Full Length Research Paper
Importance of mutual relations on customer satisfaction in industries with no/low direct contact with customers Farzad Sattari Ardabili*, Shahram Mirzaie Daryani, Manouchehr Molaie, Es-hag Rasooli and Mohammad Hasan Kheiravar Department of Management, Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil, Iran. Accepted 18 January, 2012
Although customer satisfaction is a key indicator of quality of services provided by a company, it is not easily definable, in its conventional form, for the companies which have no direct contact with costomers. Electrical Power Distribution Company is a case of service provider which has indirect contact with customers. Thus, the assessment of customers' satisfaction in such companies should vary in one way or another. The present empirical research intends to explore the relationship between service aspects and customers' satisfaction in the case of electricity distribution company. Since electricity distribution service has few tangible factors, its aspects differ from other services'. To determine the new factors that explain customers’ satisfaction in electricity distribution company, we asked 2627 customers, since April through July in 2010, to respond to the questionnaire. Then we used factor analysis to determine structure and path analysis to study the factors affecting customer satisfaction. Finally, three dimensions were identified by factor analysis. These factors were referred to as performance, relation and announcing. Using path analysis, the role of them and their correlation with perceived value and customer satisfaction was examined. Results showed that positive direct effect between relation and satisfaction was significant. Key words: Service aspects, customer satisfaction, perceived value, customer relation.
INTRODUCTION The provision and maintenance of customer satisfaction is a demanding task of management in service industries which has required undertaking of a body of studies, both in service marketing researches and in the broader research environment (Iacobucci et al., 1995; Oliver, 1980; Rekettye and Hetesi, 2003; Szymanski and Henard, 2001; Yeung et al., 2002). Although, meeting the customers' expectations is a main constituent of the marketing concept (Spreng et al., 1996), what catches the research interest in customer satisfaction is its pertinence to business performance, which precedes recurring purchase behavior (Oh and Parks, 1997; Wirtz, 2003; Yeung et al., 2002; Machirori and Fatoki, 2011). There have been many debates over paradoxical issue of customer satisfaction with services and its interaction with service quality in the marketing literature (Lee et al., 2000). However, all have a consensus on the essentiality of service quality and customer satisfaction as determinant factors in striving for competitive differentiation and customer maintenance. Every mature and highly competitive industry requires the satisfaction of customers as a sine qua non of customer retention (Clow and Vorhies, 1993; Oliver, 1999; Pizam and Ellis, 1999; Szymanski and Henard, 2001; Wirtz, 2003; Yuksel and Rimmington, 1998) and survival (Bloemer and de Ruyter, 1998; Bowen and Shoemaker, 1998; Pizam and Ellis, 1999; Zeithaml et al., 1996). As Kondo (2001) declared, customer satisfaction is considered as the ultimate goal of total quality management. To provide customers with great satisfaction, companies should devote attention to offering excellent quality that attracts customers and clear up all
*Corresponding author. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
Service quality of Electrical Distribution Company