Delivering quality service is considered an essential

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1 ' alariea. ZeithamI, Lenard L Berry, & A. Parasuraman The Behaviral Cnsequenes f Servie Quality If servie quality relates t retent f ustmers at the aggregate level, as ther researh has diated, then evidene f its Impat n ustmers' behaviral respnses shuld be detetable. The authrs ffer a neptual mdei f the impat f servie quality n partiular behavirs that signai whether ustmers rema with r defet frm a mpany. Results frm a multimpany empirial study examg relatships frm the mdel nerng ustmers' behaviral tents shw strng evidene f their beg fluened by servie quality. The fdgs als reveal differenes the nature f the quality-tents lk arss different dimenss f behaviral tents. The authrs' disuss enters n ways the results and researh apprah f their study an be helpful t researhers and managers.... Deliverg quality servie is nsidered an essential strategy fr suess and survival tday's mpetitive envirnment (Dawks and Reihheld 1990; Parasuraman, ZeithamI, and Ben7 1985; Reihheld and Sas.ser 1990; ZeithamI, Parasuraman, and Berry 1990). Durg the 1980s, the primary emphasis f bth aademi and managerial effrt fused n determg what servie quality meant t ustmers and develpg strategies t meet ustmer expetats (e.g., Parasuraman, ZeithamI, and Berry ). Se then, many rganizats ludg thse whse primary ffergs vlve physial gds suh as autmbiles r mputers^ have stituted measurement and management apprahes t imprve their servie. The servie-quality agenda has nw shifted and renfigured t lude ther issues. The issue f highest pririty tday vlves understandg the impat f servie quality n prfit and ther fanial utmes f the rganizat (Greisg 1994; Rust, Zahrik, and Kegham 1995). Exeutives f many mpanies the 1980s were willg t trust their tuitive sense that better servie wuld lead t imprved fanial suess and thus mmitted resures t imprvg servie prir t havg dumentat f the fanial payff. Sme f these mpanies, suh as Federal Express and Xerx, have been rihly rewarded fr their effrts (German 1992; Reams and Nadler 1992). But exeutives ther mpanies have been relutant t vest servie imprvements withut slid evidene f their fanial sundness. And the urrent era f dwnsizg and streamlg, terest tls t aserta and mnitr the payff frm servie vestments is high. alarie A. Zeithami is Pripal, Partners fr Servie Exellene, a nsultg firm speializg strategy, measurement, and implementat f servie quality. Lenard L. Berry is JCPenney Chair f Retailg Studies and Prfessr f Marketg, Texas A&M University. A. Parasuraman is Prfessr and Hlder f the James W. MLamre Chair Marketg, University f Miami. The authrs thank the editr and five annymus JM reviewers tr their nstrutive mments and suggests n earlier drafts f this artile. They als thank the Marketg Siene Institute and fur f its rprate spnsrs fr supprtg the researh n whih this artile is based. Jurnal f Marketg l. 60 (April 1996), 1-46 Researh n the relatship between servie quality and prfits has begun t aumulate, and ne thg is lear: The lk between servie quality and prfits is neither straightfrward nr simple (Greisg 1994; Zahrik and Rust 1992). The termediate lks between servie quality and prfits have nt been well understd. T deleate the mplex relatship between these tw variables, researhers and managers must vestigate and understand many ther relatships, eah f whih is an tegral part f the mpsite. One suh relatship between servie quality and behaviral tent.s is the primary fus f ur present researh. In the remader f this trdutry set, we prvide a general verview f the extant knwledge abut the lk between servie quality and prfits. We then utle ur speifi bjetives and hw ur study attempts t extend urrent knwledge. Semal studies usg the PIMS (Prfit Impat f Market Strategy) data set have unvered signifiant assiats amng servie quality, marketg variables, and prfitability. Fdgs frm these studies shw that mpanies fferg superir servie ahieve higher-than-nnnal market share grwth (Buzzell and Gale 1987), that the mehanisms by whih servie quality fiuenes prfits lude reased market share and premium pries (Phillips, Chang, and Buzzel! 198), and that busesses the tp qutile f relative servie quality n average realize an 8% higher prie than their mpetitrs (Gale 1992). Evidene frm mpanies large enugh t have multiple utlets als suggest a psitive quality-prfitability relatship: The Hspital Crprat f Ameria fund a strng lk between pereived quality f patient are and prfitability arss its many hspitals (Kska 1990); and the Frd Mtr Cmpany has demnstrated that dealers with high servie-quality sres have higher-than-nrmal prfit, retum n vestment, and prfit per new vehile sld (Frd Mtr Cmpany 1990). Althugh the previus fdgs dument the fanial and strategi impat f servie quality arss firms r utlets, the evidene is ften t general t answer the quests fremst exeutives' mds: If I vest servie Servie Quality/1

2 quality, will it pay ff fr my mpany? Hw will servie quality pay ff"? Hw muh shuld we vest servie quality t reeive the best retum? In addressg suh quests, researhers (Fmell and Wemerfelt ; Rust and Zahrik 199; Zahrik and Rust 1992) distguish between ffensive effets (apturg new ustmers) and defensive effets (retag ustmers). Determg the ffensive impat f servie quality parallels the age-ld searh fr the advertisg-sales nnet. Servie quality's effet.s similar t advertisg's effets are umulative, and therefre evidene f the lk may develp slwly. And, similar t advertisg, servie quality is ne f many variables ludg prig, advertisg, effiieny, and image that simultaneusly fluene prfits. Furthermre, spendg n servie per se des nt guarantee results, beause strategy and exeut must bth be nsidered. On the ther hand, evaluatg the defensive impat f servie quality thrugh ustmer retent prmises t help mpanies gauge the fanial impat f servie quality. The relatship between retent and prfits reently has been estimated by a variety f researhers (e.g., Andersn and Sullivan 1990; Fmell and Wemerfelt 1987, 1988; Reihheld and Sasser 1990) and mpanies (e.g., IBM). If the relatship between servie quality and retent an be similarly dumented, the fanial impliats fr a given mpany r even a given servie itiative an be alibrated. Zahrik and Rust (1992) distguish amng five tasks that must be mpleted t mdel the impat f servie n prfits: (I) identifyg the key servie attributes t lude the mdel, (2) seletg the mst imprtant attributes, () mdelg the lk between prgrams and attitudes, (4) mdelg behaviral respnse t servie prgrams, and (5) mdelg the impat f servie prgrams n prfits. The researh we desribe vlves the first fur tasks that Zahrik and Rust (1992) prpse and nentrates n the furth, namely, mdelg behaviral respnse t quality servie. All fur f tbese tasks are firmly the dma f marketg and the first three have been studied extensively the last deade (fr a review, see Zahrik and Rust 1992). In ntrast, the furth attribute, the impat f servie quality n behaviral respnse, has been the subjet f nly a few marketg studies t date (Buldg et al. 199; Crn and Taylr 1992). The underlyg premise f ur artile is that if servie quality relates t retent f ustmers at the aggregate (i.e., firm) level, as ther researh has suggested, then evidene f its impat n ustmers' behaviral respnses shuld be detetable. The nsequenes f servie-quality perepts n dividual-level behaviral tents an be viewed as signals f retent r defet and are desirable t mnitr. With that md, ur bjetives are fur-fld: 1. T -summarize existg evidene abut the behaviral nsequenes f servie quality at the dividual ustmer level. 2. T tter a neptual mdel f the impat f servie quality n partiular behavirs that signal whether ustmers rema with r detet frm the mpany.. T reprt the results f an empirial study examg relatships between servie quality and ustmers' behaviral tents. 4. T suggest a researh agenda whereby frmat abut dividual-level behaviral nsequenes f servie quality an t>e mnitred and lked t sales and ustmer-retent data t prvide ngg evidene f the fanial impat f servie quality. In addressg these bjetives, we prvide a nise synthesis f the extant literature n the subjet and extend the literature three signifiant ways. First, ur study vlves a mprehensive (multimpany/multi-dustry) examat f servie quality's impat at the dividual-nsumer level rather than at the mpany/dustry level, as is the ase mst previus studies. Send, addit t examg the general relafship between servie quality and behaviral tents, we explre hanges the strength f this relatship that are due t ptential mderatg effets f different levels f servie relative t ustmers' expetat levels. Third, we rprate a mre extensive multiple-item behaviral-tents measure than has been used previus researh and exame servie quality's impat n speifi types f behaviral tents. Cneptual Framewrk and Hyptheses Bakgrund Lwerg ustmer defet rates an be prfitable t mpanies. In fat, researh has shwn that it is a mre prfitable strategy than gag market share r redug sts.' Fr exatnple, an empirial study lkg ustmer satisfat t prfits, Fmell and Wemerfelt (1987, 1988) exame the impat f mplat-handlg prgrams n ustmer retent and nlude that marketg resures are better spent keepg existg ustmers than attratg new nes. In supprt f this psit. Reihheld and Sasser (1990, p. 105) assert that ustmer defets have a strnger impat n a mpany's prfits than "sale, market share, unit sts, and many ther fatrs usually assiated with mpetitive advantage." Fr this reasn, they extl the benefits f zer ustmer defets as an verall mpany perfrmane standard: Ultimately, defets shuld be a key perfrmane measure fr senir management and a fundamental mpnent f entive systems. Managers shuld knw the mpany's defet rate, what happens t prfits when the rate mves up r dwn, and why defets ur (p. 111). Researh and mpany effrts t quantify the fanial impat f defet and retent have tensified reent years. Fanial impat f defet. When ustmers are lst, new nes must be attrated t replae them, and replaement mes at a high st. Capturg new ustmers is expensive 'This is nt t say that mpanies shuld fus n ustmer retent t the exlus f strategies t attrat new ustmers. Fr stane, share-buildg strategies shuld be a high pririty fr mpanies that are new entrants r perate emergg markets. Hwever, fr mpanies wilh an established ustmer base (espeially mature markets with entrenhed mpetitrs) the net return n vestments uld be muh higher fr retent strategies than fr strategies l attrat new ustmers. 2 / Jurnal f Marketg, April 1996

3 FIGURE 1 The Behaviral and Fanial Cnsequenes f Servie Quality SERICE QUALITY BEHAIORAL INTENTIONS Rema ^ ±i Ongg Revenue Inreased Spendg Prie Premium Referred Custmers Fus f present study Empirial lks demnstrated mar studies BEHAIOR Defet ^ FINANCIAL NSEQUENCES =i Dereased Spendg Lst Custmers Csts t Attrat New Custmers fr it vlves advertisg, prmt, and sales sts, as well as start-up peratg expenses. New ustmers are ften unprfitable fr a perid f time after aquisit: In the surane dustry, fr example, the surer typially des nt rever sellg sts until the third r furth year f the relatship. Capturg ustmers frm ther mpanies is als an expensive prpsit: Andersn and Sullivan {1990) fd that a greater degree f servie imprvement is neessary t make a ustmer swith frm a mpetitr than t reta a urrent ustmer. Fanial impat f retent. The lngevity f a ustmer's relatship favrahly Huenes prfitability. Custmers wh rema with a firm fr a perid f years heause they are pleased with the servie are mre likely than shrtterm ustmers t buy addital servies and spread favrable wrd-f-muth mmuniat. The firm als may he ahle t harge a higher prie than ther mpanies harge, beause these usttners value maititag the relatship. The itial sts f attratg and establishg these ustmers have already been absrbed and. due t experieneurve effets, they ften an be served mre effiiently (Reihheld and Sas.ser 1990). Rse (1990) supprts this view, ntendg that prfit n redit ard servies purhased by a ten-year ustmer is n average three times greater than fr a five-year ustmer. Althugh the fanial impats f defet and retent have been studied at a mar level (i.e., mpany r dustry level), the mir-level (i.e., dividual-level) presses thrugh whih these impats ur have nt been well understd. T attempt t fill this vid, we develp and test a neptual mdel fusg n dividual-level behaviral nsequenes f servie quality. A Mdel f the Behaviral Cnsequenes f Servie Quality Figure I is a neptual mdel that depits the behaviral nsequenes f servie quality as terveng variables hetween servie quality and the fanial gas r lsses frm retent r defet. The left prt f the mdel is at the level f the dividual ustmer and prpses that setrie quality and behaviral tents are related and. thus, that servie quality is a determant f whether a ustmer ultimately remas with r defets frm a mpany. Startg n the left, the mdel begs with a ustmer's assessment f servie quality and psits that when servie quality assessments are high, the ustmer's behaviral tents are favrable, whib strengthetis his r her relatship with the mpany. When servie quality assessments are lw. the ustmer's behaviral tents are unfavrable and the relatship is mre likely t be weakened. Behaviral tents an be viewed as diatrs that signal whether ustmers will rema with r defet frm tbe mpany. Sme f the lks Figure I (shwn by dtted arrws) bave been demnstrated empirially several aggregatelevel studies usg verall multimpany analysis (e.g., Buzzeil and Gale 1987; Gale 1992; Reihheld and Sasser 1990). Hwever, the mediatg rles f behaviral tents and atual behavir n the relatship between servie quality and fanial pertrmane are nt well understd, espeially at the dividual-ustmer level. We attempt t add t ur knwledge this regard by undertakg Servie Quality /

4 an -depth neptual and empirial examat f the first lk the sequene f effets psited Figure 1. As we disu.ss subsequent sets, multiple measures f servie quality and behaviral tents were peratalized and used surveys f ustmers frm fur different mpanies. Fr ease f expsit this set, the dependent nstrut is split bradly t favrable and unfavrable behaviral tents. Favrable behaviral tents. Certa behavirs signal that ustmers are frgg bnds with a mpany. When ustmers praise the firm, express preferene fr the mpany ver thers, rease the vlume f their purhases, r agreeably pay a prie premium, they are diatg behavirally that they are bndg with the mpany. Reent researh ffers sme evidene that ustmer satisfat and/r servie-quality perepts psitively affet tents t hehave these ways. Hwever, mst f the researh peratalizes behaviral tents a unidimensal way rather than deleate speifi types f behavir. Fr example. Crn and Taylr (1992), usg a sgle-item purhase-tent sale, fd a psitive rrelat with servie quality and usttner satisfat. Andersn and Sullivan (1990). analyzg data frm a study f ustmer satisfat amng Swedish nsumers, fd that stated repurhase tent is strngly related t stated satisfat arss prdut ategries. A study nduted hy Wdside. Frey, and Daly (1989) unvers a signifiant assiat between verall patient satisfat and tent t hse the hspital aga. Several studies have examed the assiat between servie quality and mre speifi behaviral tents. In previus studies (see Parasuratnan. Berry, and Zeilhaml I99la; Parasuraman. Zeithaml, and Berry 1988). we fd a psitive and signifiant relatship between ustmers' perepts f servie quality and their willgness t remmend the mpany. Buldg and lleagues (199). ne f tw studies they nduted, fd a psitive rrelat between servie quality and a 2-item measure f repurba.se tents and willgness t remmend. In a send study vlvg university students, tbey fd strng lks between servie quality and behaviral tents that are f strategi itiiprtane t the shl, ludg sayg psitive thgs abut tbe shl, planng t ntribute mney t tbe lass pledge n graduat, and planng t remmend the shl t emplyers as a plae frm whih t reruit. Individual mpanies are als mnitrg the impat f servie quality n seleted behaviral tents. Fr example. Nrthwest Airles fund that the preferene dex (i.e., the preferene fr Nrthwest Airles as the airle passengers like t fly) reased substantially 1992, mpared t 1991, fllwg a majr mpany effrt t imprve servie. As measured randm surveys, preferene rse Mneaplis (frm 70% t 75%). Detrit (frm 49% t 59%). and Memphis (frm 48% t 6%) (Exeutive Reprt n Custmer Satisfat 1992). Tyta fund that tent t repurhase a Tyta autmbile reased frm a base f 7% t 45% with a psitive sales experiene, frm 7% t 79% with a psitive servie experiene, and frm 7% t 91% with bth psitive sales and servie experienes (MLaughl 199). By tegratg researh fdgs and anedtal evidene, a list f speifi diatrs f favrable behaviral tents an be mpiled. These lude sayg psitive thgs abut the mpany t thers (Buldg et al. 199), remmendg the mpany r servie t thers (Parasuraman. Berry, and Zeithaml 1991a; Parasuraman. Zeithaml. and Berry 1988; Reihheld and Sasser 1990), payg a prie premium t the mpany, and remag lyal t the mpany (LaBarberaand Mazursky 198; Newman and Werbel 197; Rust and Zahrik 199). Lyalty may be manifested tn multiple ways; fr example, by expressg a preferene fr a mpany ver thers, by ntug t purbase frm it. r by reasg busess with it the future. Unfavrable behaviral tents. Custmers pereivg servie perfrmane t be ferir are likely t exhibit bebavirs signalg tbey are pised t leave tbe mpany r spend less with the mpany. Tbese behavirs lude mplag, whih is viewed by many researhers as a mbat f negative respnses that stem frm dissatisfat and predit r ampany defet (Riehs 198; Sagle 1988). Cmplag behavir itself is neptualized as multifaeted. Ardg t Sgh (1988), dissatisfat leads t nsumer-mplag behavir (CCB) that is tnanifested vie respnses (suh as seekg redress frm the seller), private respnses (negative wrd-f-muth mmuniat), r third-party respnses (takg legal at). His three-dimensal typlgy f mplag bebavir. funded n the bjet f the mplats (seller, friend, third party), is statistially superir t previus mdels f CCB. Maute and Frrester (199) fd strng supptm fr a threeway lassifiat f dissatisfat respnses based n Hirsbman's (1970) exit, vie, and lyalty respnses (lyalty beg tbe deis t rema with the mpany despite dissatisfat). Slnik and Hemenway (1992) b.serve that thugh vie and exit ( their view the tw ma hebaviral manifestats f dissatisfat) an be substitutes fr eah ther, they ften ur tgether. In the ntext f a health matenane rganizat, they fd tbat mplaitig ustmers were fur and ne-half times mre likely t leave the plan vluntarily than nnmplag ustmers. Speifi diatrs f unfavrable behaviral tents suggested by the preedg disuss lude different types f mplag (e.g., mplag t friends r external agenies) and ntemplat f swithg t mpetitrs. Anther diatr f eventual defet is a derease the amunt f busess a ustmer des with a mpany. Differential impat f servie-quality levels. Althugh superir servie is likely t fster favrable behavirs and redue the likelihd f unfavrable bebavirs, an imprtant unreslved issue is the servie-quality level tbat mpanies must target t have the desired impat n behavirs. Hw tiiuh servie quality is enugh t reta ustmers? Is there a level f servie beynd whih there are dimishg retums terms f strengtheng behaviral tents? Des the degree f assiat between servie quality and bebaviral tents hange at different quality levels? Little published evidene diretly addresses tbese quests. Hwever, a study by Gale (1992), whib quantitative- 4 / Jurnal f Marketg, April 1996

5 ly as.sesses the relatship between level f servie quality and willgness t purhase at AT&T, ffers sme diret sight. Of AT&T's ustmers wh rated the mpany's verall quality as exellent, ver 90% expressed willgness t purhase frm AT&T aga. Fr ustmers ratg the servie as gd. fair, r pr, the perentages dereased t 60%, 17%. and 0%. respetively. Ardg t these data, willgness t repurhase reased at a steeper rate (i.e., by 4%) as the servie-quality ratg imprved frm fair t gd than when it went frm pr t fair (17%) r frm gd t exellent (0%). These results suggest that the impat f servie quality n willgness t repurhase is mst prnuned sme termediate level f servie quality. Cyne (1989, p. 7), hwever, makes the ppsite predit n the basis f researh relatg t the impat f ustmer satisfat with servie a nsumer-durable ntext; There appear t be threshlds f servie fr affetg ustmer behavir... When satisfat rse abve a erta threshld, repurhase lyalty limbed rapidly. In ntrast, when satisfat fell belw a different threshld, ustmer lyalty deled equally rapidly. Hwever, between these ihreshlds, lyalty was relatively flat. I believe this iw threshld framewrk applies t a wide variety f servie situats. A similar ategrizat f servie levels fllws ne defit f servie quality the literature the extent t whih a servie meets r exeeds ustmer expetats (Parasuraman, Zeithaml. and Berry 1985, 1988) ^and frm reent researh expliatg the expetats nstrut as tw levels f expetats (Zeithaml, Berry, and Parasuraman 199). The first level Is desired servie, whih Is the level f servie the ustmer hpes t reeive, nsistg f a blend f what the ustmer believes an and shuld be delivered. Tbe send, lwer level f expetats is adequate.servie, whih is the level f servie the ustmer will aept. Adequate servie is the mimum servie a mpany an prvide and still hpe t meet ustmers' basi needs. A zne f tlerane, bunded n the lwer end by adequate servie and n the upper end by desired servie, aptures the range f servie with whih a mpany is meetg ustmer expetats. Althugh the zne-f-tlerane framewrk seems struturally similar t Cyne's (1989) tw-threshld framewrk, the managerial impliats f the tw framewrks are different. Cyne, vkg the flat satisfat-lyalty relatship he hypthesizes between the tw threshlds, suggests that unless a mpany already has a strng reputat fr servie, it may nt benefit by imprvg servie muh beynd the lwer threshld: "If a mpany is already abve the mimum aeptable threshld, but nearer the lwer end f the servie satisfat band, vestments t rementally hange psit may nt be warranted" (p. 75). In ntrast, we have argued previusly (see Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml 1991b, p. 47) that firms peratg with the zne f tlerane, whiie pssibly enjyg mpetitive advantage, sbuld ntue t imprve servie, even t the pt f exeedg the desired servie level: "T develp a true ustmer franhise unwaverg ustmer lyalty firms must exeed nt nly the adequate servie level but als the desired servie level." Althugh we d nt refer l the slpe f the servie perfrmane-lyalty relatship, ur prir remmendat implies an upward slpg (rather than tlat) relatship with the zne f tlerane. Available evidene suggests that the sensitivity f behaviral tents t hanges servie quality is likely t vary frm belw t with t abve the zne f tlerane, thugh there is n n.snsus abut the nature f this variat arss the three regs f quality. A key empirial quest is whether the relatship between behaviral tents and servie quality is flat r upward slpg witb the zne f tlerane and. if it is upward slpg, whether r nt it is steeper than the relatship belw and abve the zne. The disuss the preedg sets implies that, thugh servie quality is psitively assiated with favrable behaviral tents and negatively related t unfavrable behaviral tents, ustmers' perepts f the servie relative t their adequate and desired servie levels mderate these assiats. Mre frmally, we psit. H : The.servie quality-tiehaviral tents relatship (a) is psitive (negative) tr favrable (unfavrable) behaviral tents and (b) has a different slpe belw and abve the zne f tlerane relative t with it. Impat f prblem e.xperiene and reslut. Anther aspet f servie prvis that an fluene behaviral tents vlves the prblem experiene f ustmers. When ustmers enunter servie prblems, these experienes are likely t affet bebaviral tents adversely. Hwever, the impat f prblem reslut n ustmers' tents is less lear One view, based primarily n anedtal evidene, is that superir prblem reslut frges strnger bnds between ustmers and the mpany tban wuld exist had n servie prblem urred. Fr example, J. W. Marritt, hief exeutive ffier f the Marritt htel ha, states: "Smetimes thse [disgruntledl ustmers whm yu make that extra effrt t ga bak beme the mst lyal ustmers that yu have" (Lvelk 1994, p. 214). The reasng underlyg this view seems t be tbat a servie prblem gives a mpany the pprtunity t demnstrate its mmitment t ustmer servie thrugh exellent revery effrts. On the ther hand, empirial evidene suggests that servie failures may weaken the ustmer-mpany bnd even when the prblem is reslved satisfatrily (Bitn and Drew 1992). We reprt (see Zeithaml. Parasuraman. and Berry 1990) that ustmers wh experiened n reent servie prblem with a mpany have signifiantly better servie-quality perepts than ustmers wh experiened a reent servie prblem that was satisfatrily reslved. A plausible explanat fr this fdg is that satisfatry prblem-reslut servie, thugh perhaps pleasg t ustmers, des nt ause them t frget the servie failure. And the memry f the failed servie negatively affets ustmers' verall perept f the mpany's servie. The existg empirial evidene n this quest leads t ur send hypthesis: Hi: Favrable (unfavrable) behaviral tents are (a) highest (lwest) fr ustmers experieng n servie prblem; (b) next highest (lwest) fr ustmers experieng servie prblems that are reslved, and () lwest (highest) Servie Quality/5

6 fr ustmers experieng servie prblems that are nt reslved. In summary, the first hypthesis suggests a psitive (negative) relatsbip between servie quality and favrable (unfavrable) behaviral tents, the strength f whih is different belw and abve the zne f tlerane relative t that with it. Hi, alng with H2, is depited Figure 2. whih details the prt f the behaviral nsequenes mdel n whih we fus the present study. Methdlgy Sample Design and Mail Survey Fur mpanies that prvide servies t end r busess ustmers were spnsrs f the researh study. Questnaires were mailed t busess ustmers f a mputer manufaturer, as well as t end ustmers f a retail ha, autmbile surer, and life surer. The spnsrg mpanies generated mailg lists frm their unent ustmer bases. The retail ha, autmbile surer, and lite surer eah prvided randm samples f 24(X) ustmers. The mputer manufaturer prvided a larger randm sample f 5270 ustmers, beause it wanted t ndut its wn detailed, segment-by-segment analysis fllwg the mplet f tbe ma study. A ttal f 12,470 questnaires were mailed. Surveys were mailed with a ver letter and pstagepaid retum envelpe t all ustmers the sample. The ver letter appeared n mpany letterhead and was signed by a senir mpany ffiial. Respndents were requested t retum mpleted questnaires t a marketg researh mpany hired t assist with data llet and dg. A remder pstard was sent tw weeks after mailg the questnaires. Overall respnse rate was 25% (069 questnaires). Cmpany-speifi respnse rates were 0% (1566 questnaires) fr the mputer manufaturer; 22% (522 questnaires) fr the retail ha; 24% (568 questnaires) fr the autmbile surer; and 17% (41 questnaires) fr the life surer. Demgraphi prfiles f the respndent samples were reviewed by managers the respetive mpanies and nsidered t be representative f their ustmer bases. Survey Instrument Operatalizat f servie quality. Several measures f servie quality were luded the questnaire: (1) an verall, sgle-item ratg sale with anhrs at I (extremely pr) and 9 (extremely gd); (2) a multiple-item sale f pereived servie frm an expanded vers f the SERQUAL sale we rigally develped (see Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1988) and later refed (see Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml 1991a); and () tw ategri- FIGURE 2 Hypthesized Effets f Servie Quality n Behaviral Intents Perfrmane Relative t Adequate and Desired Servie Servie Quality Behaviral Intents J Pereived Servie Perfrmane Prblem Experiene and Reslut High Medium Lw Favrable * Say psitive thgs Remmend mpany - Rema lyal t mpany - Spend mre with mpany - Pay prie premium Experiened Prblem? 1 Yes Prblem Reslved? N Yes N H2. High Medium Lw Unfavrable * Say negative thgs - Swith t anther mpany - Cmpla t external agenies - D less busess with mpany ~^ 6 / Jurnal f Marketg, April 1996

7 al quests t measure whether respndents had experiened a reent servie prblem with tbe mpany and, if s, whether the prblem was reslved t their satisfat. Tbe send measure (i.e., the revised SERQUAL battery) represented tbe servie dimenss f reliability (five items), respnsiveness (tbree items), assurane (fur items), empatby (fur items), and tangibles (five items). Cnsistent witb the expanded neptualizat f ustmers' servie expetats (ZeithamI, Berry, and Parasuraman 199). respndents were asked t diate tbeir adequate- and desired-servie levels addit t their perepts f eah SERQUAL item. Thus, separate ratgs f adequate, desired, and pereived servie were btaed n tbree 9-pt sales (1 = lw, 9 = high) arranged as three adjaent lumns next t the SERQUAL battery n the que.stnaire.- Tbe questnaire ntag tbe SERQUAL battery with the three lumns f ratgs used this study was ne f three different questnaire frmats evaluated a larger methdlgial study (Parasuraman, ZeithamI, and Berry 1994a). As suh, the adequate-, desired-, and pereived-servie sres used tbe present study were based n a partial sample frm eah mpany (the tber tw questnaire frmats did nt prdue separate sres fr tbese variables). A ttal f 1009 questnaires ntaed sres fr tbe adequate-, desired-, and pereived-servie variables: 498 frm the mputer manufaturer, 188 frm the retail ha, 191 frm the autmbile surer, and 12 frm the life surer. All three questnaire frmats ntaed measures fr the remag study variables (verall servie quality, behaviral tents, and idene f servie-prblem experiene and satisfatry prblem reslut). Therefre, sres fr these variables were based n the full sample. Operatalizat f behaviral tents. Previus researh bas nt aptured the full range f ptential behavirs likely t be triggered by servie quality, Crn and Taylr (1992) fus slely n purbase tents and measure tbe nstrut witb a sgle-item sale. In tbe tlrst f tw studies by Buldg and lleagues (199), repurbase tents and willgness t remmend were the nly tw behaviral tents measured. In tbe send study, vlvg servie quality f an eduatal stitut, tbey used a 6-item sale mprised largely f eduat-speitl items, suh as tent t ntribute mney t the lass pledge and tent t remmend tbe shl t emplyers as a plae t reruit. A 1-item battery was develped t gauge a wider range f behaviral tents tban have been suggested the literature r by anedtal evidene frm mpanies.^ This battery luded items t apture several faets f behaviral tents nt rprated previus servie-quality studies: likelihd f payg a prie premium and remag lyal t a mpany even when its pries g up, tent t d mre busess with the firm the future, and mplat e adequate- and desired-level servie ratgs were used defg the lwer and upper bundaries f the ^ne f tlerane t verify the tiiflerential slpes predited by H, tr the quality-tents relatship. ^A py f the strument ntag the behaviral-tents and servie-quality quest.s an be btaed frm the third authr. tents when servie prblems ur. The 1 items were gruped t fur a priri ategries: wrd-f-mutb mmuniats, purhase tents, prie sensitivity, and mplag bebavir. (These grupgs were nt made knwn t respndents.) The last tw ategries ntaed items nt luded prir servie-quality researh. Eab item was ampanied by a 7-pt likelihd sale (I = nt at all likely, and 7 = extremely likely). Analyses, Results, and Disuss Dimenss f Behaviral tents Fatr analysis f the behaviral-tents battery was nduted t exame the dimensality f the items. Beause the battery was designed t represent fur ategries f behaviral tents, a fur-fatr slut was btaed separately fr eab mpany and subjeted t blique rtat t allw fr ptential trelat amng the ategries. The item lusters implied by the fatr ladgs differed frm the a priri lusters and varied smewbat arss the fur mpanies, Tbe general pattems f ladgs suggested tbat a five-fatr slut may belp renile these differenes. A five-fatr slut prdued an unambiguus fatr pattem that was nsistent arss ail mpanies. This nsistent pattem suggested a renfigurat fthe 1 items t five dimenss: lyalty t mpany (lyalty), prpensity t swith (swith), willgness t pay mre (pay mre), external respnse t prblem (external respnse), and temal respnse t prblem (ternal respnse). In Table I. we present tbe renfigured bebaviral-tents battery, and Table 2, we present the fatr-lad g matries supprtg it, alng with reliability effiients fr its multiple-item mpnents. Of the five fatrs, lyalty (with five items) and pay mre (witb tw items) exbibit nsistent pattems f ladgs arss the fur mpanies. Swith (with tw items) and extemal respnse (witb tbree items) als display a mderate t high degree f unifrmity fatr ladgs. The fal dimens, temal respnse, ntas just ne item that lads n tbe fifth fatr. Tbe 5-item lyalty sale has exellent temal nsisteny, whih is evidened by alpbas rangg frm.9 t.94 arss tbe fur mpanies. The -item extemal-respnse sale bas alphas f at least.6, with tbe values tw f tbe fur mpanies exeedg the threshld f,7 thai Nunnally (1978) suggested. The 2-item sales measurg swith and pay mre have smewhat weaker alphas, with several values fallg belw.6, perhaps beause f t tew items tbe renfigured fatrs. In general, the alpha sre fr lyalty is high, partiularly fr an early study, Tbe alpba sres tr tbe ther three fatrs with multiple items range frm adequate t weak, diatg the need t add items t tbe sale further researh. Althugh the fatr struture f the behaviral-tents battery differs smewbat frm the a priri speifiat, the ladgs suppti the dihtmy behaviral tents f favrable and unfavrable ategries. The largest fatr, lyalty, ntas five favrable behaviral-tents items: sayg psitive thgs abut the mpany, rem- Servie Quality / 7

8 Behaviral- Intents Dimens Item Label TABLE 1 Behaviral-Intents Battery^ Item Wrdg Lyalty Swith Pay Mre External Respnse n Say psitive thgs abut XYZ t ther peple. Remmend XYZ t smene wh seeks yur advie. Enurage friends and relatives t d busess with XYZ. Cnsider XYZ yur first hie t buy servies. D mre busess with XYZ the next few years. D less busess with XYZ the next few years (-). Take sme f yur busess t a mpetitr that ffers better pries (-). Cntue t d busess with XYZ if its pries rease smewhat. Pay a higher prie than mpetitrs harge fr the benefits yu urrently reeive frm XYZ. Swith t a mpetitr if yu experiene a prblem with XYZ's servie. Cmpla t ther ustmers if yu experiene a prblem with XYZ's servie. Cmpla t external agenies, suh as the Better Busess Bureau, if yu experiene a prblem with XYZ's servie. Cmpla t XYZ's emplyees if yu experiene a prblem with XYZ's servie. Internal Respnse ^The items were gruped as fllws the a priri ategrizat f the battery: Wrd-f-Muth Cmmuniats II, 12, 1; Purhase Intents 14,15,16; Prie Sensitivity 17,18, 19; Cmplag Behavir 110, 111, 112,11, Eah item was ampanied by a 7-pt likelihd sale (1 = nt at ait likely and 7 = extremely likely), items identified with a "-" were reverse sred. mendg the mpany t smene wh seeks advie, enuragg friends and relatives t d busess with the mpany, nsiderg the mpany the first hie frm whih t buy servies, and dg mre busess with the mpany the next few years. Pay mre ntas tw favrable items: ntug t d busess with the mpany even if its pries rea.se smewhat and payg a higher prie than mpetitrs harge fr the benefits urrently reeived frm the mpany. The send and furth fatrs mprise all unfavrable behaviral-tents items. Swith ntas tw f these: dg less busess with the mpany the next few years and takg sme busess t a mpetitr that ffers better pries. Extemal respnse ludes items that relate t experieng a servie prblem: swithg t a mpetitr, mplag t ther ustmers, and mplag t extemal agenies suh as the Better Busess Bureau. The terpretat f temal respnse, the fifth fatr with ne item (mplag t the mpany's emplyees if a servie prblem Is experiened), is unlear. Custmers mre favrably dispsed tward a mpany may be mre likely t mpla temally t give the mpany a "send hane." Cnversely, disgruntled ustmers with an unfavrable image f the mpany may be mre likely t mpla temally t vent their frustrats. The equival terpretat f this fatr and its beg represented by just ne item undenne its meangfulness n neptual and psyhmetri grunds. As suh, we deleted this sgle-item measure frm all subsequent analyses. Relatship Between Servie Quality and Behaviral tents The first hypthesis predited a psitive (negative) qualitytents relatship fr favrable (unfavrable) behaviral tents, with different slpes belw and abve the zne f tlerane relative t with it. This hypthesis was tested by usg multiple regress analysis t exame simultaneusly (I) whether the slpe f the relatship with the zne f tlerane was signifiantly different frm zer and (2) whether this slpe differed signifiantly frm the slpes belw and abve the zne f tlerane. In ardane with predures disussed by Chen and Chen (198, Chapter 8) fr ndutg this type f analysis, the fllwg regress equat was estimated: (I) Y= B,X where Y = behaviral-tents sre; X = servie-quality sre; dl = dummy variable with a value f 1 if the pereived servie is belw the zne f tlerane. 0 therwise; d2 = dummy variable with a value f 1 if the pereived servie is abve the zne f tlerane, 0 therwise; Bs = unstandardized regress effiients; and = errr term. The effiients Equat 1 that are relevant fr examg the first hypthesis are B,, B,, and B,. Speifially, B, represents the slpe f the quality-intents relatship with the zne f tlerane, whereas Bi and B, represent hanges B, belw and abve the zne f tlerane, respetively. Thus, B, + BT represents the slpe belw the zne, and B, + B represents the slpe abve the zne. Servie quality (the key dependent variable X) was peratalized tw ways: as the ratg n the 9-pt verall-quality (OQ) sale and as a weighted-average pereived perfnnane (WP) sre arss the SERQUAL dimenss. Of late there has been debate the literature abut the mst apprpriate way t peratalize servie quality (f Brwn, Churhill, and Peter 199; Crn and 8 / Jurnal f Marketg, April 1996

9 1 C a> Q. E a 0) a 9 2 E EZ a (0 '«0) E tf) ehaviira I-In1tent 01 d> -1 Insi Life u. u. CM U. (" U- 2. [.9] (D > O) t> 0 (5 itii CI at <u ffl n «^ (A C u. (0 JZ a. m < -Si a E U. s: EZ 1 (0 C) effi >. :^!.2 0) OC D C (0 tf) 0) Mati D) C 'S n -I I 1 'm. O n a> CC «O C (D Q. E "^ n et Ii. u. E C SJ LZ [ 94] [.94] S bi fi (D s E8 r^ S vo O i s-s? - ii G 2 :5 e '^ ^- (I) Q. E -auto: lruq XT ra i2 Q "ai.q nj Q) i5 (A O aii % B-iltern "a" illy[ XJ O E (/I. Q.m Servie Quality / 9

10 Taylr 1992; Parasuraman. Berry, and ZeitbamI 199; Parasuraman, ZeitbamI, and Berry 1994b; Teas 199). Tbe entral issue this debate is whether servie quality shuld be measured as the differene between ustmers" perepts and expetats ratgs r simply as the perepts ratgs. Altbugb tbis issue ntues t be debated, there is sme agreement that a study's purpse may fluene the bie f whih measure t use: The perepts-nly peratalizat is apprpriate if the primary purpse f measurg servie quality is t attempt t expla the variane sme dependent nstrut; the perepts-mus-expetats differene-sre measure is apprpriate if the primary purp.se is t diagnse aurately servie shrtfalls (Parasuraman, Zeiiliaml. and Berry 1994a). The purpse f ur present study is tbe frmer. Mrever, as we disuss subsequently, the tw expetats measures (i.e., the adequateand desired-servie levels) were dependently rprated t the analysis t peratalize the tw dummy variables di and di. Therefre, the ratgs frm tbe SERQUAL prt fthe survey were used t peratalize servie quality as weighted-average perfrmane sres, ratber than differene sres. T determe WP, a pereived perfrmane ratg was first mputed lr eah SERQUAL dimens by averagg the ratgs n the items frmg the dimens. (The effiient alpha values fr reliability [five items], respnsiveness [three items), assurane [fur items), empathy [fur items] and tangibles [five itnis[ ranged frm.80 t.96 arss tbe fur samples.) T bta the WP sre, the average perfrmane ratgs fr the dimenss were then weighted by tbe relative imprtane f the dimenss. T measure tbe relative imprtane f tbe five dimenss, respndents were asked t allate 100 pts amng tbe dimenss ardg t hw imprtant eah dimens was t them evaluatg a mpany's servie. The relative pts allated t the dimenss were used as weights mputg the WP sre. The dummy variables d and dj were peratalized by mparg eah respndent's WP sre with his r her weighted-average adequate- and desired-servie sres (mputed usg a predure similar t tbat used determg WP). The d value was 1 if WP was less tban the weigbted-average adequate-servie sre, 0 therwise. The di value was I if WP was greater than the weighted-average desired-servie sre, 0 therwise. The regress analysis was perfrmed separately fr the fur mpanies, a.s well as fr the mbed sample. In eab stane, tw equats were estimated fr eab behaviral-tents dimens: ne usg WP sres and the send usg OQ sres as values fr tbe dependent variable X. The average sre arss items mprisg the behaviral-tents dimens represented tbe dependent variable Y. In Table, we summarize the regress-analysis results pertag t the first hypthesis. Tbe regress effiients the first tw lumns f Table (B values) ffer strng supprt fr tbe hypthesized qualiiy-tnts lks with the zne f tlerane. The effiients fr WP and OQ are all tbe hypthesized direts psitive fr lyalty and pay mre and negative fr swith and extemal respnse and, with few exepts, are statistially signifiant at/) <.01. The pattem f B values arss the fur mpanies suggests tbat the effets are generally strnger fr lyalty and swith tban fr pay mre and extemal respnse. Tbe results fr the mbed sample prvide addital sight t the relative fiuenes f servie quality n the fur behaviral-tents dimenss: the strngest effets f bth WP and OQ are n lyalty (.70 and.55), fllwed by switb (-.67 and -.47), pay mre (.4 and.7), and extemal respnse (-.28 and -.21) that rder. The regress effiients Table the lumns fr B2 and B, values perta t the differential effets predited by H (the statistially signifiant BT and B^ effiients are bldfaed). Fr eab bebaviral-tents dimens wiib a given mpany, the B2 effiients fr WP and OQ have the same sign exept a few stanes. Similarly, the signs f the B effiients are idential fr WP and OQ. The stability the signs f tbe slpe-hange effiients arss tw different servie-quality measures is enuragg terms f drawg ferenes abut the diret f hanges the quality-tents lk belw and abve the zne f tlerane. Hwever, supprt fr the strength f these hanges is mixed, as is evidened by tbe pattern f statistial signifiane f these effiients. Tberefre, based n the presene f signifiant effiients fr at least ne f the tw servie-quality measures (WP and OQ), nly the fllwg ferenes seem warranted. In the mpu ter-manufaturer sample, tbe quality-tents relatship fr lyalty and swith is flatter abve tbe zne f tlerane (implyg dimished sensitivity t quality imprvements beynd the desired-servie level), but is unhanged belw the zne f tlerane. The relatship fr pay mre is flatter bth belw and abve the zne. In the retail-ha sample, the relatship fr lyalty, swith, and extemai respnse is flatter belw tbe zne f tlerane but remas unhanged abve the zne f tlerane (implyg undimisbed retums fr quality beynd the desired servie level). In the autmbile-surer sample, the relatship fr lyalty is steeper belw the zne f tlerane but remas unhanged abve tbe zne. Hwever, the relatship fr swith is fiatter belw tbe zne and nsiderably steeper abve tbe zne, whib implies that there are reasg payffs as servie imprves frm belw t with t abve the zne. Tbe relatship fr extemal respnse the autmbile-surer sample is similar t that the retail-ha sample (i.e., fiatter belw the zne but unhanged abve it). All f the slpe-hange effiients the life-surer sample are nnsignifiant. This lak f signifiane may be due t suffiient data pts belw and abve the zne nly 15 respndents the life-surer sample bad WP sres belw, and nly 8 had WP sres abve the zne. A similar defiieny may aunt fr the lak f signifiane f any f tbe B effiients tbe retail-ba sample; nly 16 respndent.s had WP sres abve the zne. In tbe mbed sample, tbe quality-tents relatship fr lyalty and swith is fiatter belw but remas unhanged abve the zne. Thus, exeedg tbe adequate-servie threshld an sharply rease tbe payffs ( terms f fsterg ustmer lyalty and urtailg prpensity t 40 / Jurnal f Marketg, April 19%

11 v> ^ -- < en OJ eg CD t '- O ^ CM «< en en CM 1- CM O CM OJ GO t eg e»- t 'T eg 1- t-; *-; q t OJ OJ Ul (O CJ) ey eg CM T- Ol t O <D» r r r tn CM (0 eg "" eg CD OJ tn Wl IO q CM tu _l CQ < > CC (/I _C 0) O) as JC O t n I' CA ta en t CJ r IO -SSS OJ w ' tn,_ CJ (0 O} eg r (A ta r ay ta en ^ q T- ^ O r OJ CJ t at Ol tn _ tn Q. III t ^ 1- t-; T- I* r I* a.25 (su) CM (ns) / CJ CJ 1/1 CD CM tn e: (ns) (ns).14.1 r t (ns).0 ^ T- CJ r r q.05 T- (ns) -.07 ta.06 GC O) O GO O CJ OJ O P) *O CJ <O ^ CM t SSB S Ui q tt T- Tt ^ 1- O Ol IO O 1- ^ C 0) I! tf) O N GO ^ eg 1- t to -- O) r^ t "* q CM r O) t CM ^ t t t N. en r^ 00 t r evt r- CM O r^ '" ^ CM 1 h- l*~- CD ^ 0 O <D O I a. E O 5 r ^ C/) CL lu CC CD }ile E lsure ^ra >. _i with re xtern Respn (/> r t CL UJ <D tn Insu rer yalti with re xtern Respn ' r >s r _i Q. UJ (0 Cfl 0) )ani JLUOC < re 5 0) Q. 0) tn r xtern Q.Resi LU t tr "S m. 0 } adiu:rted Servie Quality / 41

12 TABLE 4 Mean Sres fr Servie Quality and Behaviral Intents Servie Qualitya Behaviral Intents'* Cmpany WP OQ Lyalty Swith Pay Mre External Respnse Cmputer Manufaturer Retail Cha Autmbile Insurer Life Insurer amean sres n a 9-pt sale. I'Mean sres n a 7-pt sale. swith). Hwever, the mbed-sample results fr the pay mre dimens reveal nsiderable fiatteng f the quality-tents relatship abve the zne f tlerane. In fat, the slpe fr the OQ-pay mre relatship hanges frm.7 belw the desired-servie level t just.0 (.7 -.4) abve. Thus, mpanies wishg t imprve servie beynd Ihe desired-servie level shuld d s autiusly and st-effetively, beause reupg the added expense by hargg prie premiums may nt be a viable pt. The quality-tents relatship fr external respnse whih, as diated by its B effiients, is flatter with the zne than fr the ther three dimenss remas unhanged belw and abve the zne as well. Thus, relative t the ther dimenss, extemal respnse appears muh less affeted by hanges quality ver a wide range. Tbe pattem f adjusted R-squared values the last tw lumns f Table ffer tw ntewrthy sights based n the verall ability f servie-quality-related variables (d, d2, and X) t expla the variat sres n eah behaviral-tents dimens. First, the relatship f quality (bth WP and OQ) with lyalty and swith is nsistently strnger the tw pure-servie mpanies (autmbile and life surers) than the tw prdut mpanies (mputer manufaturer and retail ha); hwever, the reverse is true fr the quality-pay mre relatship: The relatship is nsistently strnger the tw prdut mpanies than the tw pure-servie mpanies (fr addital analyses, see the Appendix). Send, the quality-pay mre relatship is nsistently weaker than the quality-lyalty relatship all fur mpanies and the mbed sample. We exame the impliats f these sights subsequently. In Table 4, we summarize the mean sres fr servie quality and behaviral tents by mpany. An arssmpany mparisn f the mean-sre pattems prvides addital supprt fr ferrg that servie quality is assiated psitively with favrable behaviral tents and negatively with unfavrable behaviral tents. With few exepts, the better a mpany's servie-quality sres, the higher are its lyalty and pay mre means and the lwer are its swith and extemal respnse means. T illu.strate, the retail ha's WP and OQ sres are nsiderably lwer than the rrespndg sres fr the autmbile surer. Mathg behaviral-tents data shw that the retail ha's ustmers are less lyal and less willg t pay mre and mre prne t swith and mpla externally than the autmbile surer's ustmers. Impat f Servie-Prblem Experiene and Reslut n Behaviral Intents Hi predits that ustmers experieng n servie prblems have the best behaviral-tents sres (highest fr favrable tents and lwest fr unfavrable tents Hia), ustmers experieng prblems that were reslved wuld have termediate sres (H^^)- antl ustmers with unreslved servie prblems wuld have the wrst sres (H,^.). T test this hypthesis, the mbed sample was lassified t three grups f respndents; th.se experieng n reent servie prblems; thse experieng prblems that were reslved; and thse experieng prblems that were nt reslved. Analysis f variane was nduted t determe whether sres n eah behaviral-tents dimens differed arss the grups. The F-values fr all fur ANOAs were signifiant at p <.001. Eight prspeifed ntrasts (first-grup mean versus send grup mean and.send-grup mean versus third grup mean fr eah f the fur behaviral-tents dimenss) were als evaluated. In Table 5, we present the grup means and the signifiane levels fr the planned ntrasts. The alpha level fr testg the signifiane f dividual ntrasts was redued by applyg the Bnferrni rret t ensure that the verall prbability f Type I errr arss all eight ntrasts did nt exeed.05 (fr details, see ftnte b Table 5). The evidene Table 5 fully supprts the send hypthesis fr the lyalty, swith, and extemal respnse dimenss, and partially supprts it fr the pay mre dimens. The fdgs learly shw that ustmers experieng n servie prblems have the strngest levels f lyalty tents and the weakest swith and extemal respnse tents. Hwever, their pay mre tents are nt signifiantly higher than thse f ustmers experieng servie prblems that were re.slved satisfatrily. Amng ustmers experieng reent servie prblems, thse reeivg satisfatry reslut have signifiantly higher lyalty and pay mre tents, and signifiantly lwer swith and extemal respnse tents, than thse with unreslved prblems. Thus, effetive servie revery signifiantly imprves all faets f behaviral tents. Hwever, with the pssible exept f tbe pay mre dimens, the imprvements d nt restre tents t the 42 / Jurnal f Marketg, April 1996

13 levels expressed by ustmers nt experieng servie prblems. These results are nsistent with thse frm a study whih Bltn and Drew (1992) exame the impat f prblem experiene and reslut n telephne ustmers' evaluat f billg servie: Custmers rated the servie substantially lwer if (hey had experiened a billg prblem, and the effet f satisfatrily reslvg the prblem did nt mpletely ffset its negative impat. Disuss and Impliats We develped a neptual mdel f the behaviral and fanial nsequenes f servie quality (Figure I. A prt f the mdel the quality-tents lk ^was empirially examed at the dividual-ustmer level a multimpany ntext. Tw disttive features f the study's empirial mpnent were the develpment f a mre extensive behaviral-tents battery than has been used previus researh and the vestigat f hanges the quality-tents lk at different servie levels relative t ustmers' expetats. The study's fdgs have imprtant impliats fr researhers and managers. Direts fr Further Researh ;^ ':, The disttive aspets f the empirial study ntribute several new sights whse impliats we subsequently explre. Hwever, ur fdgs als reveal erta weaknesses with methdlgial impliats. First, the behaviral-tents battery develped here, thugh mre mprehensive than tents sales used previus studies, needs further develpment. In partiular, mre items are needed t strengthen the reliability f three f its mpnents, namely, swith, pay mre, and extemal respnse. With addital items, the sales shuld be reevaluated fr their psyhmetri prperties. Cnsiderat shuld als be given t augmentg and ludg the battery temal respnse the mpnent that was elimated beause it had nly ne item subjet t equival terpretat. As we previusly mented, ustmers favrably dispsed tward a mpany may mpla t give it a.send hane, while ustmers unfavrably dispsed may als mpla merely t vent their frustrats. Therefre, expandg this mpnent, it wuld be useful (frm a diagnsti standpt) t add items that apture why ustmers are likely r unlikely t mpla. Fr example, respndents uld be asked t rate the likelihd f the fllwg {n the same 7-pt sale used the behaviral-tents battery): Cmpla t XYZ"s emplyees abul a servie prblem beause [ am nfident they will reslve the prblem. Cmpla t XYZ's emplyees abut a.servie prblem t help relieve my frustrat (reverse sred). Send, addital researh is needed t exame further ur tentative sights pertag t termpany differenes the quality-tents relatship and the hanges its slpe belw and abve the zne f tlerane relative t with it. Althugh the ttal sample size was large fr eah mpany, the subsamples f respndents belw and abve the zne were relatively small, and this pssibly ntributed t the lak f signifiane f sme f the slpe-hange effiients. Obtag larger samples f respndents belw and abve the zne further studies wuld failitate a mre rbust examat f hanges the quality-tents relatship. One pt fr dg s is t selet samples frm mpanies that are well knwn fr their exellent (r pr) servie. Anther pt is t devise a suitable quta-samplg predure t ensure large enugh subsamples belw, with, and abve the zne. Mullimpany researh usg suh samplg predures is needed fr mre defitive nluss abut the trigug differenes unvered this study, whih nem hanges the quality-tents lk with and arss dimenss and mpanies. In addit t addressg the previus issues, further researh shuld als fus n aspets f the neptual mdel nt examed here. Fr example, the assiat between behaviral tents atid remag with r defetg frm TABLE 5 Mean Behaviral-Intents Sres fr Respndents Classified Ardg t Servie Prblem Experiene Mean Sres fr Custmers Experieng^ Signifiane Levels fr Planned Ct)ntrastsb Behaviral- Intents Dimens N Servie Prblems (Grup 1; n = 215) Servie Prblems That Were Reslved (Grup 2; n = 455) Servie Prblems That Were Nt Reslved (Grup ; n = 46) Grup 1 Mean versus Grup 2 Mean Grup 2 Mean versus Grup Mean Lyalty Swith Pay Mre External Respnse ^ ; " «The behaviral-tents sres are n a 7-pt likelihd sale. I'The reprted signifiane levels are fr ne-tailed tests, beause Hj implies diretal mparisns f grup means. Beause multiple ntrasts were evaluated t test this hypthesis, the Bnferrni rret was applied t the ustmary alpha level f.05 t ntrl the Type I errr rate. Speifially, the alpha level was lwered by a fatr f eight (the ttal number f planned ntrasts) t yield a ritial alpha level f.006 fr testg the signifiane f eah ntrast (Myers 1979, pp, ). At this redued alpha level, seven f the eight planned ntrasts are signifiant; the sle exept is the Grup 1 versus Grup 2 ntrast fr the pay mre dimens..000 Servie Quality / 4

14 (he mpany merits study. Rust and Zahrik (199) suggest ways t vestigate this lk, ludg panel data, lngitudal analysis with ustmers, and rss-setal surveys askg ustmers abut previus and urrent prviders. Addital rss-setal researh might ask ustmers t diate nt nly their behaviral tents but als their atual behavirs. Fr example, ustmers uld be asked whether they have said psitive thgs abut the mpany (atual behavirs) stead f hw likely they wuld be t say psitive thgs (behaviral tents). Suh researh als needs t be supplemented with lngitudal researh t verify the ausal diret f the quality-tents lk. Data frm studies trakg servie quality and behaviral tents ver time an be analyzed t determe the impat f servie quality a given perid n behaviral tents subsequent perids. If the lngitudal data set als ntas frmat fr dividual ustmers n variables suh as purhase frequeny and vlume and new-ustmer referrals, the impat f servie quality n atual behavir an be traed. Cmpanies that have frmat systems lkg ustmer data and purhase data uld als exame reases r dereases spendg that result frm different levels f servie quality. This type f researh wuld prvide diret evidene f the fanial impat f servie quality at the dividual level. An trigug fdg wrthy f further researh is the pattem f arss-mpany differenes implied by the differenes the adjusted R-squared values fr the varius quality-tents regress equats (Table ). As previusly highlighted, the quality-tents lk fr the lyalty and swith dimenss is nsistently strnger fr the tw pureservie mpanies than fr the tw prdut mpanies, whereas the reverse is true fr pay mre. Is it pssible that the rle f servie with a firm's ttal fferg (i.e.. re versus supplemental mpnent) is a plausible explanat fr this pattem f differenes? Beause servie is all that a pure-servie prvider, suh as a life surane mpany, delivers exhange fr ustmers" mney, ustmers' mmitment t the mpany might be extremely respnsive t servie-quality imprvements; hwever, these ustmers' willgness t pay mre may nt be as respnsive, beause they may feel they have, effet, already paid fr highquality servie. Alternatively, the pay mre fdgs may simply reflet ustmers' general relutane t pay fr surane servies and may nt apply t pure servies verall. In ntrast, beause servie is nt the re f what a prdut mpany sells t ustmers, their mmitment t the mpany may be less sensitive t hanges servie quality (espeially if prdut quality is medire); hwever, ustmers may be smewhat mre willg t pay mre fr better servie, beause they may nsider servie t be an extra feature. T what extent and under what irumstanes are these speulats likely t be true? Furthemire. what is the nature and extent f the impat f fatrs ther than the servie mpnent (e.g.. prie, prdut harateristis) n ustmers' behaviral tents? Addital neptual and empirial researh addressg these issues an imprve ur understandg f the behaviral nsequenes f servie quality. Managerial Impliats The verall fdgs ffer strng empirial supprt fr the tuitive nt that imprvg servie quality an rease favrable behaviral tents and derease unfavrable tents. The fdgs demnstrate the imprtane f strategies that an steer behaviral tents the right direts, ludg strivg t meet ustmers' desired-servie levels (rather than merely perfrmg at their adequate-servie levels), emphasizg the prevent f servie prblems, and effetively reslvg prblems that d ur. Hwever, multiple fdgs suggest that mpanies wantg t imprve servie, espeially beynd the desired-servie level, shuld d s a st-effetive manner: the quality-pay mre relatship the mbed sample, while upwardly slpg belw the desired servie level, bemes virtually flat abve that level (Table ); the adjusted R-squared values fr the quality-pay mre regresss are weaker than fr the quality-lyalty regresss arss all mpanies and fr bth measures f servie quality (Table ); and, eah f the fur mpanies, the mean sre fr pay mre tents is nsiderably lwer than fr lyalty tents (Table 4). In addit t these general impliats, the neptual mdel and the empirial fdgs have speifi impliats fr firms' researh and resure-allat deiss pertag t imprvg servie quality. A salient issue n the servie quality researh agenda f many mpanies is understandg the impat f servie quality n prfits. One f the reasns it has been diffiult fr dividual firms t alibrate this impat is that the relatship is mplex and nsists f multiple terveng relatships. As was suggested ur mdel f dividual ustmer respnse, a ha f relatships is tegral t the verall impat. Cmpanies first must exame the impat f their servie-quality prvis n ustmers' respnses, ludg tents signalg behavirs that are ptentially favrable r unfavrable t the mpany. Fr mst mpanies, a battery f behaviral-tents quests uld be rprated easily t the measurement systems urrently used t apture servie-quality assessments. Dg s prvides a ntuus sure f fmiat relatg t suh quests as. What levels f servie quality must we deliver t reta ustmers? What servie itiatives shuld we undertake t enurage ustmers t remmend the mpany, spend mre with the mpany, r pay a prie premium? What auributes shuld we fus n t redue the likhhd f ustmers.spreadg negative wrd-f-muth mmuniats when servie prblems ur? T reta ustmers, shuld we spend ur mney n prative servie imprvements r n handlg mplats? In essene, behaviral tents beme dependent variables with ptentially higher validity (beause they are mre lsely related t atual behavirs) and riher diagnsti value than the "verall servie quality" r "ustmer satisfat" variables urrently beg used mst measurement prgrams. 44 / Jurnal f Marketg, April 1996

15 Cmpanies als an use surveys eliitg behaviral tents as an early warng system t identify ustmers danger f defet and l take timely rretive at. It has lng been speulated that many servie ustmers exhibit "spurius lyalty"^ they rema witb mpanies they are dissatisfied with beause tbey see n alternatives. Lal telephne ustmers, with n hie servie prviders, are ften ited as ustmers exhibitg spurius lyalty. Beeause f the deregulat f that dustry and the imment mpetit amng able mpanies, lng-distane mpanies, and ther regal Bell mpanies firms supplyg lal telephne servie mighl be able t strengthen ustmer retent by identifyg ustmers mst danger f defet. Anther measurement impliat fr mpanies t understand better and leverage the relatships the neptual mdel (Figure I) is t query ustmers abut wbetber they have manifested, rather than merely wuld manifest, favrable r unfavrable behavirs. Cmpanies sbuld als nsider nnetg their marketg database t their auntg frmat systems t explre the lks between ustmers' assessments f servie quality and tbeir purhase behavir L. L. Bean has auntg systems that trak vita! purhasg pattems f dividual ustmers: what they purhase, when they buy. and hw muh they spend ver time. Cmpanies witb suh systems uld benefit frm tegratg their ustmer-researh database witb atual purbase data l enhane their knwledge f hw and t wbat extent behaviral tents at as preursrs f purhasg behavir. Yet anther faet f ihe neptual mdel that merits thrugh analysis at the dividual mpany level vlves atual reases r dereases revenue frm retent r defet f ustmers. Reihheld and Sasser (1990) all fr auntg systems that apture the expeted ash flws frm and life-time value f a lyal ustmer. This all uld be expanded t lude an examat f the revenue impliats f dividual bebavirautents mpnents as well. Fr example, what is the ptential revenue differential between ustmers diatg a lw versus a high prpensity t swith? Is there a differene the revenue streams frm ustmers expressg a strng versus a weak lat t pay a prie premium fr a mpany's servie? Examg suh quests will failitate a mre detailed alibrat and a learer understandg f tbe fanial nsequenes f servie quality. Appendix T frmally test the signifiane f these and ther termpany differenes implied ur disuss, an extended vers f regress Equat I was estimated fr the mbed sample: where B4X + B7X + B,,X B,d,X gi = dummy variable with a value f I when the mpany is the retail ha. 0 therwise; g2 = dummy variable with a value f I when the mpany is the aulmbile surer, 0 therwise; g, = dummy variable with a value f I when the mpany is ihe life surer, 0 therwise; and Y. X, di, di. B's. and = same as thse defed fr Equat I. Wben g, g2. and g are 0. Equat Al pertas t the mputer manufaturer, witb B, representg tbe slpe f the qitality-tents relatship with the tlerane zne and B2 and B representg hanges thai slpe belw and abve the zne, respetively. Usg the mputer manufaturer as the referene mpany. B4 thrugh B^,. B7 thrugh By, and Bm thrugh B 2 are the rrespndg slpe-hange effiients fr the retail ha, aulmbile surer, and life surer, respetively. As the ase f Equat I. Equat AI was estimated fr eah f the fur behaviral-tents dimenss. The results shw nsistent statistial signifiane (atp <.05) nly fr B,. With a few exepts (that revealed n meangful pattem). the slpe-hange effiients B2 thrugh B 2 are nt signifiant. An adequate number f sample units with nnzer values fr the variables rrespndg t these eleven effiients (and the nsequent lw variane fr these variables) is a bighly plausible explanat fr this lak f signifiane: Tbe perentage f respndents (relative t the ttal sample) witb nnzer values was less tban 5% fr five f tbe variables, less tban 10% fr anther five variables, and less than 20% fr the remag ne variable. A set f tables summarizg these regress results an be btaed frm tbe third authr. REFERENCES Andersn. Eugene W. and Mary W. Sullivan (1990). "Custmer Satisfat and Retent Arss Firms," presentat at the TIMS Cllege f Marketg Speial Interest Cnferene n Servies Marketg. Nashville, TN. (September). Bltn. Ruth N. and James H. Drew (1992)/'Mitigatg the Effet f Servie Enunters," Marketg Letters. (1), 57-70, Buldg, William, Ajay Kalra, Rihard Stael, and alarie A. Zeitham! (199), "A Dynami Press Mdel f Servie Quality: Frm Expetats t Behaviral Intents," Jurnal f Marketg Researh, 0 (February) Brwn. Tm J., Gilbert A. Churhill. Jr.. and J. Paul Peter (199), "Imprvg the Measurement f Servie Quality." Jurnal f Retailg. 69 (Sprg) Bu/zell, Rbert D. und Bradley T Gale (1987), The PIMS Priples. New Yrk: The Free Press. Chen. Jab and Patriia Chen (\9^i). Applied \fultivariate Regre.Ksit^Crrelat Analy.sis fr the Behaviral Sienes. 2d ed. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrene Eribaum Assiates. Cyne. Kev P (1989). "Beynd Servie Fads: Meangful Strategies fr the Real Wrld," Slan Management Review (Summer) Servie Quality / 45

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