Customer Service Quality Gap in Food Retailing: An Empirical Study in Bangalore
At present the food and grocery segment contributes about 60 per cent of the retail sales in India and is the largest segment of the Indian retail industry. Retail competition is intensifying and consumers are on the lookout for more information, better quality and hygiene as well as increased customer service. Providing excellence in service delivery is what expected by retailers today. This paper studies the application of SERVQUAL in measuring the gap between customer expectations and their perceptions about the service quality of food retailing in India. Statistical analyses were performed to test the reliability of the instrument and the validity of the scale in Indian retail context. The results show high value of Cronbach's coefficient α for the overall instrument but serious problems in 'responsiveness' and 'tangibles' dimensions. Further factor analysis showed five factor structures are not valid in Indian context. Overall the findings indicate that the SERVQUAL instrument suffers from serious reliability and validity problems and further research is necessary to understand dimensionality of service quality in India. The gap analysis showed significant negative gap in all items and the highest perceived service gap lies in the responsiveness dimension calling for the need to improve service quality significantly in all the aspects. Managerial implications and suggestions for improvement are discussed.
Customer Gap, Service Quality, SERVQUAL, Organized Food Retailing, Supermarket.
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