Effect of relationship marketing on customer satisfaction in the airline industry in Kenya
Stanley, Hilda Chepkoech
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In the intensely dynamic and increasingly competitive global market customer satisfaction is critical to the survival and sustenance of airlines. Airline companies have to seriously acknowledge, assess, and respond to the growing importance of the role their customers play in their success. A thorough appreciation of the factors that affect customer satisfaction was therefore critical. Customer satisfaction is the foundation on which organizations build their success. The main objective of this research was to investigate the effect of relationship marketing on customer satisfaction in the airline industry in Kenya. The specific objectives were to establish how relationship marketing programs can be used for building trust and to influence customer satisfaction in the airline industry in Kenya. Another objective was to determine the extent to which employee and organizational commitment in providing excellent services influence customer satisfaction. Also investigated was the effect of conflict handling programs and employee competence on customer satisfaction. This research employed descriptive and explanatory designs. The study targeted 1880 customers for various airlines that fly to JKIA and 60 managers. Stratified sampling was done for the customers while purposive sampling was used to sample the managers. Primary data was collected using a questionnaire. Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) was used to analyze the responses using descriptive and inferential statistics. The study found out that customers were satisfied with the level of confidence in the airlines’ products and services, reliability of the airline and airlines’ ability to fulfill its obligations to its customers. The results are presented in frequency tables, percentages, pie charts, bar graphs. Cross tabulations and correlations between variables. The study concludes that the competition among the airlines at JKIA is cut throat with near similar responses from both customers and managers. The study recommends that the airlines should improve the professionalism of its staff, enhance communication to address conflict handling, increase resources and tools for the staff, encourage initiative and innovativeness among the managers and employees alike and furthermore training the staff to be able to complete transactions at a faster rate. The study suggests further research in this area specifically a comparative study of relationship marketing in the home airports for each of the airlines since, at JKIA, Kenya Airways was more or less favoured by conditions and an observational study on the customer care and services at the airport so as to maximize and corroborate the responses from the customers and managers alike.