The Zone of Tolerance : Insights and Influences
The zone of tolerance has emerged from both the service quality and satisfaction literature to represent both a range of expectations and an area of acceptable outcomes in service interactions. In this study, hypotheses are derived from existing literature concerning the possible impact of the "disposition of the customer" i.e. whether cumulative experience has left the customer favourably or negatively disposed towards the service, on the zone of tolerance. In addition, the impact of the importance attached by consumers to the dimensions of service quality upon the zone of tolerance are also investigated. Findings from a quantitative, cross sectional analysis suggest that customers who are more favourably disposed towards the service have a higher level of adequate expectations and a smaller zone of tolerance. In addition, the importance attached to the dimensions of service quality appears to influence the level of desired expectations. Finally, and perhaps surprisingly, those dimensions of service quality generally considered the most important appear to be linked to a larger zone of tolerance.