Service delivery as a competitive differentiator for Spoornet to achieve customer satisfaction.
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The rail industry in South Africa is represented by Spoornet, the only rail operator in this country. The rail industry in South Africa has undergone profound changes since the deregulation of the transport industry. Driving the changes that the rail industry now finds itself were the adoption of new technology, government legislation, difficult trading conditions, the strengthening of the rand and growing transport options available to rail customers. The rail transport industry must not only survive but also prosper in a radically different environment, to that in which it operated as a monopoly prior to 1990. As South African companies are becoming more export driven by catering to international markets, these companies are governed by stringent international practices in terms of the manufacturing of goods and services. As such it is imperative for South Africa's transport companies to render a seamless transport and logistics service in order to facilitate the expansion of these local companies into new global markets. This research aims to identify the factors that impact the level of service in the rail transport industry and to determine the actions necessary to improve the current levels of service. This research was undertaken amongst Spoornet's Import / Export customers nationally. It investigates service quality in the rail transport industry by utilising the Servqual methodology. The Servqual measuring instrument has been found to be a reliable measure of service quality. A sample of 50 customers was selected and previous research on the topic reviewed. The statistical analysis revealed that respondents indicated a high expectation of service and a low perception of service received. As a result, urgent attention must be focused on Spoornet's service delivery.