Research shows that one of the biggest challenges nowadays for the organisations operating in the restaurants and service industries is to provide and maintain the satisfaction of their customers and ensure the brand loyalty (Mumel & Snoj, 2007). It is important for a company to understand what is expected of the company from a customer perspective, and the level to which the company is meeting this expectation.
There are two themes that must run parallel to each other when delivering a quality service (Szwarc, 2005). The first is that the organisation staff in customer-centric should understand the relationship between customer satisfaction, loyalty and profits. Besides, staff should also know how to use market research to provide a competitive advantage. Furthermore, Szwarc (2005) also give an evident that there is no simple management model or technique that will provide a clear and error-free answer as to what drives customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. The second theme is that market researchers have the business tools that can allow organisations to understand their customers’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviours. The rewards of utilising these tools are being able to equip staff to deliver a quality service and enable the business to function as an organisation that is customer-centric.
This chapter will identify elements pertaining to customer satisfaction, by highlighting how an organisation can channel its efforts by focussing on customer satisfaction and loyalty. A brief study of the more common management theories about customer satisfaction and loyalty will be conducted.
2.2 CONCEPT OF CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Customer satisfaction is the individual’s perception of the performance of the product or service in relation to his or her expectations (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2004). Customer satisfaction is one of the most popular topics in marketing in the present world because it affects the business results in a positive and negative manner (Gonzalez et al., 2009). Customer satisfaction has been defined as evaluative judgments of the customers regarding the organisational products and services after customer’s consumption (Faullant et al., 2008). Customer satisfaction reflects the judgements of the customers which are usually based on the pre-purchase expectation and after consumption experience (Snoj and Mumel, 2002). Customer will have different expectations of exactly the same product. Customer satisfaction can be expressed as a function of customer expectation, once customer experience low levels of expectation, will be dissatisfied. In contrast, where customers high expectations are fulfilled he/she will be satisfied (Oliver, 1980). Customer expectations will have in the area of product quality, service quality and environment quality.
Customer satisfaction has been considered one of the most important constructs (McQuitty et al., 2000), and one of the main goals in marketing (Erevelles & Leavitt, 1992). Furthermore,...