This is the summary of a behavioral targeting research by J. Joseph Cronin Jr., Michael K. Brady and G. Tomas M. Hult. You can get the pdf of the behavioral targeting article here: Assessing the Effects of Quality, Value and Customer Satisfaction on Consumer Behavioral Intentions in Service Environments.
A lot of research has been done for service quality, value, and customer satisfaction, regarding how each one differs from the other and how they relate with each other. Practitioners read the results of these research; they know that when the three of these improve, that leads to good results. However, the results from different researches are confusing. These results are conflicting because nobody has attempted to study the effects of the three variables simultaneously on service encounters. Researchers are curious if it is necessary to measure these three variables, or if it’s okay to just measure a subset of these three. Furthermore, there may be other variables which have to be taken into consideration.
This research, in particular, asserts that if we only study a subset or individual variables and not consider the three, then the results can be misleading, but not really incorrect. The only problem with these types of studies is that managers who use them may not be aware about the limited scope of the results, and also the time period in which these researches were made. These types of researches can be divided into three types of models depending on their scope.
The first model, called the value model, is based on belief that service value directly affects behavioral intentions of consumers. The second model, called satisfaction model, suggests, on the other hand, that it is customer satisfaction that directly affects behavioral attentions. Finally, the third model, called the indirect model, states that there is an indirect relationship between quality and behavioral intentions; it has to go through value and satisfaction.
The study introduces a new model, which is called for as the authors understand the need for a more pragmatic relationship between the three variables. Among the many benefits of this fourth model include the ability to further understand the relationship between service quality and behavioral intentions. This model is called the Research Model. It suggests that the three variables simultaneously affects behavioral intentions.
These are direct relationships to behavioral intentions, but this study also states in one of its hypothesis that service quality and value perception of consumers’ have an indirect and positive influence on behavioral intentions.
Data is obtained from six industries, in a medium sized metropolitan, that extends a comprehensive variety of the samples. The population, except at age 56 above, are well represented by the survey respondents that have significant experiences with the service provider industries. Descriptive statistics was used for measurement, including mean deviations, shared variances, etc. Furthermore, the following variables are assessed: sacrifice, service quality performance, overall service quality, service value, satisfaction and behavioral intentions.
Results show that the research model is better than the three original competing models. Furthermore, it has been shown that indeed, service value and quality have indirect effects on behavioral intentions. Specifically, these two variables contribute towards satisfaction. Furthermore, data shows that the value of a product is dependent on how consumers perceive its quality. This means that consumers look at quality as a more important factor than the price of that service. This provides evidence that quality is very important among a consumer’s criteria for choosing services.
Quality, Value and Satisfaction Redefined
The empirical results of this study show that a complex system is needed to measure the direct and indirect effects on behavioral intentions. In fact, all three variables need to be measured, and when the three are measured all at once, they all have a significant effect on behavioral intentions, albeit the relationship is complex and comprehensive. Also contrary to scientific literature thus far, quality has a more direct effect on behavioral intentions, satisfaction and value.
As such there is a need to come up with new composite models, and introducing new variables for understanding the service decision-making process. Some of these variables may include the expectations of consumers, the tangible product qualities, and the service environment qualities. There are individual qualities that are also worth noting, including product experience and risk aversion. These and more variables are worth looking into for further understanding, because although the results in the study show consistency among the six companies, there are variations as well which, when looked deeper into, can result in a more comprehensive understanding of consumer behavioral intentions in service environments.