Customer Satisfaction and Effective Customer Service

Subject: Consumer Science
Pages: 8
Words: 2533
Reading time:
11 min
Study level: PhD

Foundation of the Study

Background of the Problem

In modern and dynamic business environments, effective communication with customers is critical to achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction (Alidadi & Nazari, 2013). Customer satisfaction has an important role in the overall profitability and performance of businesses, as well as in their ability to compete successfully within their industry (Iran, Shamsudin, & Hadi, 2016; Falade Obalade & Dubey, 2014). One of the major challenges is to contribute to positive changes in customer satisfaction because of the necessity to refer to a range of extrinsic and intrinsic factors, which can influence customers’ perceptions of provided products and services (Minh & Huu, 2016; Lepkova & Žūkaitė-Jefimovienė, 2012). Approximately one third of all business tends to fail to address customer service satisfaction (Lemon & Verhoef, 2016). Therefore, business leaders often choose to concentrate on improving customer service strategies in order to affect customer satisfaction.

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Problem Statement

Profitability of businesses in the United States significantly depends on customer satisfaction as dissatisfied customers often communicate their negative experience, influencing organizations’ profits (Irfan et al., 2016; Tao, 2014). Studies indicated that even the 1% change in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) could result in more than $200 million difference in organizations ‘profits (Irfan et al., 2016). The general business problem is that customer service can lead to decreasing sales and the loss of businesses’ profits. The specific business problem is that some leaders lack effective customer service strategies.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explore effective customer service strategies used by leaders. The targeted population consists of executives and customer service managers of a non-profit organization located in Miami, Florida, who successfully applied customer service strategies. The implication for the positive social changes is that improved customer satisfaction can influence the quality of services provided by Florida organizations, thus increasing their quality of life, satisfaction levels, and improving community environment.

Nature of the Study

The qualitative methodology is selected for this study. The qualitative method focuses on human behavior, examination and analysis of personal experiences, and perspectives of individuals (Maxwell, 2012). Qualitative research aims to gather, structure, and analyze non-numerical data to support or refute proposed hypotheses (Maxwell, 2012). Since this study will include the experiences and opinions of executives and customer service managers, the qualitative method is more suitable for this study. A researcher with quantitative methodology focuses on collecting and analyzing numerical and statistical data to indicate relationships between phenomena (Maxwell, 2012). This study will not include finding numerical representations of relationships; therefore, the quantitative methodology is not appropriate for this study. The mixed methods research is based on combining using quantitative and qualitative methods to gain a complete understanding of the studied issue (Tesch, 2013). This study does not include the evaluation of quantitative data; therefore, the mixed methods research is not the best choice for the study.

A single case study is selected for this research. The case study approach is based on a detailed analysis of a specific situation, organization, or phenomenon from different perspectives and with reference to various sources of evidence (Rohlfing, 2012). The case study design is most appropriate for this research because it is associated with the detailed analysis of the situation of applying strategies to improve customer satisfaction in organizations. The phenomenological approach is used by researchers to explore people’s lived experiences regarding a phenomenon under analysis (Tesch, 2013). This approach cannot be applied to my study because I will focus on people’s views concerning certain issues rather than their accounts of experiences and the way they feel about them need other designs.

Research Question

What effective customer service strategies do business leaders use?

Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework that will be used in this study is a Model of Perceived Service Quality and Satisfaction developed by Richard Spreng and Robert Mackoy in 1996 (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2013). This model defines perceived service quality as an outcome of comparisons between ideals and performance perceptions with regard to quality dimensions, whereas satisfaction is based on customers’ predictive expectations toward quality and non-quality dimensions. The key concepts or propositions of this model include: the perception of the quality of services depends on customers’ expectations, the perception of the quality of services is in a positive relationship with customer satisfaction, and dissatisfied expectations relate to changes in the quality of services (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2013).The Model of Perceived Service Quality and Satisfaction is based on the idea that consumers compare the performance of a product or service with a standard of their own. Consumers’ satisfaction depends on their belief about what is going to happen, and if products’ and services’ performance is better than anticipated, consumers’ satisfaction is more likely to increase (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2013). The difference between customers’ expectations and perceptions is that the former comprises customers’ ideas about what services or products should be offered, while the latter reflects services or products provided in reality. As applied to this research, the model predicts that changes in customer services can be associated with changes in customer satisfaction.

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Operational Definitions

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI): The index is a benchmark for the evaluation of customer satisfaction used nationwide (American Customer Satisfaction Index, 2017).

Perceived service quality: The comparison between consumers’ predictive expectations about services and products and his/her opinion about what services/products the organization should provide (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2013).

Customer Satisfaction: disconfirmation of consumers’ expectations toward products/services with regard to their characteristics (quality and non-quality) (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2013).

Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations

Any research is based on certain assumptions that guide the researcher’s analysis and may have an influence on the conclusions (Gray, 2013). Some assumptions should be highlighted so that readers could evaluate the relevance and validity of the findings and conclusions taking into account the researcher’s way of thinking. Other aspects to pay attention to are limitations and delimitations that help identify the scope of the study and shed light on the reasons behind the choice of the used research methods.

Assumptions

Assumptions are facts that are accepted to be true, but they lack verification (Gray, 2013). The first assumption is that participants of the study will provide honest answers to the questions proposed to them. The knowledge base concerning various practices existing in the context of non-profit organizations is still insufficient (Liston-Heyes & Liu, 2013). Another assumption is that participants have enough experience to provide the information related to the research question. A final assumption is that participants will share their views on the strategies.

Limitations

Limitations of the study are its weak points that the researcher did not manage to address because of some reasons (Gray, 2013). One limitation is associated with the participant bias as the participants may provide socially desirable answers although they may have another point of view. Another limitation is the sample’s relative homogeneity as the participants live in a specific city (Miami).

Delimitations

Delimitation is associated with the choice of the organization (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015). The first delimitation is that only managers will participate and other employees will not be included. The employees from one non-profit organization operating in Miami will be included. The staff of the Customer Service department will take part in the study. Researchers gain in-depth insights into the way customer satisfaction is regarded by the managerial staff of non-profit organizations (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015). The focus is on managers’ attitudes rather than experiences.

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Significance of the Study

Contribution to Business Practice

Customer service strategies can contribute to customer satisfaction to increase organization’s profits (Minh & Huu, 2016). The exploration of interactions and connections between the customer-centered services and customer satisfaction may allow the deeper comprehension of practices. As a result, the study may demonstrate what customer-centered service strategies can be associated with positive changes in customer satisfaction and profitability of organizations. Positive changes in customer services may contribute to improving consumers’ experiences and developing organizations.

Implications for Social Change

The implications for social change include addressing people’s needs associated with their living in the community. This study may have a direct impact on the well-being of the residents of Miami. The research may unveil customers’ needs and expectations. The identification of effective customer-centered services that increase customer satisfaction may result in the development of frameworks that can be used in various non-profit organizations in the community.

A Review of the Professional and Academic Literature

ACSI as a Research Framework

Since the focus of this study is customer satisfaction and such tools as the ACSI, the recent peer-reviewed articles on these aspects were reviewed. XX scholarly articles (XX% of the literature review) were included in this review. All of these sources but one can be regarded as recent as all of them were published between 2013 and 2016. One of the peer-reviewed journals was published in 2012. One book (XX% of the reviewed sources) on customer satisfaction and the use of different methods to evaluate it were also reviewed. These sources are also recent. Two web-based sources (XX% of the analyzed sources) are included in this review as these are illustrations of the use of the tools and services under analysis. The ACSI framework is often used as a research basis. Most studies on customer satisfaction and the ACSI are related to commercial organizations (Deng, Yeh, & Sung, 2013; Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2013). Studies on the correlation between customer satisfaction and the market share are also numerous (Rego, Morgan, & Fornell, 2013). Thus, many studies regard customers as a priority for businesses, but they do not emphasize the ACSI, and the focus is on the customer satisfaction models (Wetzel, Hammerschmidt, & Zablah, 2014).

Transition

The customer satisfaction assessment in commercial organizations is not thoroughly studied. To investigate this issue, the ACSI and the perceived service quality and satisfaction model can be used. The next sections introduce the project and address the application to professional activities and possibilities of change.

The Project

The section represents the project details. The purpose statement, the role of the researcher, population, and method and design are examined taking into consideration ethical issues. Data analysis, validity, and reliability are also included.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explore effective customer service strategies used by leaders. The targeted population consists of executives and customer service managers of a non-profit organization located in Miami, Florida, who successfully applied customer service strategies. The implication for the positive social changes is that improved customer satisfaction can influence the quality of services provided by Florida organizations, thus increasing their quality of life, satisfaction levels, and improving community environment.

Role of the Researcher

The role of the researcher is to investigate the matter avoiding bias. The cultural background of the researcher and the case study actors is the same. Consequently, the bias connected with the tendency to appreciate the achievements of a member of the same culture might be present.

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Participants

The case study under discussion will involve the residents of Miami who use court services (Clerk of Courts’ Online Services, n.d.).

Research Method and Design

Research Method

A qualitative study aims at recognizing particular details associated with customer satisfaction in accordance with the purpose to look for useful novelties (Hussein, 2015).

Research Design

Case studies are a suitable option because particular perceptions and hands-on examples are significant (Creswell, 2013; Gray, 2013).

Sampling

The sampling includes one case study pertaining to the platform improving the information availability (Clerk of Courts’ Online Services, n.d.).

Ethical Research

Because the present research is based on a single case study, the informed consent is not obligatory.

Data Collection Instruments

The documentation review is the data collection instrument. The member checking of the documents will be present.

Data Collection Technique

In this research, the available company documents are scrutinized: the information about the Family Court in Miami is to be gathered (for instance, performance indicators, databases, and so on).

Data Organization Technique

Electronic and hard copies of the data are used. Only the researcher should have access to them (document passwords are used, and the drawers are locked). The data are to be destroyed in five years.

Data Analysis

One of the four types of triangulation, data triangulation including time, space, and people, is used (Hussein, 2015). In relation to the first component, it is considered how much time is necessary to develop the new approach based on the customer-centered activities. The time spent on the IT systems construction is also taken into account. Later on, the space analyzed in the case study is limited by the single city. However, it is advantageous since the targeted population refers to the similar territory, Miami (Gray, 2013). People are the main focus in the data analysis. The assessment of the new approach, the revealed strengths and weaknesses, and recommendations given by them are analyzed using Excel.

Reliability and Validity

Reliability

To provide reliable data, member checking of data analysis and triangulation are suggested as the main measures.

Validity

The validity will be proven by the reliability of the research and the opportunity for other researchers to check the results via the documents.

Transition and Summary

The research is to examine customer satisfaction through the qualitative perspective. The researcher chooses a single case study and examines the situation avoiding bias and providing valid and reliable data.

Application to Professional Practice and Implications for Change

Introduction

The purpose of the study was to scrutinize various strategies implemented to raise the level of customer satisfaction. The most advantageous strategies, quick response and personal approach in the form of the online platform, may be implemented.

Presentation of the Findings

The research question pertained to the most effective strategies for increasing customer satisfaction in non-profit companies in terms. Quick response and individual approach are considered beneficial for businesses. The findings confirm their effectiveness in the non-commercial environment.

Applications to Professional Practice

Non-commercial organizations also seek for the services quality improvement and need certain strategies. Not all strategies are effective for them (Liston-Heyes& Liu, 2013). The findings are applicable: they help adapt certain approaches to the specific setting. The time will not be wasted on other strategies. Online services are vital and common nowadays, and it is desirable to introduce them in the court practice.

Implications for Social Change

Non-profit organizations and customers will save their time and cooperate effectively since the procedures will be simpler and more intelligible for people. Meeting individual needs will affect the behavior of both parties: they will be more confident. As a result, customers will obtain the necessary information quickly, and they will not have to wait for the high-quality services.

Recommendations for Action

Many non-profit organizations, governmental and international, may use the findings. The research results may be published in academic journals, and conference reports will also be necessary.

Recommendations for Further Research

The future quantitative research may concentrate on the larger population within courts or other non-commercial organizations.

Reflections

The personal bias was the expectation that customers would be dissatisfied with some online services. The practice was connected with positive and negative assessment in equal proportion.

Conclusion

To conclude, some of the business strategies concerning customer satisfaction, namely quick response and personal approach through the online platforms, are effective for non-profit organizations.

References

Alidadi, M., & Nazari, M. (2013). The most effective strategy to improve customer satisfaction in Iranian banks: A fuzzy AHP analysis. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 4(4), 83-93.

American Customer Satisfaction Index. (2017). The science of customer satisfaction. Web.

Clerk of Courts’ Online Services. (n.d.). Online services. Web.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Deng, W. J., Yeh, M. L., & Sung, M. L. (2013). A customer satisfaction index model for international tourist hotels: Integrating consumption emotions into the American Customer Satisfaction Index. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 35(1), 133-140.

Falade Obalade, T. A., & Dubey, S. (2014). Managing tourism as a source of revenue and foreign direct investment inflow in a developing country: The Jordanian experience. International Journal of Academic Research in Economics and Management Sciences, 3(3), 16-42.

Gray, D. E. (2013). Doing research in the real world (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Sage Publications.

Grigoroudis, E., & Siskos, Y. (2013). Customer satisfaction evaluation: Methods for measuring and implementing service quality (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

Hussein, A. (2015). The use of triangulation in social sciences research: Can qualitative and quantitative methods be combined? Journal of Comparative Social Work, 4(1), 1-12.

Irfan, M., Shamsudin, M. F., & Hadi, M. (2016). How important is customer satisfaction? Quantitative evidence from mobile telecommunication market. International Journal of Business and Management, 11(6), 57-69.

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Lepkova, N., & Žūkaitė-Jefimovienė, G. (2012). Study on customer satisfaction with facilities management in Lithuania. Slovak Journal of Civil Engineering, 20(4), 1-16.

Liston-Heyes, C., & Liu, G. (2013). A study of non-profit organizations in cause-related marketing: Stakeholder concerns and safeguarding strategies. European Journal of Marketing, 47(11), 1954-1974.

Maxwell, J. A. (2012). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Sage Publications.

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2015). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

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Rohlfing, I. (2012). Case studies and causal inference: An integrative framework. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Wetzel, H. A., Hammerschmidt, M., & Zablah, A. R. (2014). Gratitude versus entitlement: A dual process model of the profitability implications of customer prioritization. Journal of Marketing, 78(2), 1-19.