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Customer satisfaction is an issue gaining focus from Managers and Marketers alike within the increasingly competitive service industry. A satisfied customer is a source of invaluable word-of- mouth recommendations and thus can stimulate further purchases.
Resulting from research into this issue it has been found that a very extensive array of information relating to this topic is available. However due to the time and length restraints this paper has concentrated on the elements which influence consumer satisfaction, incorporating findings from articles, texts and research on the topic.
The question posed by this paper for discussion, 'Customers cannot be satisfied until all causes for dissatisfaction are eliminated' is entirely false. Customer satisfaction levels are determined and influenced by many elements, not all relating directly to the service encounter, and customer satisfaction can be achieved despite an unsatisfactory service experience. And like wise an unsatisfactory evaluation of a service can be attained with out service failure, this and the factors by which it is caused will be illustrated through the duration of this paper.
Understanding consumer satisfaction and the elements that influence it are fundamental for management of any service organisation trying to remain competitive. Due to the intangible nature of services any attempt to gain competitive advantage can easily be replicated by competitors. Also there is a perceived high risk in choosing a service provider as you cannot evaluate the service prior to purchase.
Therefore it is vital to establish profitable long term relationships with existing customers by not just satisfying but if possible delighting at each service encounter. As well as encouraging new customers who may not be satisfied with there current service provider.
In order to achieve this a company must not only understand what satisfaction is, but also how to achieve and measure it.
Many definitions for satisfaction exist Lovelock describes satisfaction as 'a consumers post - purchase evaluation of the overall service experience (processes and outcome). It is an affective (emotion) state or feeling reaction in which the consumers needs, desires and expectations during the course of the experience have been met or exceeded. ( text p.89).
The buyers cognitive state of being adequately or inadequately rewarded for the sacrifice he has undergone ( Howard and Sheth, 1969, p 145 / SERVQUAL paper)
Satisfaction is a summary psychological state resulting whe
Names mentioned in this term paper
Bitner, Lovelock, Carman, J. Lumby, Oliver, Howard, Hubbert, Sheth,
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Keywords mentioned in this essay
customer satisfaction, consumer, evaluation, experience, service provider, Consumer Expectations, competitive service, service organisation, the service, paper, service delivery, patient, services marketing, nursing, SERVQUAL, open heart surgery, Causal attribution, nursing practice, competitive advantage, nursing care, long term, lovelock, research paper, performance, buyers, reference point, Equity theory, emotion, evaluate, findings, childbirth, Sheth, assessment, brand, restraints, friendliness, affective, tangible, disease, honesty, summary, pp148, Carman, hospital, stimulate, adequate, bench mark, perceptions, purchases, shirt,