Discuss the differences between service quality, perceptions of service quality and customer satisfaction (Section 1). Should sport service managers prioritize one of them? If yes, which and why (Section 2)? Support your arguments with sport examples.
In the current economic climate, affected by trade liberalisation and globalisation organisations face a highly competitive market. Due to such, there has been a shift from production-led philosophy to that of a customer-focused approach (Gronroos 1982). This customer-focused approach considers the external interest such as satisfaction and perceptions of quality. Schneider et al (2002) argued that ensuring an excellent service delivery has now become an essential role for all service providers. The importance of a high quality service is clear, but there isn’t a consensus on the definition of; perception of service quality (PSQ), service quality (SQ) and customer satisfaction (CS), (Cronin &Taylor 1992; Rust & Oliver 1994.) Some latter academics have attempted to adapt the definition by separating PSQ and SQ, measuring one subjectively and the other objectively (Berry et al 2006). Traditionally, it appears academics define SQ as a measurement of how the service delivered matches the customer’s expectations. (Bolton & Drew 1991; Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry, 1988) all support this concept, claiming it is an attitude similar but not identical to satisfaction, which is developed by comparing service performance and expectations. Further, service quality is judged on a consistent basis (Lewis and Booms 1983). This determines SQ as a long-run judgment by the customers. In contrast, PSQ is formed during the production, delivery and consumption process (Edvardsson 2005). PSQ provides the measurement tool for individuals to evaluate the attractiveness and desirability of the service (Kasimah 2013). This is supported by (Zeithaml et al 2009) who state that perceptions are generated from a customers experience with the service and their feelings of the service afterwards.
Customer satisfaction tends to have more consensuses over its definition. Lewis (1993, p.4-12) defines it as the difference between predicted and perceived service, in contrast with attitudes. This concept is supported by Zeithaml et al (2006, p.106-107). Academics agree that there are many similarities between SQ and CS. However, CS is argued to be a broader concept compared to SQ, which only focuses on dimensions of service (Wilson et al, 2008). CS is affected by other factors than SQ, such as price and product quality (Zeithaml et al, 2006 p.106-107). This is shown below in the figure 1 (Wilson et al 2008, p.79) Finally, it is important to note that CS can either be transaction–specific or cumulative.
A new customer purchases a season ticket for Saracens. The perception of service quality is formed during the match day, and this is used as the tool to evaluate service quality. Service quality is a long-term evaluation of how the season ticket compared with their prior expectations. This judgement of service quality is antecedent to the customer’s satisfaction (Oliver 1993.) The transaction- specific satisfaction of the customer is also affected by situational and personal factors. If Saracens lost the match and the weather was poor, then the customer may be dissatisfied, yet the level of service quality could be high. The cumulative satisfaction of the customer may be mainly determined by the clubs final position in the league rather than the overall level of service quality.
When a sporting organisation is deciding which of these to prioritise, the manager must evaluate a number of factors. Marshall (2013) found that 20% of customers would generate 80% of a company’s profit. Therefore, it is of upmost importance to generate customer loyalty, and generate high re-purchasing rates. Secondly, Daly (2002) stated that it costs 10 times more to obtain a new customer than...
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