Developing a customer satisfaction survey for Merensky Timber (Pty) Ltd t/a Northern Timbers

Perold, Maurits (2015-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Northern Timbers Sawmill (NTS), a hardwood sawmill in Tzaneen and part of Merensky Timber (Pty) Ltd, wished to determine their customers’ expectations and perceptions of the products and services offered. In order to assist NTS with this it was decided to develop a customer satisfaction survey that would be a tool for NTS to use to accurately and consistently measure and monitor the satisfaction of their customers with their products and services over time. A thorough literature study was done followed by primary research that included semi-structured interviews and a quantitative survey. Semi-structured interviews were performed on a randomly selected sample of customers from two primary segments, namely wet-off-saw and kiln dried timber. Based on the feedback from the interviews it was decided that the standard SERVQUAL model was the most appropriate framework to use as part of the development of the survey. An additional product quality and related aspects section was also included. The Cronbach alpha results of the SERVQUAL survey was 0.75 and 0.87, for expectations and perceptions, respectively, indicating a high internal correlation and consistency and indicating that the survey provided reliable results. The internal consistency was also confirmed by high Cronbach alpha results for each individual dimension. The primary components of satisfaction that were measured were expectations and perceptions (or performance). The customer satisfaction index for NTS was 89.87 per cent, which was fairly similar to the product satisfaction of 91 per cent attained from the product quality related section. The most important priorities for improvement identified were “Employees in Northern Timbers tell you exactly when services will be performed”, “Employees in Northern Timbers give prompt service to you” and “When Northern Timbers promises to do something by a certain time, they do so.” The effort NTS has made in ensuring that they stack, wrap and paint the select grade timber bundles contributed to the visibility and one of the highest mean scores in the survey of 5.63 out of 6. The fact that customers can contact the production team at the sawmill directly holds advantages for the customers and this was also confirmed by the survey producing the joint highest mean score of 5.63. It is also clear that there is very little interest and value for NTS in selling the FSC timber at a premium or offering pre-planed timber at a premium. The survey will be done twice a year – once during May or June, and once during October or November.

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