Predictors of customer engagement in the South African open medical aid industry
The South African open medical aid industry is faced with the challenge of customers losing confidence in their services and switching to another open medical aid provider. The South African open medical aid industry is seen as a very competitive industry, therefore it is imperative for open medical aid providers to pursue the development of customer engagement in order to help them to distinguish themselves from competitors and preventing their customers from switching to another open medical aid provider. The literature review revealed that open medical aid providers need to improve their customer engagement to ensure sustainability. As a result, the primary objective of this study was to determine the predictors of customer engagement in the South African open medical aid industry. The study executed a descriptive quantitative research design, and used non-probability convenience and quota sampling to obtain data from consumers who reside in the three selected cities in the North West Province, who are a member of one of the five major open medical aid providers, who are the primary or principal member, and who have been a member for two or more years. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to public and high traffic areas, resulting in a total of 307 usable questionnaires. The data analysis involved assessing the reliability and validity of the measurement scales, the calculation of descriptive statistics, as well as the calculation of inferential statistics in the form of a standard multiple regression. The main findings of the literature review were reported in Chapter 5. The measurement scales that were used to measure the constructs of the study were determined reliable and valid. In addition, trust, affective commitment, and perceived value were found to have a significant positive impact on customer engagement, with service quality having the greatest impact. Therefore, it is recommended that open medical aid providers should focus on enhancing customer trust, affective commitment towards their service, perceived value, as well as the quality of their services. Future research should address the methodological and other limitations of this study, by extending the research to gain the opinion of respondents from more cities in other Provinces in South Africa. In addition, future research can focus on investigating the differences in scores of different demographic group.