“Linking Process and Outcome to Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction Evaluations: An Investigation of Real Estate Agent Service”
Abstract: This paper is the first study to propose and empirically support the idea that service process is closely linked with service quality evaluations, whereas service outcome is closely linked with customer satisfaction evaluations. The study is conducted in the context of the real estate industry, and the focus is on home sellers’ evaluations of the service provided by real estate agents. Using in-depth interviews and content analysis, the results show that process factors are closely linked with service quality, and outcome factors are closely linked with customer satisfaction. Using a combination of statistical and content analyses, the study also finds that service quality evaluations precede customer satisfaction for normal service evaluations, but the opposite causal order is found for extreme service evaluations. The differential links proposed and found between the four concepts advance researchers' understanding of the basis for service evaluations. Managers can focus more on either service process or service outcome based on their specific objectives and/or resource constraints in different situations.
Source: International Journal of Service Industry Management, 2005, Volume 16, Issue 1, 10-27 (lead article).
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