رضایت مشتری در بازارهای صنعتی: مسائل مربوط به نقش ابعادی و چندگانه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|22814||2001||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 52, Issue 1, April 2001, Pages 15–33
While customer satisfaction has recently attracted a lot of attention among academics and practitioners, most academic research on this construct has focused on consumer goods using the individual consumer as the unit of analysis. Customer satisfaction in industrial markets is an under-researched area so far. The authors develop a valid customer satisfaction measure for industrial customers (called INDSAT). The development of the scale is based on field interviews as well as statistical analyses of two large samples of over 2500 customer responses in 12 European countries. The scale consisting of seven distinct satisfaction dimensions exhibits desirable psychometric properties. The seven-dimensional structure is found to be superior to more parsimonious structures. Additionally, the authors hypothesize differences in the satisfaction dimensions' importance across different roles in the buying center (referred to as “multiple role issues”). These considerations are supported by empirical results. Implications of the findings for researchers and industrial marketers are furthermore discussed.
The last decades have spawned a number of studies on customer satisfaction. A key motivation for the growing emphasis on customer satisfaction is that highly satisfied customers can lead to a stronger competitive position resulting in higher market share and profit (Fornell, 1992). Customer satisfaction is also generally assumed to be a significant determinant of repeat sales, positive word-of-mouth, and customer loyalty Bearden and Teel, 1983 and Fornell et al., 1996. As a result, there is increasing attention among academics and business practitioners to customer satisfaction as a corporate goal (e.g. Bolton and Drew, 1991, Crosby, 1991 and Oliva et al., 1992). Partly, this increasing focus on customer satisfaction is rooted in contemporary managerial tools such as total quality management (TQM) and business process reengineering. The TQM movement has especially led to more focus on the measurement of the complex construct of customer satisfaction. This is particularly evident in the application guidelines of the famous Baldrige Award (see National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1994). Recently, the widespread interest in customer satisfaction has led to the development of national customer satisfaction indices in different countries including Sweden Fornell, 1992 and Anderson et al., 1994, the US (Fornell et al., 1996) and Germany (Meyer and Dornach, 1997). Most research on customer satisfaction has focused on satisfaction with consumer goods and services (see Oliver, 1996, for an overview), thus using the individual consumer as the unit of analysis (see e.g. Cadotte et al., 1987, Tse and Wilton, 1988 and Spreng et al., 1996). Research on customer satisfaction in business-to-business relationships is still modest and lagging far behind consumer marketing. Unlike in services marketing, where SERVQUAL Parasuraman et al., 1988, Parasuraman et al., 1991 and Parasuraman et al., 1994 has become a reasonably well accepted model for measuring the extent to which a company meets its customers' expectations, a widely used measure of industrial customers' satisfaction does not exist to the best of our knowledge. It has been said that in industrial markets, relationships are long-term oriented, enduring, and complex Ford, 1980, Hakansson, 1982, Turnbull and Wilson, 1989 and Hutt and Speh, 1992. The relationships between buyers and sellers are often bilateral and the products need to be customized to the buyers' needs. Therefore, the customer is no longer a passive buyer, but an active partner. Against this background, the satisfaction of the customer may play an important role in establishing, developing, and maintaining successful customer relationships in industrial markets. Clearly, the construct of customer satisfaction for industrial customers is of sufficient importance both theoretically and managerially to warrant more attention. Our article makes several contributions: first and most important, our purpose is to develop a multiple-item measure of industrial customer satisfaction and assess its psychometric properties based on an international data set. Second, the influence of the identified dimensions of customer satisfaction on overall satisfaction is analyzed. Third, as buying decisions in industrial companies are usually not individual but group decisions (see, e.g. Webster and Wind, 1972a, Lilien and Wong, 1984 and Haas, 1989) we analyze differences in customer satisfaction between functional categories of the members of the buying center (referred to as “multiple role issues”). A buying center may be defined as an “informal, cross-sectional decision-unit, in which the primary objective is the acquisition, importation, and processing of purchasing-related information” (Spekman and Stern, 1979, p. 56). We will focus on customer satisfaction for industrial firms, specifically customer satisfaction in customer–supplier relationships. Customer satisfaction in marketing channels, i.e. satisfaction of a dealer with the overall relationship with a manufacturer (see Ruekert and Churchill, 1984, Schul et al., 1985 and Gassenheimer et al., 1989) thus is not considered in this paper. The paper is organized as follows. In the first section, the conceptual basis of our study will be developed. In the two sections to follow, we describe the research method and the scale development and validation. After this, multiple role issues are analyzed. Finally, we discuss theoretical, methodological, and managerial implications and offer directions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
A primary challenge of this study was to propose and evaluate a scale called INDSAT for measuring customer satisfaction in industrial markets. It represents one of the few attempts to outline a methodology to better understand customer satisfaction from the perspective of the industrial buyer. The study has the potential to make theoretical, methodological, and managerial contributions. 5.1. Theoretical discussion Our study has several implications for marketing theory. Among other things, it highlights the complexity of the construct of industrial customer satisfaction. This is evident from the support we obtained for Proposition 1. Models with a lower level of complexity (i.e. with a lower number of factors) were found to be inferior to the seven-dimensional conceptualization. One of the more generalizable approaches to measuring satisfaction in the consumer goods sector is the “index of consumer sentiment toward marketing” developed by Gaski and Etzel (1985). It suggests four factors related to product, advertising, price and retailing/selling issues, respectively. Compared to the INDSAT scale, this model is much less complex since it contains four as opposed to seven components. The number of components in a system is typically considered to be an indicator of the system's complexity (Duncan, 1972). As an aside, it is worth noting that our conceptualization also contains more dimensions than the SERVQUAL scale (Parasuraman et al., 1988) which has been developed for evaluating satisfaction with services. If we look at the origins of the higher level of complexity of industrial customer satisfaction, the first thing to mention is the product. While product characteristics are summarized in a single dimension (as it is the case in the model suggested by Gaski and Etzel, 1985), providing written product-related information (technical documentation, operating instructions) seems to be so important that it constitutes a dimension on its own. This observation can be attributed to the higher level of complexity of industrial products (e.g. Hutt and Speh, 1992, p. 12). This complexity leads to a high importance of accompanying technical services (Homburg and Garbe, 1999), which constitute another dimension of industrial customer satisfaction. Additionally, our scale reflects that communication between buyer and seller is more complex as has been suggested by Hakansson (1982). More specifically, communication does not only take place with salespeople but also with the supplier's internal staff (INDSAT factors two and six). In summary, our findings show that the high complexity of industrial marketing settings leads to a highly complex construct of customer satisfaction, which clearly differs from conceptualizations of customer satisfaction in the consumer goods sector. Against this background, the use of single item measures such as “How satisfied are you with the relationship in general?” is not adequate. Rather, future attempts to measure industrial customers' satisfaction should use the approaches developed in this paper. Obviously, in situations where customer satisfaction is but one of several other constructs under investigation, employing a 29-item-scale is not a viable alternative. In such situations, summarizing each of the seven dimensions may be a reasonable compromise between the use of the full scale and the use of primitive single item measures (see, e.g. Parasuraman et al., 1988, who proposed this approach for the application of SERVQUAL). In other situations, researchers might be interested in analyzing not the full range of industrial customer satisfaction, but only a limited domain of it. In such situations, the scales developed for the different dimensions of customer satisfaction may be used. For example, when studying the effectiveness of different complaint handling techniques, our scale for measuring customer satisfaction with complaint handling may be used as an outcome measure. The analysis described in this paper may also contribute to an improved understanding of industrial marketing. Our study especially reveals that the way a supplier handles specific customer-related processes as well as the salespeople's interaction with customers are key factors for achieving customer satisfaction in industrial markets. These issues should experience more attention in industrial marketing theory than in the past. Also, textbooks in industrial marketing typically focus on the classical marketing mix instruments (the four Ps) and neglect such issues as order handling and processing and complaint handling. Additionally, our study may contribute to an improved understanding of industrial buying behavior. Our analyses essentially confirm Proposition 3 and thus clearly reveal that different functional groups in the buying center emphasize different criteria when assessing a supplier's performance. While this has been stated in the literature before, empirical evidence on this important issue has been scarce so far.