Defining .Customer Satisfaction
The customers direct" involvement in the service delivery system suggests a need to integrate both marketing and operations perspectives into the service system's design and evaluation. A marketing-related measure of customer reaction to waiting time would more clearly indicate the true customer waiting costs instead of just the actual waiting time itself, Customer satisfaction appears to be the marketing measure that fulfills this need.
Definition of Customer Satisfaction
Drawing on work done in marketing; we define customer satisfaction as being directly related to the comparison between a customer's expectations of a service's performance and that customer's perception of that performance. In other words. if the perceived performance meets expectations. then the customer is satisfied: if it exceeds expectations by a large amount, then the customer is highly satisfied or delighted: if the performance falls significantly short of expectations, then the customer is dissatisfied. In marketing terminology, satisfaction is said to be directly related to the disconfirmation (i.e .. difference) between the customer's expected and perceived performance of the service. Customer satisfaction is a good measure of how effective the delivery system is. because
it appears to provide the ne ssary linkage between the level of service that the company currently providing to a customer, the customer's perception of that service. and the customer's future behavior toward the firm. Oliver suggests that customer satisfaction is part of an overall model of customer behavior that develops over time. as
Customer expectations are defined as the customers' preconceived notions of what level of service they should receive from a particular service business or organization. Expectations can be derived from several sources. One source of expectations is advertising. Many restaurants. for example promise in their advertising that your lunch will be served in 10 minutes or less. Thus. if you have to wait longer than 10 minutes. you will be dissatisfied; if your wait is much less than 10 minutes, you will be very satisfied. Expectations also can be predicated on the customer's prior experience with the company. Additional-sources of expectations include word-of-mouth and previous experiences with similar types of operations. The. overall service delivery package also influences a customer's expectations with waiting time. People tend to associate little or no waiting with upscale or higher-priced services. These types of operations, therefore, often require appointments or reservations to ensure minimal, if any, waiting. The degree of customization provided to each customer is another factor that can influence expectations. The more a service is customized, the longer a customer might expect to wait.
Perceived Waiting Time
receiving service. While this is directly related to the actual time a customer waits. there re often significant differences between the two. In fact, studies have shown that perceived waiting time has a greater impact in determining customer satisfaction than does actual waiting time.' As we will discuss later in this chapter, management can have an influence on a customer's perceived waiting time if it has an understanding of the factors that affect it. To illustrate the difference between per eve waiting time and actual waiting time, we look at the example of a newly designed hotel that was built with insufficient elevator .