An assessment of service quality and customer satisfaction at South African Breweries (SAB)
Ntshingila, Ncediwe Jeruel.
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The liquor industry has become intensely competitive due to structural policies with respect to the empowerment and entry of new entrepreneurs into the industry and existing companies merging with international investors. Consequently, South African Breweries (SAB) is now faced with increasingly challenging and enormous competition which has caused their market share to decline during the last few years. As elsewhere in the industrialised markets, SAB is striving for survival and to retain customers. Generally, in this competitive atmosphere, it becomes essential to understand the factors which lead to customer defection. Customer satisfaction is imperative for the long-term success of any organisation. Service quality within retail is the only tool that distinguishes an organisation from competitors and is pivotal to satisfying and retaining customers. The aim of this study is to evaluate if customers are satisfied with the service offered by SAB. To achieve this objective, the dimensions of service quality were studied and measured to assess the perceptions of customers, to determine customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels and to identify the shortcomings that could be amended for improvement from a quantitative perspective. A survey questionnaire covering five SERVQUAL dimensions and one additional dimension of Retail Service Quality Skills (RSQS) was carried out from a stratified random sample of 103 liquor outlets (customers). Due to financial and practical reasons, this study was restricted and focused on only one SAB plant, which is SAB Springfield, Durban. The sample of 42% females and 58% females, was selected from the database of SAB Springfield, Durban as a sample frame. Data accumulated was analysed using SPSS version 17. The findings show that among six service quality dimensions, the policy dimension had the lowest satisfaction levels, followed by average satisfactory levels on dimensions of empathy, assurance, responsiveness and tangible. The management at SAB must take appropriate measures to improve the quality of policy dimension which emphasises the importance of offering high quality merchandise and appropriate handling of returns and exchanges.