Segment differences in the asymmetric effects of service quality on business customer relationships

Segment differences in the asymmetric effects of service quality on business customer relationships Purpose – The purpose of this article is to explore the possible negative asymmetric effects in the impact of service quality on the satisfaction and retention of different customer segments in a professional business services context. Negative asymmetry means that a lower than average service quality evaluation has a stronger effect on customer satisfaction and retention than a higher than average evaluation. Design/methodology/approach – The article provides a survey of 124 business customers of a Midwestern radio advertising services provider, preceded by nine in‐depth interviews with account reps of the advertising firm and two focus groups with business customers. Findings – Along the service quality dimensions – customer satisfaction – retention chain, there are significant negative asymmetric effects and the mediating role of satisfaction varies widely. There are important differences across customer groups: service outcomes are most important determinants of customer satisfaction for large and relatively newer accounts; functional quality dimensions (empathy) are most important factors for small and relatively mature accounts. Research limitations/implications – Surveying customers of one organization in one industry reduces the generalizability of the findings. The study employed only two segmentation variables, while many other variables could be investigated. The focus is on the asymmetric effects of service quality; other factors, such as costs, were not considered. Practical implications – Managers should invest resources in improving low performance in the service quality dimensions with strongest impact on customer satisfaction and highest negative asymmetry. The identified segment differences suggest the need to achieve strong results for large accounts and relatively new accounts. The customer relationship is most important for small accounts and relatively mature accounts. Maintaining service reliability is critical for small and new account retention. Originality/value – This study is a first effort to explore the differences in effects across service quality dimensions and customer segments in a professional business service context. The findings indicate that aggregating customers and the service quality measurement can offer misleading information to managers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Services Marketing Emerald Publishing

Segment differences in the asymmetric effects of service quality on business customer relationships

Loading next page...
 
/lp/emerald-publishing/segment-differences-in-the-asymmetric-effects-of-service-quality-on-dBPfRTdozL
Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0887-6045
DOI
10.1108/08876040710773660
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to explore the possible negative asymmetric effects in the impact of service quality on the satisfaction and retention of different customer segments in a professional business services context. Negative asymmetry means that a lower than average service quality evaluation has a stronger effect on customer satisfaction and retention than a higher than average evaluation. Design/methodology/approach – The article provides a survey of 124 business customers of a Midwestern radio advertising services provider, preceded by nine in‐depth interviews with account reps of the advertising firm and two focus groups with business customers. Findings – Along the service quality dimensions – customer satisfaction – retention chain, there are significant negative asymmetric effects and the mediating role of satisfaction varies widely. There are important differences across customer groups: service outcomes are most important determinants of customer satisfaction for large and relatively newer accounts; functional quality dimensions (empathy) are most important factors for small and relatively mature accounts. Research limitations/implications – Surveying customers of one organization in one industry reduces the generalizability of the findings. The study employed only two segmentation variables, while many other variables could be investigated. The focus is on the asymmetric effects of service quality; other factors, such as costs, were not considered. Practical implications – Managers should invest resources in improving low performance in the service quality dimensions with strongest impact on customer satisfaction and highest negative asymmetry. The identified segment differences suggest the need to achieve strong results for large accounts and relatively new accounts. The customer relationship is most important for small accounts and relatively mature accounts. Maintaining service reliability is critical for small and new account retention. Originality/value – This study is a first effort to explore the differences in effects across service quality dimensions and customer segments in a professional business service context. The findings indicate that aggregating customers and the service quality measurement can offer misleading information to managers.

Journal

Journal of Services MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 7, 2007

Keywords: Customer services quality; Business‐to‐business marketing

References

  • Trust in industrial service relationships: behavioral consequences, antecedents, and the moderating effect of the duration of the relationship
    Gounaris, S.P.; Venetis, K.
  • The relationships of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profitability: an empirical study
    Hallowell, R.
  • The determinants of service quality: satisfiers and dissatisfiers
    Johnston, R.
  • What does value mean in business‐to‐business professional services?
    Lapierre, J.
  • Modeling the determinants of customer satisfaction for business‐to‐business professional services
    Patterson, P.G.; Johnson, L.W.; Spreng, R.A.
  • Managing quality in business‐to‐business services
    Szmigin, I.T.D.
  • Service quality, profitability, and the economic worth of customers: what we know and what we need to learn
    Zeithaml, V.A.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month