Competitors. This chapter starts by defining quality, services and service quality. Some essential elements such as the expectations of service, importance of service quality and its benefits are also being highlighted
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Service Quality Example
Literature Review Chapter One: An overview of Service Quality
Nowadays, service quality strategy is an important weapon used to gain a competitive advantage over
competitors. This chapter starts by defining quality, services and service quality. Some essential elements such as
the expectations of service, importance of service quality and its benefits are also being highlighted. It further
stresses the need for handling customer complaints and underlines the role of service failure and recovery.
1.2 Meanings of Quality
Quality is constantly evolving depending on its application techniques used. Quality is a term that is heard almost
everywhere nowadays, from top management business to the small corner shop on the local street to the stall
selling fruits in the market. Quality is perceived as a subjective term which means different things to different
people in different situations.
According to Joseph M. Juran (1988), quality is defined as “fitness for purpose”. Deming W. Edwards (1982),
another quality guru, described quality as being “a predictable degree of uniformity and dependability at low cost
and suited to the market”. However, “Delighting the customer by fully meeting their needs and expectations” is a
more common definition of quality.
Other definitions of quality are listed below:
· “Quality is a conformance to requirement” (Philip Crosby, 1979)
· “Quality is the customer's opinion” (Armand V Feigenbaum, 2004)
· “Quality is the extent to which the customer or users believe the product or service surpasses their needs and
expectations” (Gitlow et al. , 1989)
The different definitions of “quality” given above are not stating the same thing. Thus, it is possible that one
business concentrates on quality to meet a specified requirement, but this may not satisfy the customer's
expectations. Also, it is possible for a product to be of a degree of excellence but may not fit for purpose, that is,
the definition underlined by Joseph Juran. Simply expressed, all gurus of quality dance around the definition of
quality but none of these definitions stated above is a complete statement of what is meant by quality.
1.3 Importance of Quality
The concept of quality is currently so widely used by organisations that it is no longer just an advantage to adopt it
but a must for survival. Increased globalisation leads to increased competitive pressures. Therefore, businesses
are forced to do their best to be more efficient, more up-to-date with the changing technologies and at the same
time to be responsive to the markets. Dale (2003) stresses the importance of quality in that it increases
productivity, followed by enhanced performance in the marketplace and improves overall business performance.
According to Armand Feigenbaum (2004), quality is considered to be the single most important force resulting in
organisational success and growth in both national and international markets. Competition nowadays is fiercer as
existing competitors need to improve their offerings while new and low cost competitors emerge in the
marketplace (Dale, 2003). Consequently, businesses are required to understand the great significance of quality
and try to indulge in continuous and sustainable quality improvements in order to survive.
Quality is a key aspect that plays a great role for both goods and services providing enterprises. More specifically,
quality and its management have turned out to be progressively significant in pursuing business excellence,
superior performance and market supremacy.
But why quality in service? This is because organisations face challenges such as meeting customer requirements
while remaining economically competitive. Services are labour intensive even today. There is not any substitute
for high quality personal interaction between service employees and customers. Thus, quality practices need to
be implemented by the service enterprises to identify problems quickly and systematically, establish valid and
reliable service performance measures and measure customer satisfaction.
The new catch-all word “services” is making its rounds in the industry in the last decade. Indeed, the role of
services in the world economy has increased considerably within the last ten years, particularly in developed
nations. According to Jiang and Rosenbloom (2005), the shifting of the economy in industrialised countries from
goods to services is considered to be one of the most essential long-term trends in the business world today. In
fact, the service sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the USA nowadays, accounting for over 75% of the
increase in the GNP (Gross National Product) in the last decade.
Regan (1963) brought in the idea of services being “activities, benefits or satisfactions which are offered for sale,
or are provided in connection with the sale of goods”. As human beings, we consume services in our everyday life
such as switching on the television, talking on mobile phones and using emails. Economies of the world are
becoming more and more services based. Some activities such as banking, construction, tourism, accounting and
hairdressing can be easily identified. Organisation goals can be achieved by knowing the needs and wants of
target markets and thus delivering the appropriate and desired service better than competitors.
According to Zeithaml et al. (1990), customers are considered to be the only judge of service. However, it is often
difficult for customers to predict satisfaction and evaluate service prior to purchase and consumption and hence,
they are more likely to look for information before purchasing services than goods This may be mostly due to the
fact that services, in contrast to goods, are commonly said to derive from the four characteristics namely
intangibility, heterogeneity, perishability and inseparability.
However, some authors have argued that services are not fundamentally different from goods and have also
reported that no pure goods or services exist in today's marketplace (McDougall et al. , 1990; cited by Stell et al. ,
1996). This stream of thought puts forward that the service/good dichotomy is such that consumers can purchase
either a good or service to fulfill their needs. For instance, when consumers need to have their documents copied,
they may buy a personal copy machine (a good) or go to a copy center (a service). In these circumstances, services
may compete directly with goods (Dholakia and Venkatraman, 1993). So, instead of identifying differences,
marketing strategy should be based on the similarities between services and physical goods in relation to the
characteristics of the total market offering.
1.4.1 Services in Retail Industry
Organisations must be able to identify their most important customers and prospect and at the same time
integrating customer insights and powerful analytics into retail decision-making. Thus, this can drive high
performance throughout the business. Evidence suggests that services business customers tend to remain with
the same service provider if they are continually and continuously satisfied (Hong and Goo, 2004). The building
and maintenance of such relationships can attain better financial performance, customer trust, commitment and
satisfaction (Hsieh et al, 2002).
In order to achieve high performance in the retail industry, there are several attributes that retailers should strive
towards to guarantee success and outperform their competitors. They have to excel in areas such as being
customer focus, being continuously innovative, establishing a performance-oriented culture and improving the
distribution channel. All these add a new dimension of competition.
1.5 Definition of Service Quality
Service quality has drawn attention of researchers in recent decades (Zeithaml, 2000). Nevertheless, since there is
not a universally accepted definition for service quality, many different meanings exist. For instance, Czepiel
(1990) portrays service quality as customers' perception of how well a service meets or exceeds their expectations
whereas Bitner, Booms and Mohr (1994, p. 97) define service quality as “the consumer's overall impression of the
relative inferiority or superiority of the organisation and its services”. Zeithaml et al. (1996) depict service quality
as “the delivery of excellent or superior service relative to customer expectations”.
While other researchers (for example, Cronin and Taylor, 1994) view service quality as a form of attitude
representing a long-run evaluation in general, Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985, p. 48) define service
quality as “a function of the differences between expectation and performance along the quality dimensions”.
Indeed, this has appeared to be consistent with Roest and Pieters' (1997) definition that service quality is a
relativistic and cognitive discrepancy between experience-based norms and performances concerning service
As for Gronroos (1983), service quality is viewed as the accomplishment of customers' expectations whereas
Parasuraman et al. (1985) define it as the gap between customers' expectations, in terms of service, and their
perception developed by the actual service experience. That is, service quality is an attitude that results from the
comparison of expected service levels with perceived performance.
Furthermore, Parasuraman et al. (1985) have reported that outstanding service is a profitable strategy as it results
in more new customers, fewer lost customers, more business with existing customers, more insulation from price
competition and fewer mistakes requiring the re-performance of services. Accordingly, by offering superior
service quality, a firm is liable to become more profitable and at the same time to sustain a competitive edge in
their served markets.
Evidently, superior service quality is a strategic weapon aiming to attract more customers. Lassar et al. (2000)
believe that service quality is a significant sign of customer satisfaction and thus delivering superior service quality
is a strategy that eventually leads to success.
1.5.1 Service Quality in Retailing
With the rapid development in the retail industry nowadays, understanding of retail service quality and identifying
determinants of retail service quality has become strategic importance for retailers. By satisfying customers
through high quality service, firms not only retain their current customers, but at the same time, their market
share also increases. (Finn and Lamb, 1991; cited by Nguyen, 2007)
According to numerous marking researchers (for example, Berry, 1986; Reichheld & Sasser, 1990; Dabholkar et al.,
1996; NcGoldrick, 2002), the offer and supply of high quality service is often perceived to be of fundamental
importance in retailing.
In the retail context, when customers evaluate retail service, they compare their perceptions of the service they
receive with that of their expectations. Customers are seemed to be satisfied only when the perceived service
meets or even exceeds their expectations. However, they are dissatisfied when they feel that the service falls
below their expectations (Levy and Weitz, 2005).
To date, Parasuraman et al. (1988) believe that many studies on service quality relied on service quality construct
and scale. Nevertheless, Kaul (2005) and Dabholkar et al. (1996) argue that this application to the retail industry
may not be appropriate for service quality in retailing industry as the latter seems to be different from other
services. In retail setting, where there is a mix of product and service, retailers are prone to have impact on
service quality more than on product quality (Dabholkar et al. , 1996). Hence, since retailers can create such
effects, service quality plays a significant strategic role in creating quality perceptions.
1.6 Customer Expectations of Service
According to Parasuraman et al (1993), understanding customer expectations is a must for delivering superior
and value-added service. Customers have the tendency to compare their perceptions with that of expectations
when judging a service. They are satisfied only when the service they have received is the same or exceeds what
they expected. Lewis (1991) define expectations as the desires or wants of consumers and what they believe a
product or service should offer, which are formed on the basis of previous experience with a company, its
competitors and the marketing mix inputs. Thus, identifying what a customer expects is the prime step in
delivering high quality of customer service.
1.6.1 Determinants of Customer Expectations of service
Berry and Parasuraman (1993) have developed a complete model of customer expectations and have given their
opinions through two levels namely desired and adequate expectations and the zone of tolerance in the middle
which separates them (refer to Figure 1.3). This model shows the different factors that affect these three features.
Desired service is that level of service which a customer expects to receive from a service firm. In fact, it is a blend
of what the customer considers ‘can be' and ‘should be'. It is believed to result from six sources namely, enduring
service intensifiers, personal needs, explicit service promises, implicit service promises, word-of-mouth and past
Conversely, adequate service level is related to which the customer finds acceptable. It is based on the customer's
appraisal of what the service ‘will be'. It is influenced by five factors such as transitory service intensifiers,
perceived service alternatives, customer self-perceived service role, situational factors and predicted service.
Berry and Parasuraman (1993) describe a tolerance zone as “a range of service performance that a customer
considers satisfactory”. This concept assumes that customers have expectations of a service attribute on the two
given levels which have been discussed above. If the real experiences of a customer fall in the zone of tolerance,
then the perceived quality is regarded as good.
Understanding the different sources of customer expectations can therefore help managers to perceive correctly
what their customers want and expect. They can then put emphasis on the services elements that they can
control and deliver the services they have promised. Hence, this model can serve as a valuable diagnostic tool to
boost up the overall level of perceived service quality (Kettinger and Lee, 2005).Yet, one of the perplexing issues
confronting service businesses is how to measure quality service perceptions of existing and potential customers
since many of these factors are uncontrollable and also expectations differ from customer to customer and,
possibly, from one situation to the next for the same customer (Young et al. , 1994).
Why is Service Quality Important?
Across all service industries, service quality remains a critical issue as businesses strive to maintain a comparative
advantage over their competitors in the marketplace (Kandampully et al., 1999). As a result, the environment of
service organisations is more and more competitive. Ghobatian et al. (1994) point out that “customers are the
lifeblood of any business” and “service quality can be the means to win and keep customers”.
Actually, in today's aggressive environment, the pursuit of service quality is believed to be the most important
strategic weapon in achieving a sustainable differential advantage within the global marketplace (Devlin et al.,
2000). More importantly, it is conceded that companies that excel in high quality service as perceived by their
customers, tend to be the most profitable ones. On the other hand, poor service has been classified as the prime
cause for customers switching to competitors (Ghobatian et al., 1994).
It is often observed that organisations providing a sophisticated level of service, try to go beyond just satisfying
their customers. “They emphasise the need to ‘delight' them by providing them more than what is required. They
also now talk about winning customers” (Dale, 2003). The latter highlights some customer service facts and
indicates why service quality is crucial for a firm. (See Appendix A)
While focusing on the increased importance of service quality, it is also essential to assess the related benefits
and costs. Lewis (1991) has underlined some benefits when adopting a quality service strategy such as customer
satisfaction and customer retention, loyalty, expanded market share, enhanced firm's reputation, improvement in
employee morale, low staff turnover, increased productivity, less mistakes, lower costs, high revenues, increased
financial performance, high revenues and positive word-of-mouth.
On the other hand, Crosby (1979) has identified the costs of poor quality which are related due to lack of
responsiveness to customers, low morale of employees, dissatisfied customers and unfavorable word-of-mouth
communication. Hence, it is important for businesses to clearly anticipate that service quality is the basic
prerequisite for continuous success.
1.7 Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction
In a competitive business environment where organisations compete for customers, customer satisfaction is
perceived as a key differentiator and increasingly has become a primary element of business strategy (Carl D.
McDaniel, 2005). Customers are the foremost decision makers in any marketing effort. They opt for a service
offering that adds value to them and optimises their satisfaction.
Many researchers such as Brady and Robertson (2001) and Lovelock, Patterson and Walker (2001) conceptualise
customer satisfaction as an individual's feeling of pleasure or disappointment resulting from judging against a
product's perceived performance with respect to his or her expectations. But, Westbrook and Oliver (1981) make
use of the confirmation-disconfirmation theory to better explain the meaning of customer satisfaction. This
paradigm states that customers assess their levels of satisfaction by comparing their actual experiences with that
of their previous experiences, expectations, and perceptions of the product's performance.
Parasuraman et al. (1994) mention that customer satisfaction is a key consequence of service quality and thus, it
can determine the long term success of a service organisation. In the same vein, Oliver (1980) points out that
customer satisfaction is affected by customer expectation or anticipation prior to obtaining a service and can be
approximated by the following equation:
Customer Satisfaction = Perception of Performance - Expectations
Based on the above equation, Parasuraman et al. (1994) devise that a service provider can boost up overall
customer satisfaction by either improving customer perceptions of a service or by lowering their expectations of
it. If a service firm fails to respect this equation, then, this may dissatisfy the customer at the time and, in turn, will
result in his or her switching to alternative service firms (McCollough, Berry, and Yadav, 2000; Roos, 1999). Thus,
this equation is a valuable tool and a clear reminder that both factors, perceptions and expectations of customer
satisfaction need to be managed and controlled by the service provider.
An analysis of the literature on the relationship between customer satisfaction and service quality has received a
widely held view among researches. Caruana and Malta (2002) point out by mentioning that service quality is an
important input to customer satisfaction. Zeithaml et al. (1996) share the same line of thought by suggesting that
a customers' relationship with a company is strengthened when that customer makes a positive appraisal about
the company's service quality and is weakened when a customer makes negative assessments about the
company's service quality. They argue that favourable assessment of service quality will result in favourable
behavioral intentions like “praise for the company” and expressions of preference for the company over other
companies. Thus, implying that there is a positive relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction.
However, the relationship between customer satisfaction and service quality has been criticised for not being
inter-related by many researches. For instance, Iacobucci et al. (1995) identify that the vast majority of articles
attempting to scrutinise this inter-relationship have been of a non-empirical nature. Similarly, Anderson and
Fornell (1994) point out that the literature is not very clear about the distinction between quality and satisfaction.
Satisfaction is a “post consumption” experience which judges perceived quality against expected quality, whereas
service quality refers to a global evaluation of an organisation's service delivery system (Anderson and Fornell,
1994; Parasuraman et al., 1985). Hence, Dabholkar et al. (2000) suggest that it is recommended that customer
satisfaction should be measured separately from service quality so as to understand how customers evaluate
1.8 Service Quality and Customer trust
The trust that customers have in service organisations is an important concern for customer relationship
managers. Existing research has accentuated the significance of trust and its implications for driving profitable
and long-lasting customer relationships (Garbarino and Johnson, 1999; Morgan and Hunt, 1999). Practitioners and
researchers have repeatedly emphasised the importance of service quality which enable firms to build stable and
trusting relationships with customers (Grönroos, 1983; Rust, Moorman, and Dickson, 2002; Zeithaml, Berry, and
Recent evidence highlights that there exists a positive relationship between service quality and trust (Chiou and
Droge, 2006; Sharma and Patterson, 1999). To reinforce this notion, a firm that consistently meets or exceeds the
expectations of customers will cultivate more trusting relationships with its customers. The courteous, caring, and
responsive employee behaviours that are characteristic of service quality will inspire confidence in customers,
particularly in retail outlets and thus will introduce a sense of trust for the retail store in customers (Weisinger,
1998). These related factors of service quality eventually contribute to the development of trust, and trust starts
to develop as the customers experience positive service interactions and obtain benefits from this personal
interaction. Consequently, the higher the service quality, the stronger is customer trust in an organisation.
1.9 Service Quality and Customer Loyalty
The main aim of leading service organisations is to maintain a superior quality of service in an effort to gain
customer loyalty. Coupled with this, Zeithaml (1996) believes that a service firm's long term success in a market is
essentially determined by its ability to expand and maintain a large and loyal customer base. Buttle and Burton
(2002) simply describe customer loyalty as “a customer who continues to buy is a loyal customer”.
Boulding et al. (1993) find that there is a positive relationship between service quality and customer loyalty, that
is, customers having the repurchase intentions and the willingness to recommend. Sharing the same line of
thought, Zeithaml et al. (1990) also report a positive relationship, thereby, customers willingly pay a price
premium and intend to remain loyal in case of a price increase. However, Johnson et al. (2001) point out that this
positive relationship varies between products, industries, and situations.
On the other hand, some researchers argue that it has remained unclear whether or not there is a direct
relationship between service quality and loyalty. In the study done by Cronin and Taylor (1992), service quality did
not appear to have a significant or positive effect on customer loyalty. Similarly, Bloemer et al. (1999) mention that
this relationship has remained relatively underdeveloped.
1.10 Handling customer complaints
The phenomenon of customer complaints is considered as an area of great significance for businesses,
particularly where organisations are increasingly recognising the value of pursuing long-term relationships with
customers. Tax and Brown (1998) identify that only 5-10% of customers who are dissatisfied actually complain.
Hence, it is imperative for organisations to encourage their customers to voice their dissatisfaction by providing
communication facilities such as customer service desks. However, Blancero and Johnson (2001) argue that
customer complaints could result in negative reactions from employees, which may in turn reduce service quality.
But complaints can have a positive impact as well. It is an excellent opportunity for an organisation when
receiving complaints in order to restore customer confidence and to capitalise on this feedback for helping in
organisational improvements (Johnston, 2001; Ramsey, 2003). When focusing on handling customer complaints, it
should include adequacy or fairness of the outcome, access to the organisation contact points, friendliness,
empathy, active feedback, and speed of response (Stauss, 2002).
1.11 Service Failure and Recovery
The retail industry involves a high degree of interaction between employees and consumers and as a result,
provides many opportunities for service failures to crop up. According to Michel (2001), service failures include
those circumstances when a service fails to live up to the customer's expectations. Some consequences of service
failures are dissatisfaction, negative word-of-mouth (Mattila, 2001), decrease in customer confidence and a
decline in employee morale and performance (Boshoff and Leong, 1998).
When service failure occurs, then service providers have to take actions to recover which gives rise to service
recovery. Miller et al. (2000) describe service recovery as the actions takes to problems, change negative attitudes
of dissatisfied customers and to ultimately retain these customers. Examples of recovery efforts consist of price
discounts, improved services, refunds, free products or services, apologies, and acknowledgment of the problem
(Kelley et al. , 1993).
1.12 Summary of the Literature Review
This chapter has provided a general idea on service quality. It has started by providing an overview of services and
quality with emphasis in the retailing industry. In addition, customer expectations, customer trust, loyalty and
customer satisfaction have also been discussed. Undoubtedly, in the service quality literature, service quality is
proven to provide many benefits to organisations.
Literature Review Chapter Two: Related Concepts of Service Quality
In this chapter, service quality and its related concepts have been explored. They are as follows: The dimensions
of service quality including SERVQUAL, Gap analysis, the three dimensions of Lehtinen and Lehtinen and the
Perceived service quality model. Besides, the difficulties in measuring service quality as well as a critical review of
the concept of service quality have also been identified
2.1 Dimensions of Service Quality
Service quality is not a singular but rather it is a multidimensional phenomenon (Ghobatian et al, 1993). Without
doubt, the identification of the quality dimensions to measure is of fundamental necessity as customers base
their views about service on these dimensions (Kunst and Lemmink, 1996). Various writers and researchers have
suggested a number of dimensions of service quality.
For instance, Lehtinen and Lehtinen (1982) identify three dimensions for service quality which are physical quality
(tangible aspects of service), corporate quality (company image and reputation) and interactive quality (two-way
flow between customers and personnel). They also argue that it is important to differentiate between the output
quality of service and the quality associated with the process of service delivery.
Indeed, service quality is being perceived as a multidimensional concept. Grönroos (1984) point out that service
quality comprises of three global dimensions:
· The technical quality which refers to what is delivered or what the customer gets from the service. For example,
for a retail store, technical quality may consist of the range of products offered and the availability of parking
· The functional quality, that is, the way in which the service is delivered or how it is delivered. For example,
customers of a retail store will assess whether the salespersons are friendly or whether products are easily
· The corporate image has to do with how consumers perceive the firm and is built by mainly both technical and
functional quality and to some extent other factors such as the traditional marketing activities (pricing,
Unlike Grönroos (1984) who uses the global measure of service quality, Parasuraman et al. (1985) argue that the
criteria used by consumers to evaluate service quality fits ten dimensions: reliability, responsiveness, competence,
courtesy, communication, credibility, security, access, tangibles and understanding/knowing the customer. Later,
after having carried out successive research, analysis and testing, Parasuraman et al. (1988) refine the dimensions
into only five dimensions namely:
* Tangibles: the appearance of physical facilities, personnel, communication materials and condition of
* Reliability: the ability to perform the promised service on time dependably and accurately.
* Responsiveness: the willingness to help customers, to deal effectively with complaints and provide prompt
* Assurance: the employees' knowledge and courtesy and their ability to convey trust and confidence.
* Empathy: The level of caring, individualised attention provided to the customers.
2.1.1 SERVQUAL Model
Based on these five dimensions above, the SERVQUAL instrument has been developed. This particular instrument
which is originally developed by A. Parasuraman, Valarie A. Zeithaml and L.L. Berry in 1988, measures service
quality through customer opinions. They point out that SERVQUAL essentially comprises of two sections. The first
section basically questions customers' expectations, while the second part measures customers' perceptions. The
gap between the expected service and perceived service is measured using the SERVQUAL together with its five
underlying dimensions of service quality (tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy). The
SERVQUAL incorporates 22 items in each of the two sections which are sub-items of the predefined five
dimensions (refer to Appendix B).
According to Zeithaml et al. (2006), SERVQUAL has been creatively used in multiple service contexts. Indeed,
Parasuraman et al. (1988) suggest that the instrument is applicable across a wide variety of services. In the same
line, Getz et al. (2001) put forward that SERVQUAL has been broadly used in a variety of service industries. They
also point out that it is a helpful tool comprising of potential applications in assessing effectively consumers'
expectations and perceptions of service quality.
Despite the fact that SERVQUAL is the most well known instrument for service quality, it has been criticised from
several researchers. Cronin and Taylor (1992) claim that there are deficiencies in both the conceptualisation and
operationalisation of service quality in the SERVQUAL model. Buttle (1996) criticises on the dimensionality of the
SERVQUAL scale, especially to the number of dimensions and their stability from contexts to contexts. He also
states that the dimensions are not universal. Following the same line of thought, Bahia and Nantel (2000) declare
that this model emphasises only on service/product dimension and neglects other dimensions of the marketing
As a result, other methods of measurement being both qualitative and quantitative have been suggested. For
instance, Cronin and Taylor (1992) have developed an alternative measure for service quality, that is, the
SERVPERF model. Smith (1995) has proposed other methods such as critical indent method, customer satisfaction
index, simple grades, protocol analysis and conjoint analysis.
Nevertheless, even though there is the existence of these measures, SERVQUAL has been declared to be a
predominant and sound instrument of service quality measurement. According to Lewis, Orledge and Mitchell
(1994), SERVQUAL may be a helpful management tool to track service quality trends over time, help managers to
identify where performance improvement is more needed and compare a firm with its competitors. Parasuraman
et al. (1988) argue that the instrument is both a valid and reliable measure of service quality and can be adapted
to any service organisations with some modifications.
2.1.2 Gap Analysis Model
The Gap Analysis Model has been developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) which serves as a
framework for service firms attempting to improve quality service. The conceptual model identifies five gaps. It
suggests that the measurement of service quality revolves around the gap between consumer expectations and
perceptions (Gap 5) and that in turn relies on four other gaps associated with the delivery of service (refer to
* Gap 1: Customer' expectations versus management perceptions:
When management formulates service delivery policies, it does not correctly perceive or interpret the customer
expectations, that is, not knowing what customer expects.
* Gap 2: Management perceptions versus service quality specifications:
The difference between management's perceptions of customer expectations and the service quality
specifications, that is, not selecting the right service designs and standards
* Gap 3: Service quality specifications versus service delivery:
The gap between actual service quality specifications and the delivery of those specifications to customer service
actually delivered, that is, not delivering the service standards.
* Gap 4: Service delivery versus external communications:
The difference between the services delivered to customers and the communications to consumers about the
service delivery, that is, not matching performance to promises.
* Gap 5: the discrepancy between customer expectations and their perceptions on service
This gap relies on the size and direction of the four gaps associated with the delivery of service quality on the
Since this model is externally focused, there is a potential to help management in identifying pertinent service
quality factors from the perspective of the customer. Parasuraman et al. (1988) mention that the existence of one
or more of the above gaps in service firms will cause quality problems. So, organisations should aim to identify
any existing gaps and develop strategies to minimise or even eliminate them so as to improve service quality.
2.2 Retail Service Quality Scale
Another dimension which is the Retail Service Quality Model (RSQS) is specially designed to measure service
quality in the retail industry. This model has been originated by Dabholkar et al. (1996). It composes of 5
Physical aspects - retail store layout and its appearance
Reliability - retailers keep their promises and always do the right things
Personal interaction - personnel are courteous, helpful, and inspire confidence in customers
Problem solving - personnel are capable to handle customers' problems and complaints
Policy - policies on merchandise quality, operation hours, parking, and credit cards
However, after conducting a study, Kim et al. (2001) point out that the dimensionality of service quality of this
particular model is not universal across industries or across countries. In line with this thinking, Kaul (2003) also
finds that RSQS dimensions are not valid in some countries.
2.3 A Critical Review of Service Quality
Although many models have been presented and discussed, there are some limitations in the present research
that need to be highlighted. Firstly, one of the early impediments to research on service quality is due to the lack
of valid and reliable measures of the construct (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry, 1985). As a result, attempts to
capture perceived service quality are viewed as haphazard and sloppy.
Besides, Edvardsson and Gustavsson (1991) point out that the frames of analysis is restricted to service quality as
perceived by the customer only. Therefore, in order to gain a better understanding of what service quality is, it is
advisable to consider the service processes not only in the service encounter but also within the organisation. In
this circumstance, the concepts of internal services and internal customers should be given equal importance as
external services and customers.
One of the most intriguing questions asked by Edvardsson and Gustavsson (1991) is that when measuring service
quality why there is a comparison only between the service expected and that perceived by end customers. So far,
no consideration is given to the various references a customer might have for judging service quality in general.
Another argument is that there is the neglect of the cost and price aspects when it concerns service quality
(Grönroos, 1982; Parasuraman et al., 1985). Researchers have to relate cost and errors when assessing service
quality as they both form part in the internal and external service of production (Edvardsson and Gustavsson,
1991). The latter also point out that when judging perceived service in relation to expected service, the price of the
service is too often ignored. Because of reason, service quality must be analysed in a given context since it is
Hence, in light of all these, further investigations must be allocated in the service quality literature and they need
to be adjusted where they are most needed for possible use in the service operations.
2.4 Summary of Literature Review
This chapter has dealt with the different concepts of service quality, that is, the dimensions of service quality that
are used by customers when evaluating service quality. It includes the SERVQUAL model, gap analysis model and
the retail service quality scale. Ultimately, some limitations in the present research have also been discussed so as
to provide a better direction for a more consistent and complete research.
This chapter starts by defining retailing and the growing importance of the retailing industry. Besides, the
relevance and application of service quality have also been analysed in the retailing context, showing that, service
quality is indeed an important asset that should be taken care of.
3.1 What is Retailing?
Retailing has always been a very competitive industry in which an effective cost control and high degree of
innovation are indispensable to success. Indeed, Bobbitt and Dabholkar (2001) state that retailers are
progressively considering innovative options for delivering service to their customers.
According to Auzenne, George R (2006), retailing can be defined as the exchange of money for goods and services
and it is the heartbeat of an economy. In light of this, Snuggs Thelma (2003) highlights that retailing can also be
defined as the timely delivery of goods and services demanded by consumers at the right price and place. He also
mentions that regardless of whether a company sells to consumers in a store, over the phone, through the mail,
door to door or through vending machine, it is retailing. Some well-known stores in the world are Wal mart, Tesco,
Asda and Safeway.
Nowadays, the creation of a pleasant environment for shopping has become a competitive retailing strategy in
order to enhance consumer experience in the retail outlet and at the same time attracting consumers to the retail
setting (Frasquet et al., 2002). That is why many companies provide a good service that may in turn encourage
customers to return which eventually may entail enhancing the shopping experience to make it more enjoyable,
relaxing, and rewarding (Newman Andrew et al., 2002).
3.2 Service Quality and Retailing
The retail industry has definitely not been exempted from rising consumer expectations of quality. Coupled with
this thinking, Dabholkar et al. (1996) mentions that the retail service environment is equipped with sophisticated
and demanding customers who have higher levels of expectations from service providers. Hence, the delivery of
high service quality needs to be treated as the basic retailing strategy.
Mehta et al. (2000) identify some determinants of retail service quality which include high quality merchandise,
parking facilities, convenient operating hours, acceptance of major credit cards, and store's own credit card. They
also point out that when referring to service quality, it also includes the product quality as retail stores offer a mix
of services and products. This view is shared by Brady and Cronin (2001), who state that evaluation of quality of
service should include evaluation on the performance of the physical goods offered to customers.
Following the same line of thought, Babin and Attaway (2000) mention that accessibility of the shopping
environment and parking facilities are features of service quality and this can affect consumers' attraction to the
shopping environment. Indeed, Santos (2002) highlights that the tangibility aspects of a service have a significant
effect on perceived service quality. Specifically, the physical environment plays a vital role in the service encounter
of the retailing industry (Keillor et al., 2004). The importance of physical environment in a service setting is due to
its ability to influence consumer attitudes (Koernig, 2003).
Besides, Babin et al. (2003) propose that retailers must use colour combined with lighting as they believe that this
will “affect consumers' cognitive representation and affective reaction”. Moreover, a light and pleasing scent
affects shoppers' perceptions of a shopping environment in which the latter will have a major effect on shoppers'
mood (Chebat and Michon, 2003). In light of this, Santos (2002) suggests that the retail outlet should include a
good spatial layout, signs, symbols, music, temperature and artifacts. All these play an important role in
determining buyers' perceptions on service quality.
Furthermore, Uusitalo (2001) argues that the store size also can be used as a basis of categorisation for shoppers'
evaluation of a store's service quality. Indeed, different sizes of firms are said to have several critical differences
(Youssef et al., 2002; cited by Khalidah Abu, 2004). Small stores are perceived to provide personal contact, extra
attention and care, personal customer service and interpersonal relations (Uusitalo, 2001; cited by Khalidah Abu,
2004). However, Moreira (2003) argues that smaller stores are viewed negatively as having crammed spaces,
expensive products, product run outs, excessive profiteering and narrow product range.
Similarly, Arnold and Luthra (2000) mention that larger stores tend to offer lower prices, present more efficient
climatically-controlled shopping area, and more consistency in its service offering. In line with this thinking, Klemz
and Boshoff (2001) point out that larger stores provide convenience as large amounts of goods can be purchased
during one shopping trip at reasonable prices in an air conditioning environment and provide ample parking at
the same time.
3.2.1 Service Quality and Features
Some researchers have looked at various service quality variables and the features contributing to this service
quality. They are as follows:
* The store location should be convenient (Spiller et al., 2006; Nguyen et al., 2007)
* The store operating time should be convenient (Wong and Sohal, 2003)
* Availability of sufficient space for parking is available (Wong and Sohal, 2003; Abubakar et al., 2001)
* Cleanliness of the store should be considered as high priority (Abubakar et al., 2001)
* Products should be stacked in proper manner (Nguyen et al., 2007; Sivadas and Baker-Prewitt, 2000)
* Soft ambience (Air conditioning, music) (Spiller et al., 2006; Abubakar et al., 2001)
* Shop floor should be very spacious (Nguyen et al., 2007; Wong and Sohal, 2003)
* Products expected must be available at all times (Nguyen et al., 2007; Abubakar et al., 2001)
* Availability of sufficient product range (Nguyen et al., 2007; Abubakar et al., 2001)
* Ease to locate products (Nguyen et al., 2007)
* Products should be of good quality (Spiller et al. , 2006; Abubakar et al., 2001)
* Helpful staff (Nguyen et al., 2007; and Sivadas and Baker-Prewitt, 2000)
* Staff should be presentable (Parasuraman et al., 1988; and Wong and Sohal, 2003)
* Mode of payment should be flexible (Wong and Sohal, 2003)
Thus, it is clear from the literature that there are many variables that affect the choice of both the retailers and
the customers. All these factors stated above fall under the umbrella of a complex interacting system that shapes
customers' expectations, satisfactions, and inferences about product and service quality and ultimately, play a
vital role in determining buying patterns.
3.3 The Retail Service Mix
The vital role of retailer is to present the right goods to the consumer, at the right place and time (Mishra Anil et
al., 2008). However, in today's competitive world, how does a retailer inform the customers about the different
products that he has on offer. How does he lure them to visit and shop at his store only? Thus, he has to make
use of the retail service mix notion. (refer to Figure 3.1). Moreover, some retailers normally provide loyalty cards,
different forms of credit and flexible times of shopping in order to differentiate themselves with competitors
Source: McGoldrick, P.J. (2002), Retail Marketing, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead, pp.499.
3.4 Summary of Literature Review
In a nutshell, the service quality strategy serves as a differentiation tool to gain competitive advantage in a
dynamic retailing environment. It is achieved by a proper management of the retail service mix consisting of
different elements such as customer satisfaction, quality of service and services offered.
Chapter Four: Company Profile: Jumbo Score
This chapter provides an overview of retailing in Mauritius with a special focus on Jumbo Score. Its current
strategy and future goals and objectives have also been underlined. A swot analysis of this retail outlet is being
carried out in order to analyse its capabilities. Besides, a brief outline on the actual service quality of Jumbo Score
has also been discussed.
4.1 Overview of Mauritian Retailing Industry
The retail environment in Mauritius has undergone an incessant and marked change over decades. This change is
due to the increased standard of living of people who are demanding for more sophisticated and quicker ways to
In the 19th Century, the history of retailing sector started due to the emergence of traditional shops which were
introduced by Chinese traders. They offered credit facilities to their customers which were recorded in a notebook
known as “carnet ration”. Over the years, this traditional shop has been known as “La Boutik Sinois” all over the
Then, in the 1950s, came another retail format known as the cooperative stores. Their main aim was to protect
the consumers and to sell good quality consumer goods.
There was a milestone in the retailing sector in the 1970s. Self service stores entered the retailing scene by
providing foodstuffs, groceries, fruits, vegetables, meat and bread. In fact, Prusinic was the first store to start the
notion of self-service. Shoppers were allowed to walk all around the big shop, examined and chose their articles
themselves. This made this type of stores gained an instantaneous success in Mauritius.
Afterward, a new retailing format in the form of hypermarkets made its appearance in Mauritius. Le Continent
was the first hypermarket here. Accompanied with it, came other supermarkets such as WINNER'S and GSR
(Grandes Surfaces Reunies) group.
Nowadays, other hypermarkets such as Super U, Kaddy-Plus, LoLo and Smart are dominating the retail
environment in Mauritius at providing distinctive facilities which have made them sustained successfully and
4.2 Jumbo Score in Mauritius
4.2.1 Future Goals and Objectives
This retail outlet aims:
* To become market leader in the retailing industry
* To provide value for money shopping to consumers
* To further increase its sales turnover
4.2.2 Present Strategy
Jumbo Score adopts various strategies in order to survive in this competitive business environment. For instance,
at the corporate level, it has engaged in a strategic alliance with the supermarket SPAR with the aim to retain
It also concentrates on cost leadership strategy in order to achieve competitive advantage. Besides, Jumbo Score
adopts an active promotional strategy by having regular sales promotions. Thus, this strategy is in line with its
objectives to increase sales turnover.
4.3 SWOT Analysis
Table 4.1: SWOT analysis of Jumbo Score
4.4 Service Quality at Jumbo Score
There has been a huge change which has emerged in the retail landscape. The small and traditional mode of
retailing has been replaced with large shopping complexes and hypermarkets, which not only provide better and
easy shopping but also enhanced facilities and entertainment. This chapter also explores the swot analysis of
Jumbo Score and the current quality of service it offers.
This chapter discusses how the study has been conducted, and it deals with the techniques used for collecting the
relevant data. Research is basically an inquiry process that embraces the components for collective inquiry,
research design, methodology, data collection and analysis of the findings (Juznic & Urbanija, 2003). In order to
collect valid and reliable data, the survey has been undertaken in a disciplined and systematic manner, using the
following steps (Saunders et al., 2003).
5.1 Formulate Research Problem
It is important to note that the definition and formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution.
Indeed, the motto ‘a problem well stated is a problem half solved' is worth remembering. The problem here is
that the escalating competition in the retailing industry has made customers aggressive in their demand for
As such, in order to ensure survival, it has become important for retail outlets like Jumbo Score to keep its
customers satisfied by providing quality service. Also, as it is generally recognised that it takes time and money to
attract each and every new customer, hence, keeping customers satisfied will ensure a lasting cash flow for the
This survey aims to achieve a better understanding of the existing service at Jumbo Score. Its main aim is to
assess the quality of customer service in order to reach customer requirements and achieve better results. From
the store layout, display of products, personnel and parking services, customer service remains a significant
concern for the retailing industry.
5.1.1 Research Objectives
There is a need to define clearly the objectives in a survey, and it is important that each question should relate to
the survey's objectives.
· Main Objective
The general purpose of this study is to assess the quality of customer service at Jumbo Score.
· Related Objectives
This survey seeks to identify some related objectives such as:
(i) To identify the features which influence service quality at Jumbo Score.
(ii) To determine which components of service quality are considered most important by customers.
(iii) To assess the gap between customers' expectations and perceptions of service quality using the SERVQUAL
(iv) To assess how the personnel of Jumbo Score is perceived by customers.
(v) To suggest alternative facilities to enhance the service at the retail outlet.
5.1.2 Hypothesis Development
The following section formulates hypotheses that relate to the concepts of service quality. A research hypothesis
is a tentative, testable statement or explanation about the relationship between two or more variables. Following
the extensive literature review done in the previous chapters, five hypotheses (relevant to Jumbo Score) have
H1: Higher level of service quality leads to higher level of customer satisfaction.
H2: Complainers at Jumbo Score have a significant influence on the recommendation of the store to their
H3: Tangible dimensions influence the perception of service quality more than reliability dimensions.
H4: Superior service quality is positively related to customer loyalty.
5.2 Determine Research Design
Research design is a method that includes a clear and technical description of the research type and strategies
that have been implemented to gather the required information. It also guides a research study towards its
5.2.1 Research Type: Qualitative and Quantitative Research
Qualitative research entails to find out how people think and feel about issues why they take certain decisions
and behave as they do.
Alternatively, quantitative research seeks to find out about the number of people who hold similar views, ideas,
opinions and display same characteristics. Unlike qualitative research, quantitative research is considered to be
statistically valid and can be utilized to make predictions. For this reason, a quantitative research design has been
used for the survey where questionnaires have been designed and administered to the target population in order
to get the needed information.
5.2.2 Research Strategies
· Exploratory Research
Exploratory research is carried out to gather preliminary information that will help to define the problem and
hypothesis (Kotler and Armstrong, 2004). For this survey, a qualitative exploratory research was also undertaken
to gather preliminary date and explore the concept of service quality in the retailing sector. This research was
conducted among some knowledgeable people (managers and directors at Jumbo Score) and their opinions and
ideas helped to better formulate the objectives and design the appropriate questions. Some general questions
asked to these people are:
(a) Do you think that service quality is an important concept in the retailing industry? Why so?
(b) What do you propose that retail outlets need to do so as to retain customers?
(c) What are the specific aspects that retail firms need to consider when deliver superior service quality to its
(d) What are your views and opinions about Jumbo Score concerning its policy of customer service?
· Descriptive Research
A descriptive research was conducted in order to measure, analyse and compare the quality of service at Jumbo
Score. It was in the form of a questionnaire survey whereby the data enabled more in-depth analysis (refer to
appendix ?). In fact, descriptive research provides an accurate picture and gives a clear specification of the ‘who,
what, when, where, why and how' of the research.
5.3 Determine Data Collection Method
Once the research design has been determined, an appropriate methodology has to be selected. Hence, the data
collection methods chosen for this dissertation were through structured interviews and questionnaires.
Respondents were physically met so that questions were asked face to face. Respondents were guided through
the different questions of the questionnaires and they answered directly. This approach was believed to be
relatively better because it is consisted of several advantages as follows:
* Unclear and ambiguous questions could be clarified
* It would result in high response rate
* More time could be spent with respondents and their observations could be recorded
5.3.1 Data types and sources
The collection of data for this study is based on two types of data namely, primary and secondary data.
· Primary Data
Primary data are data that are collected for the first time to meet the specific purpose of the survey. For this
study, finding data like attitudes, opinions and behaviours of the customers was best available through the
primary data in the form of questionnaires.
· Secondary Data
Secondary data refer to data that have been previously gathered for some purpose other that the specific
research needs at hand. Secondary data are cheaper, less time consuming and easily accessible. However, the
disadvantage is that, they can be irrelevant to the research needs.
For the purpose of this research, much use of secondary data has been made. For instance, brochures of Jumbo
Score, its website, articles from journals downloaded from online databases (e.g. Emerald databases) and
5.4 Design Data Collection Form
As mentioned earlier, a questionnaire was designed in order to achieve the research objectives and investigate
the hypotheses developed initially. This questionnaire survey designed, was adapted from Rajiv Jankee (2003).
Sample of the questionnaire is available in Appendix ??. The following points were implemented in designing the
5.4.1 Preliminary considerations
Before designing the actual questionnaire, it was important to decide exactly what information was to be
collected, from which respondents and by what techniques. Hence, the objectives of the project as well as the
information needs were precisely defined.
5.4.2 Question Content
When deciding on the question content, some issues were considered. For instance, necessary and sufficient
amount of questions were included in order to generate the required information. Moreover, embarrassing
questions were avoided and simple, precise and interesting questions were favoured. The aim was to make the
respondents willing and able to answer the questions correctly and accurately.
5.4.3 Response Format
The questionnaire was composed of open-ended and a blend of fixed alternatives questions. Those fixed
alternative questions consisted of dichotomous, multichotomous as well as likert scale response. It is also
important to note that the SERVQUAL model developed by Parasuraman et al. (1988) was also used.
5.4.4 Question Wording
The questions were short, simple, precise and specific. Technical and unambiguous words as well as jargons were
avoided. Leading questions, double-barrelled questions and implicit assumptions have also been avoided.
5.4.5 Question Sequence
A funnel approach was used moving from general to more specific questions. The motive was to include
interesting and objective questions in the first place so as to establish a rapport with the respondents. This would
eventually arouse their interests, and which in turn would minimise a potential source of error.
5.4.6 Physical characteristics of the Questionnaire
The presentation and layout of the questionnaire were also decided as it could influence the respondents to co-
operate. The questionnaire length was strictly monitored and it was accompanied by a covering letter. The
questions were numbered and instructions were laid down so as to facilitate understanding the branching
5.4.7 Description of Questionnaire
All the questions were derived from the research objectives. The following table explains the relevance and
significance of each question in the research instrument and how they relate to the research objectives.
5.4.8 Pretest, Revision and Final Draft
The pre-test, also known as the pilot survey is a critical aspect towards the success of the questionnaire. Thus, a
pilot testing among 10 respondents was carried out to refine the questionnaire. Subsequently, few ambiguities
were addressed and the questions were arranged accordingly. Also, the time required to complete each
questionnaire was recorded. In general, the respondents showed a very good level of participation, honesty and
commitment in their response.
5.5 Design Sample and Collect
A sample can simply be defined as a segment of the population with homogeneous characteristics in order to
represent the whole population.
5.5.1 Defining the population
A population is a group of interest consisting of all the study subjects that are the focus of the research project.
The population for this research comprised of only the customers that shop at Jumbo Score as they would have a
good notion of the topic under research.
5.5.2 Sampling frame
The sampling frame consists of customers shopping at Jumbo Score during the last two weeks of the month of
5.5.3 Sampling method
The sampling method used for this study is non-probability sampling, more specifically, the quota sample. This
procedure selects specific quota which is divided into sub-groups or strata according to the requirement of the
survey. Customers at Jumbo Score were divided into strata according to the gender groups. Equal proportion for
male and female was chosen for the sample.
5.5.4 Sample size
Due to financial and time constraints, a cost effective economic sample of 150 customers, comprising of 75 males
and 75 females respectively, was chosen to carry out the survey. This would provide a consistent and reliable
degree of precision and would eventually help to meet the research objectives.
5.5.5 The actual Data Collection
The process of data collection started on the 12 September 2009 to 30 September 2009. The data was collected at
the entrance of Jumbo Score. All the 150 questionnaires were administered and a 100 per cent response rate was
5.6 Analyse and Interpret Data
For this study, the data collected were analysed by using the SPSS 16.0 software. This technology had greatly
helped in generating basic descriptive statistics such as frequencies and averages. Microsoft Excel 2003 software
was also used for drawing graphs and charts. Prior to analysis, data was edited, coded and tabulated. Open
ended questions were grouped on the basis of similarity and then coded.
5.7 Prepare Research Report
This was the final step of the research work. The project report has been presented using a typical structure
categorised into various sections. It thus comprises of an abstract, introduction, literature review, research
methodology, analysis, recommendations, conclusion, references and appendices.
5.8 Ethical Considerations
The following points were being taken into consideration throughout the research process:
* People were not persuaded to participate.
* People got involved in the survey with their own consent.
* Information concerning the research was never withheld.
* Anonymity and confidentiality of participants' information were guaranteed.
5.9 Limitations of the survey
The study had been conducted in a planned manner so as to achieve the research objectives. Nevertheless, there
are several limitations which are as follows:
Financial and time constraints did not allow a larger sample size.
The survey was carried out over a period of two weeks only.
The survey was scheduled during the last two weeks of September and this period is considered as peak period.
As such, the store was crowded and this had made the fieldwork very hard.
The number of respondents interviewed was only 150. This figure has not been devised using any statistical
techniques due to cost and time constraints. However, it has been regarded as representative.
This chapter has outlined the main approaches that have been utilised to carry out the survey at Jumbo Score. In
order to obtain valid and reliable data, the research work has been developed in the best possible manner. The
coming chapter is going to answer and focus on the analysis and findings of the study.
This chapter analyses all the data which have been gathered through the research instrument. Both the SPSS 16.0
and Microsoft Excel computer software packages have been used to carry out the analysis. The analysis of data
gathered is being performed on a question-by-question basis, that is, each and every question on the
questionnaire has been analysed. Moreover, the last part of chapter concentrates on the testing of the
hypotheses that has been mentioned on the research methodology.
6.1 Data Analysis
6.1.1 The Profile of Respondents
1. GENDER Male 50.00
Total 100.00 %
2. AGE GROUP 18 - 25 14.00
26 - 35 18.67
36 - 45 30.00
46- 55 21.33
56 - 65 12.00
Over 65 4.0
Total 100.0 %
3. OCCUPATION LEVEL Unemployed (Student/Housewife/Retired) 14.67
Non-supervisory Staff (Clerk…) 43.33
Middle or Top level employee (Manager..) 23.33
Total 100.0 %
6.1.2 Household shoppers at Jumbo Score
From figure 6.1, it can be seen that it is the wife, with 32%, who does the household shopping most of the time,
followed by the husband with a proportion of 26%. Besides, 20% of both husband and wife have been identified
of engaging in such an activity and the participation of elder parents is noted to be 14%. Concerning the children,
it can be deduced that they have a less participative role in the shopping activities as clearly shown by a minor 8%
6.1.3 Respondents' customer loyalty status at Jumbo Score
This is due to the fact that Jumbo Score seen day light since more than four years. The figure above depicts a
percentage of 26.67% shoppers who has been shopping for 1 to 2 years. Only a minor 11.33% customer has been
visiting Jumbo for less than 1 year.
6.1.4 Respondents' frequency of shopping at Jumbo Score
From figure 6.3, it can be observed that the highest percentage shoppers with a figure of 39.33% do shopping
every month at Jumbo, followed by 30.67% customers who go there rarely. This implies that customers do not
have repetitive purchases there. A least 2.67% of shoppers visit the store more than twice a week, may be for fill-
6.1.5 Key factors that influence respondents to shop at Jumbo Score
Analysis from figure 6.4 illustrates that customers rated items according to their priority. For instance, the product
variety has induced them to choose Jumbo as their shopping institution. Moreover, we can note that caring
service, proximity and advertisement have also contributed as high influential factors. On the other side, store
environment and credibility are the less preferred elements of customers to choose Jumbo as their shopping
6.1.6 Question 5
6.1.7 Mode of payments at Jumbo Score
CONFIRM CHEQUES N PUT CREDIT MORE
6.1.9 The Effectiveness of Handling Customer Complaints at Jumbo Score
Table 6.2 reveals a minority of 14.67% of shoppers have encountered problems at Jumbo. This gives an indication
that the store meets customer requirements satisfactorily. The majority of 85.33% customers have been able to
do shopping without hindrances.
Question 8(b) and 9
Among those who have encountered a problem at Jumbo, only a marginal figure of 18.18% has actually reported
the complaint. Reasons attributed to this meagre figure were categorised as follows:
* Customers thought that it would take long time to receive a response to their problem
* Customers are to the opinion that their complaints would be down the drain at Jumbo.
* Customers having encountered similar problems elsewhere have not got positive response to their complaints.
* Customers did not find a complaint corner or any suggestion box to go forward with their problem.
* Customers thought that the products would not be refunded.
Table 6.3 indicates that sympathetic approach gains the highest mean score of 4.0, that is, Jumbo's personnel are
considerate and compassionate to listen and willing to react to customers' complaints. Moreover, they seem to be
effective and efficient at understanding customers' problems in a timely manner. However, the loop hole seems
to lie in the willingness to refund with a mean score of 2.00.
6.1.10 Mode of transport used by respondents to come at Jumbo Score
MET PERSONAL CAR BOCOU N REDUCE MOTORCYCLE TO 6% AND PUT TAXI 20%.
Diagrammatically, it can be seen clearly that most customers visit Jumbo by their personal car/van with a figure of
33.33%. This figure reflects that Jumbo provides parking areas for personal cars. The second most preferred
mode of transport used by customers to come to Jumbo is by bus with a percentage of 28%. This is due to the fact
that there is bus facilities available at different points like Immigration centre at Port Louis and all ‘Express' bus
from the North of Mauritius. The 2% figure depicts that customers living in the neighbourhood come on foot.
6.1.11 Parking facilities offered by Jumbo Score
Results proclaim that normally shoppers have a positive opinion on the adequacy of parking. However, its
standard deviation indicates that responses vary significantly across different groups. Moreover, nearness to the
store is considered as neutral factor by customers since the parking area is vast and everybody cannot afford a
near entry. Here, the standard deviation depicts that many other respondents are not to the same opinion.
Concerning safety on the parking area, the mean score of 2.21 shows that Jumbo does not actually provide
security services in its parking lot.
6.1.12 The overall service quality at Jumbo Score
The above table 6.5 reflects a mean score of 3.80 which is rated to be above average of Jumbo's service quality. A
result of 70% of figure 6.10 accentuates this observation. Moreover, 10.67% respondents rate the service as being
outstanding in delivery quality of service. This excellent result is further strengthened by a 0.00% respondent for
having rated the service quality as very poor.
6.1.13 The level to which service quality has improved at Jumbo Score
A mean score of 3.80 is noted, which indicates that customers have said that the service quality at Jumbo has
improve a little. For instance, gift wrapping are now being offered on special occasions and there is a soft music
playing in the store environment. However, its standard deviation of 0.777 implies that not everybody accepts the
fact that Jumbo has really improved a little.
6.1.14 Reason for deterioration in Jumbo Score's service quality
Analysis shows that a high proportion of customers (69.23%) have considered an untidy environment as being a
major factor to the deterioration of service quality at Jumbo. Besides, another determining element which
respondents have pointed out is unfair prices attributed to some products. Only 5.13% respondents have
associated lack of variety of products to be a factor which has led to the downfall of service quality.
6.1.15 The extent respondents will personally recommend Jumbo Score to others
A mean score of 3.03 is already evidence that customers are not fully confident to recommend Jumbo Score to
others as maybe because of various retail outlets which have mushroomed. However, there is still a consequent
deviation in the recommendation of Jumbo Score. This depends on perception and tastes of customers.
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