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ANTECEDENTS AND OUTCOMES OF CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN USING PREPAID CELLULAR SERVICE IN PAKISTAN Amjad Iqbal1,Mubashar Hassan Zia2,Sajid Bashir3,Khurram Shahzad 4 and Muhammad Waqas Aslam5 This study is focused on estimating and comparing the perceived expectation and the actual satisfaction level of prepaid cellular service users in Pakistan. In this study235 prepaid cellular service users were investigated randomly. Perceived quality, perceived value and perceived expectations are leading vari
    A NTECEDENTS AND O UTCOMES OF C USTOMER S ATISFACTION IN U SING P REPAID C ELLULAR S ERVICE IN P AKISTAN   Amjad Iqbal 1 ,Mubashar Hassan Zia 2 ,Sajid Bashir 3 ,Khurram Shahzad 4 and MuhammadWaqas Aslam 5   This study is focused on estimating and comparing the perceived expectation and the actualsatisfaction level of prepaid cellular service users in Pakistan. In this study235 prepaid cellular service users were investigated randomly. Perceived quality, perceived value and perceived expectations are leading variables for customer satisfaction: while repurchase likelihood,customer complaints and price tolerance are dependent on actual satisfaction. Findings suggest that customers have high expectations that are fulfilled by the cellular service providers to someextent. Keywords : perceived quality, perceived value, perceived expectations, customersatisfaction, price tolerance, customer complaints, repurchase likelihood.   Introduction: Cellular service has become a necessity of this era for every individual in order toremain in contact either with relatives, family or with business. A lot of cellular serviceproviders are active in Pakistan with both prepaid and postpaid packages. This research isbasically conducted in order to measure the customer satisfaction of prepaid cellularservice users in Pakistan. Customer satisfaction in prepaid cellular service varies with theneeds and requirements of customers as well as the availability of services accordingly.In Pakistan most of the customers are using cellular services in order to remain in contactwith other people, some people make use of calls, sms, mms or some of them only forconnectivity to web. 1 Amjad Iqbal Faculty of Management SciencesRiphah International University E-mail:   2 Mubashar Hassan Zia, Faculty of Management SciencesRiphah International University E-mail:   3 Sajid Bashir, Faculty of Management Sciences   Riphah International University 4 Khurram Shahzad ,Faculty of Management SciencesRiphah International University 5 Muhammad Waqas Aslam Faculty of Management SciencesRiphah International University E-mail:      Customer satisfaction generally regarded as customer reaction to the state of fulfillmentand customer judgment of the fulfilled state (Oliver, 1997). Customer satisfaction istotally concerned with the services provided to and perceived by the customers, if there ishigh matching between perceived and provided services than customer satisfaction levelis very high that directly leads to high customer loyalty for cellular service provider(CSP) and vice versa. There are many benefits for a company from a high customersatisfaction level, they capture a high market share and able to maintain and sustain it: abasic and core policy of every business that heightens customer loyalty and preventscustomer switching behavior, increases customer price tolerance, reduces marketing cost(Fornell, 1992). How a company could create a high level of customer satisfaction? Thereare many determinants, like price, call quality, perceptions, values, network coverage andnetwork availability are the core determinants of customer satisfaction. All the mentioneddeterminants are secondary but the main factor determining customer satisfaction is thecustomer’s own perceptions (Zeithamal & Bitner, 1996).This study is focused on the perceptions of the customers, their actual experienceand the after effects. If a cellular service provider is capable of fulfilling his promiseswith customers and provides services according to customer perception than customersatisfaction level will be high that leads to high customer loyalty. That will increaseprofitability, good brand image, advertising cost reduction as well as customercomplaints, high market share. In Pakistan different companies are providing differentservice packages and value-added services for their customers according to theirrequirements in order to increase their satisfaction level that ultimately increases thecustomer loyalty to entire service. This study will reveal the actual satisfaction level of prepaid cellular service users in Pakistan according to their perception. Review of Literature: Perceived quality: Perceived quality depends upon the blend of past experience, word of mouth andthe future anticipation of quality of the cellular service. Every cellular user requires bestquality accordingly. Since companies are going on continuous improvement in qualitythrough latest technology, installing costly equipments, trying to improve call clarity andcoverage, according to customer perception (Kim et al, 2004). But still there are lots of differences between perceived quality and actual quality provided by the cellular serviceprovider because of some technical issues or lack of knowledge about area, people orcustomer requirements. For users as well as cellular service providers (CSP) it isnecessary to know the relationships between objective and subjective application qualityof service and network quality in order to identify technical reasons for user-perceivedquality problems (Information Society Technologies (IST), 2005). As both players of the  game get familiar with the limitations and obstacles of the cellular services, it is easy tobuild a strong relationship between them that compels customers to be loyal with theentire service. Improved quality of service can lead to improved customer perceptions of the brand’s quality (Zhao & Hu, 2002). Palkar (2004) proposed that perceived quality isthe important factor that has greater influence on the customer satisfaction. H 1 : -   Perceived quality has positive correlation with customer satisfaction. Perceived value Perceived value is related to the price dimensions of cellular services. Since all thebusinesses in the world are done for profit so investment in cellular industry is also forsome benefit in terms of profits. In order to fulfill the basic and expected customer valuecompanies do not have to put so much effort into what they are doing (Gunnar & Malin,2006). Since CSPs are investing a lot but still there are mismatching in the actual andperceived value of the customers, latest survey by Barnhoorn (2006) revealed thatalthough there is progress but still perceived value from the telecom players has thelowest score, this is risen from 71% in 2005 to 76% in 2006. But how and to whichextent CSPs are charging their customers and give the value to the customers. CSPs haveto increase the switching cost in order to increase lifetime customer value and customerretention by implementing relationship-oriented marketing strategies (Hankel et al,2006). Since everyone in the world is seeking his/her benefits so customers are alsoexpecting benefits in terms of values. An intention to adopt or reject a cellular serviceappears to be determined to a greater extent by perceived benefits than by perceivedbarriers (Ancker et al, 2003). As the companies give high value to customers in terms of charges than satisfaction level gets high that leads to customer loyalty. H 2 : -   Perceived value has positive correlation with customer satisfaction. Perceived Expectations Perceived expectations are the desired factors of services accordingly. All CSPsare striving to capture maximum market share and do not want to lose. The cellularservice users expect CSPs will meet their requirements accurately (Turel & Serenko,2004). Since in Pakistan new cellular services are coming into action in market as well asexisting companies are introducing different packages, so customers have high level of expectations either with new services or packages. New mobile services are seldomperceived as superior to existing alternatives (Heinonen & Andersson, 2003). If customerexpectations are low with CSPs than customers may be inclined to consider switchingmore frequently (Lin, 2002). There must be market research and building relationshipstrategies to meet high level of customer expectations. It is needed to concentrate onbuilding trust in mobile sites with structural assurance (Yon et al, 2002). Since latesttechnologies are being utilized by the CSPs but there is still need for improvement in  order to handle and meet with the high level of customer expectations that directly leadsto high customer satisfaction. If companies handle service, complaints, and value with thecustomers in focus, their expectations can be exceeds (Gunnar & Malin, 2006). H 3 : -   Perceived expectations have positive correlation with customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction Customer satisfaction is the degree of fulfillment of perceived expectations andthe actual services provided by the CSPs. Heavy investments are made to maximize levelof customer satisfaction but only increasing the resources alone cannot lead to increasedlevels of customer satisfaction (Karthik et al, 2006). Thus there must be other factorsleading to improve customer satisfaction as pointed by Gunnar and Malin (2006) thatcustomer satisfaction is achieved through good qualitative and quantitative services.These qualitative and quantitative services must meet and satisfy the customerrequirements in order to maximize the level of customer satisfaction that leads tocustomer loyalty. Sendecka (2006) found that more customized, specific or better-tailoredservices that meet customer’s needs and expectations would lead to high level of customer satisfaction. Value-added services offered by CSPs can increase both customersatisfaction and total usage which in turn reduce churn rate, increase revenue andrepurchase of entire service in future (Henkel et al, 2006). Another study suggests thatcall quality, value added services and customer support play a significant role in buildingcustomer satisfaction for cellular service subscribers and they tend to keep using currentservice as the level of the customer satisfaction is high that leads to customer loyalty(Kim et al, 2004). Now further in this study we will see how the customer satisfactionaffects the customer loyalty in terms of repurchase likelihood and price tolerance. Price tolerance Price tolerance is the degree to which a customer can bear the price of usingcellular service according to level of satisfaction. Since there is huge investment incellular industry so there must be some charges for using cellular services. Cellularservice charges depend on many factors like technology, services, maintenance and taxesetc; users are willing to pay certain amount of money for using cellular services, andservice providers want a profit from their share (Koivu, 2000). In order to increase theshare, the call rate and connection fee should be reduced (Parvez, 2005) or should be putadjusted according to customer mental accounts terms (Pirc, 2005). As the customers aresatisfied with their current service so they are willing to pay substantial charges to CSPbut customers tend to switch not only because the price is high, but also when priceincrease is deemed unfair (Sindhu, 2002). H 4 : -   customer satisfaction has positive correlation with price tolerance.
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