Flexible staffing solutions and its impact on customer satisfaction
Brett, Richard Francis
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The face of the workplace has changed dramatically over the past decade and most organisations have to survive in a fiercely competitive global economy. The impact of the competitive changes, especially in the service environment has become critical and quality service is considered an essential strategy for success and survival in today's competitive environment. Organisations are continuously searching for ways to improve their performance and create a sustainable competitive advantage. Consumers are also continuously being made more aware of their rights and in today's fast paced world, with time constraints and increased stress, tolerance levels have been considerably eroded. In view of this, customer satisfaction has become a focus area, in particular, to investigate ways that it can be enhanced to gain a competitive edge. A better understanding of how organisations can apply resources to achieve these goals will be a useful instrument towards gaining sustainable competitive advantage. One way of doing this is for service firms to manage their capacity to achieve maximum and/or optimum utilisation at all times, if possible. But having trained staff on hand at the right times is no easy task. Overstaffing can lead to budget blow-out, while understating adds to staff stress levels, and can contribute to both customer and staff dissatisfaction. As a possible solution many employers tackle this problem by employing casual staff who are more flexible in their working hours and can be deployed to meet peak demands in service. The objective of this study was to investigate the importance of customer satisfaction and whether the utilisation of temporary staffing solutions could positively contribute in improving service levels. A survey research design was used with a questionnaire as data-gathering instrument. The study population consisted of customers (N=507) that visited Absa branches in the Vaal Triangle and were serviced by either permanent or flexi tellers. Contingency tables were used to record and analyse the relationship between the different variables, and statistical significance tests were used to show that the results are significant. Chi-square and Cramer's phi or V test were used as the basis of the analysis. The research confirmed that customer satisfaction has definite financial benefits for an organisation and that the effective application of temporary staffing solutions could further enhance these benefits. The results of the statistical analysis of the survey further confirmed that there was no significant difference in the perceived level of service received from either permanent or flexi tellers. Limitations in the research are identified and recommendations for future research are made.