2022留学生作业在服务品质，价值，满意度，以及客户在澳大利亚体育未来意向和休闲中心的关系The Relationships among
The concept of value and its relationship to service quality, satisfactionand behavioural intentions was studied in a sample of 218 sports and leisurecentre customers. Using structural equation modelling, this study focusedon the role that value may play as a potentially significant mediating variablein the service quality → satisfaction → behavioural intentions chain.Findings indicated that value appears to play an important mediating rolein satisfaction judgments of customers. This exploratory study is a steptowards developing more comprehensive models to assist managers ofsports and leisure centres to better understand the key drivers of satisfactionand customers’ future purchase or visitation intentions.Providing a service that results in satisfied customers will generally improveprofitability for any organisation that operates in a consumer market (Parasuraman,Zeithaml, & Berry, 1988). This is based on the premise that satisfied customers willbe more likely to re-use or repurchase the service (Anderson & Sullivan, 1990;Bernhardt, Donthu, & Kennett, 2000; Fornell & Wernerfelt, 1987; Gale, 1997; Howat,Murray, & Crilley, 1999; Philip & Hazlett, 1997). Retaining customers and improvedprofitability have become increasingly important for local government sports andleisure services in Australia. This is, in part, due to the move away from a traditionalcommunity merit approach towards local recreation provision. In its place is a user-pays rationale, which has seen a more commercial focus in the provision of publicsports and leisure opportunities (Crilley, Murray, & Kelly, 1999).A considerable body of research in the broader marketing literature has focusedon the nature of satisfaction and its relationship to service quality and the futureintentions of customers (Brady & Robertson, 2001). However, there has been limitedresearch in this field specific to sports and leisure contexts in Australia. A clearerunderstanding of how to produce satisfied customers in a sports or leisure contextwill help managers to better predict the return or repatronage of customers. Severalrecent studies support the dominant position that satisfaction is a consequence ofservice quality (Brady & Robertson, 2001; McDougall & Levesque, 2000) and thisappears consistent across service contexts. Similarly, relationships between servicequality through satisfaction to repurchase intentions of customers were reported byCronin and Taylor (1992), and Patterson and Spreng (1997).Many other factors have been shown to influence the satisfaction that acustomer experiences with a service. These include affective or emotional attachmentswith the service, self-esteem or self-concept concerns (Mahony & Moorman, 1999),or even social norms. McDougall and Levesque (2000) recognised the alreadyextensive research on service quality and its relationship to customer satisfactionand argued for more comprehensive models to assist managers in better understandingthe key drivers of satisfaction. A specific focus was the concept of perceived value.Perceived value is generally defined as the gap between what is received comparedto what is given in an exchange (McDougall & Levesque, 2000; Zeithaml, 1988).McDougall and Levesque (2000) argued that, along with perceived service quality,perceived value was an antecedent to customer satisfaction, which in turn was directlyrelated to future purchase intentions of customers.While McDougall and Levesque (2000) encouraged further research onconcepts such as perceived value, Cronin, Brady, and Hult (2000) asserted that partialconsensus had been achieved, supporting perceived value along with perceived servicequality as antecedents to customer satisfaction (e.g., Hallowell, 1996). However,Cronin et al. (2000) did also note that the literature was deficient in research thatsimultaneously compares the relative influence of quality, value and satisfaction withservice outcomes. Such research, they believed, would further clarify ourunderstanding of consumers’ decision-making. Similarly, Petrick, Backman, andBixler (1999) supported the need to augment customer satisfaction measurementwith such variables as perceived value to provide more in-depth understandings ofcustomer perceptions at a diagnostic managerial level.Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to empirically test a model ofservice quality, satisfaction, value and the future intentions of customers, as per thecalls of McDougall and Levesque (2000). Consistent with Brady and Robertson(2001), the model proposed that satisfaction as a consequence of service quality hasa direct effect on future intentions of customers, as well as an indirect effect which ismediated by value. Alternately, the model also tests whether value has a direct effect on future intentions of customers and if an indirect effect mediated by satisfactionalso exists. Improved understanding of such relationships will provide managers ofsports and leisure services with an enhanced ability to utilise customer feedback datain a diagnostic manner to improve the potential for repeat patronage and positiveword of mouth promotion.Conceptual BackgroundEach of the constructs tested in the model (service quality, satisfaction, value andfuture intentions) is summarised in the sections that follow. More comprehensivediscussions of each construct are well documented elsewhere (e.g., Babin & Griffin,1998; Brady & Robertson, 2001; Giese & Cote, 2000; McDougall & Levesque, 2000).Service QualityConsiderable research has focused on the nature of service quality, and there is generalacceptance that service quality is composed of a number of underlying dimensions.However, there is a lack of agreement on the exact nature of these dimensions. Forexample, Parasuraman et al. (1988) derived five dimensions of service quality:responsiveness, assurance, tangibles, empathy and reliability (RATER), using theSERVQUAL scale. They asserted that these five dimensions were consistent acrossa number of independent samples in different service contexts. Consequently, theyproposed that the SERVQUAL scale could be used directly in different serviceindustries and contexts.However, subsequent research consistently confirmed that service qualitymeasurement should be tailored to the context being examined (Asubonteng,McCleary, & Swan, 1996; Babakus & Boller, 1991; Carman, 1990; Cronin & Taylor,1992; Crompton, MacKay, & Fesenmaier, 1991; Johnson, Tsiros, & Lancioni, 1995).It should be noted that, subsequently, Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml (1993) alsoacknowledged the need for context-specific tailoring of the SERVQUAL instrumentbased on the service industry context in which it was to be employed.Numerous studies provide support for the industry-specific dimensionalstructure of service quality. For example, Gagliano and Hathcote (1994), in a studyof retail apparel specialty stores, found that 19 service quality attributes (of the original22 SERVQUAL attributes) loaded into four dimensions. These were interpreted as:reliability, tangibles, personal attention, and convenience. In contrast, Carman (1990),in his study on service quality perceptions in hospitals, derived nine factors to explainservice quality.This variability in dimensional structure is also apparent when sports andleisure services are considered (Chelladurai & Chang, 2000). For example, Hill and Green (2000) used four groupings of service quality attributes in their study thatlinked perceptions of sportscape with future attendance intentions of spectators atrugby league games. Additionally, Howat et al. (1999), in a study of 30 Australiansports and leisure centres, obtained a three-factor solution for 17 service qualityattributes. Interpretation of the factors identified them as: personnel (loading on staffingfunctions), core (loading on principal role functions such as clean facilities) andperipheral (loading on secondary services, such as food and drink facilities).The three-factor solution found by Howat et al. (1999) was consistent withthe service quality dimension models that emphasise core and peripheral servicesproposed by Philip and Hazlett (1997) and Norman (1984). However, a more globalapproach was taken by McDougall and Levesque (2000). They proposed that debateon service quality dimensions was largely irrelevant, as service quality could be seenas being composed of two overarching dimensions: the core (what is delivered in theservice) and the relational (how it is delivered) aspects of the service. The three-factor model of Howat et al. for leisure services may be seen as consistent with thisapproach. The relational aspects of service appear to be a combination of the personnelfactor and the peripheral factors found by Howat et al. For example, a creche operatingat a leisure centre would not be perceived by customers as a core service of thecentre. However, it may be perceived as an example of how management of thecentre respond to their customers’ needs and provide them with enhanced experiences.
There is general support for defining satisfaction in a consumer context as an overallevaluation of the service compared to customers’ expectations (e.g., see Jones &Suh, 2000; and McDougall & Levesque, 2000). However, there has been considerabledebate in the literature regarding the nature of satisfaction as a construct and itsrelationship to other constructs. Several major themes or questions have emerged inthe literature: whether satisfaction and dissatisfaction are poles of a single continuumor separate constructs (Soderlund, 1998); whether satisfaction may be considered astransaction-specific or an overall or global phenomenon (Rosen & Suprenant, 1998);the relationship between service quality and satisfaction (Parasuraman et al., 1988;Cronin & Taylor, 1992); and finally the relationship between satisfaction and futureintentions of customers (McDougall & Levesque, 2000). Although the first two issuesare important in the field of customer satisfaction research, the latter two issues arecentral to this paper and will be dealt with briefly to provide a background for readers.Satisfaction and service quality. There has been considerable debate aboutwhether satisfaction is an antecedent to, or a consequence of, service quality, or indeedif they are distinct constructs (Buttle 1996; Crompton & MacKay, 1989; De Ruyter,Bloemer, & Peeters, 1997; Liljander & Strandvik, 1997; Oliver, 1993). To summarise,although there is conflicting evidence (e.g., Rosen & Suprenant, 1998), the bulk of the literature tends to support satisfaction as an outcome of service quality (Brady &Robertson, 2001; Cronin & Taylor, 1994; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1994;Taylor & Baker, 1994; Teas, 1994). The dominant assumption therefore is that theevaluation of the quality of the service provided determines, along with other factors,the customer’s level of satisfaction with the organisation or service provider (Hurley& Estelami, 1998).Satisfaction and future intentions. There is also evidence to suggest that itis the satisfaction of the customer that ultimately determines their future intentionsand behaviour towards the service (De Ruyter, Wetzels, & Bloemer, 1997; McDougall& Levesque, 2000; Taylor & Baker, 1994). Both Bitner, Booms, and Tetreault (1990)and Jones and Suh (2000) found that overall satisfaction had a direct influence onhow likely customers were to re-use the service. Similarly, McDougall and Levesque(2000) proposed a causal path, with perceptions of service quality influencing feelingsof satisfaction, which in turn influenced future purchase behaviour of customers. Ina sports and leisure context, Howat et al. (1999) found that satisfaction of customerswas positively related to their willingness to recommend the service. Indicators ofcustomer retention that are invariably used to denote customers’ intended loyaltyinclude: the level of customer repurchase (such as renewed memberships), how willingcustomers are to recommend the service to other prospective customers, andcustomers’ intentions to increase their frequency of visitation (Howat et al.).ValueThe concept of perceived value has become of increasing interest to researchers,particularly those investigating its potentially mediating relationship with theperceptions of satisfaction held by customers (McDougall & Levesque, 2000). Valuemay be viewed as the evaluation of what is received compared to what is given in aservice encounter. For example, McDougall and Levesque (2000) defined value as“benefits received relative to costs” (p. 393). Likewise, Zeithaml (1988) definedvalue as a consumer’s overall assessment of product utility, based on perceptions ofwhat was received and what was given in the exchange. The relationship betweenvalue and satisfaction appears to be well established in the literature, with thecustomer’s perception of receiving value for their money positively related to thesatisfaction of the customer (Zeithaml, 1988).Although the relationship between value and satisfaction appears to be wellestablished, there is uncertainty regarding the broader nature of the relationshipbetween value and satisfaction, and the implications of this relationship to both servicequality and future intentions. Zeithaml (1988) suggested that value might be a mediatorin perceptions of service quality. In forming an overall perception of that service,customers may use value to evaluate the service compared to alternatives availableto them. This premise implies that satisfaction, when considered as an overall evaluation of a service, and value may be similar constructs, or at least may be stronglyinter-correlated. For instance, Patterson and Spreng (1997) explained that “value isconsidered a cognitive-based construct which captures any benefit-sacrificediscrepancy in much the same way disconfirmation does for variations betweenexpectation and perceived performance” (p. 4).In a similar vein, Cronin et al. (2000) found strong and consistent results forthe indirect path linking service quality to intentions (through service value andsatisfaction), and value to intentions (through satisfaction) across industry contexts.These findings are consistent with the premise that service quality and valueperceptions (cognitive evaluations) precede satisfaction (affective responses) (Croninet al.). This in turn has potential implications for managers, as affective responses(i.e., emotions) may act as better predictors of behaviour than cognitive evaluationssuch as service quality perceptions and value judgments (Patterson & Spreng, 1997).On the other hand, monitoring of service quality attributes is also important formanagers because many of these reflect aspects of the service that can be more easilycontrolled or manipulated by service providers. In contrast, satisfaction may beinfluenced by a range of factors outside the control of a service provider, such asweather conditions or social group influences (Crompton & MacKay, 1989).McDougall and Levesque (2000) proposed that, in addition to satisfaction,value might be a dominant mediator of future intentions and behaviour of customers,with decisions to return to a service based on whether or not the customer received“value”. To this end, Cronin et al. (2000) suggested that there are two dimensions ofvalue: price and service received. They concluded that customers “place greaterimportance on the quality of a service than … on the costs associated with itsacquisition” (p. 196). Consequently, perceptions of service quality may driveperceptions of value, which, in turn, influence satisfaction judgments and futureintentions of customers. However, McDougall and Levesque (2000) proposed thatthe relationship is more complex, stating that customers may be happy with the serviceprovided (the core), how it is provided (the relational) and overall be satisfied withthe service, but not feel that they have received their money’s worth.In summary, it is apparent that although the path relationship between servicequality and satisfaction is well accepted, there is conflicting evidence regarding thepotentially mediating role that value may play in the satisfaction relationship.Accordingly, this paper will evaluate two models of service quality, satisfaction, valueand future intentions in a sports and leisure context, focusing on the role of value asa mediator of satisfaction. Specifically, the models will assess the role that valueplays in mediating the relationship between service quality, satisfaction and futureintentions.++The model shown in Figure 1a considers service quality to be composed oftwo variables as proposed by McDougall and Levesque (2000): relational aspects ofservice quality (such as the interaction with staff and child-minding services) andcore aspects of service quality (such as how well the centre is organised and run).The model proposes that satisfaction is a product or outcome of perceptions of servicequality, and that satisfaction is an antecedent to future intentions. In this model, valueis considered to mediate the influence of satisfaction, as the exogenous variables ofcore and relational service quality may affect satisfaction both directly and indirectlythrough the value–satisfaction relationship.However, the direction of the relationship between satisfaction and value isunclear. Accordingly, it will be tested by re-analysing the model with the direction ofthe relationship reversed (satisfaction as the antecedent to value). This is presentedin Figure 1b.#p#分页标题#e#
The instrument used in the study included individual measures of all four constructsdiscussed in this paper: satisfaction, service quality, value and future intentions.Satisfaction. A global measure of satisfaction was utilised in the questionnaire,with a single question requesting the respondents to rate their overall satisfactionwith the sports and leisure centre on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Verydissatisfied) to 7 (Very satisfied). This is consistent with McCollough, Berry, andYadav (2000), Petrick et al. (1999) and Ganesh, Arnold, and Reynolds (2000) whomeasured overall satisfaction on a single 10-point scale. Rosen and Suprenant (1998)argued that each service encounter assists customers in forming overall perceptionsof satisfaction with a service. Consequently, given that first-time customers wereexcluded from the study, the use of an overall satisfaction item was consideredappropriate in this context.Service quality. In this study, 18 service quality attributes for sports and leisurecentres were included (see Table 1). Wording of the 18 attributes was intended tomeasure customer service quality at a macro level. Consequently, the 18 attributesincluded in the service quality component of the instrument were reasonably broad.A biased 6-point Likert-type scale, ranging from 1 (Disagree) to 6 (Very stronglyagree), was used for both expectations and performance for each attribute of servicequality. Howat et al. (1999) provide a rationale for employing such an approach. Inaddition, an option was also provided in the performance section of the instrumentfor those respondents unfamiliar with a specific attribute of the service (Don’t know).Reliability analysis indicated high reliability for the service quality component ofthe questionnaire ( α = 0.95).Data reduction to simplify the manifest variables of service quality wasundertaken via factor analysis, as per both Poznanski and Bline (1997) and Eskildsenand Dahlgaard (2000). Results for the factor analysis are included in Table 1. Thefactor analysis obtained a three-factor solution, interpreted as: core, personnel andperipheral, consistent with that previously found in the Howat et al. (1999) study. Itwas considered acceptable to measure relational service quality as a combination ofattributes that loaded on either the personnel or the peripheral factors. This wasconsistent with McDougall and Levesque’s (2000) call for simplification for thedimensional debate in service quality. It was also acceptable from a conceptualperspective, as personnel and peripheral factors reflect those aspects of service thatfocus on maintaining and developing the customer–provider relationship.+++Core service quality was measured from a combined mean of items that loadedon the single factor core. Reliability of the scale items for both the core ( α = 0.92)and relational ( α = 0.92) scales of service quality was high.
Value was measured using a single item (“The centre provided goodvalue for money”), where customers were requested to rate their expectations andperformance in relation to the value the centre provided. Measurement was identicalto the service quality instrument, with the same biased 6-point Likert-type scaleranging from 1 (Disagree) to 6 (Very strongly agree). This approach appears to befollowed consistently in the literature, and is similar to the single item used by McDougall and Levesque (2000). It should be noted that measuring value on a singlevalue item does exclude the potential to investigate the issue of pricing as a componentof value. However, since the focus of this study were general perceptions of themacro concept of value, rather than a detailed investigation on the components ofvalue, the single-item scale was considered appropriate.Behavioural intentions. Using a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1(Not at all likely) to 5 (Extremely likely), customers were asked to indicate theirlikelihood to recommend the centre to someone else. This single item is consistentwith behavioural intention items used in other studies, including those having a sportsand leisure centre context. For example, Howat et al. (1999) used a recommendationscale to measure behavioural intentions in their study on repurchase behaviours insports and leisure centres.
Participants and Procedure
Data for the study were obtained from sampling customers at an Australian publicsports and leisure centre located in a capital city. The centre offered both court sportsactivities, and fitness and health programs, and was considered an appropriate sitefor collection as it mirrored the range of activities available in other similar types offacilities. To ensure that overall satisfaction ratings were based on repeat visits, asrecommended by Jones and Suh (2000), first-time customers of the centre wereexcluded from the survey. This is consistent with Rosen and Suprenant’s (1998)position that each service encounter assists customers in forming overall perceptionsof satisfaction, which are less likely to be distorted by a single incident. In a mannerconsistent with studies reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, children under12 years of age were not included in this study.Data collection. Using stratified sampling methodology, a data collectionschedule was devised for the centre, based on individual programs and timetables inorder to maximise the potential of obtaining the most representative sample ofcustomers. Furthermore, data collectors were instructed to obtain a random cross-section of the customer population during their collection period.Collectors situated themselves near the main entrance, where they couldapproach arriving customers to request their participation in the survey. Customerswere invited to complete the survey either on-site and prior to their activity, or totake the questionnaire home and return it on their next visit. A total of 372questionnaires were handed out, with 231 being returned (62%). Of these, 13 wereomitted from further analysis due to incomplete data. Although it has been noted thatdisconfirmation measures of service quality as used in this study should obtainexpectation perceptions prior to the service encounter and performance ratings afterthe service encounter, this was not feasible in terms of collection and cross-matchingof respondents.
Completed questionnaires from 218 customers of the centre were included in theanalysis. The demographic profile of respondents was biased towards females (89%),30–49 year age groups (80%) and people participating in court-sport activities, suchas netball (45%) and basketball (30%). The majority of respondents were long-termusers of the centre (63% had been attending for over two years), with 98% attendingat least once per week.
Analysis of the Model
Testing of the potential model was conducted through AMOS 4. The results of themodel tests are provided in Table 2. Following the approach taken by Gerbing andAnderson (1992), emphasis is placed on the fit indices CFI (comparative fit index),RNI (relative non-centrality index) and DELTA2 estimates, due to their relativestability (Brady & Robertson, 2001), as well as the RMSEA (root mean square errorof approximation) as per the approach cited by MacCallum and Austin (2000).Figure 2: Path model of the relationships among service quality, value,satisfaction and future intentions++As shown in Figure 2, the relationships among core and relational servicequality to satisfaction and value, satisfaction and value to future intentions and valueand satisfaction as reciprocal variables, were all tested. Overall fit of the first model was acceptable χ 2 (3, N = 218) = 2.86, p = 0.67; with CFI, RNI and DELTA2 estimatesof 0.99 and RMSEA of 0.043 (an RMSEA of 0.05 or lower indicates a good fit of thedata with the hypothesised model). It should be noted for readers not familiar withstructural equation modelling, that the chi-figure tests the significance of the model’sresiduals. A significant chi-square indicates that the model’s residuals are significantlygreater than zero, an indication that there is still substantial unexplained variance.Consequently an insignificant chi-square is an indication that the model fits the datawell. The non-significant χ 2 figure obtained for the first model therefore indicatesthat the model may be one possible explanation of the relationships within the data.Examination of parameter estimates (see Table 2) indicates that thehypothesised relationships were all significant. Of note is that R 2 figures for core andrelational service quality indicate that relational service quality explained slightlymore of the variance in both value and satisfaction in this context, than core servicequality (see Table 2).++The model also tested the direction of the relationship between satisfactionand value, in order to establish value as a mediator of satisfaction. To investigatethis, the model was retested with satisfaction as the antecedent to value, as outlinedin Figure 1b. The overall fit of the model was not acceptable χ 2 (3, N = 218) =100.57, p < 0.01; with CFI, RNI and DELTA2 estimates of 0.96, 0.94 and 0.93respectively, and a RMSEA of 0.13. Additionally, the path from satisfaction to valuewas not significant in this model (R 2 = 0.15, t (209) = 0.76, p = 0.26). These resultssuggest that satisfaction has a direct effect on future intentions, as well as an indirecteffect, which is mediated by value. The effect of value on future intentions is direct,with no indirect effect mediated by satisfaction. Consequently, the path fromsatisfaction to value was omitted in the final model (Figure 2).#p#分页标题#e#
The major theme of the study was to investigate the role that value plays in mediatingrelationships between service quality, satisfaction and future intentions of customers,and to investigate these relationships within a sports and leisure context. The resultssupport the basic premise that perceptions of service quality influence satisfaction,which in turn affect customers’ future intentions. Additionally, the results also providesupport for the position that perceptions of value do play a mediating role in theformation of satisfaction judgments of customers, rather than satisfaction leading toperceptions of value. These findings support McDougall and Levesque (2000), whoproposed that any model considering the nature of service quality and satisfaction ofcustomers must also consider the mediating role that value plays in the satisfactionjudgments of customers.The findings reported in this paper also raise a number of potential theoreticalas well as practical implications. These will be discussed in turn, with future researchdirections identified for each set of implications.
There are a number of theoretical implications of the findings. First, the findingsindicate that service quality is an antecedent of satisfaction in a sports and leisurecentre context. This is consistent with the dominant position in the literature thatservice quality is one antecedent that contributes to the satisfaction of customers(Brady & Robertson, 2001; Cronin & Taylor, 1994; Hurley & Estelami, 1998;Parasuraman et al., 1994; Teas, 1994). Consequently, this position appears to havebroad-based empirical support across a diversity of service contexts.Second, results suggest that satisfaction appears to be a dominant antecedentof the future intentions of customers. This reaffirms previous research findings(Anderson & Sullivan, 1990; Backman, 1991; Cronin & Taylor, 1994; Fornell &Wernerfelt, 1987; Patterson & Spreng, 1997; Philip & Hazlett, 1997), which foundthat satisfaction was the most significant factor influencing the future intentions ofcustomers in service environments. However, even though research findings appearto clearly demonstrate the central role that satisfaction plays in influencing the futureintentions of customers, there is still inconsistency pertaining to satisfaction as aresearch construct. Accordingly, a focus on satisfaction research, particularlyaddressing the nature of satisfaction, is worthy of consideration. An initial investigation into the nature of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, in order to obtain a clearer pictureas to whether or not they are distinct constructs, would be a logical starting point. Inlike fashion, more detailed investigation into transaction-specific satisfaction,compared to overall perceptions of satisfaction is recommended. Extension of thework of Jones and Suh (2000), focusing on the consequences of transaction-specificand overall perceptions of satisfaction in sports and leisure services, may beappropriate.Even though satisfaction was found to be the dominant predictor of customers’future intentions, the role of perceived value should not be overlooked. Findingsindicated that value was a significant mediator of satisfaction. This also suggests thatthere are structural links between the two concepts and that they are strongly inter-correlated. It should be noted that the positive nature of the relationship also suggeststhat as perception of value improves, so too does the overall satisfaction of thecustomer.A major limitation of this study, however, was the failure to capture informationrelating to perceptions of pricing. McDougall and Levesque (2000) and Zeithaml(1988) defined value as benefits received compared to costs accrued. Consequently,while benefits may be seen as reflected in service quality attributes captured in theinstrument, the lack of variables addressing pricing limited the potential for a moredetailed investigation of value perceptions in a sports and leisure centre context.Further research should examine pricing and its effect on value perceptions in sportsand leisure contexts more closely. For example, Varki and Colgate (2001) suggestedthat managers can improve value perceptions by actively managing the priceperceptions of customers (e.g., by communicating to them comparisons between theprice they pay and the price other customers pay for similar services elsewhere). Ifthis assertion is true, then the nature of the relationship between price and valuecould be considered more closely. However, such an approach may lead to adiscounting war among leisure centre competitors, making it almost impossible forthe industry to offer true value to customers.Other questions relating to the nature of value and price are also apparent.For example, if quality of the service is improved, to what extent can prices beincreased to pay for the improvements in quality and yet still retain positive perceptionsof value? Is there an absolute threshold of price beyond which value perceptionsdecline, irrespective of quality? These are all research issues that should be addressed,particularly in such a publicly significant service context as sports and leisure services.Consequently, more comprehensive models to test the interrelationships betweenprice, quality and value in a sports and leisure context would be appropriate forresearchers to consider. This was also proposed by Brady and Robertson (2001), inrelation to the wider services marketing field.
From a managerial perspective, the findings of the study clearly show that managersshould monitor service quality perceptions of customers, as these have an effect oncustomer satisfaction. However, consistent with McDougall and Levesque (2000),managers of sports and leisure centres should also be aware of the perception ofvalue that the customer has of the service. Value significantly mediates perceptionsof satisfaction and must be considered carefully in any assessment of customersatisfaction with the service. Accordingly, modification of existing customer surveysor feedback instruments to include a greater depth of information in relation to valueperceptions appears warranted.Observation of R 2 figures indicate that relational service quality is a slightlystronger antecedent of both value and satisfaction than core service quality. This maybe expected in a personnel-dominated setting such as a sports and leisure centre. Thefinding that value significantly mediates the relationship with satisfaction also suggeststhat managers should focus on providing value to customers, possibly through afocus on the relational aspects of service quality. This is in direct conflict with thefindings of McDougall and Levesque (2000), who suggested that providing the coreservice should be the priority. However, in a sports and leisure centre context, thisfocus on value appears appropriate. Sports and leisure may be perceived by many inthe community as a luxury, rather than a necessity. Satisfaction with sports and leisureservices therefore may be particularly prone to influence from perceptions of value.If the service is not perceived to be “of high value”, the strength of the service delivery,in either relational or core functions, may not be enough to overcome the negativeperception based on low value.
conclusion, the results of this study support the following:• that service quality is a direct antecedent of satisfaction and that satisfaction isa strong antecedent of customers’ future intentions in a sports and leisure context,• that relational service quality is a slightly stronger antecedent of satisfactionand value than core service quality in a sports and leisure centre context,• that perceived value is a direct mediator of satisfaction in a sports and leisurecentre context.These findings suggest that managers of sports and leisure centres shouldmodify existing survey or feedback instruments to obtain more detailed informationrelating to what influences their customers’ perceptions of value. However, this studyalso found that, from a theoretical perspective, there appears to be room to improve the clarity of satisfaction as a construct in the literature. Similarly, the nature of therelationship between quality and price in contributing to perceptions of value in asports and leisure centre context needs to be examined. Accordingly, these are twomajor themes that researchers could focus on. Improving clarity in these areas willcontribute further to an understanding of customer behaviour in sports and leisurecentres, with the ultimate aim of assisting managers to be better able to serve theircustomers and provide a quality experience. This in turn should result in managersimproving their financial performance and, ultimately, their organisational profitability.
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