Customers' perception of service quality and future behavioral intentions of a YMCA facility



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The purpose of this study was to examine the customer’s perception of service quality and behavioral intentions to repurchase membership at a YMCA fitness center in Greenville and Palestine, Texas, using the Service Quality Assessment Scale (SQAS) instrument (Lam, Zhang, & Jensen, 2005) and the Behavioral Intentions model (Zeithmal, Barry, & Parasuraman 1996). The research sought to (1) identify the primary service factors influencing consumer satisfaction, (2) identify differences between participant expected and actual experiences of fitness center service, (3) determine participants future intention to revisit the facility, (4) determine participants future intention to share their experience, and (5) identify differences between perceptions of service quality and customer satisfaction across demographic groups based on BMI (i.e., normal and overweight participant groups). The survey was available to 1189 individuals with a response rate of 6.7%. Regression analysis was used to establish that staff, program, locker room, fitness, and aquatics were suggested predictors of customer satisfaction. One-way ANOVA was used to establish significant differences in actual and perceived service quality among gender, age, education level, and BMI. An analysis of variance showed that the effect of age bands on possession of required knowledge/skills for staff was significant (F(4,74)=3.05, p=.022), communication with members was significant (F(4,74)=2.88, p=.028), the availability of workout equipment was significant (F(4,74)=3.01, p=.023), and the hours of operation for childcare was significant (F(4,73)=2.82, p=.031). An analysis of variance showed the effect of education level on the availability of workout equipment was significant (F(5,73)=2.66, p=.029). Additionally, an analysis of variance showed the effect of BMI on modern looking equipment was significant (F (2,70)=3.190, p=0.047). Although there were items for the YMCA to consider for future service quality improvements, the majority of respondents were either very satisfied (40.5%) or satisfied (38.0%) with the overall customer service of their YMCA. Results of this study showed that participants placed their strongest expectations on the YMCA staff, workout equipment, and child care hours. Surprisingly for these YMCAs, support services and staff skills are the ones that appear to need more attention rather than the core services such as fitness equipment or programs.



Service quality, Customer satisfaction, Behavioral intention