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Service Quality in Professional Services: A Case for Small Animal Veterinary Services

Lookup NU author(s): Sue Dobson


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This research agenda for small animal (companion) veterinary services in the UK focuses on service quality. Although much has been done on service quality, it has often been empirically tested with a combination of retail services. The service encounter in veterinary practice is different, due to the consumer’s emotional connection to their animal. Few practical models exist that enable veterinary services to understand their consumers’ behaviour, and thus improve their marketing. At a conceptual level, this research agenda could be applied to other professional services, such as medical, dentistry, and consultancy services, which have similar properties, including high perceived and actual risk, credence qualities, and levels of expertise. A review of existing services literature, and qualitative research was conducted to develop a conceptual framework, incorporating service quality, satisfaction, expertise/trust, perceived risk, value and loyalty constructs. A quantitative survey was conducted, generating 386 usable responses. The face to face technique employed generated additional qualitative providing interesting areas for future research. For example, those connected to the importance of non-veterinary staff in the encounter, as they influence perceptions of service quality, adversely effect loyalty, which is convergent with existing literature. Importantly, that veterinary consumers’ perceptions of bad service do not reduce over time, in fact quite the reverse, which is a divergent view when compared to most service marketing literature to date.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dobson SM

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Academy of Marketing, Special Interest Group: Services Marketing Workshop

Year of Conference: 2008

Pages: 14-34

Publisher: Academy of Marketing and Westminster Service Research Centre


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

: 22nd

Series Title: 22nd Service Conference and Workshop

Sponsor(s): Academy of Marketing, IBM

ISBN: 9780955268557