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Service quality importance-performance analysis as a strategic tool for management : the exploration of key customer satisfaction drivers in a South African electricity utility

This research was initiated due to declining customer satisfaction indices in the Southern region of Eskom, an electricity utility in South Africa. Given the link between customer satisfaction and purchase intentions, the sustainability of the business is at stake. The validity of the current MaxiCare survey tool is questioned and explored, as is the congruence of management and customers' perceptions regarding the key service quality constructs in the industry. The study's objective was to provide management with a reliable and valid customer satisfaction survey instrument as an alternate to the existing tool and to use the knowledge gained through the research process to recommend improvement strategies aimed at closing specific satisfaction gaps identified. The research was performed in two stages; firstly, semistructured interviews with customers and management to gain an understanding of the most important satisfaction dimensions. These influenced the design of a survey instrument based largely on the SERVPERF tool with the inclusion of importance ratings per item in the second stage. The quantitative survey results were used to assess the reliability and validity of the research and to suggest areas for future work. The results show that communication, quality of supply, assurance and price are uppermost in the consumer's mind. Tangibles are not significant and the inclusion of empathy is inconclusive. Management and customer perceptions at a macro level are closely aligned, however the two populations are not in agreement as to the underlying micro considerations. Similarly, the MaxiCare instrument is found to be valid as a macro indicator but lacks sufficient detail to be useful as a strategic tool and needs to be supplemented with additional sources of market information. The survey instrument used in the second phase is both descriptive and reliable but the number of factors it measures, the mix of items and the inclusion of the 'importance' dimension need further refinement to improve its validity. Future revisions of the tool will provide management with specific information that allows them to focus improvement strategies on disgruntled customers and their key service issues.
Date January 2004
CreatorsMacColl, Barry
PublisherRhodes University, Faculty of Commerce, Rhodes Business School
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeThesis, Masters, MBA
Format154 leaves, pdf
RightsMacColl, Barry

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