Service Quality Definition
Service quality and customer relationships carry a noncontestable importance for companies in all markets and this issue is stated as “While the substents and determinants of quality may be unrefined, its importance to firms and consumers unequivocal” (A. Parasuraman, 1985). On the other hand, these two marketing tools should be studied in deep as they are stated as “an elusive and indistinct construct” (A. Parasuraman, 1985).
Additively, (Taylor, 1994) states that “Service quality and customer satisfaction are widely recognized as key influences in the formation of consumers’ purchase intentions in service environments” which suggest service quality and customer satisfaction are the keys to creating value for the companies. Since these two factors are stated as having a high significance in marketing, they should be analyzed in a more deeper manner to come up with an idea of whether these two factors are as significant as they are frequently called. The aim of this study is to: 1) Critically evaluate the literature on service quality, 2) Critically review the literature on customer relationships and its connections with customer experiences 3) Apply the theory of service quality and customer relationship experience to contemporary marketing and social business situations.
Service Quality Example
Service quality is discussed in different points of views in several articles. This part of the study is a literature review of the academic articles about service quality. (A. Parasuraman, 1985) states that “The overall findings offer strong emprical support for the intuitive notion that improving service quality can increase favorable behavioral intentions and decrease unfavorable intentions”. This statement taken from the conclusion of the article of Parasuraman simply suggests that having a better service quality resutls in having better plans for the brand or the company, which will eventually end up with higher profits.
The article continues with the statement that says “The findings demonstrate the importance of strategies that can steer behavioral intentions in the right directions, including striving to meet customers’ desired service levels (rather than merely performing at their adequate service levels), emphasizing the prevention of service problems, and effectively resolving problems that do occur” (A. Parasuraman, 1985). In this part of the article, the writer keeps discussing about having better service levels for the companies and indirectly implies that the companies should be looking forward to have better service levels by sharing his recommendations for having better service levels.
Service Quality Literature Review
Another article that supports the relationship between better service levels and value created for the company is discussed by (Vida Ðkudienë, 2015) in the article named “The Effect Of E-Shops’ Service Quality On Lithuanian Consumers’ Purchase Intentions”. The aim of the article is “to examine e-shops’ service quality influence on customer satisfaction and his/her purchase intention in Lithuania”. Another study on service quality states that “service quality in online environments has become recognized as an important factor in determining the success or failure of electronic commerce” (Yang & Jun, 2008). For a better understanding of service quality, the statement of (Lee & Lin, 2005) can be taken into consideration which states that “service quality is considered as one of the most important factors that defined overall customer assessment and judgment of an entire e-commerce platform”. Heading away from these statements and primary and secondary data (Vida Ðkudienë, 2015) states in the conclusion of his article that “most significant e-service quality dimensions are considered influential on customer satisfaction and the decision of intention to purchase” and the result continues with the statement which suggests “Results of this study indicated that the proposed e-service quality dimensions of trust, reliability, design, structure and navigation, a n d customer service influenced overall service quality, customer satisfaction, and purchase intentions” (Vida Ðkudienë, 2015). The article comes up with a similar idea with (A. Parasuraman, 1985) about the service quality of the companies and the profits that the company makes by stating “Results of this study indicated that the proposed e-service quality dimensions of trust, reliability, design, structure and navigation, a n d customer service influenced overall service quality, customer satisfaction, and purchase intentions” (Vida Ðkudienë, 2015).
Lastly, the article is concluded with suggestions regarding increasing the service quality of e-commerce companies and thus the profits of these companies in three ways; “(1) display contact information, as the provision of such details would increase customer’s trust towards the e-shop and would have a positive effect towards influencing future purchase intentions; (2) provide real-time support; Immediate response at customer’s questions will help to develop a stronger relationship with a client and encourage a purchase; and (3) let the customer be the part of the system” (Vida Ðkudienë, 2015). Compared to the article of (A. Parasuraman, 1985), the research of (Vida Ðkudienë, 2015) puts more emphasis on the importance of service quality and the profits of the company and suggests that the two are directly related to each other.
The third article that revolves around the topic of service quality suggest that customer service and quality are both included in the relationship marketing and these two factors of relationship marketing should be managed at the same time by decreasing the difference between the wants of the customers and the services that the customers get (Martin Christopher, 1991). According to (Martin Christopher, 1991), the traditional based production opens a way for the customer perceived quality and the organizations the quality of their services that is perceived by the customers.
This statement is underlined over and over in the article and it is stated that customers should be the base for determining, researching and monitoring the quality of the services (Martin Christopher, 1991). The last thing about service quality that is mentioned in (Martin Christopher, 1991) is that the organizations should manage the quality in order to create enough value to the organization. With this last statement, it is seen that the article implies there is a relationship between the quality that the companies or organizations provide and the value that these organizations capture from their customers as a result of managing their services in a suitable and wise way.
The last article about service quality (Ruth N. Bolton, 1991) has a similar opinion with (Martin Christopher, 1991) and it suggests that most of the companies from all around the world have become aware of the fact that quality has strategic benefits and heading away from this reference point they have started constructing and designing their own quality-measurement and management programs in order to observe the qualities of their products and services according to the customer quality evaluation researches.
The main aim of any profit oriented company is to capture value from the customers and this statement itself gives enough evidence that the companies’ point of view is that they can capture greater value from the customers by having a better quality of products and services. In addition, (Ruth N. Bolton, 1991) shows some common points with (Martin Christopher, 1991) and both articles support the fact that the companies should be arranging the qualities of their products and services in a customer-based manner by evaluating the perception of the customers with the aid of different research techniques. Moreover, (Ruth N. Bolton, 1991) does not hesitate to directly state that “the perceived perfomence levels also were found to have an important direct effect on quality and value assessments”.
Customer relationship is another factor for any kind of firm that will increase the value captured from the customers for the company. Several articles were written and researches were done in order to find the correlation between customer relationship and profitability of the firm. The articles that analyze this issue have a different perspective and they do their analysis in different points of view.
The first article about customer relationships is (Ryan R. Mullins, 2014) and it defines and analyzes the customer relationships in terms of salespeople of the company. A new theoretical model is introduced in the article which helps to study how the perceptions of salespeople in a company affect the customer relationship quality. Matched survey responses and secondary data is used in order to come up with a result about the relationship given above. In the article, salespeople in a company is divided into two groups such as self-efficacious salespeople and customer-oriented salespeople.
It is suggested that self-efficacious salespeople are upwardly biased and the customer-oriented salespeople are downwardly biased in terms of how the quality of customer relationship is perceived by them. They also suggest managers to deal with these inaccuracies and bring them to the lowest level possible. According to the article, these inaccuracies have a tendency to affect the profitability of the firms and this is stated in the article as “Our findings inform managers of salesperson characteristics that bias salesperson relationship quality away from customer relationship quality, resulting in salesperson inaccuracy. We further show that this inaccuracy matters because it has an impact on customer profitability. Our study also informs managers of ways to preempt salesperson inaccuracy, to take advantage of salesperson accuracy, and to curtail the effect of salesperson inaccuracy” (Ryan R. Mullins, 2014). As a result of this article, we see that there is the suggestion which claims a relationship between the inaccuracy of salespeople and the quality of customer relationships.
Service Quality Meaning
The second article analyzes customer relationships on the basis of electronic sales companies like (Vida Ðkudienë, 2015) which analyzes service quality on the basis of electronic commerce companies. In the article, it is claimed that Electronic customer relationship management which is abbreviated as ECRM started to be seen with the changes in the traditional customer relationship management systems of electronic commerce companies. Unlike the article by (Ryan R. Mullins, 2014), (Hamid Sadeghi Rad, 2015) suggest that electronic customer relationship of the e-sales companies is not always beneficial for the company and these relationships may sometimes give harm to the companies but the article by (Ryan R. Mullins, 2014) gives no harmful sides of customer relationships for the companies.
On the other hand, (Hamid Sadeghi Rad, 2015) thinks that enhancing customer relationships may be a factor that leads increases in the competitive advantage of the companies and the article seeks for ways to enhance customer relationships. In this context, there is a correlation between what the article suggests and what (Ryan R. Mullins, 2014) suggests. This is because (Ryan R. Mullins, 2014) states a positive correlation between the profitability of the company and (Hamid Sadeghi Rad, 2015) states enhancing customer relationships increases the competitive advantage of the company and thus the profitability of the company.
The third article, (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015) analyzes customer relationship in management approach and it suggests that there is an increasing trend for customer relationship management. (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015) suggest that customer relationship management is used mostly by service companies for creating value for their customers and in return creating value for the company itself. Like (Hamid Sadeghi Rad, 2015), it is suggested in (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015) that customer relationship management increases the performance fo the companies in terms of business competitiveness. (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015) offers 5 different categories for the capability of customer relationship management and these dimensions are stated as; “customer database value, customer learning continuity, customer based participation, customer communication channels and customer organization partnerships” (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015).
These dimensions are used in the article to close the so-called gap in the current literature of customer relationships and this gap is said to be created by not focusing on the inside organizations and giving all focus to two terms such as customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. The article offers five marketing outcomes that correspond to the five customer relationship dimensions given above and these outcomes are “service creativity, service innovation, service excellence, service competitiveness and marketing survival” (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015). The writers create new model by using these concepts and the article deals with the relationship between the capability of customer relationship marketing, marketing outcomes and all positive directions. The article, (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015), clearly supports the fact that customer relationship is an important element in marketing of a firm and like the articles analyzed and evaluated above, (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015) underlines the fact that there is a positive correlation between increasing customer relationships and the value created for the customers and the value captured by the company as a final result.
The above ideas that were found as a result of broad literature review of several articles have almost similar opinions about customer relationship management and service quality. All the articles, (A. Parasuraman, 1985), (Hamid Sadeghi Rad, 2015), (Martin Christopher, 1991), (Rattanaporn Saalee, 2015), (Ruth N. Bolton, 1991), (Ryan R. Mullins, 2014), (Taylor, 1994), (Vida Ðkudienë, 2015) have signs which state that there is a correlation between customer relationship, service quality and the value created for the customers and thus the value created for the company. But another review should be done in order to see this relationship in social business situations.
(Larrimore, 2013) states that all businesses from all levels and all markets should be having a customer relationship marketing strategy in order to create value for the customers and to capture value from the customers. (Larrimore, 2013) adds that even all companies at all levels should have customer relationship marketing and quality of service the levels of the relationship for the large companies is more ‘sophisticated’ that the levels of these for the small companies. It states a second issue about the social business situations on customer relationship marketing that the small companies do not have enough IT support and infrastructure that can help them to run their customer relationship management software and keep track of data about their customers. Thus, these statements of (Larrimore, 2013) show that even the articles offer customer relationship management for all the businesses, it may not be possible for the small companies to run an adequate customer relationship management program and also they do not need to have a complicated program of customer relationship.
Today, the companies are aware of the fact that the service quality is an important issue to be managed for the sake of the company and some of them are now even publishing their strategy about service quality online. One of these companies is Asiana Airlines. In (Asiana Airlines, 2015) it is stated that the service quality management is seen as a customer satisfaction management. In this way it is obvious that the managers of Asiana Airlines have an opinion that supports the fact that service quality affects the satisfaction of the customers and the value created for the customers and thus the value captured from the customers and because of this reason they have attach a great importance on service quality. It is stated by (Asiana Airlines, 2015) that “In January 2013, Asiana Airlines opened its New VOC System, improving its VOC processing capacity, building customer complaint prevention measures and renewing a strategic VOC management system for efficient, effective service quality management and adjusting any inappropriate services”.
It is underlined in the website of (Asiana Airlines, 2015) that the company measures service quality in several ways such as through All-employee service quality inspection system, customer satisfaction and service quality surveys and lastly company meetings. The reason for having such a complicated way of service quality management approach is that Asiana Airlines is a very large companies with lots of branches and operations and as (Larrimore, 2013) states large companies need a complicated management of service quality in order to meet the desired levels of service quality and to have an efficient whole system of service quality management. Asiana Airlines is a very good example of social business situations for the importance of service quality and the correlation between service quality and customer relationship management.
The last article that relates the service quality to social business situations is written by Bryan Kurey on Harvard Business Review. (Kurey, 2014) makes statements about the leadership in an organization and the enhancement of quality culture in that organization. (Kurey, 2014) concludes by saying that managers should take the key role in creating a true quality culture in the organization. The article uses the case of Seagate as an example of how managers can be leading the change in the organizational culture in terms of going from rules based quality culture to a true quality culture (Kurey, 2014).
This is suggested by the writer because the writer thinks that service quality is now more important than it has ever been in another time interval as the customers have access to any product and all the details and information about that product. The statement which says “company leaders begin by agreeing on what would constitute an ideal culture and what behaviors would be needed to achieve it. Next, the quality and HR teams compared their definitions of “ideal culture” with employees’ observations, which revealed areas for improvement” (Kurey, 2014) about the case of Seagate reveals the importance of service quality and how it should be handled in big companies.
To conclude, this study was a literature review that critically analyzed and evaluated literature on service quality and customer relationships and it also engaged this issues with contemporary marketing and social business situations. When the literature review on customer relationship is done on 4 different articles, it is seen that the articles have a common point which suggests that there is a correlation between the customer relationship management of the company and the value both created for the customers and captured from the customers.
The literature review on service quality also gives a similar result and as the common point of the articles, it is said that having a better service quality management increases the value created for the customers and thus the value captured from the customers, which results in higher profitability. Lastly, the social business situations Show a similar tendency about the relationship beween service quality, customer relationships and the value created. From the examples of Seagate and Asian Airlines, it is seen that customer relationships management and service quality management is important for the companies in social business in terms of increasing the value created for the customers and the profitability of the companies.
Service Quality References
A. Parasuraman, V. A. Z. L. B., 1985. A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Its Implications for Future Research. Journal of Marketing, 49(4), pp. 41-50.
Asiana Airlines, 2015. Asiana Airlines. [Online]
Available at: https://kr.flyasiana.com/C/en/homepage.do?menuId=005006002001000&menuType=CMS
[Reached: 07 March 2016].
Hamid Sadeghi Rad, M. G. R. S. R., 2015. Electronic Customer Relationship Management: Opportunities and Challenges of Digital World.. International Journal of Management, Accounting & Economic, 2(6), pp. 609-619.
Kurey, B., 2014. Harvard Business Review. [Online]
Available at: https://hbr.org/2014/04/creating-a-culture-of-quality
[Reached: 8 March 2016].
Larrimore, A., 2013. Do Small Businesses Understand the Customer Relationship Systems They Buy? [Interview] (03 April 2013).
Martin Christopher, A. P. B., 1991. Relationship Marketing: Bringing Quality, Customer Service and Marketing Together. Cranfield School of Management.
Rattanaporn Saalee, P. J. M., 2015. A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT CAPABILITY AND MARKETING SURVIVAL.. Allied Academies International Conference: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Studies (AMS), 20(2), pp. 95-104.
Ruth N. Bolton, J. H. D., 1991. A Multistage Model of Customers’ Assessments of Service Quality and Value. Journal of Consumer Research, 17(4), pp. 375-384.
Ryan R. Mullins, M. A. K. L. R. H. P. B., 2014. Know Your Customer: How Salesperson Perceptions of Customer Relationship Quality Form and Influence Account Profitability.. Journal of Marketing, 78(6), pp. 38-58.
Taylor, S. A., 1994. An assessment of the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction in the formation of consumers’ purchase intentions. Journal of Retailing, 70(2), pp. 163-178.
Vida Ðkudienë, Ð. È. M. R., 2015. THE EFFECT OF E-SHOPS’ SERVICE QUALITY ON LITHUANIAN CONSUMERS’ PURCHASE INTENTIONS. International Journal of Business, Marketing, & Decision Science, 8(1), pp. 43-59.