This chapter collects the necessary literature used to be as the theoretic base to guide the research direction and to develop appropriate scale for measuring customer satisfaction in leisure industry. Earlier researchers found that there has been a close association between research on consumer satisfaction and quality measurement, therefore, the SERVQUAL model is chosen to apply in this context with some modifications.
2.1 Customer satisfaction
A variety of researcher has devoted to define the nature of customer satisfaction. Kotler (2000) defined satisfaction as: “a person’s feeling of pleasure or disappointment resulting from comparing a product’s perceived performance (or outcome) in relation to his or her expectations”. Hoyer and MacInnis (2001) said that satisfaction can be associated with feelings of acceptance, happiness, relief, excitement, and delight. According to Hansemark and Albinsson (2004), it is an overall customer attitude towards a service provider, or an emotional reaction to the difference between what customers anticipate and what they receive, regarding the fulfillment of some need, goal or desire. With the attempt to measure customer satisfaction, Hokanson (1995) identified several factors include friendly employees, courteous employees, knowledgeable employees, helpful employees, accuracy of billing, billing timeliness, competitive pricing, service quality, good value, billing clarity and quick service.
However, between measurement and explanation there still does not appear to be a consensus regarding its definition (Giese and Cote, 2000). Depend on the situation and the product or service, customer satisfaction can be different and customer may feel satisfied with product or service, a sale person, a provider, a store, an experience, an attribute or any of these. It can be said that customer satisfaction is a highly personal assessment that is greatly influenced by individual expectations.
Some researcher avoids “satisfaction” as measurement objective instead they tried to focus on customer’s entire experience with an organization or service contact and the detailed assessment of that experience. According to Bitner (1990), consumer satisfaction generally relies upon product quality and services being offered. And there exist a close association between research on consumer satisfaction and quality measurement (East; 1997). Due to this reason, measurement of quality is in general closely related to research conducted on customer satisfaction (East, R.; 1997).
2.2 Service quality
Service quality has received a great deal of attention from both academicians and practitioners (Negi, 2009) and services marketing literature, service quality is defined as the overall assessment of a service by the customer (Eshghi et al., 2008, p.121). Sharing the same idea, Ganesan-Lim, Russel- Bennett and Dagger (2008: 551) defined perceived service quality as the customer’s judgment of, or impression about, an organization’s overall excellence or superiority. While others defined service quality as the extent to which a service meets customers’ needs or expectations (Lewis and Mitchell, 1990; Dotchin and Oakland, 1994a; Asubonteng et al., 1996; Wisniewski and Donnelly, 1996). In order to measure service quality have been a challenge because the characteristics of service such as intangibility, perishability, inseparability and variability (Kurtz and Clow, 2002: 10) are different and unable to be found in product or commodities.
Service quality is considered an important tool for a firm’s struggle to differentiate itself from its competitors (Ladhari, 2008, p.172). Similarly, Yeo (2008: 267) mentions that the rapid competition in the service industry has led many organizations to focus on providing outstanding service to its customers. He believes that service quality is far more complex; it is concerned with the physical, institutional and psychological aspects of the service industry. Due to the increased competition, organizations have begun to realize that offering high service quality is a vital skill necessary for creating and maintaining a competitive advantage.
2.3 Service quality model
The question arises that is how to measure the service quality, when as mentioned before there are numerous different definitions as to what is meant by service quality. The measurement of service quality allows for comparison before and after changes, for location of quality related problems and for the establishment of clear standards for service delivery. According to Edvardsen et al. (1994) the starting point in developing quality in service is analysis and measurement. Therefore, it is a need for to develop valid instruments for the systematic evaluation of firms’ performance from the customer point of view, which can be seen as the competitive advantage for any organization to hold. One definition that is commonly used defines service quality by the American scholars as the difference between customer expectations of service and perceived service (Parasuraman et al., 1985; Lewis and Mitchell, 1990; Dotchin and Oakland, 1994; Asubonteng et al., 1996; Wisniewski and Donnelly, 1996).
In 1988, Parasuraman et al. developed the SERVQUAL model which is a multi-item scale developed to assess customer perceptions of service quality in service and retail businesses. The scale decomposes the notion of service quality into five constructs as follows: Tangibles, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance and empathy. It bases on capturing the gap between customers’ expectations and experience which could be negative or positive if the expectation is higher than experience or expectation is less than or equal to experience respectively. Much of the research to date has focused on measuring service quality using the SERVQUAL model instrument. Thus, research on the instrument has been widely cited in the marketing literature and its use in industry has become quite wide spread (Brown et al., 1993).
At the same time, other European scholars’ criticism of SERVQUAL has been the point that the instrument mainly focuses on the service delivery process (Gronroos, 1990; Mangold and Babakus, 1991; Richard and Allaway, 1993), additional aspects to be considered have already been suggested by them. Lehtinen and Lehtinen (1982) defined service quality in terms of physical quality, interactive quality and corporate (image) quality. Physical quality relates to the tangibles aspect of the service. Interactive quality involves the interactive nature of services and refers to the two-way flow that occurs between the customer and the service provider, or his/her representative, including both automated and animated interactions. Corporate quality refers to the image attributed to a service provider by its current and potential customers.
Another European scholar is Gronroos (1982) who identified two service quality dimensions, the technical aspect (“what” service is provided) and the functional aspect (“how” the service is provided). The customer perceived what he receives as the outcome of the process in which the resources are used as well as how the process itself functions. Because of the widely acceptance and usage of SERVQUAL model applied in various industries such as banks, information technology, telecommunication, hotels (Kumar et al, 2009; Badri et al., 2003; Negi, 2009, p.31-38; Akan, 1995, p.39-43) this research choose the SERVQUAL model by Parasuraman et al., 1988 as the basic main idea for service quality measurement instrument with the purpose to test the applicability of this model in a specific leisure industry like BHD cinema.
2.4 Model of Service Quality Gaps and SERVQUAL model:
At first, in 1985 Parasuraman et al. developed a conceptual model of service quality which identified five gaps that could impact the consumer’s evaluation of service quality in four different industries (retail banking, credit card, securities brokerage and product repair and maintenance). These gaps were: Gap 1: Consumer expectation – management perception gap
Service firms may not always understand what features a service must have in order to meet consumer needs and what levels of performance on those features are needed to bring deliver high quality service. This results to affecting the way consumers evaluate service quality. Gap 2: Management perception – service quality specification gap This gap arises when the company identifies want the consumers want but the means to deliver to expectation does not exist. Some factors that affect this gap could be resource constraints, market conditions and management indifference. These could affect service quality perception of the consumer.
Gap 3: Service quality specifications – service delivery gap Companies could have guidelines for performing service well and treating consumers correctly but these do not mean high service quality performance is assured. Employees play an important role in assuring good service quality perception and their performance cannot be standardized. This affects the delivery of service which has an impact on the way consumers perceive service quality. Gap 4: Service delivery – external communications gap
External communications can affect not only consumer expectations of service but also consumer perceptions of the delivered service. Companies can neglect to inform consumers of special efforts to assure quality that are not visible to them and this could influence service quality perceptions by consumers. Gap 5: Expected Service – perceived service gap
From their study, it showed that the key to ensuring good service quality is meeting or exceeding what consumers expect from the service and that judgment of high and low service quality depend on how consumers perceive the actual performance in the context of what they expected. Later Parasuraman et al. (1985) developed the well-know SERVQUAL model based on the gap 5 between expected service and perceived service. He identified 97 attributes which were found to have an impact on service quality. These 97 attributes were the criteria that are important in assessing customer’s expectations and perceptions on delivered service” (Kumar et al., 2009, p.214). These attributes were categorized into ten dimensions (Parasuraman et al., 1985) and later subjected the proposed 97 item instruments for assessing service quality through two stages in order to purify the instruments and select those with significant influences (Parasuraman et al., 1988, p.13).
The first purification stage came up with ten dimensions for assessing service quality which were; tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, communication, credibility, security, competence, courtesy, understanding, knowing, customers, and access. They went into the second purification stage and in this stage they concentrated on condensing scale dimensionality and reliability. Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1988: 27) further reduced the ten dimensions to five which were: Tangibility: means appeal of facilities, all the equipment, and material that are used by the service company. The appearance of the service employees is also included in tangibles.
Reliability: contains accurate service without mistakes the first time and delivering the promised services when promised and as promised. Responsiveness: means the willingness to help customers, respond to their requests, tell customers when the service is provided, and to give instant service. Assurance: covers the significance of employee’s behavior in helping customers to trust the company and feel safe. The employees also need to have enough knowledge to be able to answer different questions that the customers have Empathy: means understanding customers’ problems, performing the way that is most beneficial for the customer and having convenient operating hours.
Figure 2.1The SERVQUAL model (Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry 1988) 2.5 Other factors relating to the context of this research: With the same purpose to access the customer satisfaction level based on service quality in the context of cinema/theatre, several researchers have already successfully developed their measurement scale. Wen Tao (2009) in his study about influencing factors of customer experience in a theater and its transmission path found that dimensions as promotion / physical evidence, convenience, reasonable prices affect directly and positively on customer experience; conversely, the quality of services and the expected video quality exert indirectly influence over customer experience through the promotion / physical evidence.
Also, Xuxiu Yu (2008) when researching on University students weekend leisure behaviors stated that University Students when making weekend leisure behaviors value environment and facilities most, following by by distance and traffic convenience. According to Xu Guogang (2008), the main factors that influence college students to theater are the high ticket price and easy access to movie resources, and that attract college students to theater are social need, film appeal, screening effect, audio-visual experience and discounts. BHD cinema is new and modern with facilities and technology making that its customers observed in this research will mostly young people (including college student), thus several variables in the previous studies may be suitable and needed to take into account when measuring the service quality of a cinema/theatre.