The Description Of Respondents Education Essay

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A profile of sampled respondents is presented in Table 1. Among 104 chosen respondents, 40.4 % was from Apollo 67 Le Van Huu, 34.6 % is studying in Apollo 83 Nguyen Ngoc Vu and 25% is studying at Apollo 36 Pham Tuan Tai. The percentages of two genders among 3 Apollo centers are exactly the same, 50% for each.

Nearly half of the respondents (48.1 %) is in the age group from 20 to 25 years old. The age group from 15 to 19 years old ranks the second place with 31.7% and the third place is age group of above 30 years old. The age group of 26 to 30 years old has the smallest proportion, 5.8%

More than half of the sample (52.9%) reported having earned a bachelor degree, with the remainder of the sample holding a high school, diploma qualification and post graduate degrees.

English for international communication course is studied by the highest number of students ( 77 students), representing 74% of 104 respondents whereas the other course such as English in Business Communication (5.8%), IELTS Preparation (6.7%), TOEIC 500+ (7.7%), English Pronunciation Practice (5.8%) are studied much less.

In terms of persons who paid the course fee, it is seen that most students has the family member pay the course fee for them (70.2%). About one fifth (21.2%) of respondents pay the course fee by themselves and only 6.7% of respondents reported that their family and themselves shared to pay. None of the students asked are sponsored by their school or Apollo.

Table 3: Description of Respondents

Description

Frequency

Percent

By Center

Apollo 67 Le Van Huu

42

40.4

Apollo 83 Nguyen Ngoc Vu

36

34.6

Apollo 36 Pham Tuan Tai

26

25.0

Total

104

100.0

By Gender

Male

52

50.0

Female

52

50.0

Total

104

100.0

By Age group

15 - 19 years old

33

31.7

20 - 25 years old

50

48.1

26 - 30 years old

6

5.8

30 years old above

15

14.4

Total

104

100.0

By Education Level

Post Graduate Degrees

15

14.4

Bachalor Degree

55

52.9

Diploma

13

12.5

Highs School Qualification

21

20.2

Total

104

100.0

By Studying Course

English for International Communication

77

74.0

English in Business Communication

6

5.8

English for Teens

0

0.0

IELTS Preparation

7

6.7

TOEIC 500+

8

7.7

English Pronunciation Practice

6

5.8

Premium Course

0

0.0

Total

104

100.0

By person who paid the course fee

Your family members

73

70.2

Your family members and yourselves

7

6.7

Yourselves

22

21.2

Your company

2

1.9

Your school

0

0

You are sponsored by Apollo

0

0

Total

104

100.0

Findings from Student Questionnaires

Before Joining Apollo

When being asked about whether students has studied in any English center/school before joining Apollo (Table 4), among 104 respondents, 67 students ( 64.4%) reported not having studied in other English centers before joining Apollo and only 37 students has enrolled English courses in other centers.

Table 4: Percentage of Students Having Studied in any other English Centers before Joining Apollo

Have you ever studied in any English center/school before joining Apollo?

Frequency

Percentage

Yes

37

35.6

No

67

64.4

Total

104

100

Those 37 students reported had been studied in English centers such as: Language Link (ten students), Smart Learn (six students), London English Center (four students), University's English center (two students), EQUEST (two students), Viet Anh English Center (two students). Other reported had been studying in centers (one student per center) like Sunrise Vietnam, Lena's English centre, OXFORD, Talk Talk English, 123, Active English Center, Sao Viet, No name center, SEC, AAC, VUS. These centers are considered not very famous and doesn't have strong brand name of English course. Four other students reported having studied in big English centers like ACET, British Council, Clever Learn, ILA .

Table 5: List of other English Centers studied by Apollo Students before Joining Apollo

What is your previous English center?

Total

Smart Learn

6

Sunrise Vietnam

1

London English Center

4

Lena's centre

1

OXFORD

1

Talk Talk English

1

University's club

2

123

1

EQUEST

2

Language Link

9

ACET

1

ILA

1

Active English Center

1

VUS

1

AAC

1

Sao Viet

1

No name center

1

Viet Anh

2

SEC

1

Clever learn

1

British Council

1

Total

40

Lengths of Studying

The length of time that students have been studying at Apollo Hanoi was also measured. As noted above, there is a distinction between mere retention and the more desirable outcome of loyalty. However, durability of a customer relationship is a necessary indicator of both.

Length of studying (LOS) figures appears as Table 6. Among 104 chosen respondents, 40.4 % was from Apollo 67 Le Van Huu, 34.6 % is studying in Apollo 83 Nguyen Ngoc Vu and 25% is studying at Apollo 36 Pham Tuan Tai.

More than half of the sample (56.7%) has been studying at Apollo for less than 2 months, which mean they are studying the first courses at Apollo Hanoi. Over one third (35.6%) of the respondents has been studying for two to six months, ranging one course to three courses. Only 7.7% of the sample has been staying at Apollo for seven to tweleve months and none of the respondents has been studying at Apollo for more than one year. Given the preponderance of customers in the less than 6 months categories across center, Table 6 seems to reflect weak and unstable relationship.

Table 6: Length of Studying

Apollo LVH

Apollo NNV

Apollo PTT

Total

Length of studying

No. of respondents

Respondents/LVH (%)

LVH/Apollo HN (%)

No. of respondents

Respondents/NNV (%)

NNV/Apollo HN(%)

No. of respondents

Respondents/PTT (%)

PTT/Apollo HN (%)

No. of respondents

%

< 2 months

24

57.1

23.1

25

69.4

24

10

38.5

9.6

59

56.7

2 - 6 months

16

38.1

15.4

9

25

8.7

12

46.2

11.5

37

35.6

7 - 12 months

2

4.8

1.9

2

5.6

1.9

4

15.4

3.8

8

7.7

13 months - 2 years

0

0.0

0.0

0

0.0

0.0

0

0.0

0.0

0

0.0

> 2 years

0

0.0

0.0

0

0.0

0.0

0

0.0

0.0

0

0.0

Total

42

100

40.4

36

100

34.6

26

100

25

104

100

A somewhat different impression emerges when examining the proportion of respondents for each center with a LOS from two to twelve months. Among the number of respondents of each center Apollo Pham Tuan Tai has had the highest two to six months and seven to twelve months LOS proportion at 46.2% and 15.45% in respectively, compared with 25% and 5.6% at Apollo Nguyen Ngoc Vu and 38.1% and 4.8% at Apollo LVH. In terms of less than two months LOS proportion among the respondents of the centers, Apollo NNV has the highest number of students, 69.4 percent among 26 respondents has been studying here for less than two months whereas 57.1% among 42 students at Apollo LVH and 38% of 24 students at Apollo PTT has been studying for less than 2 months.

Intention to Stay with Current Apollo's Centers

Retention relevant items were measured using a five point rating scale (where "Very Unlikely = 1, unlikely =2, don't know = 3, likely = 4 and verylikely = 5). When asked about the likelihood of staying with their Apollo center into the foreseeable future (Table 7), Apollo NNV's students had the lowest mean, at 3.66 (standard deviation = 0.71), only somewhat above the neutral hinge of the scale. This suggests that Apollo 83 NNV's customers might be slightly more willing to switch to other English center than the students of the other centers. Apollo 36 PTT has the highest mean, at 3.88 (standard deviation = 0.77) and Apollo LVH has the lower mean, at 3.76 (standard deviation = 0.55). All of the means summarizing respondents' likelihood of staying were within the 3.66 to 3.88 interval, and were thus roughly equivalent. This moderate satisfaction implies that the bulk of center students are not very satisfied that they would switch if attractive incentives were offered by competitors.

Table 7: Intention to Stay with Current Apollo's Centers

Center

Number

Mean

Standard Deviation

Apollo LVH

42

3.76

0.55

Apollo NNV

36

3.66

0.71

Apollo PTT

26

3.88

0.77

Total

104

3.76

0.65

Referrals

When being asked whether students encouraged other to study at Apollo or not (Table 8), the majority of respondents (69.2%) reported hasn't recommended others to study at Apollo and 30.8% of students has recommended others.

Table 8: Percentages of referrals

Did you encourage others to study at Apollo?

Frequency

Percentage

Yes

32

30.8

Not yet

72

69.2

Total

104

100.0

Research constructs

Level of importance

Level of importance of factors which affect students' decision to study the next course at Apollo centers was measured using a five point rating scale (where "not important at all =1, little important = 2, important = 3, very important = 4 and crucial = 5). When asked about the level of importance of suggested factors of staying with their Apollo center into the foreseeable future (Table 9), Teachers' knowledge (Mean = 4.26), Teacher's professional approach (Mean = 4.35), Teachers' language is easy to understand (Mean = 4.18), Teachers' activities are engaging and motivating (Mean = 4.12), Teachers' correction of my mistakes (Mean = 4.02) are all considered very important by students at 3 centers while teacher's appearance has the lowest mean of level of importance, at 2.83. Other components has the mean ranging from 3.07 to 3.90 and the total mean of all suggested components is 3.61 indicating that almost all of them are considered important factors that affect student's decision to study the next level at Apollo.

Table 9: Mean scores of Respondents' Perceived Level of Importance

 

Categories

Components

LVH

NNV

PTT

Total

8

Product quality

Course contents

3.76

4.11

3.85

3.90

9

Textbooks and CDs

3.60

3.47

3.69

3.58

10

Handouts and worksheet

3.69

3.78

3.15

3.59

11

Convenient class schedule

3.38

3.75

3.62

3.57

12

Certificates and reports for students

3.36

3.47

3.00

3.31

13

Service quality

Teachers

Teachers' knowledge

4.21

4.44

4.08

4.26

14

Teacher's professional approach

4.26

4.50

4.27

4.35

15

Teachers' language is easy to understand

3.98

4.47

4.12

4.18

16

Teachers' activities are engaging and motivating

4.02

4.44

3.81

4.12

17

Appearance of teachers

2.76

3.03

2.65

2.83

18

Teachers' correction of my mistakes

3.86

4.22

4.00

4.02

19

Tangible

Appearance of the physical facilities, tools and equipment used to provide English course

3.19

3.75

3.31

3.41

20

Professionalism of customer service officers

3.33

3.81

3.31

3.49

21

Value-added services

Apollo Online

2.79

3.58

2.81

3.07

22

Guarantee result

3.31

3.92

3.15

3.48

23

Fun and Learn activities outside classroom

3.00

3.81

3.04

3.29

24

Customer support

Customer support when the course is running

3.24

3.72

3.35

3.43

25

Effectiveness of complaint handling

3.38

3.58

3.35

3.44

26

Price structure

Reasonability of price

3.62

3.75

3.69

3.68

27

Promotion programs

3.48

3.81

3.31

3.55

28

Apollo Rewards

3.05

3.42

3.12

3.19

Total

3.49

3.85

3.46

3.61

Level of satisfaction

Customer satisfaction was measured using a twenty one-item index. The overall mean of perceived satisfaction was 3.42. Individually, each of the twenty one items, except Apollo Online and reasonability of price, had mean scores that were above the neutral pivot on the rating scale.

Respondents appear to be more satisfied with the center's Teachers' knowledge (Mean = 3.83), Teacher's professional approach (Mean = 3.71), Teachers' language is easy to understand (Mean = 3.85), Appearance of teachers (Mean = 3.72) presented in Table 5(a). This suggests that Apollo centers have recruited qualified teachers to teach students. However, respondents were relatively less satisfied with the center's Apollo Online and reasonability of price. Some complained about the high course fees charged and that Apollo Online is not very easy to use and students often can's connect to the website.

Education firms know the key to retaining customers is more than just providing "satisfaction" or competitive pricing. This view is confirmed by responses to the satisfaction items. The research's results indicate that Apollo's centers cannot rely upon price competition alone in order to be competitive; they must also strive to have better quality of courses and teachers, better appearance of the physical facilities, tools and equipment used to provide English course, more professional customer service officers, more and better value added services, customer support.

Table 10: Mean Scores of Respondents' Perceived Satisfaction

 

Categories

Components

LVH

NNV

PTT

Total

8

Product quality

Course contents

3.64

3.67

3.42

3.60

9

Textbooks and CDs

3.67

3.39

3.38

3.50

10

Handouts and worksheet

3.48

3.44

3.15

3.38

11

Convenient class schedule

3.48

2.97

3.54

3.32

12

Certificates and reports for students

3.33

3.61

3.38

3.44

13

Service quality

Teachers

Teachers' knowledge

3.69

4.08

3.69

3.83

14

Teacher's professional approach

3.69

3.83

3.58

3.71

15

Teachers' language is easy to understand

3.74

3.92

3.92

3.85

16

Teachers' activities are engaging and motivating

3.69

3.50

3.58

3.60

17

Appearance of teachers

3.71

3.92

3.46

3.72

18

Teachers' correction of my mistakes

3.60

3.56

3.58

3.58

19

Tangible

Appearance of the physical facilities, tools and equipment used to provide English course

3.29

3.67

3.42

3.45

20

Professionalism of customer service officers

3.45

3.97

3.38

3.62

21

Value-added services

Apollo Online

2.95

2.92

2.96

2.94

22

Guarantee result

3.21

3.47

3.15

3.29

23

Fun and Learn activities outside classroom

2.81

3.08

3.35

3.04

24

Customer support

Customer support when the course is running

3.02

3.36

3.42

3.24

25

Effectiveness of complaint handling

3.19

3.61

3.54

3.42

26

Price structure

Reasonability of price

3.14

2.75

3.00

2.97

27

Promotion programs

3.17

3.22

3.35

3.23

28

Apollo Rewards

3.02

3.17

3.23

3.13

Total

3.38

3.48

3.40

3.42

Switching barriers

The switching barriers index was composed of ten items. The overall mean was 2.96, implying that these impediments might not have much influence on the respondent's intention to stay. The individual means are presented in Table 11.

The strongest contributor to this construct was the student's trust on Apollo than other English centers (Mean 3.82). In addition, the respondents' feeling that switching is too inconvenient (Mean = 3.11), uncertainty about the quality of services that other English centers will provide them with (Mean = 3.33) and a bond between Apollo and myself (Mean = 3.05) contributed to respondents' reluctance to switch to alternative providers

Other switching barrier items such as being afraid to lose your reward points at Apollo if switching and that switching would be too disruptive and time - consuming, development of a personal friendship with Apollo teachers and Vietnamese staff, and the fact that students are studying other courses at Apollo had very low mean score, ranging from 2.54 to 2.90, suggesting that they might not have much impact on switching decisions. This does not mean that they are not important to Apollo students.

However, in this study, it was found that many of the respondents would like to study other courses at Apollo besides English for International Communication Course such as English for Business Communication, Exam preparation course, Pronunciation Practice but Apollo centers don't open these courses frequently. Let's take Apollo PTT for example. Currently, it has 13 adult classes and all of them are English for International Communication. Apollo NNV and LVH, on the other hand, have more type of courses opening for students. In details, Apollo NNV has 16 adult classes, 11 classes among them are English for International Communication, three classes are exam preparation course, one class is English for Teen course, and one class is Business English course. Apollo LVH has 20 classes, 13 classes are English for International Communication course, three classes are Exam Preparation course, two classes are Pronunciation course, one class is English for Teen course and one class is Business English course.

This is an important issue for Apollo centers, as cross-selling is a critical element in increasing customer loyalty and revenue. Indeed, Jonesand Farquhar (2003) demonstrated that lower levels of cross-selling may also lead to the loss of market share and decreasing profitability. Furthermore, increased competition is leading to commoditization of Apollo's products as these are relatively easy for competitors to copy. This might lead to a higher propensity to switch providers, as consumers may be able to study similar courses for better prices elsewhere. Conversely, cross-selling may make switching an unacceptable inconvenience, as the students must find a provider that can replace a broader range of products.

Table 11: Mean Scores of Respondents' Perceived Switching Barriers

No.

Categories

You do not feel like switching because….

LVH

NNV

PTT

Total

29

Switching cost

In general, switching would be too disruptive and time - consuming.

3.24

2.56

2.85

2.90

30

Switching is too inconvenient.

3.38

2.92

2.92

3.11

31

I am afraid to lose your reward points at Apollo if switching.

2.93

2.94

2.62

2.86

32

Prices of other English centers are higher.

2.88

2.22

2.58

2.58

33

Attractiveness of alternatives

I trust on Apollo than other English centers.

3.86

3.83

3.73

3.82

34

I am not certain about the quality of services that other English centers will provide me with.

3.36

3.36

3.23

3.33

35

Interpersonal relationship

I feel there is a bond between Apollo and myself.

3.26

2.89

2.92

3.05

36

I have developed a personal friendship with Apollo teachers and Vietnamese staff.

2.83

2.44

2.69

2.66

37

I am studying other courses at Apollo.

3.02

2.28

2.88

2.73

38

My family members and friends are studying at Apollo, too.

2.62

2.44

2.54

2.54

Total

3.14

2.79

2.90

2.96

Recommendations from Students

When students are asked about suggested recommendations about what Apollo should change to be more suitable to them, three centers have some common suggestions, a lot of them relate to teacher factor such as:

Teachers should have more speaking and listening, pronunciation activities in class

Teacher should correcting students' mistake more, especially in writing and speaking activities

Teachers' activities should be more engaging and motivating

Teachers should not allow Vietnamese in class

Teachers should not focus too much on textbook. Instead, they would like activities more relating to their school or work environment.

Apollo should have more out of class activities. These activities should be more frequent and should be advertised to all classes to connecting students and teachers

Apollo should have variety of courses for package students to choose

Class schedule should be more convenient for students, suggesting at the weekend or weekday evening from 18:30 to 20:30

Besides those common comments among three centers, there are some other comments which are different from one another. For example, in Apollo LVH, five students in an IELTS class commented that Apollo should arrange teachers with good teaching method and a lot of experience as one of their current teachers teaches IELTS skills as in a General English class. Three students in a General English classes reported that teachers and customer service staff should be friendlier. Four package students claimed that Apollo's package payment method is interesting but requires student to study too much in a week (five to six lessons per week) and it make students tired or difficult to arrange time to study.

At Apollo NNV, 11 among 26 respondents complained that course fee and text book fee are too high and Apollo should decrease the price for students or at least split the course fee into two or three time of settlement. Nine among the 26 students requested Apollo to have a canteen where they can buy some snack or have a cup of coffee or tea. They further explained that they came to Apollo straight after school or work and were too hungry to concentrate on studying for two or four hours. The class' break time only last ten minutes and there is no cafeteria or canteen nearby to buy food.

At Apollo PTT, five students gave the feedback that there should be more games, English songs in class and games should be more diversified and three commented that teachers should be more helpful to students

Finding from interviews with defected students

In order to have broader view from students, 30 left students from three centers were chosen to have in-depth interviews. Here are the results.

Reasons to choose to study at Apollo

When being asked why students chose Apollo, interviewees reported that they chose Apollo because of different reasons such as they think that Apollo was able to meet their need, prices of course are acceptable, Apollo has convenient locations, Apollo has variety of English courses, Apollo has a reputation of good teacher and service quality and Apollo has favorable image.

Reasons to stop studying at Apollo

From the interviews, it is shown that the main reasons to stop studying is the personal issues of the students such as they were too busy with their work, school, family, they have to go on business trip or go abroad and can't study three or two times per week in the evening at Apollo.

Moreover, a lot of students who stopped are the ones that pay the course fee by package payment method, in which they had a huge discount (nearly 50%) on course fee but have to finish four or eight courses in a very intensive period, six or twelve months. After four or eight intensive courses, they claimed either that they were too tired or busy to continue or their English level is good enough to communicate in basic situation.

A relatively large number of students stopped as the class schedule are not convenient and flexible such as they are free during the day or weekend to study but Apollo centers doesn't have daytime or weekend classes for adult students. Class schedule are almost the same in every center such as Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday from 17:30 to 19:30 or 19:45 to 21:45. Students claimed that they did not want to study from 17:30 as they had not finish school or work and did not want to study from 19:45 and finish at 21:45 as it was too late.

Some of them switch to competitors to study soft skills courses in English that Apollo does not have like Business Writing, Presentation skills…

Relating to teachers, six students feedback that they stopped as their favorite teachers did not teach them anymore. They either switched to teach other classes or stopped working at Apollo after the finishing the course or sometimes even before the course finished. Five students added that there were too much teacher changes in one course and therefore students found it difficult to understand teachers.

Students' feedback about Apollo's product quality, service quality and price

Most students think that Apollo courses and service quality is ok but not highly differentiated from competitors like British Council, Language Link, ILA, ACET,…They perceive that Apollo is more suitable for students at a very young age like four to eleven years old as the school image and classroom facility look more suitable for kids.

According to them, in order to encourage them to come back, Apollo should have more qualified and experienced teachers, especially those who teach specialized courses like Exam or Business English Course and retain such teachers as long as possible. Class schedule should also more flexible to adapt student's needs for example opening morning, weekend classes or classes study once a week only, or start from 18:30 to 20:30.

A lot of students like the package payment methods but they would like to extent the length of period a little bit as it's too intensive to finish number of courses in limited months. Also, package payment (six month package is nearly 13 million VND and 12 month package is about 20 million) to be paid at one time before the course start is too much for university students. They would like to be divided into two or three time settlements.

Students also suggest that each Apollo center should have different English courses for student to move to rather than just open General English course.

Finding from Interview with Apollo Hanoi's staff

Center Managers

Three center managers including myself as the center manager of Apollo LVH are interviewed about Apollo's management priorities, Teacher Retention and Motivation, Customer feedback and student database

According to the center managers, Apollo Hanoi's priorities are increasing revenue, net income, increasing market share.

Teacher turnover in three centers is reported to be high and increasing. Teachers are defecting due to seeking better remuneration, and further studies. Teachers are motivated by use of an incentive system that comes when a course that he had been teaching finished. In details, if the percentage of current students upgrading when a class finished and upgrade to the next level is 55% upward, the teachers of that class will have a bonus of the total hours of that course multiplied by one dollar. However, it is not many classes achieve that retention rate and the amount of that bonus has to be shared to other teachers who shared that class. Therefore, the incentive system is not a very strong motivator for teachers.

Apollo does have a budget for retention activities for both young learner and adult classes; however, that budget for it is not much, only 0.6% of total revenue. Moreover, this small amount of money is spent mostly on retention activities for young learner students.

In terms of customer feedback, from three center managers comments, it is implied that different center use different tools and methods to get students' feedback. At Apollo Pham Tuan Tai, CSOs often call students 2 weeks after the course start and before the class finish the level. They often ask students' comments about teachers and other things that students want Apollo to change. It is then recorded in excel file and brought to person in charge to solve the problems. At

Apollo Pham Tuan Tai, email is the main method of communicating with students and get their feedback whereas at Apollo LVH, students are encouraged to call or come to see the CSOs directly to share the feedback and the request to change something about the course.

Apollo do have a database system record all customer history as well as customer defection.. Customer defection is primarily attributed to students' personal issues or some of their needs relating to schedule, extra benefit and value are not very satisfied.

Customer Service Officers

Six customer service officers (CSOs) from three Apollo centers were interviewed in this research. As person who records students' retention rate, CSOs reported that the most common reasons for adult student defection were student's personal issues like busy with school and work, moving house, business trip, going abroad. Besides these issues, teacher issues are very common. CSOs claimed that they received quite a lot of complaints from students, especially from specialized English course like BE, PP, Exam about teacher's knowledge, and methods of teaching. CSOs added that students also complained a lot about too many teacher changes within one course.

In terms of CSOs' views on the factors such as service quality, product quality, and price; CSOs all think that they are important factors that affect students' decision to stay and among that teacher quality including teachers' knowledge, professional approach, language is easy to understand, activities are engaging and motivating and correction of student mistakes is most important.

When being asked about CSOs' assessment of Apollo's service quality, product quality, and price, CSOs shared that these factors are performed ok at Apollo but Apollo has low switching barriers.

In order to improve customer retention, almost all CSOs believe that the most important driver is teachers. Therefore, Apollo should try to attract very qualified and experienced teachers and retain them.

Academic Manager and Teachers

Eight teachers and two academic managers, two senior teachers was interviewed why they think that students stopped at Apollo and what should Apollo do to improve adult retention rate

Most teachers said that students left because of good teacher left Apollo after finish their first contract with Apollo (three months, six months or one year). They commented that they enjoyed working at Apollo where both Vietnamese and foreign staff are very friendly and helpful, like in a family. However, it is not enough to encourage them to stay. They left to switch to competitors as Apollo's package is not competitive and falling behind. They claimed that in other centers like British Council and ACET, they are paid twice as high as at Apollo.

Our previous academic manager just left Apollo 3 weeks ago to switch to ACET Hanoi. There are many reasons behind it but one of the reasons is that at the same position at ACET he was paid twice as high as at Apollo. He shared that his job at Apollo had been very stressful in terms of recruiting enough teachers for the classes. He interviewed a lot of teachers per week but many of them declined the offer because of the package. He tried a lot to persuade teachers who finish the contract to stay but not high proportion of them do so. He raised it to the operation managers and it has been adjusted a little but was still behind the competitors. One of the senior teachers added that Apollo's mission is to be the leading providers of English training in Vietnam and if they want to achieve that, they have to invest a lot more in teachers.

Analysis of Findings

Here are the research objectives that have been set up in the first chapter of the thesis:

Find out the reasons why left students ended the relationship with Apollo

Discover what factors are most important to encourage students study the next level at Apollo according to customer's perspectives

Indicate the level of satisfaction of adult students with such factors at Apollo Hanoi

Find out whether switching barriers has strong effect on students' decision to stay

Present recommendations to Apollo Hanoi on how to enhance its customer retention

Based on the findings from the student questionnaires and interviews, the reasons why students left Apollo are

The main determinants and influencers of customer retention were identified as overall customer satisfaction, switching barrier.

The recommendations to Apollo Hanoi on how to enhance its customer retention will be presented in the next chapter.

CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION

This chapter presents a summary of the entire research work; the conclusion of the entire research work, recommendations and suggestions for further research.

Summary of Findings

The findings from the previous chapters indicate that improvements in the different aspects of customer retention are necessary if Apollo Hanoi is to improve its customer retention.

In all cases of product quality, service quality, price and switching barriers, it has been indicated by statistical inference that customers are less than 'highly satisfied' with these aspects. From the extraneous findings further evidence is presented that gives indication there is a gap existing between the expectations of the customers and management perception.

This truth presents definite implications to the management at Apollo Hanoi that call for definite steps to be taken to arrest this situation.

Implications of Research

The results indicate that the level of satisfaction is less than outstanding or 'highly satisfying' for product quality, service quality, pricing and the switching barrier are very weak and as result customers are less likely to be retained. Improvements in these areas are likely to have a great impact on Apollo Hanoi's ability to retain customers, cross sell products and increase profits. The failure to satisfy and keep existing customer makes it harder to cross sell products

Recommendation for Apollo Hanoi

The major intention of this research as stated above was to find out the reason why left students defects, their intention of stay with Apollo, indicate the level of satisfaction that customers had with product quality, service quality, price and test whether the switching barrier has a strong effects on students' decision to stay. The intention of drawing findings will have an impact on Apollo Hanoi's total service quality perspective and development of customer relations as necessary means of increasing customer retention. Along with these practical implications for Apollo Hanoi, the other Apollo centers and foreign - owned education firm are likely to benefit from the findings of this research.

Product quality

Apollo centers should open a variety of courses for students to move to instead of focusing too much on GE. Class schedule should be more flexible for example weekend classes, daytime classes, once a week classes or classes from 18:30 to 20:30 or 18:00 to 21:00 in weekday evening. Apollo should design and then open soft skill course for students to create a wider range of choices for students.

As suggested by a lot of students, Apollo teachers should correct students' mistake more and let them practice speaking and pronunciation as much as possible.

Improvements in Service Quality

In terms of teacher management, Apollo should adjust the current package to attract and retain good teachers. In order to minimize teacher changes, Apollo should have more full time one - year contracts with teachers and limit the number of holidays that teachers can take. Teacher feedback should be more frequent and transferred to teachers on time. Moreover, more frequent trainings should be organized so that teachers can share experience with each other more.

Service performance is a critical indicator of service quality. Apollo Hanoi should conduct a service quality audit. These less then outstanding satisfaction level results with service quality are reflective of a gap between the expectations of customers and what they experience. Apollo Hanoi needs to conduct a service audit that examines the processes involved in executing services, in terms of actual time and expected time.

More outside activities for students should be organized. Apollo centers should share the ideas among them to make these activities more efficient.

Teacher Retention and Motivation

It evidenced above and highly supported by literature review (Ross 1995) that dissatisfaction of employee in general and teachers in particular is most evidenced in decreasing employee retention, and absenteeism, and has a direct bearing on external customer satisfaction. The high/ increasing rates of employee turnover expressed by management at Apollo should act as an indicator of the source of the low satisfaction level expressed by customers.

Workloads, competencies and personal characteristic traits of employees, especially those that are in contact with customers, should be evaluated so as to increase employee satisfaction and possibility for intervention. Employee retention affects greatly customer satisfaction as it is a sign of employee satisfaction; external customers cannot be satisfied is internal customers are not satisfied.

Employees can be motivated through involvement and training. Training in all regards must be linked to customer satisfaction and as a result should entail simulations and role-playing methods. Training that simply roles out the bottom line and instruction manuals usually does not hit the mark. It must also be noted that due to the changing many employers are aggressively redesigning job offers to attract the attention of suited candidates, including those trained by Apollo Hanoi. As a result, Apollo Hanoi should see customer defection in this light also.

Price

In terms of pricing, Apollo should have different price structure for students. Package payment should be settles in two or three times to help students with limited budget can study and stay at Apollo. Apollo should allow delay for adult students in case they have acceptable from school or work such as business trip, offsite military class and unexpected reasons like diseases or accidents. Instead of course fee discount after finishing 5 courses, Apollo should change to discount after 2 courses only.

Management Priorities

The main driver to increasing satisfaction levels of and switching barriers of customers is leadership involvement in service quality initiatives (Ross 1995). Senior management must become convinced that customer satisfaction is a pre-requisite for increased profits and revenue. Objectives that focus on revenue overlook what it takes to get those revenues. The top management at Apollo needs to set specific quality targets and standards that aim at improving customer satisfaction. For example more emphasis should be put on servicing customers at center level. At present, center managers are rated more highly for effecting new sales than for servicing customers while in actual fact the main customer relations center is the branch. Key performance indicators for center managers, customer service supervisors, and other frontline employees for 'customer satisfaction', 'accuracy and turn around times', 'queuing lengths being kept at minimal time possible', 'minimal incidences of fraud' - need to indicate specific measures and how they will be accounted for.

Development of a Customer Database

Apollo should put in place a database system that enables it to register more information about its customer. Paramount is the need to be able to trace customer defection, attrition and fluctuations in account sizes. It is critical that the Apollo knows customer's intention to defect in advance of account closure. This may entail the extension of service support systems onto the net, especially for corporate and 'high net-worth customers'.

Direction for future research

Despite the interesting findings and implications that emerge from this research, it is important to recognize its limitations and the need for additional research. Moreover, while working on this thesis, a few areas that would benefit from future research were encountered:

This study consisted of 3 Apollo centers in Hanoi within 7 Apollo centers in Vietnam. Further research connected to this thesis's topic would be of interest with all Apollo centers or event all foreign - owned English Education and training organization in Vietnam. This is to see if the results are applicable to other Apollo centers as well as other foreign - owned English Education and training organizations.

Including a preliminary survey to identify the specific areas that customers use to measure satisfaction, unlike the arbitrarily chosen areas of product quality, service quality, price and switching barriers.

The thesis was conducted under 15 week's timeframe. A broader research conducted under longer period of time would, according to the author gives more realistic results.

There are other factors influencing customer retention, apart from factors suggested in this study, such as the demographic characteristics of students, their life cycles, and their usage pattern of English courses. It is recommended that future studies focus on this part.

In addition, in order to identify more methodically the factors influencing student retention, foreign -owned education firms must be compared with other education firms and and with other industries.

Conclusion

Satisfaction levels of customers have been found to be less than 'highly satisfactory', which is in accordance to the research hypotheses and provides an indication that improvements in the areas of product quality, service quality, pricing and switching barriers are likely to increase customer retention at Apollo Hanoi

This research presents recommendations in line with this; it is then pertinent that any service quality initiative be supported by all members of Apollo Hanoi and must evolve around the customers (existing and potential) and their expectations.

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