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Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction

Discuss about the Comparison of SERVQUAL and SERVPERF.

Service quality is one of the most significant tools in the hospitality sector. Both service quality and customer satisfaction are intangible. Bergman and Klefsjö (2010) define customer satisfaction as a psychological concept that comprises of a sense of well-being and pleasure that is as a result of attaining the expectations that one intends from a product or service. On the other hand, Hill and Alexander (2017) consider the definition of customer satisfaction as one built on the perspective of expectation disconfirmation. Before the purchase of a given product or service, customers always have own expectations concerning its performance. Once the product or service is bought, the customers compare the outcome with their expectations, and they are equal or much better, then there is definite confirmation. On the other hand, if the outcome is lower than expectation, then there is negative confirmation. Only positive confirmation of the expectations produces customer satisfaction. Nonetheless, the level of customer satisfaction differs amongst different customers because of the distinct individual needs, demands, and experiences.

The current demand for quality goods and services is ever on the rise due to stiff competition. The term quality is understood differently by different people. The review carried out by Ladhari (2009) in different service sectors views quality as a phenomenon that is identical with distinctive excellence that is identifiable. That is to say that a product or service is considered of quality if it meets the highest standards. Quality depends on the satisfaction of the customers. Therefore, quality service is a technique on how to manage business processes to derive total customer satisfaction at all levels. It is an approach that results in improved competition, efficiency, and flexibility.

The ever-changing and competitive global market has forced organizations to expand their business into the world economy. This has resulted in the emergence of the concept of international business which is applied interchangeably with globalization. International business brings with it both opportunities such as additional market share and challenges like stiff competition from international organizations. The globalization of an organization’s products and services necessitates new approaches to market and uniquely present their products or services. The financial success of a business in the world economy substantially relies on its ability to functionally promote products and services to a market with a markedly different culture and belief system.

The study by Onditi et al. (2012) shows that competitiveness is majorly influenced by service quality. Hotels can uniquely position themselves in the dynamic market by offering outstanding quality service. Bucak (2014) researched the implications of service quality on customer satisfaction in hotels and found out that most people consider empathy as a standard measure of satisfaction. These studies have been conducted in various hotels. However, the effect of the multiple dimensions of service quality on customer satisfaction has not been carried out in Dubline hotels. This study seeks to merge this research gap by ascertaining the effects of service quality on customer satisfaction.

The Influence of Service Quality on Competitiveness

This study is on the discipline of hospitality industry which majorly comprises of three categories namely travel and tourism, accommodations, and food and beverage. More specifically, this study is based on the hotel industry which is primarily dependent on customer service. The significance of service quality has been researched on by several researchers (Mohsin and Lockyer, 2010; Y?lmaz, 2010; Markovi? and Raspor, 2010). The factors that determine service quality have also been researched, and these include reliability, particular character, assurance, empathy, etc. (Eleren and Kiliç, 2015). Similarly, the implication of service quality on customer satisfaction in the hospitality sector has been done by various scholars (Bucak, 2014, Clemes, Gan, and Ren, 2011; Chen and Chen, 2010).

  1. What are the factors that impact customer satisfaction?
  2. What is the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction among hotels in Dublin, Ireland?

Service quality has been defined differently by different authors. Parasuraman et al. (Ladhari, 2009) define service quality as a proportional function between customer expectations and real service rendered. Rodrigues et al. (2011) define service quality as a perception that represents the general evaluation of the service performance.  Various tangible elements are used by customers to evaluate quality when making purchase decisions; these can include physical appearance, durability, style, and packaging. However, in instances where there are intangible aspects, customers rely on other elements to judge quality. The study by Parasuraman et al.  (Ladhari, 2009) lists several factors that influence the judgment of the customer concerning service quality of products or services. They include dependability, receptiveness, tangibility, communication, reliability, safety, aptitude, civility, comprehension, and access. And additional research by Berry et al.   (Ladhari, 2009) led to the consolidation of the dimensions of service quality into five namely dependability, receptiveness, tangibles, assurance and empathy (Parasuraman et al. in  Ladhari (2009)

The measurement of the service quality is a significant element in the process of enhancing the quality of service because it offers feedback on the nature of service offered and the degree to which it meets the demands of the customers (Warren et al., 2009). Several models have been developed as a result of in-depth studies by various scholars. LODGSERV model was developed by Knutson (Wu, and Ko, 2013) to measure service quality in the lodging sector.  The model is built on the five dimensions of SERVQUAL model. The LODGEQUAL model was developed by Getty and Thompson (Raspor, 2010) to ascertain the quality of service in the hotel sector. Only three dimensions are highlighted by the model which include interaction, tangibles, and dependability. Stevens, Knutson, and Patton (Markovi?, Raspor, and Šegari?, 2010) established the DINESERV model which determines service quality in restaurants. The model comprises of five SERVQUAL dimensions in addition to 29 items. All of the models mentioned are alterations of the SERVQUAL model which are geared towards enhancing the initial approach.

Background of the Study

Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (Krishnamurthy, SivaKumar, and Sellamuthu, 2010) coined the SERVQUAL model as a technique for determining service quality deficit. The SERVQUAL model is founded on the fact that customers can assess the service quality of an organization by relating their perception of its service with individual expectations.

The model ascertains the expectations and perceptions of the customers about service quality. The difference between the expectation (E) and the Perception (P) gives the quality gap (Q), i.e., P-E=Q. The model is a similar tool that has been used in the service industry.

The model’s scale is divided into two: one section measures the customer expectations concerning the service and the second one ascertains the perception about the firm whose service is to be measured. The model has five dimensions of dependability, receptiveness, assurance, empathy and tangibility, and 22 items. 22 statements are developed from the five dimensions and customers are expected to rate using a five-point Linkert scale on how they feel the service provider should offer the services to be rated the best. An additional but similar scale is placed next to the initial one, and the participants measure the real quality of service offered to them by the firm regarding their perceptions. Then the variation between the understanding and expectation for each statement is calculated and the mean score determined (Krishnamurthy, SivaKumar, and Sellamuthu, 2010).

Cronin and Taylor (Rodrigues et al., 2011) is the developer of the SERVPERF model which is an outcome of the alteration of the SERVQUAL based on conceptualization and determination of service quality. The SERVPERF model shows that service quality is a customer attitude concept. The model ascertains service quality purely on a performance basis, implying that customer expectation should be excluded in the tool for measuring service quality. SERVPERF considers the five dimensions of SERQUAL but with different statements of expectation items which add up to 22. The 22 comments are the ones used to determine customer perceptions while evaluating the quality services of the company under assessment.

According to Hill and Brierley (2017), customer satisfaction is the feedback of the customer in the evaluation of the perceived variation between the above expectations and the real performance of a service or product based on the consumption aftermath. Kotler (2015) also defines customer satisfaction as the level to which the perceived performance of an item agrees with the expectations of the consumer. A mismatch between these expectations results in dissatisfaction. Customer satisfaction is affected by many factors such as product and service features, consumer attitudes, understanding of equity and justice, and the customer's close friends and colleagues (Torres and Tribó, 2011). Nam, Ekinci, and Whyatt (2011) observe that the degree of customer satisfaction is measured by the quality of customer service offered and the equity of price charged.

Service Quality in the Hospitality Industry

Some studies contend that service quality is a precursor of customer satisfaction (Nandan, 2010) whereas others contend that it is customer satisfaction that is a precursor of service quality (Hu, Kandampully, and Juwaheer, 2009.; Verhoef et al., 2009). Nonetheless, most of the latest research supports the former conclusion (Bayraktaroglu, and Atrek, 2010; Angelova, and Zekiri, 2011). According to Sumaedi et al. (2011), there is a definite link between service quality and customer satisfaction. Several studies have concluded that a high level of the perceived service quality results to high customer satisfaction (Chen and Chen, 2010; Kassim, and Asiah Abdullah, 2010; Naik et al., 2010).

Lovelock (2011) observes that customers parallel between the expected service and the actual one after accomplishing a purchase. The consumers then decide on their satisfaction level with the performance of service and judge the quality. Increased performance on various dimensions of service quality leads to high customer satisfaction levels Lovelock, 2011).

A study by Naik et al., (2010), demonstrated that there are high expectations on the side of consumers about the efficiency of service, precision of transactions and safety matters. The study concluded that the expectations and perceptions of customers are subjective and the outcomes can only be applied to specific market situations.

Kassim and Asiah Abdullah (2010) conducted a study on the implications of various dimensions of customer satisfaction and found out that customer satisfaction was substantially affected by perceived service quality. However, the research did not find any vital variation between the influence of perceived service quality on satisfaction, trust, and loyalty on the respondents who had the same cultural background.

Siddiqi (2011) carried out a study on the interrelationships between the qualities of service dimensions and customer satisfaction attributes in the service sector of banks. The author found out that a positive correlation exists between all service quality attributes and customer satisfaction which is in turn related positively to customer loyalty. The most significant quality attribute with a positive correlatioin with customer satisfaction is empathy while tangibility is the least significant.


Chen and Chen (2010) evaluated the experience of heritage tourism guests and examined the associations between the quality of their encounters, perceived value, satisfaction and interactive objectives. The findings show that there is a direct impact of the quality of the encounters on perceived value and satisfaction.

A theoretical framework which evaluates the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction was developed based on the literature reviewed as illustrated in Figure 3.1 below.

Dimensions of Service Quality

The dependent variable in the study is general customer satisfaction whereas service quality is the independent variable which determines the customer satisfaction level. The moderating variable will be the customer type while the dimensions include dependability, receptiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibility.measurement of service quality.

If claims are at least partly based on the authors’ own research, how robust is the evidence? (e.g. is the range of sources adequate? are there methodological limitations or flaws in the methods employed? do they include cross-checking or ‘triangulation’ of accounts? what is the sample size and is it large enough to support the claims being made? is there an adequately detailed account of data collection and analysis? is a summary given of all data reported?)

References

Amin, M., Yahya, Z., Ismayatim, W.F.A., Nasharuddin, S.Z. and Kassim, E., 2013. Service quality dimension and customer satisfaction: An empirical study in the Malaysian hotel industry. Services Marketing Quarterly, 34(2), pp.115-125.

Angelova, B. and Zekiri, J., 2011. Measuring customer satisfaction with service quality using American Customer Satisfaction Model (ACSI Model). International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 1(3), p.232.

Bayraktaroglu, G. and Atrek, B., 2010. Testing the Superiority and Dimensionality of SERVQLAL vs. SERVPERF in Higher Education. Quality Management Journal, 17(1), pp.47-59.

Bergman, B. and Klefsjö, B., 2010. Quality from customer needs to customer satisfaction. Studentlitteratur AB.

Bucak, T., 2014. The effect of service quality on customer satisfaction: A research on hotel businesses. International Journal of Education and Research, 2(1), pp.1-12.

Chen, C.F. and Chen, F.S., 2010. Experience quality, perceived value, satisfaction and behavioral intentions for heritage tourists. Tourism management, 31(1), pp.29-35.

Chen, C.F. and Chen, F.S., 2010. Experience quality, perceived value, satisfaction and behavioral intentions for heritage tourists. Tourism management, 31(1), pp.29-35.

Clemes, M.D., Gan, C. and Ren, M., 2011. Synthesizing the effects of service quality, value, and customer satisfaction on behavioral intentions in the motel industry: An empirical analysis. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 35(4), pp.530-568.

Eleren, A. and KILIÇ, B., 2015. Measurement of Service Quality with Servqual Analysis in Tourism Sector and Application in a Thermal Hotel. Afyon Kocatepe University Journal of Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences , 9 (1), pp.235-263.

Hill, N. and Alexander, J. (2017) The handbook of customer satisfaction and loyalty measurement. Routledge.

Hill, N. and Brierley, J. (2017) How to measure customer satisfaction. Routledge.

Hu, H.H., Kandampully, J. and Juwaheer, T.D. (2009) Relationships and impacts of service quality, perceived value, customer satisfaction, and image: an empirical study. The service industries journal, 29(2), pp.111-125.

Kassim, N. and Asiah Abdullah, N. (2010) The effect of perceived service quality dimensions on customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty in e-commerce settings: A cross cultural analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 22(3), pp.351-371.

Models for Measuring Service Quality in the Hospitality Industry

Kotler, P. (2015) Framework for marketing management . Pearson Education India.

Krishnamurthy, R., SivaKumar, M.A.K. and Sellamuthu, P. (2010) Influence of service quality on customer satisfaction: Application of SERVQUAL model. International Journal of Business and Management, 5(4), p.117.

Ladhari, R. (2009) A review of twenty years of SERVQUAL research. International journal of quality and service sciences, 1(2), pp.172-198.

Lovelock, C. (2011) Services marketing: People, technology, strategy. Pearson Education India.

Markovi?, S. and Raspor, S. (2010) Measuring Perceived Service Quality Using servqual&58; A Case Study of the Croatian Hotel Industry &61; Merjenje zaznane kakovosti storitev s pomo?jo modela servqual&58; primer hrvaške hotelske dejavnosti. Management, 5(3), pp.195-209.

Markovi?, S., Raspor, S. and Šegari?, K. (2010) Does Restaurant Performance Meet Customers’expectations? An Assessment of Restaurant Service Quality Using a Modified Dineserv Approach. Tourism and Hospitality Management, 16(2), pp.181-195.

Mohsin, A. and Lockyer, T. (2010) Customer perceptions of service quality in luxury hotels in New Delhi, India: an exploratory study. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(2), pp.160-173.

Naik, C.K., Gantasala, S.B. and Prabhakar, G.V. (2010) Service quality (SERVQUAL) and its effect on customer satisfaction in retailing. European journal of social sciences, 16(2), pp.231-243.

Nam, J., Ekinci, Y. and Whyatt, G. (2011) Brand equity, brand loyalty and consumer satisfaction. Annals of Tourism Research, 38(3), pp.1009-1030.

Nandan, S. (2010) Determinants of customer satisfaction on service quality: A study of railway platforms in India. Journal of Public Transportation, 13(1), p.6.

Onditi, A.A., Oginda, M.N., Ochieng, I. and Oso, W. (2012) Implications of service quality on customer loyalty in the banking sector. A survey of Banks in Homabay county, Kenya. International journal of business and social science, 3(21).

Raspor, S. (2010) Measuring Perceived Service Quality Using SERVQUAL: A Case Study of the Croatian Hotel Industry. Management (18544223), 5(3).

Rodrigues, L.L., Barkur, G., Varambally, K.V.M. and Golrooy Motlagh, F. (2011) Comparison of SERVQUAL and SERVPERF metrics: an empirical study. The TQM Journal, 23(6), pp.629-643.

Siddiqi, K.O. (2011) Interrelations between service quality attributes, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty in the retail banking sector in Bangladesh. International Journal of Business and Management, 6(3), p.12.

Sumaedi, S., Bakit, I.G.M.Y. and Metasari, N. (2011) The effect of students' perceived service quality and perceived price on student satisfaction. Management Science and Engineering, 5(1), p.88.

Torres, A. and Tribó, J.A. (2011) Customer satisfaction and brand equity. Journal of Business Research, 64(10), pp.1089-1096.

Verhoef, P.C., Lemon, K.N., Parasuraman, A., Roggeveen, A., Tsiros, M. and Schlesinger, L.A. (2009) Customer experience creation: Determinants, dynamics and management strategies. Journal of retailing, 85(1), pp.31-41.

Warren, C., Mwangi, A., Oweya, E., Kamunya, R. and Koskei, N. (2009) Safeguarding maternal and newborn health: improving the quality of postnatal care in Kenya. International journal for quality in health care, 22(1), pp.24-30.

Wu, H.C. and Ko, Y.J. (2013) Assessment of service quality in the hotel industry. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 14(3), pp.218-244.

Yilmaz, I. (2010) Do hotel customers use a multi-expectation framework in the evaluation of services? A study in Cappadocia, Turkey. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 10(1), pp.59-69.

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