Antecedents of Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention in Outspan Hospital in Nyeri County, Kenya
Mbaabu, Amos Gitonga
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The rate at which private hospitals are failing to satisfy and retain their customers is becoming a concern for hospital managers. The private health sector is important because it contributes to the well-being of people despite there being other players such as public hospitals and Faith-Based Hospitals (FBOs). Customer satisfaction and retention issues have affected most private hospitals leading to customer defection. In order for organizations to have a competitive edge over their competitors, they need to focus on customer satisfaction and retention to reduce customer defections, especially for organizations in the healthcare sector. The main objective of the study was to evaluate the antecedents of satisfaction and retention of customers in Outspan Hospital in Nyeri County, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were; to evaluate the effect of system usage on customer satisfaction and customer retention in Outspan Hospital in Nyeri County, Kenya, and to determine the effect of service design on customer satisfaction and customer retention in Outspan Hospital in Nyeri County, Kenya, to establish the effect of corporate image on customer satisfaction and customer retention in Outspan Hospital in Nyeri County, Kenya and to evaluate the effect of customer switching costs on customer satisfaction and customer retention in Outspan Hospital in Nyeri County, Kenya. The scope of the study was Outspan Hospital. The study was guided by the Service Quality Gap Model. The Leaky Bucket Theory and CommitmentTrust theory of Relationship Marketing were also anchored in the study. The study used a descriptive research design. 70 respondents acting as heads and deputies of the various departments of Outspan Hospital consisted of the target population. A census method was used hence the assumption of 70 respondents as the sample size. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data and their construct validity was ensured through a pretest or pilot of 10 questionnaires with the neighboring Karatina Nursing Home. Content validity was ensured through consultations and discussions with the supervisor, experienced graduates, and research professionals. The coefficient alpha helped to measure reliability. Mean, percentages, frequency distribution, and standard deviation were used as descriptive statistics for data analysis. Additionally, inferential statistics which included variance, regression, and correlation analysis were used to measure the existence of a relationship between the independent variables (service design, system usage, corporate image, and switching cost) and the dependent variable (satisfaction and retention of customers). Study results were demonstrated through the use of tables. The study findings established that three independent variables namely; service design, system usage, and customer switching cost were significantly associated with customer satisfaction and retention in Outspan hospital. Therefore, the management of Outspan Hospital should enhance customer satisfaction and retention based on key study recommendations. These recommendations include; improving the external appearance of the institution, focusing on improving complaints handling programs, improving utilization of self-service technology (SST), and retaining customers through switching barriers that provide customers with superior customer value. Further research was recommended to be carried out in a public hospital to evaluate whether divergent findings may be realized regarding the antecedents of customer satisfaction and retention.