Customer service expectations from South African alcoholic beverage suppliers in urban and rural areas
To be successful in the current highly competitive market a South African alcoholic beverage supplying company (SAABSC) must guarantee customer service and service quality. Such companies have to focus their efforts on quality customer service as a means of differentiation. Quality of service is a competitive advantage and serves as a marketing tool for many companies; it also contributes to customer loyalty and retention. Offering quality service is considered an essential strategy for success and survival in today's competitive business market. A commitment to quality must start from the top of any organisation, be it a service delivery company or a manufacturing or merchandising business, and spiral down to the bottom. It has been found from the literature review that these challenges present short-term insurers with a strategic imperative that they need to adopt a CRM approach, incorporating an integrated customer focus aimed at developing long-term relationships with customers. If they want to succeed in this pursuit, SAABSC need to understand their customers' perceptions of the service offering, their existing relationship with the company and their levels of satisfaction. The purpose of the study is to measure the service delivery expectations and realisations of customers that receive delivery from SAABSC based on their geographical location. It required the implementation of a descriptive research method. The research is cross-sectional in nature and was executed during April to June 2014. The study required a quantitative research approach, owing to the planned statistical analysis application to the data received. The target population comprised customers of SAABSC situated in the Gauteng, Western Cape and North West Provinces of South Africa. Only licensed customers were used in the study; licensed outlets renew their liquor license every year and sell alcohol legally. Shebeens do not have liquor licenses and have therefore been excluded from the study. All questionnaires were hand-delivered by fieldworkers. A sample size of 926 was realised. The results from the study indicate that customers expect the SAABSC to deliver on all five service quality dimensions but fail to do so to their satisfaction. Due to these results a proposed structure has been developed. If the SAABSC use this proposed structure it can improve on their service delivery and customer service. This, in the long run, will improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.