abstract- Impactof Human Factor and Intent on Perceived Benefits | Customer Satisfaction | Psychology & Cognitive Science

Title: Impact of Human Factor and Intent on Perceived Benefits, Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty in Service Delivery context

Author: N Barnabas, Associate Professor - Marketing Area, NMIMS University- Bangalore Campus, Koramangala, Bangalore- 560034.
INTRODUCTION: Services usually are performances delivered by customer interacting personnel or technology. The µinseparability¶ characteristic of services naturally results in the perceived quality of the delivered service being dominant on how the service personnel performed the service delivery. This paper focuses the interactive dimension of service encounters and evaluates the impact of the µhuman dimensions¶ of service delivery (namely Reliability, Assurance, Responsiveness, and Empathy) on Perceived Benefit from the consumption of service and in-turn on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty.

The Perceived Benefits from consumption of service have been identified as Hedonic and Utilitarian. The researcher also conceptualizes and tests that role of Intents (defined as Hedonic Intent and Utilitarian Intent) in moderating the impact of the human dimensions on Perceived Benefit.

METHODOLOGY A survey questionnaire was prepared using various empirically tested and validated scales from prior research. A single service context was chosen and consumers were asked to rate the 1) Service dimensions, 2) Hedonic and Utilitarian benefits, 3) Hedonic and Utilitarian intent 4) satisfaction and 5) Intention to visit the coffee shop again (loyalty).

The Hedonic and Utilitarian intent was measured by adapting measures developed by Voss, Spangenberg & Grohmann (2003) in their research. The Human dimensions of service were measured by adapting the SERVQUAL scale developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry

despite being a humanic factor since it involves mainly the aspect of prompt service. the moderating impact of hedonic intent is an area of greater interest. again adapting the same scale by Voss. of purpose. considerably hedonically-oriented characteristics. The effect of responsiveness may be more utilitarian than hedonic. this moderating effect of intent seems to stop here.(1988). utilitarian intent explains far less of the variance in utilitarian benefits as a moderator to humanic factors than humanic factors alone. explaining the use of the questionnaire data. The effect of intent on satisfaction (as a moderator with hedonic or utilitarian benefits) does not seem to exist. DISCUSSION OF RESULTS The impact of humanic factors is clearly higher on hedonic benefits than utilitarian benefits. Spangenber & Grohmann (2003) for the specific context of the coffee shop in a semantic differential form. safety and courtesy in a service transaction. On closer analysis the main source of this effect is evidently the factor of responsiveness. the impact of these factors on utilitarian benefits is positive. A short explanation before. However. The primary component affecting hedonic benefits appears to be that of assurance. However. Thus appears that humanic factors are more related to hedonic benefits than utilitarian benefits and that intent works as a moderator in the experience of these benefits. The impact of this variable is clear in that the variance explained by it (as a moderator with humanic factors) is far more than the variance explained by the humanic factors alone for hedonic benefits and the hedonic moderator¶s beta coefficient is higher than that of humanic factors alone. Customer satisfaction and loyalty were measured using scale suggested in the Handbook of Marketing Scales (1990). albeit small. this component deals with trust. and debrief after. contrary to expectations. However. Both hedonic and . DATA COLLECTION A convenience sample of 110 respondents belonging to an MBA programme participated in the survey. Hedonic and Utilitarian benefits were measured. which may form an important part of the functional evaluation of a service encounter. Given that humanic factors considerably affect hedonic benefits. was done at the time of administration.

this finding seems intuitively plausible. and communication of a sense of promptness. If one considers utilitarian benefits akin to hygiene factors. we will begin with the premise that satisfaction needs to be maximized. which are more significantly impacted by humanic factors of service delivery than utilitarian benefits are (humanic factors explain more than twice as much of the variance in hedonic benefits than they do in utilitarian benefits). Thus there are reasons to consider hedonic benefits specifically. safety and courtesy. It would appear that assurance and responsiveness are the most important factors. which engender positive satisfaction. merely preventing dissatisfaction by their presence but not provoking satisfaction and hedonic benefits akin to the concept of motivator factors. Responsiveness would involve training front-end contact personnel on areas such as speed of delivery. The impact of utilitarian benefits on customer satisfaction is not considerable and certainly not as high as that of hedonic benefits (hedonic benefits explain over nine times as much variance in satisfaction as utilitarian benefits). Hedonic benefits seem to have a far greater impact on satisfaction than utilitarian benefits. However a framework for all managers and contact personnel from which to view the customer¶s behavior and their evaluation as not just a simple outcome of the quality of service delivery but as a interaction between a customer¶s . this may be explained by an application of Herzberg¶s two factor theory. since hedonic benefits seem to have a clear advantage over utilitarian benefits in creating satisfaction a focus on assurance would optimize this. The complexity in assessing customer intent in a service encounter poses some difficulty in directly interpreting findings for managerial intervention. IMPLICATIONS The implications for service providers are manifold.utilitarian benefits seem better at explaining customer satisfaction alone rather than in combination with the respective intents. Given that satisfaction is a significant indicator of loyalty. Assurance would involve communicating trustworthiness. The scope for managerial intervention in the humanic factors of services is vast and this can be targeted specifically if the effect of such factors and their respective benefits and subsequent impact on satisfaction is known. However. accurately estimating and delivering on timelines.

based on speed and operational efficiency of service. Take. courteous style could be employed in the evenings. For the former a more utilitarian intent could be inferred and thus a more responsive approach. to maximize customer satisfaction.e. with the collection of intent measures pre-consumption and of evaluations of the service encounter post-consumption may have yielded far more compelling data. Service quality measures were adapted to measure humanic factors. This coffee shop may have an executive or professional clientele in the afternoons for lunch and a crowd of mainly families and groups of friends in the evenings and for dinner.needs (or intentions. could be focused on in the afternoons. for example. LIMITATIONS & FUTURE RESEARCH The limitations of this research are primarily rooted in the method of sampling and data collection. Further research in these contexts is needed to prove the applicability of these hypotheses to services in general. The method of administration may also have compromised external validity to some extent and biased results. For the latter crowd a more hedonic intent could be assumed and a more assurance-oriented. data collection at the point of service delivery. attitudes and expectations) and the front-end contact personnel would help employees tailor their behavior to better meet the needs of customers. The instruments of measurement as well (i. much like the one used in this study. the data would have been far more generalizable across service contexts if the sample had included measurements in different service organizations and across various service categories. the various adapted scales that were combined to form the questionnaire) were not empirically developed for the specific purposes of this study. time and feasibility may have compromised internal validity of the data. The use of a convenience sample due to constraints of cost. Some thumb rules can be used by managers to help them guide their front-end personnel in assessing intent and customizing their service delivery accordingly. a restaurant or coffee shop. Thus a little managerial insight in combination with this framework could be used to optimize the delivery capability of front end personnel. . although a single service context was used in measurement to enhance internal validity and standardization. Finally.

More in depth research of the impact of humanic factors of services using scales specifically developed for the purpose a may help gain a deeper understanding of consumer evaluations. benefits and intent. both in product and service research. . The definition of intent as situational as Grappi (2004) suggested or more personality-based as in the case of Guido¶s (2006) research or Apter¶s (1989) proposition of dominance of motivational states within individuals in his Reversal Theory should be examined more closely. Scale development of measuring hedonic and utilitarian attitudes. the study of consumer intent as hedonic and utilitarian has ample scope for improvement. Additionally.Research in this area has a multitude of possibilities. in the service context would provide opportunities for more studies with more valid data collection.

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