The Impact of Perceived Service Quality on Customer Loyalty in Sports Clubs

Jos M.C. Schijns, Marjolein C.J. Caniëls, Joska Le Conté

Year: 2016 Volume: 24 Issue: c

Pages: 42-75

Abstract: With decreasing sport participation and stabilizing membership rates, sport clubs face low capacity utilization and increased competition. It becomes imperative for sport clubs to retain existing customers. Service quality is generally suggested to be a crucial factor to retain customers. The aim of this study is to examine the question: What is the impact of service quality on attitudinal and behavioral loyalty in sport clubs? PLS-SEM is used to test a comprehensive model in which service quality leads to satisfaction, trust, and ultimately loyalty. Data were collected among members of two sport clubs in the Netherlands (n=124). Notable finding is that although service quality has a significant direct effect on behavioral loyalty, the effect of service quality on behavioral loyalty is mostly indirect, via satisfaction, trust and attitudinal loyalty. The effect of service quality on attitudinal loyalty is fully mediated via satisfaction and trust. It becomes imperative for managers of a sport club to monitor service performance and its underlying drivers (Staff, Program and Installation), in order to keep informed about the impact of improvements made. As such, service quality becomes a powerful management instrument that helps sport management to decide upon resource allocation to enhance customer satisfaction, trust and loyalty.