Academic journal article Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior

Identifying the Key Drivers of Customer Satisfaction and Repurchase Intentions: An Empirical Investigation of Japanese B2B Services

Academic journal article Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior

Identifying the Key Drivers of Customer Satisfaction and Repurchase Intentions: An Empirical Investigation of Japanese B2B Services

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this article is to report the results of a study that examines the drivers of customer satisfaction and repurchase intentions among Business-to-Business (B2B) service customers in Japan. The article offers both a conceptual and practical review of the literature surrounding service performance, customer satisfaction, and repurchase intentions in B2B services. Using a sample of 700 managers in Japan and a structural equation modelling approach, several significant drivers of customer satisfaction and repurchase intentions were found from both the supplier's product and service delivery performance. We found that the service delivery dimensions of account rep and technician performance, as well as product perceptions, were strongly related to customer satisfaction, which, in turn, was strongly related to repurchase intentions. Price perceptions were not related to satisfaction but were related to repurchase dimensions. The results have implications for both academic research and managers who are interested in managing the customer interface more effectively in Japanese B2B services.

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Based on a worldwide survey of CEO's of multinational corporations, improving customer loyalty and retention was one of the top two or three major challenges facing their organizations (Briscoe 2002). These firms continue to allocate substantial resources to programs that measure customer perceptions of service quality, satisfaction, perceived value, and repurchase intentions. The hope is that by tracking such customer perceptions, the firm can quickly identify gaps in operational performance, fill those gaps to better meet customer demands, and hopefully retain the customers for the future. The overriding goal of these programs is increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, which provides a number of associated financial benefits for firms.

There has been a good deal of recent academic research focusing on the financial benefits of high customer satisfaction (Anderson, Fornell, and Mazvancheryl 2004; Gruca and Rego 2005; Homburg, Koschate, and Hoyer 2005; Reichheld 2006; Williams and Naumann 2011). For example, customer satisfaction has been found to positively and directly influence the following business indicators: customer repurchase intentions (Anderson and Sullivan 1993; Curtis, Abratt, Rhoades, and Dion 2011; Mittal and Kamakura 2001); positive word of mouth (Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml 1991); financial performance (Anderson, Fornell, and Lehmann 1994; Anderson and Mittal 2000; Bernhardt, Donthu, and Kennett 2000); and equity prices (Anderson et al. 2004; Keiningham, Aksoy, Cooil, and Andreassen 2008). In short, high and/or improved customer satisfaction typically leads to improved revenue flows, profitability, cash flow, and stock price of the firm.

The vast majority of this research is based on U.S. data, often using the American Customer Satisfaction Index and public financial databases such as Compustat. There has been little published research that has examined customer satisfaction and repurchase intentions in a Japanese B2B services context. Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and the fourth largest market for U.S. exports (OECD 2011). However, the Japanese culture is distinctly different from the U.S. culture, possibly leading to differences in the drivers of satisfaction and loyalty. Therefore, a better understanding of decision making in Japanese companies is important, especially for the multi-national corporations that dominant world trade.

Given the pervasive influence of national culture on many consumer attitudes (Donthu and Yoo 1998; Furrer, Liu, and Sudharsan 2000; Khan, Naumann, Bateman, and Haverila 2009; Mattila 1999; Reimann, Lunemann, and Chase 2008), we wanted to explore Japanese customer perceptions and their influence on satisfaction and repurchase intentions. Ueltschy, Laroche, Aggert, and Bindl (2007) studied service quality perceptions and customer satisfaction in a cross cultural study of the U. …

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