Service Quality of Advertising and Promotions Agencies in South Africa
To build a sustainable business, it is vitally important for service providers to develop profitable, long-term relationships with their customers. In order to do so, service providers need to ensure their clients are continuously satisfied with their service encounters, and that they perceive the service to be of superior quality. This is especially true for advertising and promotions agencies. The purpose of this study is to assess perceptions of the service quality offered by agencies in South Africa, and to identify the most important service attributes of the agency offerings. The study considers the industry as a whole, and focuses on specific agency types – Above the Line services (referred to as ATL agencies), Below the Line services (BTL agencies), and Full Service (FS agencies). Data was gathered through an online questionnaire based survey of 105 individuals within clients’ buying centres. The study used INDSERV, a measurement instrument specifically designed for business-to-business services (Gounaris, 2005). INDSERV is a second-order model with four quality dimensions underpinned by twenty-two service attributes. Through quantitative analysis, the study identified the relative strengths and weaknesses of agencies’ services. It also identified the more important service attributes and dimensions. While all agency types display relative strength in Soft Process quality, clients assign little importance to this dimension and its constituent service attributes. Instead, clients assign greater importance to Hard Process quality and Output quality, dimensions agencies display relative weakness in. This is true regardless of the agency type. The study also included a qualitative component aimed at identifying service attributes specific to the agency offering (i.e. not included in the generic INDSERV instrument). Several attributes were identified, and it is recommended that further research be carried out to determine whether the INDSERV instrument can be customised to include industry-specific attributes, as has been proposed for the SERVQUAL instrument.
Customer relationship management, Service delivery