A review of customer satisfaction as a critical success factor for suppliers of power equipment in the South African market
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Power equipment suppliers that manufacture goods to customer requirements face various opposing forces, such as increasing customer expectations, increasing competition and escalating costs. To sustain margins, companies need to understand what constitutes customer satisfaction, thereby enabling them to differentiate their goods and services from those of competitors, and to charge appropriately for those goods and services. Although customer satisfaction is important to industrial goods suppliers such as power equipment suppliers, most studies have been conducted in the business-to-consumer (B2C) environment, focusing on consumer goods and services, with very few studies focusing on the business-to-business (B2B) environment. Compounding the difficulties with customer satisfaction for South African industrial suppliers is that most literature on the subject is applicable to markets outside of South Africa. This paper aims to give South African industrial goods suppliers some insight into those factors that improve customer satisfaction. The identification of critical success factors seen as important by customers was, therefore, the focus of this research assignment. First, customer satisfaction as a critical success factor is reviewed by comparing it to other success factors in an attempt to validate whether it influences organisational performance positively. Second, a list of appropriate items comprising customer satisfaction is identified from the literature review, and the differences between direct customers and indirect customers are identified and discussed. To reduce the number of constructs to be surveyed, the variables that make up customer satisfaction were ranked using prioritisation matrices against Porter’s Five Forces model (Porter, 2008) and the Blue Ocean Strategy model (Kim & Mauborgne, 2004). The shortened list comprised 39 items, which measured ten constructs of customer satisfaction. Questionnaires were sent to customer representatives who were critical decision-makers when deciding on purchases of industrial equipment. The responses were evaluated as a complete group and showed some statistical significance between the constructs. The responses were then evaluated according to organisational types, which showed no statistical significant differences or interaction effects.