprehensive and objective perspective of the subject. A literature review offers an awareness of the current knowledge in a subject, which provides a researcher an understanding of the deficits in the knowledge in a particular area of research, thus aiding, the choice of research questions, aims and objectives. Ultimately with an adequate examination of current knowledge and the deficits of knowledge, and researcher based on these; the subject that is being researched, will be richer.

This critical review of the literature revealed there is a vast amount of information available relating to the two identified variables, which is a positive thing for this study as there is a girth of knowledge available. One of the emerging themes through the search of the literature in relation to customer satisfaction is the way it is measured, which provided varying tools of doing this. In relation to communication the emergent themes that arose were that of communication within the organisational structure and the theories that underpin it. There have been attempts through this review to relate the two. The purpose of this review will be to gain evidence based knowledge and understanding for the benefits of this purposed research into the relationship of customer satisfaction and channels of communication and its importance to an organisation, their employees and customers. Literature pertaining to concepts, theories and methods relevant to the variables will be reviewed from research journal articles and textbooks. The literature will be appraised and the relevance of the literature to the research will be identified. 

Significance of the research

Through the search of current literature such as research article and textbooks, one of the most common emergent themes is that of the measurement of customer satisfaction and loyalty. From this it can be surmised that itis an important element of business operations.

 Oliver, (2010), identifies that the industry’s perception on customer service is that of ensuring the customer is happy. Once this is achieved, the natural consequence of this would be good customer reviews, which is a major method of low cost advertising as it is done via word of mouth. A perspective that Bisen and Priya, (2009), also reiterates in their literature. They argue that without satisfied customers a business has no future, resulting from poor reviews something that could reduce a businesses profit and chances of gaining of new customers.Szwarc, (2005) conquers and adds that there is growing evidence suggesting that there is a clear relationship between customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and business profits. 

In Vavra’s, (1997) book on improving customer satisfaction, there is an identification of five theories involved in the measurement of customer satisfaction, explaining that there are five different types of a customers perceived experiences of customer satisfaction. This gives into the different factors that affect the customer’s satisfaction, which could aid as a guide in developing practices relevant to a business that would meet the needs of the customers effectively. 

In the 1980s after and worldwide economic downturn, business organizations began, examining how to cut cost whilst maintaining and gaining new customers. In this global pursuit, William E Rothschild of the United states general election corporation surmised that customer service was not only to maintain a support for business, but as a key strategic business tool (Szwarc2005). An example of this is seen in the home appliances stores that provide insurance for their products, the aim of this strategy identified by Szwarc (2005) is that it provides an extended service for customers, maintain their satisfaction whist keeping control of the servicing network, ultimately giving them an increased control of the market.

With this in mind, this example is of relevance to the current research as it provides evidence based rationale, as to why maintaining customer satisfaction is of importance.

 How customer satisfaction and loyalty is acquired and maintained is an important factor that business executives and managers need to get an understanding of, if they want to be effective andefficientinmaximizing profits. The measurement of customer satisfaction is an important strategic approach.

Research Aim(s) and Objectives

Both Szwarc, (2005) and Grigoroudis and Siskos, (2010), mentioned that customer satisfaction is identified as important aspects of a business, worthy of measuring as it is a marker for the success of the business. 

In a Phenomological research carried out by Kang and Park, (2013), they assessed customer satisfaction by analyzing on the sentiments of the customer reviews. This was done through a two-part research. The aim was to gain a more in depth understanding ofcustomer’sexperiences.  The method of data collection was triangulated for reliability purposes. Data was collected through customer reviews on the Internet; the sample section was a snowball sample.  Data analysis was carried out, with text mining and to triangulate the data, an empirical study was also carried out on customer’s views and the major themes that arose. From the text mining specific words demonstrating thecustomersreviewedsentiments towards the product was created, from this, a graded dictionary with the use of VICOR, a Multi-criteria decision making method (MCDM0 was compiled. The use of this dictionary is not only to measure and evaluate customer service but to also understand the feelings of customer. This research and the resulting sentiment dictionary would be helpful as it can be a useful tool for businesses to use when measuring the level of customer satisfaction, as it would aid in a morein-depthunderstanding of the customers felling’s. Not only is this helpful in business market research, but also for this research as it could aid in the analysis of the data received from in depth interviews of staff’s perception of customer satisfaction. As identified by Bisen and Priya, (2009) there is a direct effect on a business if a company has quire a low level of customer satisfaction.

 In a quantitative study carried out by O'sullivan and Mccallig (2012), there was identification that there is a clear relationship between customer satisfaction and earnings. The findings of the research determined that there is a major relationship between customer satisfactions and earnings, of the company. Which gave arise to the discussion that executive and managers need to invest in ensuring customer satisfaction is both achieved and upheld. 

The fundamental theory underpinning all communication models and theories is that of Shannon’s (1948), Mathematical theory of Communication cited in Hartley and Bruckmann (2002). It explains that the process of communication contains the components of. What is important about this model is that it identifies the various components, the one most relevant to this research is that of a channel, or a medium in the communication process, he identifies it as a mere medium in the transmission of the message from sender to receiver, although, this component appears quite meager, if distorted or disrupted in any way, there will be an affect of how or if the message is received. 

Literature Review

In a study by Keyton and Caputo et al., (2013), they carried out an online survey, of 313 people who worked in various organizations, the questionnaire was designed to discover what were the most common verbal communication behaviors used in the work place, a list of the top ten most frequently identified behaviors were compiled.

 What is significant about this was the first four in order were listening asking questions discussing and sharing information. From this information, communication at work efficacy was created, giving rise to identification of what is the most effective communication behavior used within the work place, what the result showed was information sharing was the most effective of all the identified behaviors. In relation to this research this supports the notion identified that without effective channels of communication with in the work environment, relevant information will not be passed around the organization, therefore inhibiting the companies efficacy in meeting their targets, ultimately leading to customer dissatisfaction. 

Hartley (1993) model of communication, cited in Hartley and Bruckmann (2002), is used to describe how interpersonal communication works, that it is not just linear like Clampitts arrow model cited in Hartley (1999), but it is a two way process. This is of particular importance when considering the importance of communication within the context of organisational structure (Rcn.org.uk, 2004). 

According to Guffey and Loewy, (2010), the channels of communication used in businesses today interpersonally, business to business and to its customers is heavily technology base, with the use of instant messaging and emails, communication is now a more rapid process, however, it still needs to be effective to maintain a beneficial relationship within and without the organization.

Edgar Shein (1991) cited in Hartley and Bruckmann  (2002) suggests that there are three levels of organizational structure in communication, Level one is defined at as the artifacts level and the cultural norms. Level two encompasses the exposed values of the organization, usually found in the mission statement. Level three is defined as the take-for-granted stage, which is defined as the acceptable practices within the organization, these however are contrary to the mission statement, whereby the organization claim to value and support employees, however does not, which can cause tension.

When considering the importance of communication within the organizational structure, Buelens, Sinding and Waldstrom (2011), uses Abraham Maslow’sHierarchy of needs in identifying the importance of motivation in causing staff to reach self actualization, this is met through valuing staff at all levels particularly lower level staffs, opinions and inputs into, business activities. With staff having arrived at the self actualization through job satisfaction, therefor motivation to complete all relevant tasks will be high thus, the way the interact and treat customers will also be affected for good, thus leading to good customer service and customer satisfaction,

BuelensSinding and Waldstrom (2011), identified that in the mathematical model of communication, within each component there can be barriers. There was identification of the kind of barrier that could be encountered in the choice of medium used, an example was illustrated as a staff member using a phone to call a customer to inform them of new available products and services and on several occasions without successfully contacting the customer, as a result the customer was not informed of products available to them. This example has a dual relevance for this research, because it highlights that the choice ofchannel of communication is important in getting the message delivered, additionally, the choice is also of importance as it could define weather or not important information is relayed to customers, which could affect there level of satisfaction with the business.

 Additionally in an article by Wei, Franwick and Tao et al (2011), there is identification of channels of communication and the types, for example, impersonal and interpersonal communication channels, which are used in organizations to ensure information is passed between relevant people. There is however a lack in the literature revealing the relationship between the two variable identified, additionally there is also a lack of research regarding the types of communication channels used in organizations, which limits the evidence based knowledge of what are the most effective means of interpersonal communication, which is one of the objectives of this paper. 

Mason and Leek, (2012), pp. 319—332, identified in their research, that there are different communication methods used during different times in a business to business and interpersonal relationship. In their observation of actors whom had been placed in different time environments, there was identification of what types of communication methods were adapted. The result of their observational study and there quantifying of the information was a theoretical model of what communication methods are to be used at each time in a business interaction. With this is in mind this model can be used to recommend specific communication methods and channels, used in various interactions that would then aid in improving business standards performance and ultimately customer satisfaction.

 The review of literature relating to customer satisfaction and channels of communication provided an insight of the girth of knowledge available relating to the two. Emergent themes relating to customer satisfaction included varying methods of measurement, which is beneficial as it could provide tools to use in the proposed research to measure customer satisfaction perceptions, although there is girth of this information available, it can be limiting as to choose which method is best would be complex. This in itself could be identified as a possible area for future research. The review of channels of communication provided, both contemporary and classical theories and concepts that provided a theoretical understanding of its process and its importance both to organizations an to the proposed research to which this literature review is carried out for.

Research methodology is the systematic and theoretical analysis of the methods that are applied by the researcher to analyze the data collected from different sources.Thus explaining of the approaches and principles adopted by the researcher outlines the research methodology.Pawer (2004) states that methodology is important because stating the methodology of the research helps the readers to understand the method in which the research is conducted. Moreover, the methodology makes the research project valid and significant for others. 

Kothari (2004) states that primary data is newly collected data, whereas secondary data is data that is already collected and ready to use for the purpose of research. Mooi and Sarstedt (2011) agree and identifies that primary data is collected through, interviews, focus groups, experiment and surveys. The major advantage of using primary data is that the researcher can specifically tailor the data suiting to the needs of the researcher.Mooi and Sarstedt (2011) also add that the type of data collection method is determinant on the research design. Therefore, for a quantitative research design, surveys and experiments are commonly used and for a qualitative design interviews, observations and focus groups are used. 

The researcher in the research focuses on face-to-face survey method for the purpose of primary data collection.Dattalo (2007) opined that face-to-face survey gives the opportunity of getting reliable and accurate answers from the respondents Moreover this method gives the researcher the opportunity to apply accurate screening over the selection of respondents, capture their emotions and behaviors and keep their focus on the research questions. 

Bent (2012) commented that following of simple random sampling methods would give the researchers the opportunity to select a suitable sample from among the overall population. In this method, each individual is chosen randomly and entirely by chance and hence, each individual has the probability of being chosen. The researcher here will use the simple random sampling method because it is an unbiased method of survey. The researcher here selected the employees of ICTS in order to understand the effectiveness and the defects in the present channels of communication within the company that are affecting the customer satisfaction levels.The total sample population is 400 out of which the researcher has selected a sample of 25%, which makes the total sample size for this research project 100.

Walton (2014) suggests that maintenance of ethics within the research process is of utmost importance since it provides the backbone of the research project. The researcher here has maintained honesty and integrity throughout the research process and has tried to acquire data, which are as accurate as possible. As per the norms of the Data Protection Act 1999, the researcher has also ensured the respondents that their personal information and their responses will be kept confidential and they will be strictly used for academic purpose only. Researcher also confirmed that anonymity and secrecy should be maintained with respect of the views of respondents. The researcher in order to prevent any dislocation of the information and responses decided to delete all data from the computer after the research has been completed.

The research resources that are required for the completion of this research project are namely the necessary stationery like paper for questionnaire, printer for the printing purpose and binding charges of the questionnaire. Apart from that the researcher also used the Internet and the computers as a part of their resource. 

Particulars

 Amount ($)

Stationery

150

Binding charges

100

Paper charges

120

Transport cost

350

Total cost

720

The researcher will face different barriers while conducting the project. Here are some of the outlined barriers that the researcher faced while executing the project namely: 

Time limitation: the researcher being a student faced time limitation and did not have enough time no analyze and work on a large sample size. 

Budget constrains: during the tenure of the research, the researcher faced financial problems because the researcher was required to sustain high costs.

The data summary sheet is the blueprint of the primary data record of the research project. This sheet showcases the responses and the percentage of the responses along with the primary close ended questions which have been recorded in the excel sheet so that the reader gets a fair idea about the research data that will be analyzed in the following chapter. 

Once the data has been collected Zikmund, et al (2012) states that the raw data collected from the survey needs to be analyzed for any errors in the way the questions were answered, any errors in the questions themselves, omissions, all of importance because they have an affect on the validity of the statistical data that would be generated from this information, this is the process of editing.

In addition Briley and Moreland (1998) identify that the data then needs to be presented in a way that is easy to analyze and made sense of.  This is usually tabulated coding is the method used to structure the data in an easy to analyze format. For this data the information was inputted in a word excel spreadsheet, whereby each question was inputted and the responses of each respondent was given a number and the answer was also given a number and inputted. From this, the significant questions that best reflected the research questions aims and hypothesis was presented in a pie char to show how the sample population answered comparatively, this method of presenting the data is adequate for, as Wilson (2014) identify that pie charts are simple means of presenting proportional differences and are color coded to aid in the identification of categories, and in this case it is answers. (See Appendix 2) 

7. On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate the communication between managers and operational staffs?         

Options

Total respondents

Number of responses

Percentage of responses

1- Excellent

100

29

29%

2- very Good

100

27

27%

3- Good

100

27

27%

4-Fair

100

10

10%

5- poor

100

7

7%

         

8. Do you agree with the current communication methods being used in this company

     

Options

Total respondents

Number of responses

Percentage of responses

1- yes

100

38

38%

2- no

100

62

62%

9. Please indicate the channel of communication frequently used by managers and which one you prefer?

     

Options

Total respondents

Number of responses

Percentage of responses

Verbal Communication

100

15

15%

Written Communication

100

13

13%

Non-Verbal Communication

100

8

8%

Electronic Communication

100

64

64%

10. Communication flows across the operation adequately from department to department?     

     

Options

Total respondents

Number of responses

Percentage of responses

1 = Strongly Agree

100

30

30%

2 = Agree

100

18

18%

3 = Neutral

100

28

28%

4 = Disagree

100

15

15%

5 = Strongly Disagree

100

9

9%

11. Management takes timely and appropriate follow-up on    communication received from customers? (

     

Options

Total respondents

Number of responses

Percentage of responses

1- likely

100

30

30%

2- sometime

100

35

35%

3-unlikely

100

30

20%

4- never

100

5

5%

12. What is the importance of customer satisfaction to you?

     

Options

Total respondents

Number of responses

Percentage of responses

1-very important

100

45

45%

2-important

100

30

30%

3-unimportant

100

10

10%

4- totally unimportant

100

15

15%

13. How often is the method of communication reviewed within the company? (

     

Options

Total respondents

Number of responses

Percentage of responses

1 - weekly

100

20

20%

2- monthly

100

15

15%

3- quarterly

100

30

30%

4- yearly

100

15

15%

5 - never

100

20

20%

Gantt charts were made to maintain a track of all tasks in a project, by keeping on top of the project from start to finish of each task.Henry Gantt developed and published what we know as a Gantt char in his book “Organising for work”(1919). McKay, Viers (2004) identifies that the aim of this was to produce a graphical tool in tracking planned work. 

Bryman and Bell (2011), states that a gnat chart is a graphical demonstration regarding the tasks required to be completed in a project and the time line towards completion, usually bike up into intervals of period of time such as months or days. Below is a Gantt chart for this research project. 

Main activities/ stages

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

 

Week 9

Topic Selection

·          

Research proposal completion

·          

Data collection from secondary sources

·          

·          

Creating layout and research design

·          

·          

Literature review

·          

·          

·          

Formation of the research Plan

·          

·          

Selection of the Appropriate Research Techniques

·          

·          

Primary data collection

·          

·          

Analysis & Interpretation of Data Collection

·          

·          

Findings of the Data

·          

·          

Conclusion of the Study

·          

Formation of Rough Draft

·          

·          

·          

·          

Submission of Final Work

·          

·          

·          

·          

Bryman and bell (2011), does identify that there are some deficiencies in the gantt chart. One, that was also encountered in its y=use for this research is that it does not identify the dependencies of tasks on each other. What was encountered with this project was the literature review was completed after the completion of the questionnaire, thus the questionnaire was not completely informed by the literature review, thus reducing the efficacy of the questionnaire. This however is a human and operational error, as the gantt chart was not followed as instructed. Nonetheless, if there was some identification of the dependency of each task on the other then there would have been an increased chance that the questionnaire would have been better informed and constructed. 

Ross (2010) commented that there are generally two data analysis methods namely quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques. For the primary data analysis, the use of quantitative data analysis technique is relevant and for secondary data, the qualitative analysis is relevant. In this research, the researcher will use the quantitative data analysis and with the help of statistical analysis, methods will evaluate the responses of the employees. 

Hair et al (2011) suggest that the purpose of a data analysis and interpretation, specifically in business, is to use the data to assist decision-making to aid that the data needs to be converted to knowledge. Thus in quantitative research, the data is analyzed for relationships analysis between the figures. Equally Zikmund et al (2012) identify that interpretation of the data is identification of what the data means in terms of the functioning of a business. 

Zikmund et al (2012) also identifies that from a managerial perspective, the qualitative data, has significant implications on how they are to make changes to enhance or develop their business operations. This is of significance, because although the research carried out was quantitative, findings were abrupt and as will be discussed further, this suggests a more in depth analysis of the attitudes and other psychological and influences at work would be beneficial.

In quantitative research Hardy and Bryman (2009), suggest that the data analysis is heavily influenced by the literature. The literature, thus guides the way in which data is analyzed and the correlations that are observed. Equally, Hardy and Bryman (2009), also suggest that the identified emergent themes in the literature also aid the development of the research questions, thus highlighting the importance of relevant literature to the guiding and influencing of quantitative research data analysis.

 There is identification by Hardy and Bryman (2009) that analysis of data highlights the variations in a sample and explain how these were produced. The use of statistical analysis enables this to be done. Herbs and Coldwell (2009) identify the various statistical analyses that can be used in data analysis as descriptive. These methods used are descriptive and interferential statistics.  Usually presented in numerical or graphical. Peck, Olsen and Devore (2011) define, descriptive statistics as the presentation of data in a graphical or numerical format, that is easy to read and make sense of, and interferential statistics as making a generalizing from the sample population regarding the population on a whole and measuring the reliability of that generalization. Thus in this research the descriptive statistics was presented as pie charts which described how the sample population answered the questions on the questionnaire. Where as Bart et al (2012) identify the use of interferential statistic as the generalization of a population based on the analysis o the sample population. One method of interferential statistics used in this study was the use of hypothesis testing or significance testing. This is the use of a statistical formula to identify the significance in the relationship of the identified variable within the research.  

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