Service management in housing refurbishment : satisfying the ultimate customer
Sammanfattning: It is unusual to find that housing refurbishment projectshave been undertaken with a clear focus on customer orientationdirected towards the tenants, or owners of co-operative flatsor condominiums. Only recently have researchers in constructionmanagement begun to look closer at the relationship betweencontractors and customers. To assess the scope for customerorientation in the refurbishment industry, current thinking inservice management is reviewed and a pilot study is undertakenhere in an attempt to identify principles with implications forhousing refurbishment. There is a consensus among servicemanagement investigators that services are intangible; otheroften mentioned characteristics are heterogeneity,perishability, and the inseparability of production andconsumption. Except for inseparability these characteristicsare valid for refurbishment. Nevertheless, features such as thelong turn-round time, the number of participants, thecomplexity and the uncertainty, distinguish housingrefurbishment from most services. There is strong empiricalsupport for the claim that customer satisfaction increasescustomer loyalty and gives the service producer a positivereputation, ultimately increasing profitability. To test thevalidity of service theories in the context of housingrefurbishment, a pilot study has been undertaken, bearing inmind that the tenant or the owner of a co-operative flat is thecustomer's customer. The investigation concerns refurbishmentof two multifamily housing estates in Sweden, owned by housingco-operatives. The structure of relations between the involvedparties has been emphasised in the research. Statisticalanalysis of questionnaire responses indicates that the linkbetween satisfaction or dissatisfaction among residents and thereputation of the contractor is strong. Conclusions outline thepractical implications of these findings.
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