Measuring consumer expectations and satisfactions
Measurement of consumer expectations and satisfactions has been of long standing concern to consumer behaviour researchers and has been extended, in recent years, by academics and practitioners who have research interests in service quality - where quality is considered to be the difference between consumers expectations and perceptions (satisfactions). Researchers in the Manchester School of Management have developed a portfolio of activities relating to customer satisfactions/quality. Investigations have been largely in the service sector where the characteristics of services (intangibility, heterogeneity, perishability and the inseparability of production and consumption) and, in particular, the role of service employees in the production and delivery of services, have implications for the (quality ot) service which customers expect and receive. Projects have focused on the expectations and satisfactions of both internal and external customers. Attention has been given to the dimensions and determinants of expectations/satisfactions and associated measurement techniques, including SERVQUAL and other rating scales. In this paper, the background to this research activity is presented and a number of projects are referred to, which focus on the measurement of expectations and satisfactions from the perspectives of managers, employees and external customers. The final section deals with some of the measurement problems encountered and suggestions for on-going research.
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