Rationale for the study

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The study seeks to determine the level of customer satisfaction in public swimming pools in Hong Kong. The findings of the study will go a long way in informing managers running public facilities on the areas that need improvement as well as being sensitive to those areas that customers find most crucial. The findings can further be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing and promotion strategies in attracting new members into these facilities. Any companys success is largely dependent on how it handles the needs of its clientele. After all, the sole reason for the existence of the public facility is to serve the needs of its customers, failure to which would make the facility obsolete. A survey on customer satisfaction will, therefore, go a long way in informing the company management on how they are performing and the areas that they need to improve on so as to gain a competitive advantage in a market riddled with stiff competition. The findings of this study will also go a long way in sealing loop holes used by managers in their contracts that exploit their members. They use misleading advertising and ambiguous terms in their contracts such that the members get duped and sign into a deal they were not properly informed. This study will be helpful for the improvement of services not only in the public facilities but private service sector as well. All firms in the service and hospitality industry should, therefore, conduct regular research so as to identify the levels of satisfaction they offer to their customers as it is a vital ingredient in the profitability of the firm

Objectives of the study

This research sought to address the following objectives:

1. To determine the level of customer satisfaction in public swimming pools in Hong Kong using the SERVQUAL dimensions

2. To explore the relationship between customer satisfaction and profitability

3. To examine how best public fitness facilities could satisfy customer needs

4. To explore the aspects that customers consider most crucial in satisfying their needs

5. To determine the overall effectiveness of public facilities managers in Hong Kong

Literature review

This research paper is majorly concerned with determining the level of customer satisfaction in fitness facilities. Chris Adalikwu (2012) stipulate that customer satisfaction is the most appropriate yardstick for measuring the quality of services offered by a facility since it is difficult to quantify the value of a service. The hospitality industry mostly concerns itself with the offering of service to its clientele. Customer service can be defined as an activity or a series of activities which are mostly intangible in nature that involve interactions between the client and a firms employees or their service providers aimed at offering solutions to the demands of the client (Flott, 2002). Customer service in an organization setting refers to the provision of services aimed at enhancing the customer experience. Services offered by the hospitality players should seek to refresh, stimulate and entertain the customers (Hill, Self, & Roche, 2002). In the case of fitness clubs, service entails more than just the provision of training equipment and facilities; it includes the provision of beverages as well as a conducive environment.

To effectively satisfy customer needs, a fitness facility should distinguish itself from other competitors in the market. To do this, the facility ought to offer timely services to its clientele, ensuring that its facilities are safe and secure, and maintaining a healthy reputation with the public. Customers have high expectations of the public facilities; they expect value for their money. The quality of service offered in these fitness clubs, as well as the equipment, stocked largely influences that level of customer satisfaction (Ossipov, n.d.).

Customer satisfaction can be defined as the pleasure derived by a customer when their needs or expectation are met. It indicates the state of the services offered, whether good or bad. Customer satisfaction improves customer loyalty and retention. Satisfied customers will always come back with other customers. In so doing, they help in reducing promotional expenses to attract new customers. Customer satisfaction is mainly pegged on customers perception and evaluation of the services offered as opposed to the companys quality standards (Ramaj & Ismaili, 2015). Customers are the best judges when it comes to quality maters such that it might even override the companys need to set quality standards.

The attributes of the services offered largely influence the level of customer satisfaction. Service attributes refer to the intangible elements, associated activities as well as the physical properties of the activities which a company offers and which the consumers perceive to be part of the service offered. The major service attributes comprise of the physical evidence, the staff and after-sale services (Hill, Self, & Roche, 2002). Some of these attributes affect levels of satisfaction whereas others affect performance. The cleanliness of facilities, for instance, affects the level of customer satisfaction whereas the state of the art of equipment in these facilities will affect performance.

Methodology

Research design

The data for the research will be collected through the use of questionnaires where the participants will be asked to fill in their responses to a questionnaire containing 30 questions.

Sampling method

A random or convenience sampling method will be adopted in the selection of participants who will be Hong Kong residents aged at least 18 years. Each participant will be asked to give their free consent before taking part in the exercise.

Pilot test

A pilot exercise will be conducted before the real investigation using a sample of 50 participants whose profiles are similar to that of the target participants.

Ethical considerations

Participants were freely asked to give their responses in the study without any coercion or undue influence. They also consented in participating in the research.

Confidentiality of the information provided by the participants as well as their identities was guaranteed.

There was no compensation offered to the participants for participating in the study.

Questionnaire

Kindly provide your opinion with regards to the following aspects of the fitness club you attended. The scale ranges from excellent, good, average, fair and poor.

1. Reputation: what do you think is the reputation of the fitness club in comparison with other clubs?

2. Club design: in your opinion, how is the design of the club?

3. Exercise equipment: what do you think is the state of equipment in the facility?

4. Is the number of fitness equipment sufficient for all members?

5. Is the facility fully equipped?

6. Is the number of fitness exercise studios for such activities as aerobics and yoga sufficient for members?

7. Are the fitness exercise studios for such activities as yoga and aerobics kept clean?

8. Give your opinion on the quality of club amenities such as shampoo and towels

9. Give your opinion on the state of cleanliness of the club amenities

10. Give your opinion regarding the cleanliness of the facility washrooms

11. Kindly provide your opinion regarding the sufficiency of the washrooms

12. Are the number of exercises such as yoga and aerobics offered by the facility enough?

13. Do you think the club provides an array of extra services?

14. Give your opinion regarding the sufficiency of steam bath units and saunas

15. Provide your opinion with regards to the grooming of the staff

16. Kindly give your opinion on the hospitality of the staff

17. How would you gauge the reliability of the facility in the provision of services?

18. Give the reliability of the fitness instructors in keeping their training promises to the customers

19. Rate the quality of service offered by the staff

20. Rate the responsiveness of the staff to problems raised by the customers

21. Give your opinion on whether the staff are ready and willing to listen to customer concerns

22. State staff attentiveness to the concerns raised by customers

23. State whether the staff offers solutions that address customer problems

24. State the competency of the club staff

25. Provide your opinion on the level of courtesy and trustworthiness of staff

26. How would you rate instructors awareness to safety matters of the customers?

27. Rate the staff level of personalized attention in service provision

28. Give your rating on whether the staff understands customers needs and whether they can appropriately respond to them

29. Kindly give your opinion on whether the staff can effectively communicate with the customers

30. Give your opinion whether the staff politely give directions and guidance to the customers

References

Chris Adalikwu,. (2012). Customer relationship management and customer satisfaction. Afr. J. Bus. Manage., 6(22). http://dx.doi.org/10.5897/ajbm12.634

Flott, L. (2002). Customer satisfaction. Metal Finishing, 100(1), 58-63. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0026-0576(02)80021-6

Hill, N., Self, B., & Roche, G. (2002). Customer satisfaction measurement for ISO 9000:2000. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Ossipov, V. Customer Satisfaction - A Tool to Improve Business Competitiveness. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2586555

Ramaj, A. & Ismaili, R. (2015). Customer Relationship Management, Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty. AJIS. http://dx.doi.org/10.5901/ajis.2015.v4n3s1p594

sheldon

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