TABLE OF CONTENTS
Research Design Process
Validity and reliability of the survey
Analysis of the results
Means of the Likert Scale variables
Strength of the relationship
Conclusions and Recommendations
Recommendations based on data
Conclusion on conduction
This paper will tell about the customer satisfaction in a café downtown Helsinki. The reason why we chose this particular research, started out with personal experience, or better the wish for improvement. Since we are interested in marketing we started approaching our own wishes in a marketer’s way, long before we were instructed to conduct this project. So we asked ourselves how we would do it better. But to get anywhere close to an answer, one needs to know about what other customers think, with what they might agree or disagree. So our second question was: how do people see it?
Now, as we were assigned to this project, it seemed rather interesting to find out, if our own wishes first of all would be of significance compared to other customers. And secondly, to learn about how simple or difficult it would be for an owner or marketer of such an establishment, to find out about the needs for improvement from the customers point of view.
The problem setting of this customer satisfaction survey is divided in four parts: The management needs to know whether the personnel are considered customer-service oriented. Further, how customers think about the place itself, the pricing and the products offered.
The background of this work is the idea of how to obtain or improve a market position. In order to do so, it is vital to know about the market itself and the customers and their wishes. In this particular field, everything stands and falls with customer satisfaction. Therefore it is desirable to gain knowledge about the customers and their point of view. Although this is only a part of the marketing mix, which has to be considered for a healthy business, next to the knowledge about competition, in this field it might be the most important one.
The group we wish to generalize, which would be the customers visiting the café, is referred to as population. Sampling unit is a person, who answers the questionnaire. The sample is a representative so that valid conclusions can be drawn concerning the population as a whole.
According to the Market Research Society, the definition of marketing research is as follows: “The means used by those who provide goods and services to keep themselves in touch with the needs and wants of those who buy and use those goods and services.” The survey is therefore a tool for the café owner to keep record of the trends and expectations of the customers. Service oriented markets, such as restaurant business, are highly segmented with distinctive patterns of buying behavior expectations and attitudes. It is crucial to identify these aspects, not just on the industry level, but specifically on your business.
Basically the problem setting we have laid out relates to the traditional view of the marketing mix; a set of marketing tools (place, product, price and promotion) that the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market and the survey will then give guidance to these issues. These are the main components which define the customer delivered value and influences the customer satisfaction. In Philip Kotler’s words, the author of Marketing Management, “survey research is best suited for descriptive research. Companies undertake surveys to learn about people’s knowledge, beliefs, preferences, and satisfaction, and to measure these magnitudes in the population.” It is said that retaining existing customers is more profitable for a company than trying to get new ones. Therefore it is vital to be aware of customers expectations, experience and possible satisfaction, disappointment or suggestions for improvements. From the buyer’s point of view, each marketing tool (place, product, price and promotion) respond to customer solution, customer cost, convenience and communication.
Research Design Process
To understand how the customers see the marketing mix of the café, it would have not been possible to collect data only from secondary sources. Previous research would have been outdated and the employees point of view biased. Adequate data could not have been obtained without preliminary research.
When selecting the survey method, there were no problems of alphabetical nature, cooperation, geographical restrictions, or accessibility. To answer the research problem, no detailed or personal questions were needed to ask. The language used, English, although created a barrier during the research process, due to the population mostly being Finnish. This could have created misunderstandings and non-response with a few sample units without supervision.
The resources were scarce for conducting the survey due to the limited time and budged reserved. This naturally had an influence on choosing the research problem, survey method and sample size.
The proposed hypothesis is that there is a need for improvements in this particular café in order to maximize customer satisfaction. The purpose of the survey is to prove the proposed hypothesis right.
The sampling process started out with defining the population, which are the customers visiting the café. The sampling unit is a customer. The sampling method used was probability sampling, which uses some kind of form of random selection. Since there was no sampling frame (a list of the population) available, we used a method often referred to as “man-on-the-street-method”; in our case “student in café”. Since the recommended sample size should exceed fifty in order to make generalizations, and taking into account the time reserved for the process, we ended up with a sample size of eighty.
The measurement questions (actual questions asked from the respondent) were designed so that they would answer satisfactorily to the investigative questions, concerning four different categories, which were personnel, environment, pricing and products. The investigative questions were, accordingly; Is our personnel customer-service oriented? How do the customers see our place? Are customers satisfied in terms of pricing? Are they satisfied with our products?
Demographic information asked on the questionnaire was the gender and age of the respondent. On the rest of the questionnaire we used ordinal scale, also referred to as Likert-scale. There were altogether 20 variables, which were presented as statements. The scale was 1 to 5, which represents five different attributes; strongly disagree, disagree, cannot say, agree and strongly agree. In the end of the questionnaire, the respondent had a possibility of writing down a free text for personal comments, wishes or complaints.
The answering percent was 100 since the situation was more or less supervised as they were filled in. The customers had a chance to ask questions and every form was checked as it was returned in case of possible gaps or misunderstandings. The survey was carried out over a two day period during the week in the afternoons.
Validity and reliability of the survey
This survey is based on a questionnaire, filled by a sample of the population. This fact presents certain weaknesses. Since we have a sample of the population, the data is a representation of the whole population. In a scientific way the data is therefore not reliable. As for the data itself, it is gathered from questionnaires filled by the sample, and not everybody is one hundred percent sincere about filling one of these. Accordingly, the data might be misleading or simply inaccurate. Beside the gathering of information, the interpretation of the data certainly is tricky and, from the managers point of view, has to be taken as a suggestion rather than a ruling.