The aim of this paper is to challenge the assumption that the relationship between service quality attributes and customer satisfaction follows a classic linear path. It suggests the existence of a threshold level after which the strength of the relationship between the two constructs, for some service attributes, adjusts. Depending on the type of adjustment, service attributes can be classified as satisfier or dissatisfier. Each requires a distinct managerial action.
The data were collected via self‐administered questionnaire from customers of three service industries (i.e. banking service, hairdresser service, phone service). The type of impact of nine individual service quality attributes on customer satisfaction was investigated using multiple regression models with interaction terms.
The empirical findings provide evidence for the existence of satisfiers and dissatisfiers. Satisfiers exhibit initially no relationship with satisfaction, but after the acceptable level of quality (i.e. inflection point) has been reached, become positively related. Dissatisfiers follow initially a positive relationship path with satisfaction but after the inflection point exhibit no relationship, or at best a significantly weakened one, with satisfaction. The relationship patterns were found to be service attribute as well as service type dependent.
The findings suggest that, for dissatisfiers, increasing service quality ad infinitum may not be the most prudent approach. Here, gains in satisfaction can no longer be achieved after the acceptable quality level has been reached. However, for satisfiers, service firms must leap over the threshold before gains in satisfaction can be realized. This may require large investments in quality improvements.
Leisen Pollack, B. (2008), "The nature of the service quality and satisfaction relationship", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 537-558. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604520810920059Download as .RIS
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