Customers’ Expectations of Service in Greek Fitness Centers

Topics: Quality of service, Demographics, Service Pages: 20 (6408 words) Published: January 28, 2013
importance of different models

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Customers’ expectations of service in Greek fitness centers Gender, age, type of sport center, and motivation differences Yanni Afthinos
University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Expectations of service in Greek fitness centers 245

Nicholas D. Theodorakis
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, and

Pantelis Nassis
University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Abstract
Purpose – Aims to identify the aspects of service delivery deemed most important by the users of Greek fitness centers and to examine whether their desires differ according to the type of fitness center they use as well as according to certain demographic and motivation patterns. Design/methodology/approach – The study was based on the QUESC instrument developed by Kim and Kim. A total of 346 individuals who were members of public and private fitness centers in Athens/Greece completed the questionnaires. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) test was conducted for each item of the instrument in order to examine whether different groups had different desires for service delivery. Where a difference between group means was identified, Duncan’s multiple range tests were performed to determine which means were significantly different. Findings – The aspects of service delivery desired more by sports centers users refer to the tangible elements of the facilities, the personnel attitudes and abilities, attributes related to the cost of participation and items related to the programming and scheduling of services provided. The findings also suggest that significant differences of desires exist between males and females as well as between users of public and private sports centers. Research limitations/implications – The sample of the fitness centers was convenient rather than statistical. The reason was that there is no official agency in Greece with a complete list of fitness centers. Practical implications – This paper is a useful source of information for fitness centers management to identify their customers’ wants, take action to improve service delivery, and establish standards of performance to address the identified customers’ needs. Originality/value – This paper sought to address questions on the way certain demographic variables and patterns of use might affect sports centers’ users’ desires, so that an information package can be applied in making marketing decisions for improving sports centers service delivery. Keywords Fitness centres, Customer services quality, Greece Paper type Research paper Managing Service Quality Vol. 15 No. 3, 2005 pp. 245-258 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0960-4529 DOI 10.1108/09604520510597809

The authors thank Dr D. Papadimitriou for contributing to this study. The authors also thank Dr Kim for providing QUESC for use in this research.

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Introduction The health and fitness movement is a rapidly growing industry worldwide. In the USA there are more than 33,000 health and fitness facilities. The number of fitness centers in Europe is fewer, but increasing (Costa et al., 1998). In Greece, there are approximately 1,300 private fitness centers with 311,500 customers, generating an income of e164.5 million per year (Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, 2002). This is a competitive industry, and the rise of consumer power in the fitness-center industry has forced managers to focus on customer service to meet the high expectations of their customers (Robinson, 1998). In such highly competitive service industries, delivery of excellent service is a prerequisite for survival and success (Parasuraman et al., 1985). Numerous studies have shown that profitability and retention of customers are the key benefits of delivering service of high quality (Fornell...

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