By: Omid Nasrollah Mazandarani
BACKGROUND OF THE WRITER
As a student of Masters of Business Administration specialization in general management with the background of Bachelor of Industrial engineering the writer has four years experiences in the automobile industry. These experiences and background help me to understand the role of customer satisfaction in terms of organization profitability.
This proposal examines customer satisfaction models for assessing the relationship of overall satisfaction with a product or service and satisfaction with specific aspects of the product or service for organizations having multiple units or subunits. These units could be stores, markets, dealers, divisions, and so on. The authors suggest a method for studying whether the drivers of overall satisfaction vary across such units. For cases where the drivers do vary across subunits, they show how additional variables can be included in a model to account for the variation. The authors illustrate this approach by studying customer satisfaction in the newspaper and health care industries. They use generalizability theory to evaluate the reliability of scales from multistage cluster sample designs. It is argued that the approach has important implications for both theory and practice.
Many studies have related overall satisfaction with some product or service to satisfaction with specific aspects of the product or service (Anderson and Sullivan 1993; DeWulf, Odekerken-Schröder, and Iacobucci 2001; Garbarino and Johnson 1999; Oliver 1980, 1993; Parsuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml 1988, 1991). Customers may explain their satisfaction with a product or service in terms of specific aspects such as the product attributes, price, customer service, or a combination of these various features. The objective of such studies is to understand how specific types of customer satisfaction affect overall satisfaction, usually by examining the slopes from a regression analysis. This article extends this approach by allowing the slopes to vary over predefined "subunits" of customers. We hypothesize that different subunits within an organization or industry may show different relationships between specific aspects of satisfaction and overall satisfaction, that is, there may be different utilities for the specific aspects of satisfaction. The problem of whether the relationship between specific aspects of satisfaction and overall satisfaction varies by subunits has both practical and theoretical importance. As a practical matter, such variation could be important for marketing decisions. For example, an automotive manufacturer may have multiple dealers (the subunit). A marketing manager would want to know if all dealers should focus on the same aspects of satisfaction or whether the customers of one dealer may have different priorities than another. If there is variation in the utilities across subunits, can the variation be explained by, for example, the geographic location of the dealership? A second example is a national retailer with multiple stores (the subunit). It would not be surprising for consumers in densely populated urban areas to place a high utility on dimensions such as location and convenience, whereas these same dimensions might be less important in sparsely populated rural areas. A third example is a media organization with multiple properties (subunits). Newspaper owners often own several newspapers (subunits) in different markets. Should all of the owner's newspapers focus on the same customer satisfaction dimensions? Banks have multiple branches. Perhaps the drivers of satisfaction for large branches are different than for those of small branches? Variation in the specific-general satisfaction relationship across organizational subunits also has important theoretical implications for satisfaction research. The...