|Author:||Chu, Kwok-keung Eric|
|Title:||Retail quality improvement through customer contact : a quasi-experiment in the Hong Kong jewelry industry|
|Subject:||Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations|
Retail trade -- Management
Customer services -- Management
Service industries -- Quality control
|Department:||Department of Management|
|Pages:||ix, 179 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm|
|Abstract:||This study aims at evaluating the effectiveness of the implementation of quality improvement programs at the operations level. Past research indicates an inconsistent relationship between quality and company performance (Anderson, Fomell, and Lehmann 1994). The management of costs and benefits from quality improvement are largely ignored. Companies tend to have loose control of the desirable amount of quality improvement (Rust, Zahorik, and Keiningham 1995). Therefore, measurement of quality improvement and its related performance is critical to the success of controlling quality improvement programs. The majority of past literature focuses on measuring objective quality from the company's perspective, whereas, in recent years, perceived quality of the individual customer is found to be more important (Jacoby and Olson 1985; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1988). This report employs the concept of measuring perceived quality in justifying the effectiveness of a quality improvement program. It is known that both Product Quality (Dodds and Monroe 1985; Dodds, Monroe, and Grewal 1991) and Service Quality (Cronin and Taylor 1992) influence Purchase Intention, and Product Quality also has a mediating effect between the relationship of Service Quality and Purchase Intention (Kennedy, Ferrell, and LeClair 2001; Sweeney, Soutar, and Johnson 1997). This research hypothesizes that Customer Contact Model (Chase 1981) will influence Product Quality, Service Quality, and Purchase Intention in a retail setting. A quasi experiment is performed to manipulate the level of Information Richness of the Customer Contact Model within different shops of the same jewelry chain store. A Pre-test measurement followed by a Post-test measurement contrasts the treatment effect of Information Richness on customers' perceptions of Product Quality, Service Quality and Purchase Intention. The Pre-test and Post-test analysis indicates a very significant increase in the Performance and Prestige dimensions of Product Quality in the treatment group. An investigation into the cross-sectional Pre-test and Post-test data also reveals consistent relationships between different conceptual dimensions of the Service Quality and Product Quality models. This research provides an external validation of Service Quality dimensions (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1988) in a Chinese culture as well as an empirical examination of the multidimensional Product Quality model (Brucks, Zeithaml, and Naylor 2000). The relationship between the quality dimensions provides further insight into quality improvement opportunities. The practical usage of quasi experiment and cross-sectional evaluation in management research is compared and contrasted. The report concludes with a discussion on the importance of Product Quality together with the Service Quality in the retail environment.|
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