A longitudinal study of customers perceptions of their confidence in, and satisfaction with, the South African Sugar Association Cane Testing Service division
MetadataShow full item record
Customer satisfaction is a critical component of a business' competitive strategy. The Cane Testing Service (CTS) division of the South African Sugar Association is operating in a deregulated market environment and thus has to ensure that customers are always satisfied with the quality of service received from CTS. This study aimed to establish the change in customer satisfaction levels between 1998 and 2003. The study set out to determine customer satisfaction levels with specific customer groupings of combined millers and growers, millers-only and growers-only of all fourteen Mill Group Boards. The study investigated customer satisfaction levels for each of the sixteen service characteristics for the fourteen Mill Group Boards. Regular measurement of customer satisfaction allows CTS to continuously improve the levels of customer satisfaction and thereby minimise the threat to CTS of competitors entering the sugar industry laboratory services market. Customer satisfaction levels were determined by conducting a longitudinal, quantitative survey on one hundred and sixty-eight miller and grower members of all Mill Group Boards using the CTS developed questionnaire, containing CTS and customer verified service attributes. I I I The 2003 study shows a statistically significant improvement in customer satisfaction levels with CTS service delivery across all customer groupings in comparison with the 1998 customer satisfaction levels. The specific Mill Group Board analyses shows an improvement in customer satisfaction levels for twelve of the fourteen boards. Specific strategies are to be developed for those boards and service attributes that did not show an improvement. It is recommended that CTS customer surveys be conducted every three years and the Balanced Scorecard management tool be used to monitor the effectiveness of customer improvement strategy implementation. It is proposed that future research consider benchmarking CTS service delivery against other similar service providers and that focus groups be employed to obtain feedback from key customers.