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Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction Relationship

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 1017 words Published: 3rd Jan 2018

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The distinction between service quality and satisfaction was initially unclear in literature (Anderson and Fornell, 1994). There was considerable debate whether service quality is a cause of satisfaction (Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Parasuraman et al., 1985) or a consequence of satisfaction (Bitner, 1990; Bolton and Drew, 1991). Anderson and Fornell, (1994) contend that Satisfaction is a “post consumption” experience which compares perceived quality with expected quality, as contrasted to service quality which Parasuraman et al., (1985) refererred to as a “global evaluation of a firm’s service delivery system” . In support of this distiction the works of (Brady and Robertson, 2001; Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Frazer Winsted, 2000; Spreng and Mackoy, 1996) lead us to believe that satisfaction and service quality are distinct constructs and, that service quality is an antecedent of the broader concept of customer satisfaction.


An accepted view is that the essential determinant of satisfaction is the confirmation/disconfirmation of pre-consumption product standards (Erevelles and Leavitt 1992; Oliver 1996).

Several different comparison standards-each exclusively tied to positively aspects of product features and their implications for consumers-have been used in past research. By far the most common are predictive expectations of attribute performance, as incorporated in the expectations-dis-confirmation (ED) model of satisfaction response (Boulding et al. 1993; Oliver 1996; Tse and Wilton 1988).

Desires based on features and benefits that are considered ideal or aspirational in the product domain have also been recommended (Westbrook and Reilly 1983).

Other models use equity expectations based on what the consumer believes reasonably should occur given the product/service price (Oliver and Swan 1989) and experience-based norms de-rived from personal experiences or information received (Cadotte, Woodruff, and Jenkins 1987).

Although these four types of comparison standards reflect the four principal satisfaction models articulated within the CS paradigm, past researchers probably have overemphasized the significance of predictive expectations and the ED model (Cadotte, Woodruff, and Jenkins 1987).

lacobucci, Grayson, and Ostrom (1994) recently called for research into conditions that determine the use of certain standards over others and the possibility of multiple simultaneous standards, and new empirical work has begun to support these ideas (Spreng, MacKenzie, and Olshavsky 1996).

A few CS paradigm researchers have gone beyond these cognitively toned model formulations to consider the affective nature of satisfaction (Oliver 1996; Westbrook 1987). Perhaps most intriguing is Oliver’s (1989) suggestion that there exist five different modes or prototypes of satisfaction: contentment (with its primary affect of acceptance or tolerance), pleasure (a positive reinforcement state that involves the evocation or enhancement of a positive, well-liked experience and a primary affect of happiness), relief (a negative reinforcement state occurring when an aversive state is removed), novelty (expectations of the unexpected that yield a primary affect of interest or excitation), and surprise (a primary affect of either delight or outrage as occurs when the product performs outside the range of expectations).

Empirical examination of these modes has just begun, with initial results indicating a more parsimonious structure than originally proposed (Oliver 1996).

Although satisfaction has been conceptualized in terms of either a single transaction (i.e., an evaluative judgment following the purchase occasion) or a series of interactions with a product over time, Anderson and Fornell (1994) note that nearly all satisfaction research has adopted the former, transaction-specific view.

Indeed, several observers have chastised the marketing field for treating satisfaction as a static evaluation derived from a lone trial event, noting that comparison standards are likely to change with consumer experience (Iacobucci, Grayson, and Ostrom 1994).

Among the few satisfaction studies that have adopted longitudinal designs, most remain wedded to the CS paradigm (e.g., Bolton and Drew 1991; LaBarbera and Mazursky 1983; Richins and Bloch 1991).


Cronin, J.J. and Taylor, S.A. (1992), “Measuring service quality: a re-examination and extension”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 56, July, pp. 55-68.

Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V.A. and Berry, L.L. (1985), “A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 49, Fall, pp. 41-50.

Bitner, M.J. (1990), “Evaluating service encounters: the effects of physical surroundings and employee responses”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54, April, pp. 69-82.

Bolton, R.N. and Drew, J.H. (1991), “A multistage model of customers’ assessments of service quality and value”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 17, March, pp. 275-84.

Brady, M.K. and Robertson, C.J. (2001), “Searching for a consensus on the antecedent role of service quality and satisfaction: an exploratory cross-national study”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 51, January, pp. 53-9.

Frazer Winsted, K. (2000), “Service behaviors that lead to satisfied customers”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 34 Nos 4/3, pp. 399-417.

Spreng, R.A. and Mackoy, R.D. (1996), “An empirical examination of a model of perceived service quality and satisfaction”, Journal of Retailing, Vol. 72 No. 2, pp. 201-14.

Anderson, E.W., Fornell, C. (1994), “A customer satisfaction research prospectus”, in ust, R.T., Oliver, R.L. (Eds),Service Quality: New Directions in Theory and Practice, pp.241-68..

Yi (1990) conceptualizes satisfaction as an attitude-like judgment following a purchase act or based on a series of consumer-product interactions.


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