Brief Summary of Theory and Progression
The selected theoretical concept from this report is based on the real world implication - ‘Customer satisfaction’, which depends upon quality over quantity. Based on the report by Sivakumar et al. (2014), it can be described that performance (quality) often meets the customer’s expectation, which is further referred to as gain of market competitiveness. The theory based on the customer satisfaction concept is the ‘Assimilation theory’, which describes that customers tends to make cognitive comparison between the expectation from the product and the supposed product performance. This theory was developed by Festinger during 1957. In order to minimise the tension of customer resulting from inconsistency between the expectation and perceived performance, they either need to raise their level of satisfaction or adjust the expectation accordingly.
Notably, according to the failure and delight concept in the paper customer expectations are presumed belief for the product which act as reference level for judging the performance of the product. The first scholar has conceptualised the expectation to be a point estimate and suggested that service quality as a gap between the point estimate of expectation and service perception (1 ref). The second scholar has conceptualised the reference level as a distributed group of reference point and the expected reference level is determined by taking the mean of the distribution points. The third scholar takes the reference level as the zone of tolerance, which is recognised and accepted by the customers. Overall, it is also realised that irrespective of the concerned commercial industry, the customer satisfaction is of high importance to maintain the brand recognition and market position.
All the four articles describes about the common topic that is ‘customer satisfaction is dependent on service quality’, while the inference was observed from diverse background. According to the underlined research, service quality is the key aspect for determining the level of customer satisfaction. In addition to the price concept, service quality is a major criteria which customers of both gender prefer before purchasing any product or service (Buell, Campbell and Frei, 2016). Another common finding among the four articles is that they prefer quality product or services, irrespective of price and it may be purchasing online or offline, and the important fact is that the long-run customer loyalty is only reflective in the product line which satisfies customer expectation (Bressolles, Durrieu and Senecal, 2014). In almost varieties of market quality is given the prior importance than the quantity and the market segmentation is also taken into account, which suggests that the price range from comparable (to other available products) to high is acceptable, if they are of superior quality (Terpstra, Kuijlen and Sijtsma, 2014).
According to the authors, Sivakumar et al. (2014), the customer satisfaction is discussed in context to the service delivery, and delight creation, which is not available in the rest of the articles. Customer’s perception of service quality is examined on the basis of service failure frequency, and the timing, proximity and sequence of failures as well as delights. In contrary, the authors Buell et al. (2016), exceptionally discusses about the competition of service quality in a variety of market which ranges from retail industry to traditional stores. This is further linked to the concern of market competitiveness, positioning, and dominance in comparison to rivalry companies. However, in order to measure the response of customers towards the increased competition, the relationship between the (i) increased service quality; (ii) market competition and (iii) the obligatory customer detection rates for the firm, is critical; which in turn is responsible for offering the service quality at different level and ultimately leading to success of the firm. Likewise, in another report, Bressolles et al. (2014), the authors mainly discuss about the customer’s satisfaction on the e-service quality, in which retail scenario does not exists but the customer satisfaction is of high importance. Based on the study, the authors concluded that the e-service quality is directly proportional to the e-satisfaction, which is responsible for retaining loyal customers. According to their survey, the factors like (i) ease-of-use, (ii) geniuses of information; and (iii) security as the key factors for satisfaction of customers within scope of online shopping. In the article Terpstra et al. (2014), the authors discusses about constructing a customer satisfaction scale which optimally measures the construct of interest. The study concludes that deductive design is a correct method for measuring and construct validation in customer satisfaction related research.
There are certain limitation encountered during the study of article 3 (qualitative). The service quality application for customer satisfaction includes ease-of-use, aesthetics, information, and security/privacy. The methods and models needed to find the customer satisfaction is provide in the article, while the negative service quality involved online shopping is not defined, which is critical to identify, in order to measure its impact on customer satisfaction. On the other hand, the article 2 (quantitative) also have certain limitations, which include the lack of human information needed to process in the complex environment. Moreover, there is also limitation in the service quality metric, and that is the data used for constructing the metric does not temporarily align with the customer defection data in 2004. The major difference between the two study designs (article 1 and 2) is that in one article the customer satisfaction is analysed quantitatively on the basis of service quality competition, whereas on the other article customer satisfaction is determined qualitatively using the e-service quality.
However, further research should be carried to find some service qualities involved in the e-shopping. The reason being that retail business include face-to-face communication, whereas online ventures are only dependent on information available. Thus additional measures like offers, promotion, tracking the customer, and attracting them are of high importance, to estimate their effect on customer’s satisfaction level. Likewise, the article, Terpstra et al. (2014), also dictate that the measurement scale must be precisely framed such that it will also take into account of available resources and frequency of market changing pattern. This must be undertaken in future research, which in turn will explore the subject area to a better level.
Bressolles, G., Durrieu, F. and Senecal, S., 2014. A consumer typology based on e-service quality and e-satisfaction. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 21(6), pp.889-896.
Buell, R.W., Campbell, D. and Frei, F.X., 2016. How Do Customers Respond to Increased Service Quality Competition?. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 18(4), pp.585-607.
Sivakumar, K., Li, M. and Dong, B., 2014. Service quality: The impact of frequency, timing, proximity, and sequence of failures and delights. Journal of Marketing, 78(1), pp.41-58.
Terpstra, M., Kuijlen, T. and Sijtsma, K., 2014. How to develop a customer satisfaction scale with optimal construct validity. Quality & Quantity, 48(5), pp.2719-2737.