نتایج کیفیت مواجهه با خدمات در زمینه تجارت بنگاه به بنگاه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23689||2007||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 36, Issue 5, July 2007, Pages 575–588
Service encounter quality is an area of growing interest to researchers and managers alike, yet little is known about the effects of face-to-face service encounter quality within a business-to-business setting. In this paper, a psychometrically sound measure of such service encounter quality is proposed, and consequences of this construct are empirically assessed. Both a literature review and a dyadic in-depth interview approach were used to develop a conceptual framework and a pool of items to capture service encounter quality. A mail survey of customers was undertaken, and a response rate of 36% was obtained. Data analysis was conducted via confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Findings reveal a four-factor structure of service encounter quality, encompassing professionalism, civility, friendliness and competence dimensions. Service encounter quality was found to be directly related to customer satisfaction and service quality perceptions, and indirectly to loyalty. The importance of these findings for practitioners and for future research on service encounter quality is discussed.
The service sector has seen dramatic growth over the years, to the extent that its contribution to global GNP exceeds that of all other sectors combined (The World Bank, 2004). However, a number of dynamic factors affect the service industry including government regulation, social changes, business trends, advances in technology, and internationalization (Hoffman et al., 1995 and Rust and Oliver, 1994). Within deregulated and competitive markets, differentiation strategies, including delivering quality services (Cronin and Taylor, 1992 and Parasuraman et al., 1988) are a primary concern of services marketers (Fisher, 1991). Within the service quality domain, the importance of customers' perceptions of service encounters is increasingly recognized (Mill, 1986 and Namasivayam and Hinkin, 2003). In the words of Bitner, Booms, and Mohr (1994, p. 95), “from the customer's point of view, the most immediate evidence of service quality occurs in the service encounter or the ‘moment of truth’ when the customer interacts with the firm. Thus, one central goal in the pursuit of ‘zero defects’ in service is to work toward 100% flawless performance in service encounters”. Consequently, these encounters can become an integral part of the image that the customer has of the firm and, in turn, will play an influential role in determining the success of the firm (Bitner, 1990 and Bitner et al., 1990). As Hartline, Woolridge, and Jones (2003, p. 43) point out, customers “base their evaluations on their perceptions of the service encounter”, due to the inter-personal nature of services. Bitran and Lojo (1993) explain that service encounters are not random events; they can be treated systematically. Scope is thus high for management control over the success or failure of specific service encounters. Accordingly, “the quality of the service encounter has been recognized as a key strategic competitive weapon” (Mattila & Enz, 2002, p. 269). Previous work on service encounters has almost exclusively focused upon retail consumers (Kong and Mayo, 1993 and Westbrook and Peterson, 1998). Indeed, service encounter quality in a business-to-business context tends to be both overlooked at the managerial level (Bitran & Lojo, 1993) and under-researched academically (Brown et al., 1994, Chumpitaz and Paparoidamis, 2004, Durvasula et al., 1999, Gounaris, 2005 and Hartline and Jones, 1996). This is surprising given the importance of contact personnel and the social/interpersonal aspects of the encounter in business-to-business services (Paulin, Ferguson, & Payaud, 2000). As explained by Drennan and McColl-Kennedy (2003), professional services tend to be “people-directed”. The business-to-business context has numerous unique characteristics that warrant special attention. First, business-to-business situations are usually typified by a small number of customers, each contributing significant value to the overall business; the importance of each service encounter is thus more pronounced (McNamara, 1972). Second, it is also the case that business-to-business service encounters are often more frequent than in the case of business-to-consumer transactions (Hardy, 1978). In fact, given the advance of technology, professional services firms report increased use of communication equipment (e.g., cellular phones) for business use (Hooks & Higgs, 2002), thus facilitating personal interactions. Third, in most business-to-business exchanges, a service encounter is not the fulfillment of a single effort but an event in a broader endeavor to build and sustain a long-term relationship (Jammernegg and Kischka, 2005 and Miciak and Desmarais, 2001). Fourth, “both academics and practitioners recognize that business-to-business relationships are characterized by closer and deeper interfaces than consumer relationships” (Mehta & Durvasula, 1998, p. 40). Finally, an examination of the service encounter is crucial as service provider employees must be more flexible and innovative because of the potential non-routine elements in their jobs (Dubinsky, Howell, Ingram, & Bellenger, 1986). Despite the importance of service encounter quality to business-to-business firms (Paulin et al., 2000), to the authors' best knowledge, no measure of this construct exists. Thus, there is a call for the development of psychometrically sound measures of service encounter quality in a business-to-business sector. Furthermore, consequences of service encounter quality should be empirically examined in order to develop clear managerial guidelines for the development of optimal service encounter quality strategies in business-to-business services (Parasuraman, 1998). The objectives of this study are twofold: a) to develop a psychometrically sound measure of face-to-face, interpersonal service encounter quality in the context of business-to-business exchanges; and b) to empirically examine the consequences of face-to-face, interpersonal service encounter quality, again within the context of business-to-business exchanges. This study intends to contribute to our growing understanding of customers' perceptions of service encounters. From the industrial practitioner's point of view, measurement of service encounter quality is critical for a number of reasons. First, if service encounter quality can be captured, the instrument could be used as a benchmarking tool for service providers in comparing their service provision against that of competitors. According to Rust and Oliver (1994) delivering a superior service offers an opportunity to achieve competitive differentiation. Secondly, improvements in the quality of service encounters can only be made if the current level of service encounter quality is known. This knowledge can be obtained through use of a reliable and valid measure. Thirdly, effective measurement of service encounter quality can be useful in the allocation of resources and in segmentation of customers, since assessment scores of generic service constructs, such as service quality, can be used as an effective tool for segmentation (Parasuraman et al., 1988). Finally, understanding consequences of service encounter quality has important managerial implications. According to Paulin et al. (2000), successful interaction between professional service provider and customer is likely to result in enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty. In turn, the benefits of satisfaction and loyalty are well documented (Chebat and Slusarczyk, 2005 and Heskett et al., 1997). By understanding the interrelationships between these constructs, management may be able to contribute to increased firm performance (Chumpitaz and Paparoidamis, 2004 and Heskett et al., 1994). These reasons in combination make the findings of this research both timely and relevant. This paper is arranged as follows. The next section provides a background for the constructs of interest. This is followed by a presentation of conceptual development. The methodology used is then described, followed by the study's results. Discussion of findings and strategic implications for the business-to-business service sector are then provided. Limitations and future research avenues conclude the paper.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The theoretical framework tested also raises several challenging implications. Academically, the results lend further strength to established models. Namely, the impact of service quality and satisfaction upon customer loyalty demonstrates the theoretical soundness of the service profit chain (Heskett et al., 1994 and Heskett et al., 1997). Prior work has supported the service profit chain in banking (Kamakura, Mittal, de Rosa, & Mazzon, 2002) and our work lends some strength to its cross-industry and cross-contextual applicability by examining the service profit chain at work in the context of business-to-business services. In terms of managerial implications, firms may be able to contribute to the achievement of organizational objectives through careful and creative management of the service encounter. In addition to ascertaining the dimensions of service encounter quality, the research indicates that service encounters have an influence on customer satisfaction, service quality and loyalty to both employees and organizations (the service profit chain). The research suggests that customers perceive service providing employees as the vital link capable of enhancing customer satisfaction and service quality. The advantages accruing to organizations as a result of improved service quality and customer satisfaction are well-documented (Cronin et al., 2000 and Heskett et al., 1997). Perhaps most importantly it is empirically shown that enhanced customer satisfaction leads to improved forms of customer loyalty. Business-to-business customers appear to demonstrate their loyalty on two levels: first, loyalty towards the employee at an individual level, and second, towards the organization as a whole. This is a finding of significant value to business organizations since enhanced loyalty has been recognized as a key strategic competitive weapon.