Exploring Retail Customer Service, a Case of Retail Food Chains in Kwazulu-Natal
This study aimed at determining and evaluating the efficacy of customer service in independently owned retail food chains within the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa; managers; between customer's expectation and their perceived satisfaction. Furthermore, it included assessing the level of retail service quality, current customer service tools employed by independent food chains in KwaZulu-Natal, and the extent to which customer service tools are being used. The study was also about establishing if there was a significant relationship between retail service quality and customer satisfaction. The study targeted both customers and managers of independent food chains in KwaZulu-Natal from whom a sample of four mangers were interviewed and 444 customers were conveniently selected to participate in the study. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed in the collection of data. The findings revealed that the majority of the customers were generally dissatisfied with the quality of services offered by independent food chains owing to lack of complementary services (ATM terminals, parking, and toilets), facilities for shoppers with special needs (physically handicapped, wheelchaired, or translators), inability to offer customers credit, failure to provide wide product assortment, short operating hours and general appearance of the store (cleanness, good product display, presentation on how to use merchandise and availability of shopping trolleys, signage to locate and identify merchandise). The results, however, revealed that there is a relationship between customer's expectation and their perceived satisfaction. Equally significant, the results showed that customers were satisfied with the accessibility and safety of the stores and that they will be considering independent food chains in KwaZulu-Natal as their primary stores. (original abstract)
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