Assessing Customer Satisfaction With Non-Profit Organizations: Evidence From Higher Education

EXTENDED ABSTRACT - For the past three decades, more and more universities have perceived that students are important consumers, and utilized marketing thinking and practice to attract, satisfy, and retain students (Berry and kehoe, 1980; Conant, Brown, and Mokwa, 1984; Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1985; Lewis, leach and Lutz, 1983; Hampton, 1983, 1993; Ferguson, Wisner, Discenza, 1986). Many administrators in higher schools have realized that consumer satisfaction is an indispensable means of creating a sustainable advantage in the competitive environment of higher education (e.g. Starr, Betz, and Menne; 1971). The study of satisfaction, especially in service industry, as Patterson et al (1996) have observed, is an important, yet underdeveloped area. The need to measure consumer satisfaction is a corollary to effectively implementing the marketing concept. In the specific context of higher education, there have been some recent studies trying to assess satisfaction using consumer perspectives (e.g. Barry, Gilly and Schucancy, 1982; Hampton 1983, 1993; Hawes and Gilsan 1983, Schmidt, Debevec, and Comm. 1987). Due to the complicated nature of higher education service, assessing student satisfaction with higher education still remains a frequently troublesome topic.



Citation:

Zhilin Yang and Kim Shyan Fam (2002) ,"Assessing Customer Satisfaction With Non-Profit Organizations: Evidence From Higher Education", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, eds. Ramizwick and Tu Ping, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 1.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, 2002      Page 1

ASSESSING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION WITH NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: EVIDENCE FROM HIGHER EDUCATION

Zhilin Yang, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Kim Shyan Fam, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

EXTENDED ABSTRACT -

For the past three decades, more and more universities have perceived that students are important consumers, and utilized marketing thinking and practice to attract, satisfy, and retain students (Berry and kehoe, 1980; Conant, Brown, and Mokwa, 1984; Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1985; Lewis, leach and Lutz, 1983; Hampton, 1983, 1993; Ferguson, Wisner, Discenza, 1986). Many administrators in higher schools have realized that consumer satisfaction is an indispensable means of creating a sustainable advantage in the competitive environment of higher education (e.g. Starr, Betz, and Menne; 1971). The study of satisfaction, especially in service industry, as Patterson et al (1996) have observed, is an important, yet underdeveloped area. The need to measure consumer satisfaction is a corollary to effectively implementing the marketing concept. In the specific context of higher education, there have been some recent studies trying to assess satisfaction using consumer perspectives (e.g. Barry, Gilly and Schucancy, 1982; Hampton 1983, 1993; Hawes and Gilsan 1983, Schmidt, Debevec, and Comm. 1987). Due to the complicated nature of higher education service, assessing student satisfaction with higher education still remains a frequently troublesome topic.

In this paper an attempt was made to examine some issues involved in effectively assessing student satisfaction with higher education, employing cross-universities surveys. For this purpose, the study first examines the attributes of education service and the differences of education service attributes between satisfied and dissatisfied students. Then, it evaluates whether mostly used models or approaches can explain student satisfaction with higher education, and which one is the most powerful tool. Finally, it examines whether student characteristics have significantly effects on the performance of education service attributes, given they are moderator variables.

Data were obtained from 175 students with various characteristics in four kinds of big universities. The results indicate that dissatisfied and satisfied students are significantly different with five education service attributes. The performance model is found to be able to explain consumer satisfaction more powerful than those of both discomfirmations and multi-attributes model, although the latter models are also significantly related to overall student satisfaction with higher education. In addition, some student variables are considered to be crucial importance in its effects on expectation and performance of education service attributes, which in turn influence on assessment of customer satisfaction.

This study has several contributions to consumer satisfaction knowledge: (1) it offers cross-sectional study of student satisfaction with higher education.; (2) it tries to identify service attributes based on marketing mix; (3) it examines some models of satisfactions including multi-attribute attitude theory, discomfirmation theory or gap analysis in the context of higher education area; and (4) it incorporates some student demographic variables as the moderators though the effects on the student expectations and perceived performance of service attributes.

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Authors

Zhilin Yang, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Kim Shyan Fam, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong



Volume

AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5 | 2002



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