Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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The importance of customer satisfaction in FM
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Facilities Management, Volume 9, Issue 4
We can deliver a world class service and not be noticed or we can deliver an average service and be applauded, such are the complexities of service delivery in the context of customer expectation and satisfaction management. Walker (1995) states that customer satisfaction “results from a subjective comparison of expected and perceived attribute levels”, where customers predict what the level of service will be like, and consequently compare against their actual perception of the service once it has been used. Walker conceptualises this through the “disconfirmation model” (see Figure 1), where customer satisfaction depends on the nature and size of disconfirmation, based on their comparison between their expectations and actual perceptions of the service. The general theory is that if a customer’s perception is the same as their original expectation, then they will achieve “confirmation”, in which their level of satisfaction is neutral. If a customer’s perception is greater than their original expectation, then they will achieve “positive disconfirmation” and will consequently be satisfied. If however a customer’s expectation is greater than their actual perception, then they will achieve “negative disconfirmation”, and will inevitably be dissatisfied.
Parasuraman (2004) mimics the concepts explained by Walker (1995), however this is in an organisational setting in order to understand how organisations can effectively understand the link between customer expectations and perceptions. Parasuraman contends that service quality fails when there is a gap between customers’ service expectations and perceptions. The reason for this gap is due to the shortfalls of the service providers’ organisation. Parasuraman extends this theory, providing a detailed understanding of the composition and drivers of customers’ service expectations. He believes that customers have an “ideal” level of service that they expect, however rather than having a single level, they have a range of levels, which is known as the “zone of tolerance”. If a delivered service falls within the zone, customers will be satisfied. The area above the zone is what customers believe can and should be delivered, and conversely falling below the zone is the minimum standard customers are willing to accept.
Matthew Tucker and Michael Pitt
Parasuraman, A. (2004), “Assessing and improving service performance for maximum impact: insights from a two-decade-long research journey”, Performance Measurement & Metrics, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 45–52
Walker, J.L. (1995), “Service encounter satisfaction: conceptualised”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 5–14