TSAMs' perception of service quality at DuPont
Naidoo, K. Silas
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Organizations in the service sector had to make a radical shift in their strategy to embrace customer-centered philosophies in order to maintain a sustainable business. Without realignment to the new demands and with ever increasing pressures, a superlative customer service cannot be achieved. Companies are increasingly placing greater emphasis on customer satisfaction. Customers are becoming more and more sophisticated due to globalization. Customers are no more buying a product alone, but an accompanying service satisfaction. There appears to be a huge gap between perceived and expected service levels. A concerted effort should be made to either narrow or eliminate this gap. DuPont Performance Coatings is a major supplier of coatings to the automotive industry. It was, therefore, necessary to measure Toyota South Africa Manufacturing's perception of service quality provided by DuPont Performance Coatings. Once the levels of customer satisfaction within Toyota South Africa Manufacturing are measured, it could be used as a basis for recommendations towards improving the service levels of DuPont Performance Coatings. The study involves the use of the SERVQUAL instrument in order to ascertain any actual or perceived gaps between customer expectations and perceptions of the service offered. The study also determines how the management of service improvement can become more logical and integrated with respect to the prioritized service quality dimensions and their strategy to decrease service quality gaps. On behalf of DuPont Performance Coatings, the research objectives were, firstly, to identify Toyota South Africa Manufacturing's expectations in terms of quality services provided; secondly, to ascertain the perceptions of Toyota South Africa Manufacturing towards the service provided by DuPont Performance Coatings; thirdly, to measure the gaps between the expectations and perceptions by Toyota South Africa Manufacturing, using the SERVQUAL score, and, finally to calculate and measure the score of the five SERVQUAL dimensions. The researcher has opted for a census because the entire population that deals with DuPont Performance Coatings is relevant. Each member of the population was classified in certain biographical variables. Eighty respondents were surveyed, using the SERVQUAL questionnaire, and the data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. The study showed that Toyota South Africa Manufacturing's expectations of service quality exceeded their perceptions on the five service quality dimensions used in the SERVQUAL questionnaire. The smallest dimension gap score proved to be tangibles, while the largest gap score in the study proved to be reliability, followed by assurance.