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HOW THE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK PROCESS CONTRIBUTES TO PERCEIVED CUSTOMER ORIENTATION AND AFFECTIVE COMMITMENT IN THE HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SERVICE CONTEXT

Kevin Celuch

Abstract


Given the current dynamics in service industries organizations are attempting to strategically create distinctiveness that leads to competitive advantage.  Higher education is a unique experiential service where customer engagement implies engagement in not only the academic domain but also engagement in the total educational experience.  Therefore, in order to create value in educational service delivery, there is a need for more highly developed understanding of the student-institutional intersection.  The present research aims to contribute to the service marketing literature by developing and testing a model related to a broader conception of a student feedback process as a critical component of desired service outcomes.  Conceived as customer feedback, student feedback to an educational institution can be positive (compliment), negative (complaint), or take the form of a suggestion or idea for an improvement to any aspect of the service provided to a person, department, or service group of the institution using multiple communication modalities.  In this model perceived usefulness of the feedback process and perceived ease of use are posited to interact to influence the perceived customer orientation of the institution.  Customer orientation, in turn, is posited to mediate the influence of feedback system perceptions on student affective commitment toward the institution.  Model relationships are supported which have conceptual and managerial implications for strategically bonding students to universities.

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