Drivers of Customer Satisfaction in a Business-toBusiness Market: A Survey within the South African Stainless Steel Industry
The vast number of competitors and the similarity of products on offer in the South African stainless steel stockist and distributor market force organisations to find alternative means of competing effectively. Customer satisfaction might be one such an example. Whilst research has confirmed the positive outcomes of customer satisfaction, much less is known about the antecedents (drivers) that should act as the foundation of attempts to maximise satisfaction, particularly in a developing country. This study confirms five satisfaction drivers, reports the gap scores between importance and satisfaction ratings by the account clients of a major South African stainless steel stockist and distributor, and shows the relationship between these drivers and overall satisfaction. The analysis of 320 useable survey questionnaires shows a moderate to strong positive relationship with overall satisfaction for four of the five drivers. Reliability is the most important driver and product quality received the highest average satisfaction rating. Drivers with the largest significant gap scores include reliability, service quality and commercial aspects. Management should focus on the important drivers—those with the highest negative gap scores between satisfaction and importance, and those showing a significant relationship with overall satisfaction.
Keywords: business-to-business marketing; customer satisfaction; service quality; trust; commitment; product quality; commercial aspects; reliability