The Influence of service quality on customer satisfaction: a study of container shipping lines in Kenya from a freight forwarder perspective
Riitho, Vera Kereka
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The containerized shipping industry, the backbone of the global economy, is classified as a service sector as its demand is derived from trade. Global financial trends have rendered cost minimization efforts, and global alliances ineffective in ensuring sustainability of profits for container carriers. The ability of container carriers to determine customers’ needs and deliver quality services that exceed their expectations is key to a sustainable competitive advantage and profitability growth. This research focused on the influence of service quality on customer satisfaction in container shipping lines in Kenya. Data was collected randomly from 273 respondents selected from a list of licensed customs agents published by the Kenya Revenue Authority. The study employed a structured questionnaire to collect primary data which was analyzed using descriptive, correlational and inferential techniques. Wilcoxon's rank test was used to assess the gap between importance and perception of service quality, and Spearman's rank correlation was used to assess the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction. The major finding was that the service quality dimension "responsiveness" which consists of supporting indicators that assess customers’ perception and experience before and after the performance of a transportation service, should be prioritized in strategies to drive customer satisfaction. Findings also revealed that all the four service quality dimensions namely reliability, responsiveness, speed, and value are significantly correlated to customer satisfaction. The major contribution of this study is that it empirically tested the validity of service quality dimensions developed from SERVQUAL specifically for the container shipping industry.