Measuring Retail Service Quality in Farm Supply Cooperatives
Type of Degreethesis
Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
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This study seeks to provide management of local farm supply cooperatives with suggestions that can help them meet the service quality needs of their customer base. It was hypothesized that certain customer segments have different perceptions of service quality. Hence, perceptions were examined relative to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the member-patrons. The customers’ perceptions of service quality were measured using a scale instrument containing items from the Retail Service Quality Scale (RSQS) proposed by Dabholkar et al. (1996). The employment of principal component analysis (PCA) revealed three customer segments. The relative risk ratio and marginal effects of the multinomial logit model illuminated the characteristics of those belonging to a given segment. The results of the analysis showed homeowners were likely to deem customer service and personal interaction as important. Customers who consider appearance and accessibility as important were those with higher education, receiving most of their household income from farming, and wildlife enthusiasts. Older patrons and wildlife enthusiasts were likely to view the stores policies and reliability as an important factor of service quality. Finally, the RSQS scale-items and PCA Groups were found to have excellent internal consistency, which provides management with a mechanism to regularly assess progress toward meeting the service quality desires of their member-patrons, as well as new clientele.