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Title: Does Customer Perceived Risk Mediate the Relationship Between Service Guarantees and Customer Satisfaction? An empirical study on the provisioning of fleet management telematic services in the European heavy goods vehicle (HGV) road freight transport industry.
Authors: Hovens, Jacco
Keywords: Perceived risk
service guarantees
customer satisfaction
fleet management
road freight transport industry
Issue Date: 27-Sep-2013
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: The competition in the European fleet management industry has intensified and pushed pricing to a point where there is virtually no room for profitability. Even though the HGV road freight transport industry acknowledges the potential benefits of fleet management solutions, they often continue inefficient businesses. Low cost, low service solutions are used rather than maximizing utility in making investments and thereby creating value perceived by their customers. Therefore, it is important for fleet management providers to position their marketing activities seeing the world through their customers’ eyes, in order to determine customer perceived risk lacking these investments. Besides, in order for fleet management providers to attract and retain customers, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace, both practitioners and academics consider service guarantees an effective means to do so. In addition to this, the main objective of this study was to investigate the mediating role of customer perceived risk on the relationship between the perceived service guarantees and customer satisfaction. This study aims to provide fleet management providers a better understanding of determining to what extent perceived risk reduces the expected relationship between service guarantees and customer satisfaction. This could assist them in mapping out their strategy in order to reduce customer perceived risk and to achieve and maintain a superior competitive position in the fleet management industry. This research can be classified as explanatory in which a deductive research approach involves the quantitative testing of hypotheses. Convenience sampling was used to send a self-administrated questionnaire to a population of 9500 European HGV road freight transport companies residing in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. The questionnaire consists of items that were adapted from previous studies. The questionnaires were first tested by a panel of ten experts to assess whether there were misunderstandings or ambiguities of expressions to check for content validity. Reliability of the measures was conducted via a pilot study among HGV road freight transport customers to deal with matters as instructional clarity, item clarity, and relevance. Data were gathered through an online survey, using Survey Monkey. A total of 60 valid responses were included in the data analysis using structural equation modeling involving partial least squares (PLS). To ensure the appropriateness of the measurement model, the unidimensionality, reliability and validity of the scale are assessed. Both Cronbach’s Alpha and factor loadings are used to test the unidimensionality of the model. Significance is verified via bootstrapping by which parameter estimates are obtained by generating subsamples with replacement from the original data. Findings indicate that the presence of a service guarantee positively influences customer satisfaction and reduces the perception of risk. But, in contrast to prior studies, this research found no support for perceived risk to influence customer satisfaction. These findings imply that perceived risk does not mediate the relationship between service guarantees and customer satisfaction. Compared to previous studies, the findings of this study reveal that performance as well as perceived financial risk in the European HGV road freight transport industry is not to be seen as significant predictors of customer satisfaction. Limitations exist due to the study design. First, the number of respondents and the response rate are limited. Furthermore, even though this study tried to control its effects, it must be noted that common method bias also could have its influence on this study and therefore runs the risk of reporting incorrect research results. Also, as shown in prior literature, there exists many other service guarantee design elements influencing customer satisfaction and perceived risk. Furthermore, different outcomes of service guarantees (loyalty, price perception, quality) could be incorporated for future research. The same applies for the different aspects of perceived risk, for this research only addresses the financial and performance aspects, whilst time, physical, psychological, and social risk can also be included. In addition to, and in line with many prior studies, this research focuses on the pre-purchase perceptions of risk, whilst future research could examine how the elements of risk influence the post-purchase experience of satisfaction.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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