Profiling customer perceived service quality expectations in made-to-order housing construction in Australia

Publisher:
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 2012, 19 (6), pp. 587 - 609
Issue Date:
2012-01
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Purpose: The study aims to assist contractors in strategically managing customer satisfaction by applying marketing theory to housing construction. It specifically aims to investigate service quality as an input to pre-purchase (pre-contract) expectations in the made-to-order housing construction market. Design/methodology/approach: A theoretical model is developed from the literature concerning the formulation of expectations during the pre-purchase decision process. Data from 51 detailed telephone interviews with customers undertaking live housing projects are analysed using both thematic analysis and qualitative comparative analysis. Findings: A revised model is provided, which includes a dimensionalised set of traits to suit housing construction customers. Strings of traits are then used to develop holistic customer profiles, including situations where service quality is fully present in critical pre-purchase expectations and where it is totally absent (i.e. price and product design dominate instead). Practical implications: The model and profiling technique offer a generalisable basis for contractors and others involved in housing delivery to better understand customer expectations, thus making it possible to better manage customer satisfaction. Originality/value: The research contributes to new knowledge by providing a systematic means of understanding customer behaviour at a depth that is not apparent in the current body of literature. Theory is also developed in a way that has practical application, i.e. customer profiles can be used to assist daily marketing and management operations.
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