Examining customer-supplier relationships: customer service quality in a precast concrete manufacturing company
Masitenyane, Lehlohonolo Amos
This study provides a framework for customer-supplier relationships and service quality measurement in a precast concrete manufacturing firm with the use of the universally accepted SERVQUAL model. Within an increasingly competitive precast concrete market, customer satisfaction is a critical goal for manufacturers of all types. Customer-supplier relationships and service quality were therefore investigated in this study. A quantitative research approach was used in the study to analyse the data. This approach enabled the researcher to obtain an accurate measure of all constructs that relate to service quality improvement for the particular concrete manufacturing firm amongst contractors, civil consultants, government institutions and end users. A sample size of 246 respondents from Gauteng Province was used. Descriptive statistics were used to explain the characteristics of sample data. In addition, factor analysis was used to condense the variables into five factors in order to capture the essence of service quality within a cementitious products organisation. Five dimensions, responsiveness, problem- solving, physical aspects, service personnel and physical appearance were extracted to measure service quality. Results showed that satisfied customers tend to re-patronise suppliers who enhance their service outputs provided to the customers. Thus it is imperative to enhance customer satisfaction and ultimately customer loyalty. These results suggest that improved service qualities can be useful for building customer loyalty and long- lasting relationships. The reliability analysis produced a Cronbach alpha which ranged from 0.700 to 0.815 which were deemed acceptable. The Pearson correlation analysis showed that service quality is associated with customers' future buying behaviour in terms of their decisions to purchase and recommend the supplier to others. Customers felt that service personnel were friendly, courteous and possessed the knowledge to answer customer questions. They exhibited a favourable image of the company and its services. This service dimension was ranked first in terms of importance by the customers therefore, the precast concrete manufacturer ought not be complacent but rather seek innovative ways in maintaining the service personnel dimension of service quality. The overall mean score of expectation of service quality by customers was 4.71. This indicates that the service provided by this company is satisfactory. It therefore suggests that, it is necessary for managerial intervention to prioritise in all these areas to develop a strategy of service quality improvement. Training of personnel is an essential component of service quality enhancement especially with complaints and the complaints-handling procedures. The management team of the organisation needs to play an active role in ensuring that all personnel are adequately trained and highly motivated to understand the user‟s specific problems and in the process to provide competent solutions to problems. Based on literature and results emanating from the empirical survey, these findings may assist the organisation in the enhancement of its service-quality levels. Hence, service-quality levels should be monitored carefully on a continuous basis.
Thesis (M.Tech - Marketing, Faculty of Management Sciences)--Vaal University of Technology, 2010
Concrete manufacturing -- Customer loyalty, Precast concrete manufacturing -- customer supplier relationships, SERVQUAL, Concrete manufacturing -- service quality, Service quality expectations