Measuring the controllable variables in the customer experience in convenience stores at filling stations
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Convenience stores are playing a pivotal role in the contribution to profitability in the fuels retail environment. In order to increase market share that will lead to increased profits it is imperative to provide excellent customer service. Customer experience has been identified as the key construct in the modern retail environment to be addressed, in order to ensure a satisfied customer. It has been noted that customer experience is not measured in the convenience stores, but only at the pump stations and the carwash service points of Sasol garages. Sasol Oil has a fuels retail market share of 9% and it will be beneficial for the company to explore all avenues to increase market share since convenience stores contribute 25% towards the total profit of the company. A literature review was conducted to identify the important controllable elements of the total customer experience and the measuring instruments that can be used to measure these elements, which formed the basis of the empirical study. The measuring instruments discussed in the literature are Servqual, Kano and customised models. One of the dimensions of the total customer experience is service quality and a customised model was chosen as the measuring instrument of choice. Questionnaires were developed, based on the controllable elements of customer experience, and distributed via email and handouts. In total, 260 questionnaires were distributed with a response of 47.7%. Descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analysis were employed to analyse the data. The reliability of the questionnaire was tested using Cronbach alpha. Cronbach alpha values above the minimum requirements and a cumulative variance of only 47% was achieved. Conclusions were drawn from the empirical study and recommendations were made in the final chapter.