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Title: Measuring and managing customer loyalty in physical activity and sports centres (PSCs): The drivers of service quality
Authors: Conte, JM
Keywords: Service quality
Trust, Loyalty
Physical activity and Sport Centres (PSCs)
Sport and Physical activity Services (SPS)
Issue Date: 11-Nov-2014
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: “Significant growth trends in the popularity and use of Physical activity and Sport Centres (PSCs) can be observed around the world. In the Sport and Physical activity Services (SPS) sector, organizations need to adopt customer-orientated strategies, focus and satisfying their customers’ needs and differentiate themselves from the competition.” (Yildiz & Kara, 2012: 189). In the Netherlands it is an actual subject to attract more people to PSCs. The National Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF) is trying to increase the sport participation of the Dutch population to 75% in 2016. The SPS sector will have an important role to reach this goal. Sport is a binding element for the society. That is why NOC*NSF says it is very important that the whole Dutch society, young and old, will be inspired by sports. (NOC*NSF, 2012). The basis for a strong customer relationship is the relationship quality. The relationship quality consists of a number of core values that are recognized by several researchers; trust, commitment and satisfaction play a central role in relationship marketing. (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2002; Morgan & Hunt, 1994). Yildiz & Kara (2012) developed a conceptual model to measure service quality in the SPS market. They advised to do further research on the relationship between service quality as measured with QSport-14 and important organizational outcomes such as customer satisfaction, loyalty and organizational performance in the SPS. They advise this because a research is never done before where the QSport-14 scale is used to test the relationship between service quality and organizational outcomes in the SPS sector. Following this, our research aims at showing the relation between service quality provided, satisfaction, trust and the member’s loyalty to the sport club. What is the relation between service quality, member’s satisfaction, member’s trust and the member’s loyalty at sport clubs and which factors have influence on the perceived service quality? These questions we try to answer in this research. From a practical perspective, the main objective of this study is to indicate the relative importance of the three dimensions of perceived service quality, so managers can make the necessary adjustments on specific dimensions to improve service quality and also customer satisfaction, trust and loyalty. Our literature study resulted in the following conceptual model: To collect the data, members of two different sport clubs in Zeist (Netherlands) were questioned. The Total Design Method (TDM) developed by Dillman (1978) has been used to increase the response rate. Participants were asked to answer the questions on a 5-point Likert scale. A total of 124 completed questionnaires were are used for the data-analysis. To analyze the data we have used Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). We have tested the model on convergent validity, indicator reliability, composite reliability and discriminant validity. All are significant, which means that all criteria in the model have a fit and the model is reliable. It has been demonstrated that all the constructs in the conceptual model have at least one significant relationship. Also all constructs have a significant relationship with behavioral loyalty. This means that all constructs in the model are part of the customer loyalty relation in the PSC. Out of the nine hypotheses eight can be accepted. If a PSC wants to improve the behavioral loyalty of their members they can work on improvement of the service quality. They can focus on staff; since this is the biggest influence of service quality, but also programmes and installations are substantial subjects to work on improve service quality. Summarized we can say that this research contributes to the science. Constructs have never been test in this composition. In the SPS sector is done very little research about the relationship between service quality and loyalty. The results of this research gives a new perspective on the approximation of loyalty under PSCs. The results can be used for creating loyalty among the researched PSCs and can probably be used by others PSCs as well. If a PSC wants to improve the service quality, the quickest way to improve is to improve the staff on friendliness and professionalism. Customer satisfaction is the construct influencing loyalty the most, this can be used for improving the loyalty of a member. If a PSC wants to improve commitment loyalty, they should not focus on service quality since service quality has no direct effect on commitment loyalty. The focus should be on improving customer satisfaction and trust.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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