I would like to acknowledge that my parents including my father and mother have contributed a lot to the success of my career, particularly in completing this higher degree in the UK. Thus, my honor and cordial love for them and always bless the almighty god for wealth and happiness. Then, my supervisor has supported me a lot with effective feedback, suggestions and guidelines. Therefore, I would like to say many thanks to him. Next, I am grateful to the university and librarians who have helped me providing available study resources and making a nice learning environment. Finally, I would give thanks to my friends who have supported me in the completion of this coursework (dissertation) whenever I faced difficulties.
I would like to declare that all the data collected and presented in this research (dissertation) work come from genuine and authentic data sources. Thus, this research (dissertation) work maintains high research reliability and validity. I would also declare that I have done this research (dissertation) work myself. I did not copy from others sources and cheat from other students.
The main objective of this research is to assess the usefulness of service quality on consumer buying behavior in the UK retail sector, particularly from the perspective of Sainsbury’s case study. Then, the research provides recommendations on how Sainsbury can enhance their service quality in order to improve its customer buying process. The findings of this research come from both primary (survey questionnaire) and secondary data sources including books, journals, websites, Sainsbury’s annual report. The research is conducted using a deductive approach and both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The qualitative data is analyzed using MS Excel Sheets and SPSS application. The quantitative research hypothesizes are tested using T-Test and One-Way ANOVA Test. The qualitative data is analyzed using thematic and content analysis techniques.
The research finding shows mixed data. The majority number (80%) of respondents have positive feedback about Sainsbury’s brand and its customer service, service quality, and products. Sainsbury’s has a high level of customer retention, where 93% of Sainsbury’s customers have a high level of retention for more than one year. The majority number (74%) of customers are satisfied with the customer services provided by Sainsbury’s. Above 60% of customers are looking for quality service and error-free transactions, quality and friendly customer assistants, trust and reliability in services, good quality of customer query and conflict dealing, quality products, and qualitative physical resources and story layouts. Then, above 60% of customers are happy to recommend others towards including their family members, relatives and friends. However, 40% of customers have negative views about Sainsbury’s brands.
The service quality of Sainsbury’s impact on the customer buying by influencing (<0.0001), satisfying (0.006), and retaining (0.045). physical facilities, layout and store service (SD=0.25), quality and error-free transaction (SD=0.35) and customer query and conflicts dealing (SD=0.43) influence the Sainsbury’s customer during their buying process more than the quality and friendly customer assistant (SD=0.47), and trust and reliability in service (SD=0.85). Thus, it is proven that service quality has a significant impact on the buying behavior of customers. As a result, the vast majority number (above 80%) of Sainsbury’s customers suggest Sainsbury’s improve its service quality in different sectors: a) in physical facilities, layout and store services; b) quality goods; c) customer query and customer conflicts dealing; d) trust and reliability in service; e) quality service and error-free transaction, and f) quality and friendly customer assistants.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Quality service is one of the crucial factors in business that can be used to influence customer buying behavior for a retail sector such as Sainsbury. But, there are different obstacles that most retailers such as Sainsbury encounter when trying to figure out the customer requirements during the buying process. Hence, this research mainly focuses on how customer purchasing behavior can be affected by service quality. Therefore, this section highlights the relationship that exists between customer purchasing behavior and relationship quality. Thereafter, the section will state the research question, aims and objectives for this study. The section will also highlight the points that are important in this study by looking at its rationale and structure of the research.
1.1 Research Background
In recent years, service quality has seen to be an important element of marketing and management area (Hunt, 2013). As it has seen to play a major role in improving the performance of a business by satisfying customers, improving customer loyalty which overall improves the profitability and sustainability of a company. Service quality has become an important criterion in the world of business, as most managers, practitioners and researchers gave the idea of service quality a high priority in recent years (Shahin and Samea, 2010). Hence, companies can be lost their competitive advantage if they provide services and products that have poor quality (Hunt, 2013).
In today’s world, many companies are facing challenges due to aggressive competition from both local and international companies (Feri et al. 2013). Furthermore, the right of consumers is getting more attention recently together with an understanding of customer value which both makes the companies face a different challenge in today’s business (Persson, 2013; Shamma and Hassan, 2013). For companies to win the competition and meeting customer’s expectations as well as their changing demands, companies will need to strengthen their unique operations so as they can be able to compete with their rivals (Yu and Ramanathan, 2012).
One of the main ways of achieving a maintainable competitive advantage is by providing the best value to the customers (Sin et al. 2005; Kumar et al. 2011). Hence, companies are required to focus more on customers in order to be able to compete with other companies, where can achieve by using a high level of technology in order to cope with a competitive market (Schermerhorn, 2007; Kotler and Armstrong, 2010). Customer satisfaction has been given priority by most marketers and other practitioners as a means of improving the competitive edge and strength of a company (Mishra, 2009). Therefore, customer satisfaction is essential for customers’ protection, to the firm’s profit and to the political structure and economic stability (Oliver, 2010: 4). Hence, service quality has become an important attribute used from a managerial standpoint and improving their competitive advantage (Parasuraman et al., 1988; Newman, 2001; Gebauer et al. 2011).
Therefore, the main goal of conducting this study is to scrutinize the attributes of services and how they can affect customer satisfaction at Sainsbury, where a list of recommendations will be provided to them.
1.2 Case study (Sainsbury’s) Background
Sainsbury is among the well-known retail company in the UK, which covers more than 17% of the UK by March 2016 (Reuters, 2016). Sainsbury started in 1869 and spread in different parts of the UK with more than 1304 stores and 161,000 employees (Sainsbury’s, 2016). Sainsbury has been listed in the London stock exchange and also a part of the FTSE100 company index. The Director of Sainsbury (Gwyn Burr) mentioned that provision of the quality store and customer services are the main ways of achieving their customer loyalty and satisfaction (Institute of Customer Service, 2011). The CEO of Sainsbury, Mr. Justin King, understands the attributes of customer services and service quality as important elements of implementing their slogan which goes by “making Sainsbury’s great again”.
There is a number of objectives that have been set out in order to achieve customer satisfaction through enhancing the quality of their store service (Akter, 2012). The company gives priority to its competencies and skills and put forward the idea of employee engagement in order to ensure that customer is receiving good service (Institute of Marketing, 2011). The main goal of the marketing strategy used by Sainsbury is to find the best practice used by companies in the current market in order to break into different opportunities (Sainsbury’s 2016). The company also focuses on improving its customer value and satisfaction by providing high-quality customer service by clearly understanding the needs of its customers (Sainsbury’s 2016).
1.3 Research Rationale
One of the main problems that many companies are facing in the purchasing process is Quality service. In order for any company to be successful then customer services should not be ignored (Kurtenbach, 2014). Hence, the retailer needs to give a priority to the information obtained from customers so as they can extract customer opinions regarding their services (Kotler et al. 2015). It is not easy for marketers to attract and retain customers if it happens that such customers are not satisfied with their products and services. This can be explained by different options that are available to customers in the marketplace. Furthermore, due to technological advancement, has led to dramatic changes in customer prospects (Smith, 2014). In addition, it is less expensive to keep the existing customers than to find and retaining new customers. The new customer requires effort, time and money to invest in them in order to create a long-term relationship with them.
The business performance can be influenced by the level of customer satisfaction as this detected the level by which customer engagement with the business. Hence, many retailers in the UK have been keeping an eye on understanding the buying process of customers by clearly assessing the changing expectations and needs of customers. A recent study shows that there is a high number of complaints received from customers from different stores relating to the services they are providing (Sainsbury’s Annual report, 2015). Hence, solving the customer concerns, meeting customer’s requirements and understating their whole buying process have been some of the main challenges that Sainsbury is facing.
Hence, this research will concentrate mainly on the problems and come up with solutions that can be used by Sainsbury to improve its buying process by motivating its customers and also enhancing their service quality.
1.4 Research Aims and Objective
1.4.1 Research Aim
The main objective of this research is to assess the usefulness of service quality on consumer buying behavior. The research will focus on the problems that UK retailers are facing and determining the dynamic expectations and needs of customers during the buying process on services provided by UK retailers. Thereafter, the research will provide a list of recommendation on how Sainsbury can enhance their service quality in order to improve their customer buying process……………..
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