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The impact of service quality on customer loyalty: A study of dental clinics in Jordan

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The present paper aimed at measuring the quality level of Jordanian dental clinics services from their customers' perspective. It also aimed at identifying the impact of this quality level on customer loyalty. The present study was conducted through adopting a quantitative approach. In order to achieve the study's objectives, the researchers of the present study implemented the SERVPERF scale. The latter scale consists of five service quality dimensions; (tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy). The questionnaire forms were distributed to (250) dental clinics' customers in Jordan. However, the researchers collected (194) questionnaire forms (i.e. the response rate is 77.6 %).The collected data was analyzed statistically through using the (SPSS) program. It was concluded that customers believe that the quality level of Jordanian dental clinics services is medium measured by the SERVPERF dimensions jointly and separately. It was also concluded that the quality level of Jordanian dental clinics services has a statistically significant positive impact on customer loyalty. In the light of such results, the researchers recommend improving the quality level of dental care services through providing services that meet or exceed the customers' expectations.
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International Journal of Medical and Health Research
65
International Journal of Medical and Health Research
ISSN: 2454-9142
Impact Factor: RJIF 5.54
www.medicalsciencejournal.com
Volume 5; Issue 1; January 2019; Page No. 65-68
The impact of service quality on customer loyalty: A study of dental clinics in Jordan
Dr. Tareq N Hashem1, Dr. Nafez Nimer Ali2
1 Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, Isra University, Amman, Jordan
2 AlZaytoonah University of Jordan, Jordan
Abstract
The present paper aimed at measuring the quality level of Jordanian dental clinics services from their customers’ perspective. It
also aimed at identifying the impact of this quality level on customer loyalty. The present study was conducted through adopting
a quantitative approach. In order to achieve the study’s objectives, the researchers of the present study implemented the
SERVPERF scale. The latter scale consists of five service quality dimensions; (tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance,
and empathy). The questionnaire forms were distributed to (250) dental clinics’ customers in Jordan. However, the researchers
collected (194) questionnaire forms (i.e. the response rate is 77.6 %).The collected data was analyzed statistically through using
the (SPSS) program. It was concluded that customers believe that the quality level of Jordanian dental clinics services is medium
measured by the SERVPERF dimensions jointly and separately. It was also concluded that the quality level of Jordanian dental
clinics services has a statistically significant positive impact on customer loyalty. In the light of such results, the researchers
recommend improving the quality level of dental care services through providing services that meet or exceed the customers’
expectations.
Keywords: service quality, customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, SERVPERF scale
Introduction
Quality has attracted the attention of many researchers due to
its significance. It has attracted the attention of many
customers as well. For instance, there are many customers
who seek services of high quality level and are very willing
to pay much money to receive such services. Providing
services of high quality shall enable the service provider to
dominate the market and achieve a competitive advantage
even if the services are very expensive (Cachon, & Olivares,
2010) [9]. There are also customers who are not willing to pay
much money. Thus, they search for services of less quality.
In the market place, there are always companies competing
with one another in terms of quality, price and many other
standards. However, quality is the most significant standard
that affects companies’ competitiveness (Gibbons, &
Henderson, 2012; Erel, 2009; Cachon, & Olivares, 2010) [14,
9]. It should be noted that services differ from one to another
in term of price, quality, sales volume and delivery time. Each
customer is concerned with one of those standards. Hence,
the market place includes a variety of services to fulfill the
needs of all customers and several studies were conducted in
order to evaluate the service quality in different service
sectors (Ahmad, &Sungip, 2008; Upadhyaya, &Badlani,
2011; Bala et al., 2011;; Sandhu &Bala, 2011) [1, 31, 5].
Significance of the study
The importance of this study lies in the importance of the
quality of service provided, as it contributes to the increase of
previous studies related to the subject of the study. The study
also helps to provide the theoretical literature with the latest
information on the quality of health service using the
SERVPERF scale, Reliability, responsiveness, security, and
empathy) to achieve customer loyalty in dental clinics in
Amman.
Literature Review
Service Quality
Due to the significance of quality, each entity must identify
the quality level of its services and products from their
customers’ perspective. It must also identify its customers’
satisfaction and loyalty levels. It must also identify the type
of its customers. That shall enable the entity to achieve a
competitive advantage, develop its business and expand.
However, measuring such levels is not something easy to do.
(Tsay, & Agarwal, 2000) [30].
When an entity expands its business or enters a new market,
it acquires various categories of customers whose standards
and interests differ from one another. It may also attract the
customers of its competitors. In order for the entity to succeed
in attracting customers, and achieve a sense of loyalty among
them, it must provide services of different characteristics,
quality levels and prices (Tirole, 1990) [29].
Researchers have developed several scales and models to
measure the service quality level. One of these scales is called
the Servqual scale which consists of forty (44) items. There
is another scale called the "Servperf" scale, which consists of
twenty-two (22) items. The present study implemented the
SERVPERF scale to measure the quality level of dental
clinics services in Jordan. It should be noted that measuring
such quality is highly significant because that shall
participate in raising the quality level of such services leading
to improve Jordanians’ dental health level. In addition,
identifying the satisfaction and loyalty levels among
customers shall participate in increasing these levels. That
shall enable dental clinics to attract more Jordanian and
foreign customers (Ajarmah, et al., 2017; Ajarmah, &
Hashem, 2015; Zareiet al., 2015; Peprah, 2014 and Zineldin,
2006) [3, 22, 35].
International Journal of Medical and Health Research
66
Both Servqual and Servperf scales cover five service quality
dimensions; (tangibility, reliability, responsiveness,
assurance, and empathy). However, the SERVPERF scale
seeks to explore customer perceptions about the service
without comparing them to their expectations. (Hashem &
Hamdan, 2017; Phan, and Nham, & Gronroos, 2007) [3, 23]. As
for the present study, it adopts the SERVPERF scale.
Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty occurs when customers feel satisfied about
a specific product or service. Loyal customers keep
purchasing the company’s products constantly. They also
provide the company with high ratings, and positive reviews.
They also spread a positive word of mouth about the service
and the service provider (Kumar, & Advani, 2005) [22].
According to Iddrisu (2011) [18], loyal customers are more
likely to recommend purchasing the service in front of their
friends and their family members. Iddrisu (2011) [18] and
Teich (1997) suggest that customer loyalty is achieved when
the company meets and exceeds customer expectations in a
constant manner. Iddrisu (2011) [18] indicates that customer
loyalty can be realized by offering a product of high quality
along with providing customers with coupons, free offers,
extended warranties, and low interest rates. The company
should offer these incentives to make their customers feel
pleased and happy. Such feelings shall participate in
developing a sense of loyalty within customers and make
them keep purchasing the service. Loyal customers shall
convince others to purchase the concerned service (Kotler &
Gertner, 2002) [9]. According to Kotler, and. and Gertner
(2002) [9], loyal customers participates in increasing the
company’s profitability, sales volume and cost savings. It
also participates in increasing customer retention rate and
raising stakeholders 'earnings.
Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
Customers feel satisfied when they have positive feelings
towards the concerned service or product. Such positive
feelings are derived from meeting or exceeding their wants,
demands and expectations. In other words, such positive
feelings are based on the gap between their expectations with
their perceptions after receiving the service or using the
product. This gap shall affect one’s purchasing decision
(Wiele, Boselie, &Hesselink, 2002; Akbar, &Parvez, 2009)
[32, 4].
Choi & Chou (2001) [10] and Ehigie (2006) [12] concluded that
there is a statistically significant positive relationship
between customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. Others
researchers (i.e. Oliver, Rust, &Varki, 1997; Lam, Shankar,
& Murthy, 2009) [10, 21] concluded that customer satisfaction
shall lead to achieving a sense of loyalty. As for Clarke
(2001) [11] and Wong (2005) [33], they concluded that that
customer satisfaction is the first building block for achieving
a strong sense of loyalty among them. Clarke (2001) [11]
believes that making the customer feel satisfied shall not
necessarily lead to turning him into a loyal customer. Bowen,
and Brown (2001) suggest that companies should make sure
that their customers feel satisfied about the service or product
delivered to them.
However, customers may stop dealing with a certain service
provider and start dealing with another one. That is because
the latter one offers better things, such as: better prices, and
more incentives (Storbacka, & Lehtinen, 2001) [28].
According to Bansal, and Gupta (2001) [6], satisfaction can be
effective only when it creates a sense of loyalty within
customers and enables the company to create a sustainable
competitive advantage. However, Akbar, and Parvez (2009)
[4] argue that not all the loyal customers feel satisfied.
According to Hu et al. (2009) [17], the service quality level is
highly significant and influential. For instance, high service
quality level can attract customers (Hu et al., 2009) [17]. Other
researchers (i.e. Dominici & Guzzo, 2010; Ryu & Han, 2010;
Amin et al., 2013; Kim & Lee, 2010; Amin et al., 2013) [25]
state that satisfied customers benefit the service provider
through spreading a positive word-of-mouth. Hu et al. (2009)
[17] argue that satisfaction is based on the customers’
emotional attitudes towards a specific product or service after
using it or receiving it. The formation of these attitudes is
attributed to the gap between the customer’s expectations and
perceptions about the service performance. Hue et al. (2009)
[17] state that customer satisfaction refers to customer’s
affective and cognitive attitudes that are formed towards a
specific product or service after using or receiving it. Other
researchers (i.e. McDougall, & Levesque, 2000) [13] suggest
that customer satisfaction is the customer's overall
assessment for a specific company or service provider. Other
researchers (i.e. Ryu et al., 2012) [25] believe that customer
satisfaction may be formed through receiving a certain
service for several time.
There are many multi-dimensional scales used for measuring
customer satisfaction level. For instance, Bitner and Hubbert
(1994) [8] measured customer satisfaction using a four
dimensional scale. Barsky and Labagh (1992) [7] identify nine
(9) factors that affect customer satisfaction, such as: room,
employee attitudes, price, services, reception, food and
beverage, and parking. Suresh hander et al. (2002) identify
five criteria used for measuring customer satisfaction. Such
criteria involve service delivery, core service,
systematization of service delivery, social responsibility, and
the tangibility of the service. Most researchers believe that
the complex nature of customer satisfaction requires using a
multi-dimensional scale for measuring it.
In the light of the aforementioned studies, the current study
seeks to test the following hypothesis.
Ho: Service quality doesn’t have any statistically
significant impact on customer loyalty
Methodology
The present study adopted a quantitative approach. The
researchers designed the study’s instrument, where it was
designed by the researchers and then tested the Face Validity
through its presentation to a number of specialists, where it
was modified and exit in its final form to achieve the
objectives of the study. Then, it was applied to the sample
which was selected from Jordanian dental clinics patients.
The questionnaire forms were distributed to the sampled
customers. The collected data was analyzed through using the
SPSS program.
The questionnaire adopts the five point Likert scale. Thus,
each item is provided with 5 multiple choice answers,
(strongly agree 5 agree 4 neutral 3 disagree 2 strongly
disagree 1). The study’s population consists of the customers
of Jordanian dental clinics. A convenience sample was
selected from the population and consists from (250)
customers. However, the researchers collected (194)
questionnaire forms (i.e. the response rate is 77.6 %).
International Journal of Medical and Health Research
67
Demographic Characteristics of the Respondents:
It is concluded that 58.2 % of the respondents are males (i.e.
113 customers). 41.8 % of the respondents are females (81
customers). 41.2 % of the sample holds a secondary school
certificate (i.e. Tawjihi certificate). In addition, 62% of the
respondents’ is less than 35 years old.
Reliability Test
The researchers calculated the Cronbach’s’ alpha coefficient
value of the study’s instrument. The latter value is 0.917.
Thus, the instrument is highly reliable because the latter value
is greater than the accepted value (0.60).
Hypotheses Testing
Ho: Service quality doesn’t have any statistically significant
impact on customer loyalty
Table 1: hypothesis testing
Model Summary
Model
R
R
Square
Adjusted R
Square
Std. Error of the
Estimate
1
.432
.187
.165
.68780
Multiple Regressions is used to test the above hypothesis. It
is found that R (0.432) is the correlation of the independent
variables and the customer loyalty. Also it is found that R
Square (0.187), which is the explained variance, is actually
the square of the multiple R (0.432)2. What the results mean
is that (18.7%) of the variance (R-Square) in the customer
loyalty variable has been significantly explained by the
independent variables
ANOVA
Table 2
Model
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
1
Regression
5
4.082
8.628
.000
Residual
188
.473
Total
193
The Anova table shows that the F value of (8.628) is
significant at (0.05) level. Thus, Service quality has a
significant impact on customer loyalty
Table 3
Coefficients
Model
Unstandardized
Coefficients
Standardized
Coefficients
t
Sig.
B
Std. Error
Beta
1
(Constant)
2.749
.273
10.064
.000
tangible
.038
.133
.036
.284
.777
reliability
.142
.190
.146
.751
.454
responsiveness
-.223
.172
-.207
-1.300
.195
assurance
.195
.188
.218
1.040
.300
empathy
.226
.182
.235
1.238
.217
Table 4
Tang.
rel.
Respons.
Assur.
EMP.
loyalty
loyalty
Pearson Correlation
.364**
.410**
.344**
.413**
.404**
1
Sig. (2-tailed)
.000
.000
.000
.000
.000
N
194
194
194
194
194
194
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
Also, Pearson correlation was used to test the relationship
between each dimension of service quality and customer
loyalty. It is found that there is a moderate relationship
between them as shown in the following matrix
Conclusion
The researcher concluded that customers believe that the
quality level of Jordanian dental clinics services is medium
measured by the SERVPERF dimensions jointly and
separately. It was also concluded that the quality level of
Jordanian dental clinics services has a statistically significant
positive impact on customer loyalty. The latter result is in
agreement with several studies, such as: the studies
conducted by (Ajarmah, et al., 2017;Ajarmah, & Hashem,
2015; Zareiet al., 2015; Peprah, 2014 and Zineldin, 2006) [3,
22, 25].
To illustrate more, it was concluded that the customer’s
decision to keep receiving the dental care services of the same
clinic is based on the quality level of such services. Thus, it
is necessary to keep enhancing the quality level of such
services to retain customers. It is necessary to keep
investigating the attitudes of dental clinics’ customer
constantly.
The responsibility of raising the quality level of dental clinics
services is assigned to the dental clinic management. Such
level can be raised through meeting or exceeding the patients’
expectations. It can be also raised through providing patients
with support and care, facilitating procedures and paper
works, and treating them nicely.
This study demonstrates the importance of the quality of
service provided in dental clinics, as it contributes to
enhancing the loyalty of the customer and pushing him to
continue dealing with the clinic to obtain the desired service.
In order to raise the quality level of dental clinics services,
advanced technological instruments and machines must be
available at these clinics. In addition, the researchers
recommend conducting more studies about the study’s
subject in other healthcare sectors and clinics in order to
improve Jordanians health. Such healthcare sectors and
clinics may include hospitals and ophthalmology clinic (i.e.
eye clinic).
Limitations of the study
This study is limited to a sample of dental clinics in Jordan
and therefore this study can be developed and applied to other
health services
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