Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Services Marketing: The Mediating Role of Customer Satisfaction in the Hair Care Industry

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Services Marketing: The Mediating Role of Customer Satisfaction in the Hair Care Industry

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The service industry accounts for more than fifty percent of the world's gross national product (Cronin & Taylor, 1992) and is therefore an important economic market. Indeed, a sector of the service industry, the hair care industry, has annual sales that exceed $6 billion according to a popular web domain (MarketResearch.com, 2005). Despite its multi-billion dollar impact on the American economy, there is a dearth in the literature regarding the relationship between hair care providers and their customers' loyalty and satisfaction. A search of several popular databases (i.e., ABI/INFORM, GALILEO, PSYCHINFO, Business Premier) did not reveal much empirical research that addressed this important relationship. Therefore, the current study attempts to address this gap in the literature by investigating the relationship between hair care providers and their clients' loyalty and satisfaction. The research hypotheses were evaluated using latent variable modeling techniques.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Satisfaction is an attitude formed by comparing the quality expected and the quality received (Spreng, MacKenzie, Olshavsky, 1996; Oliver & Swan, 1989; Oliver, 1980). Furthermore, it is an important contributor to the post-purchase attitude and repeat-purchase intentions of consumers (Anderson, Fornell & Lehman 1994; Zeithaml, Berry & Parasruramn, 1996). However, only one study (Auh, Salisbury & Johnson, 2003) has examined the loyalty and satisfaction of customers of hair care professionals, but Auh et al's focal point was on the ordering effects of questionnaire items instead of the consumer behavior of clients.

Jacobs-Huey (2006) focused on the necessity of hair care services and describes African American hair care as more than just a service rendering event; the author posited that it is not just the "giving and receiving of hair care, but also that cultural exchange occurs during the process of the provider-client interaction. Jacob-Huey observed that hairstyle decisions seldom conform to the exclusive whims of stylists, nor did they always adhere to the "client is always right principle" either. This interaction, however, was not only seen in the African American culture. Gimlin (1996) and Furman (1997) had similar findings in their respective studies of salon encounters involving European and Jewish American women.

Existing research indicates that hair care providers need advanced salon skills to provide their diverse customers with the latest styles (Jacob-Huey, 2006). Therefore, basic knowledge about hair care is a necessary but insufficient condition for customer satisfaction in the hair care industry. Jacob-Huey also found that after clients have had several visits to the salon, customers and hairdressers develop a bond of trust that may lead to customer satisfaction. Both parties enact authoritative stances by raising questions, making suggestions, and ratifying or objecting to hair-care recommendations according to Jacobs-Huey. However, the author observed that some hair care providers resent negative verbal customer feedback and do not feel appreciated for the time and energy required to achieve and maintain specific hairstyles. Jacobs-Huey described these relationships as client-stylist negotiations. Often clients may want to choose a look or style that may not promote healthy hair, since some customers may be more concerned with instant gratification than long-term hair care and healthy hair considerations.

Although brand loyalty is a well-researched inquiry, there is a dearth of literature regarding brand loyalty of consumers and their hair care providers. In this study we define brand loyalty as "a deeply held commitment to rebuy or repatronize a preferred product/service consistently in the future, thereby causing repetitive same-brand or same brand-set purchasing, despite situation influence and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behavior" (Oliver, 1999, p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.