Customer Satisfaction in Higher Education: A Study of Economics and Business Alumni/ae of Kalamazoo College
Horsch, Eric James
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This paper applies Customer Satisfaction Theory to the area of higher education. In particular, this is accomplished by implementing a hybrid-SERVPERF model, the prominent performance-based model in Customer Satisfaction Theory. The population for this study consists of Kalamazoo College alumni/ae who majored in the Economics and Business Department. Using a database of alumni/ae information dating back several decades, surveys were sent out during the month of December 2005 and received over the following six weeks. After the cutoff date of January 31,2006 was reached, data were coded and analyzed. The results of this study have implications for Customer Satisfaction Theory and for the Economics and Business Department of Kalamazoo College. In regard to the literature, this study concludes that demographics and expressive/process attributes play a minor role in determining satisfaction. On the contrary, satisfaction is largely explained by outcome-based attributes. In addition, satisfied graduates confirmed the influence of satisfaction on positive attitude and repurchase intentions. Lastly, it can be concluded from this study that SERVPERF is, in fact, an effective instrument for measuring satisfaction. In regard to Kalamazoo College and the Economics and Business Department, it can be said that department alumni/ae are quite unique. Department alumni/ae focus more on employment immediately after graduation and earn far more MBA and fewer Ph.D. degrees than graduates college-wide. Department alumni/ae are generally satisfied and financially healthy, though there is clearly a desire for more emphasis in business and career development. This feedback should be considered carefully for future College and department planning.