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Title: Effects of service delivery on customer delight : an experimental approach in a restaurant chain
Other Titles: Fu wu guo cheng dui gu ke xi yue zhi ying xiang : yi xiang shi yong lian suo shi cha can ting zhi shi yan yan jiu
服務過程對顧客喜悦之影響 : 一項使用連鎖式茶餐廳之實驗研究
Authors: Kwong, Kenneth Ka Kei (鄺家麒)
Department: Dept. of Marketing
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Chain restaurants -- Marketing
Consumer satisfaction
Customer services
Notes: CityU Call Number: HF5415.5.K87 2006
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 257-278)
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2006
xvi, 288 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Type: Thesis
Abstract: This thesis presents an empirical study of the effects of service delivery on customer delight, which is hypothesised to be one of the predictors of repurchase intention. As well as this central link (service delivery → customer delight → repurchase intention), the impact of other, related variables such as customer satisfaction is also tested. Furthermore, the cause of difference between delighted and non-delighted customers is explored. To achieve these objectives, a structural model was constructed to test these interdependent relationships using structural equation modelling (SEM). A 24 full factorial experimental design was used to create variations of customer experience in a real restaurant setting. The actual behaviour of waiting staff when serving patrons was manipulated and delight successfully induced. A total of 318 patrons were interviewed inside selected shops of the participating restaurant chain, giving a response rate of 67%. Respondents were blind to the experimental process and debriefed after the interview. The experiment was very effective in creating the intended effects. The results of the factor analysis support the proposition that service delivery can be represented by service behaviour, service outcome, and product outcome. This three-factor solution was found to be robust (GFI = 0.97, TLI = 0.98, χ2/df = 1.59). This constitutes an overall measurement model within a structural model, which had a good fit (GFI = 0.90, TLI = 0.94, χ2/df = 2.03). Based on these results, the significant effect of service delivery on customer delight (β = 0.59) was confirmed. Delight was shown to explain a significant variance of repurchase intention (β = 0.38). Together with satisfaction, these two independent variables account for half of the total variance of repurchase intention (β = 0.50). Customer delight was operationalised by a threeitem scale which describes a high level of customer praise of the firm’s performance. There was no significant difference in delighted and non-delighted respondents’ grasp of the concept of service delivery as formed by service behaviour, service outcome, and product outcome, but the former group tended to give significantly higher ratings (t = 10.59, p <.001). The difference between these two groups seems to lie in their perceptions of service delivery. Better performance tends to delight the customer more. This study makes a substantial contribution to both theory and practice. On the theory side, it advances a three-factor model of service delivery to explain customer delight. To conceptualise service delivery in terms of these components broadens its theoretical perspective and reduces the degree of abstractness previously associated with the idea. Researchers can now study service delivery more accurately and precisely using this three-factor model. Furthermore, customer delight has been shown to explain extra variance of repurchase intention, thereby empirically resolving the paradox where satisfaction is found but loyalty is weak. In addition, the study offers a progression from a single-item to a multi-item scale in measuring delight, which is more reliable and valid. On the practical side, the significant relationship between service delivery and customer delight implies that the latter is manageable. Practitioners can now specifically improve service delivery along its three constituent factors to induce delight. Most items on service delivery scale are action-oriented, enhancing its diagnostic value to business. Finally, this study delivers an important message to practitioners, namely that customer delight is not as sophisticated as many have believed. Customers can be delighted by a tiny gesture (saying thank you immediately after the meal) or a trivial act (refilling a cup of tea without being asked to do so), as demonstrated in this experiment. Delight seems to be a matter of the time and effort that service employees are willing to spend understanding their customers and serving from the heart. As a result, delight is both attainable and imperative, since it may be concluded that satisfying customers is not enough to retain their business in future.
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