There has been an upsurge in the number of mobile users in the recent past and this has motivated telecom companies to provide a variety of offers and promotions aimed at commanding the market through the acquisition of a competitive advantage and repeat customers through customer loyalty. In the opinions of Basharat and Raja, two reasons explain why the telecom sector is vital as a service sector. Firstly, they assert that the telecom sector is one of the most critical sectors because of the massive role it plays in terms of contributing to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Secondly, it is deemed vital because of competitive nature, which automatically begets quality that is a prerequisite for profitability. In tandem with the literature review evaluating the nature of the telecom industry and the resulting customer behavior, an increasing number of researchers have reiterated the need for further research on the nexus between the quality of services offered and the relevant responses from customers. Al-Kwifi and McNaughton opine that most studies focusing on brand are overemphasizing the competitive markets of goods while only talking sparingly about the competitive market of the service industry. More so, only limited research has focused on the investigation of the link between the quality of services offered and the development of the emotional status of customers that directly influences their responses in the course of accessing and enjoying the service. In the views of Chaniotakis, Constantine, and Lymperopoulos, a notable success factor for marketing managers lies in the improvement of the levels of customer satisfaction and their perception of the required WOM by effectively knowing the specific service quality element and its relationship to the desirable WOM. Ioannis and Lymperopoulos affirm that currently, there is deficiency in literature highlighting the impact of the service quality elements on the level of satisfaction and WOM.
Clore, Ortony, and Foss clearly define emotion as the manner in which an individual is able to react to different events and perceive them. Environmental psychologists have established that cognitive and emotional reactions are common among customers as they encounter physical aspects in their operations. Past research views emotions as critical elements influencing the response of customers to environmental influences as well as influencing their purchasing behaviors.
From the perception of the most recent studies, emotion is essential in the satisfaction of customers. The recent studies also go ahead to affirm that a different emotional aspect should be utilized in the explanation of the satisfaction of customers. It is worth noting that Donovan and Rossiter examined the working of the model advanced by Mehrabian and Russell in a retail environment and their results showed that the behavior of customers is mostly affected by the facets of pleasure and arousal.
Mosadeghrad emphasizes that most individuals in the contemporary society focus primarily on the quality of the provided services or goods. Accordingly, quality as a concept has not changed that much because it has been used from time immemorial and from place to place to refer to different phenomena while maintaining the same meaning. Mosadeghrad agrees that the subjectivity and intangibility of the concept of quality makes it extremely complex for individuals to define it clearly. Additionally, the complexity in the definition of the term emerges from the fact that it is quite challenging to fully meet and exceed the normal expectations among customers. Therefore, researchers continue to explore the whole topic of quality from time to time to ensure it is understood. Feigenbaum defines quality as that crucial element catalyzing the growth of companies in international markets.
The intellectual definition of service quality advanced by Parasuraman et al. has been applied in the comparison of the nature of services offered to customers in different settings. Bitner states that service quality is the cumulative feelings that a customer has toward the superiority or inferiority of a particular entity together with its services.
It is undeniable that the concept of service quality is one of the hottest topics that general administrative sciences focus on. However, the concept is yet to be perfectly explained in marketing services in particular, but its importance to both customers and organizations cannot be overlooked. Lai and Cheng affirm that quality management and marketing work in tandem to achieve improved business performance. On the other hand, Converse initially reiterated the significance of different services in the marketing context. In the modern marketing context, fruitful relationships between customers and organizations are basically anchored on the quality of services offered.
Chumpitaz and Paparoidamis establish that the quality of services has come with positive effects on the performance of markets. Akroush and Akroush and Khatib point out that the successful performance of any given business is catalyzed by the quality of its services. Abu-El Samen, Akroush, and Abu-Lai explain that the quality of services gives the business the opportunity to distinguish itself from its competitors hence taking control of the market. Apart from helping businesses gain a competitive advantage, the quality of services plays a helpful role in leading to the satisfaction of customers, building customer loyalty, increasing the market share, improving profitability, and lowering operational costs.
Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry develop a relevant service quality model that effectively divides quality into five areas of focus including tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. The clear description of each of these factors is as follows;
Several elements constitute empathy in its simplistic nature. Some of the common factors that make up empathy include communication, access, and the ability to understand the customer. In most instances, a customer will opt for better services at the expense of lower prices. For instance, a practical example is where most of us will be prepared to pay more money just to enjoy a more efficient service instead of going for a lower price that does not have the same level of efficiency or quality. The market is mostly commanded by companies that offer the highest quality of services, as they get to a point where they tend to have a competitive advantage over their rivals.
Customers are always looking forward to better services and all telecom companies must focus on prioritizing their customers and making them feel valued. This will give them the opportunity to go beyond the existing customer expectations while promoting the highest level of satisfaction among customers. Specifically, customers are motivated to remain loyalty to a company by a personalized and proactive approach that involves recognizing their history, issues, and preferences.
The feelings of customers are primarily influenced by elements such as service procedures, service environment, and interactions between customers and service personnel in the consumption process. Notably, positive emotions are built on the perception of good services as negative emotions diminish.
Mehrabian and Russell opine that the emotional state of individuals depends on the environmental stimuli. In line with their discussion, Mehrabian and Russell, the key emotional states include pleasure, arousal, and dominance.
As much as dominance is a basic domain, it has been illustrated to have limited significance on behavior. However, the design of the environment affects the ability of the service to satisfy target consumers. Ryu and Jang appreciate the positive influence of employees on the pleasure state of customers. The positive touch is always linked to the pleasure component. Emotions mostly concentrate on the attainment of attention, which is an indispensable factor in service quality management.
Therefore, the following matters can be discussed as follows;
WOM stands out as the most authoritative factor in the marketplace. Accordingly, WOM is particularly vital for service industries especially those dealing with the provision of professional services such as law, accountancy and those in the financial service sector such as banks. The advancement of internet technologies has boosted the presence of the World Wide Web-based WOM also referred to as the eWOM or electronic word-of-mouth. Litvin et al coined the definition of eWOM from the existing concept of WOM referring to it as “all informal communications directed at consumers through internet-based technology related to the usage or characteristics of particular goods and services.”
It is important to understand that most of the consumer choices are primarily influenced by EMWOMS. Consumers who rely on information from online sites hold the firm belief that the information provided by their colleagues on the nature of goods and services is more valuable than when it is provided by marketers. Mehrabian and Russell affirm that behaviors such as the intention to purchase a particular service and approach behaviors are linked to emotions that create varied responses among consumers. Numerous research studies reveal that the purchasing behavior, evaluation (WOM), and the decision-making process depend on the existing emotions of consumers. In their research, Donovan and Rossiter illustrated that pleasure is an essential forecaster of outcomes in the retail environment. This is seen in terms of the time consumers take to comb the stores environment, impulse buying, and repeat purchases among customers. In a similar fashion, the results by Baker et al., revealed that there is a positive correlation between the emotional state of consumers and their willingness to buy. In another study, Tsimonis and Dimitriadis also noted that activities such as the pronouncement of new products and services, contact with fans, the provision of advice and useful information, and management of customers create more following of the company on social media hence increasing both sales and the level of profitability. It is incontestable that Twitter’s has experienced a landmark growth in its fan base, and it has subsequently attracted interest from both corporations and institutions focused on customer service. More so, the comments posted by followers on different posts are usually categorized into positive, negative, and neutral elements. Notably, increased sales and a positive brand image could be easily achieved through positive consumer reviews on the internet.
Previous literature has never ruled out the influence of the affect model postulated by Mehrabian and Russell. The most significant thing to understand is that the the SOR model is composed of three variables including the stimulus as an independent variable, the organism as a mediator, and response as the independent variable. These three variables are fully appreciated and supported by previous studies and research except for a few researchers such Daunt and Harris, Lin, and Wond et al who think there should be a different approach. As illustrated in Table 1, the aspects of each variable exhibit differences in the studies conducted in the past. In light of this, Turley and Milliman took the initiative to analyze past studies from 1975 to 1997 relating to how the consumer purchasing behavior is influenced by the atmosphere. In the enhancement of their review, they went ahead to evaluate previous studies conducted after 1997 focusing on the ability of service industries to adopt the SOR model. For instance, they evaluated studies such as Daunt and Harris, 2012, Dong and Siu, 2013, Kim and Moon, 2009, Lam et al. 2011, and Walsh et al. 2011 hence giving a clear picture of the adoption of the model by the service industry. As much as numerous studies have tended to focus on the introduction of the SOR model in service industries, there remains a gap in research on specific service industries that should use the model in their activities.