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Paradigm Shifts in Service Quality of Retail Stores

Authors: 1. R. Vijaya Lakshmi, Lecturer, MBA Program, PES Institute of Technology, 100 Feet Ring Road, BSK 3rd Stage, Bangalore - 560085, Mobile: 09880188943 E-mail id: 2. Dr. Hanuman Kennedy Professor, MBA Program, PES Institute of Technology, 100 feet Ring Road, BSK III State, Bangalore - 560 085 Mobile: 09900261065 E-mail id:


Paradigm Shifts in Service Quality of Retail Stores

ABSTRACT The performance of the retailing sector for the past few years has been outstanding and witnessing a huge revamping exercise, significantly contributed by the growth of the organized retailing. Rapid urbanization, exposure to large number of foreign brands and changing lifestyle and preferences has contributed to the growth of retailing in India. The quality of service that has been perceived by the customers irrespective of the brand or make is what ultimately results in a customer walking back to the store once again. The paper provides insights into the service quality prevalent in the retail stores as perceived by the customers and how some of the factors are related with that of the socio economic status. The sample was taken from the visitors of TOTAL mall, a Hyper market from Jubilant group at Airport Road in Bangalore. A structured questionnaire was administered to collect primary data. Statistical tools such as Factor analysis, ANOVA, and Chi- Square Test were used. The factors namely, Reliability, matching Customer needs and products, Customer handling, Customer convenience, Store layout, Merchandise availability, Parking space and Quality of staff were identified through Factor Analysis. Depending on the sex, customer handling and the corresponding quality of service varies. It has been found that if the customers perception on service quality is high at retail stores, it results in higher customer loyalty. This is a case discussion on a hypermarket which deals with the perceptions of customers on both tangible and intangible factors affecting the service quality. Keywords: Service quality, Customer expectations, Customer convenience, Hypermarkets

INTRODUCTION Hypermarket - Definition A hypermarket is a superstore which combines a supermarket and a department store. The result is a very large retail facility which carries an enormous range of products under one roof, including full lines of groceries and general merchandise. In theory, hypermarkets allow customers to satisfy all their routine weekly shopping needs in one trip. 2|Page

About Total Mall TOTAL hypermarket & mall is the retail venture of the Jubilant Group. Launched in November 2006, TOTAL has three stores in Bangalore, at Madiwala, Mysore Road and now at Sarjapur Road. The hypermarket offers the best variety and value on products such as Apparel & footwear, Consumer electronics & IT products, Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, Fresh Fish, Meat & Poultry, Staples & Groceries, Bakers Factory - Fresh Bakery, Garma Garam - Fresh Home Made Food , FMCG - Processed Foods & Non Foods, Furniture, Home furnishings etc. Each TOTAL store has a brand mall which offers shoppers a wide variety of brands to choose from. In order to attract their huge women customer base, total mall has introduced its unique initiative called Ladies Day Out. Every Tuesday and Thursday of the week, women will be ferried to & from TOTAL - Madiwala & Mysore Road for free. The same is said to be emulated in the airport road Total mall as well. Need for the Study Despite providing all the options for shopping, Total mall has not been bereft with complaints and customer dissatisfaction regarding parking facilities, grievance handling etc. In the current marketing scenario, where customer delight is the only way to attract repeat customers, a need to identify the shortcomings and focus on the possible options to overcome these was very necessary; a reason which prompted me to take up the study. Before we actually proceed to the study, let us take a look at the statistics of the Indian retail scenario and its growth and various ways of sustaining competition in the global market. The Indian retail market, which is the fifth largest retail destination globally, has been ranked as the most attractive emerging market for investment in the retail sector by AT Kearney's eighth annual Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), in 2009. The share of retail trade in the country's gross domestic product (GDP) was between 810 per cent in 2007. It is currently around 12 per cent, and is likely to reach 22 per cent by 2010. India's overall retail sector is expected to rise to US$ 833 billion by 2013 and to US$ 1.3 trillion by 2018, at a compound 3|Page

annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent. Though, organized retail looks big and growing, has been observed to be lagging behind the traditional stores in satisfying a customer. Improving service quality is believed to improve profitability and enhance retail store performance. Such improvements however, require monitoring and continuous measurement of performance along service dimensions that determine standards of service quality. Service quality has drawn attention of researchers and managers in recent decades. It has become a significant subject because of its impact on customer satisfaction. By satisfying customers through high quality service, business firms not only retain their current customers, but also increase their market share. In retail setting, especially retail stores where there is a mix of product and service, retailers are likely to have impact on service quality more than on product quality. As retailers can create such effects, service quality plays a significant strategic role in creating quality perceptions. With the rapid development of modern retailers in Bangalore and other cities in India in terms of number of stores and value, understanding of retail service quality and identifying determinants of retail service quality has become strategic importance for retailers or the so-called hyper markets in this case. The current study is aimed to explore the components of retail service quality in the hyper markets in Bangalore. It also investigates the relationships between each of retail service quality components and customers overall evaluation of retail service quality in these. PROBLEM STATEMENT Despite the extensive research into the dimensions used by consumers to measure service quality in the service sector, there is lack of empirical studies on factors of quality improvement strategies especially the service quality dimensions for the retail sector. Service quality measurement of the retail stores, unlike the pure service setups, should include the measure of service quality and product quality as retail stores offer a mix of services and products. A need to look into quality dimensions for each store is called for, as each store is believed to have its own unique set of quality dimensions with different levels of importance. Gaps have been identified in the literature on the measure of service quality among competing retailers in particular of different sizes. Hence, this research will identify the critical service quality dimensions of different stores from the perspectives of the urban shoppers in Bangalore at the Total mall.


OBJECTIVES The purpose of the study is to assess the service quality of the selected hyper market (Total mall) in Bangalore. To investigate the dimensions of service quality related to the stores. To identify the service quality differences between the expected service and perceived services of the chosen hypermarket in Bangalore LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY The study is limited to only one brand category of the hyper market i.e. Total mall of Bangalore. The research has been restricted to only 60 respondents of the chosen outlet due to time constraints. Depending upon the nature of the outlet and the responses, only 3 service quality dimensions of the 5 have been considered for this study. LITERATURE REVIEW

Ghobadian et al. (1994) proposed that most of the service quality definitions fall within the customer led category. Juran (1999) elaborates the definition of customer led quality as features of products which meet customers needs and thereby provide customer satisfaction. As service quality relates to meeting customers needs, we need to look at perceived service quality in order to understand consumers (Arnauld et al., 2002). He also defined perceived quality whether in reference to a product or service as the consumers evaluative judgment about an entitys overall excellence or superiority in providing desired benefits . Grnroos (1984) looks at perceived quality of service as the difference between customers expectation and their perceptions of the actual service received. Other researchers look at perceived service quality as an attitude. Hoffman & Bateson (2001) defines service quality as an attitude formed by a long-term, overall evaluation of a performance. Attitude is defined as a consumers overall, enduring evaluation of a concept or object, such as a person, a brand, or a service. According to Parasuraman et al., (1988), Service quality is an attitude. Cronin & Taylor (1992) elaborated further as perceived service quality portrays a general, overall appraisal of service


i.e. a global value judgment on the superiority of the overall service, it is viewed as similar to attitude. Feinburg & de Ruyter (1995) pointed the importance of adapting the definition of service quality in different cultures. They also postulated that the differences require adapting service quality to an international setting. Ueltschy & Krampf (2001) contended that differences in culture affect measure of quality in a service sector. They encapsulated service quality measures as culturally sensitive and may not perform properly or comparatively in a culturally diverse group domestically or abroad. Cultural factors are said to have greater influence on peoples evaluation of services than on their evaluations of physical goods due to involvement of customer contact and interaction with employees while a service is delivered (Mattila, 1999). Furthermore, the service quality dimensions that are critical most to consumers vary according to culture and industry (Winsted, 1999). Hence, there is a need to find the service quality measurement for retail industry in India. The five important service quality dimensions identified are physical aspects, reliability, personal interaction, problem solving and policy. The importance of physical environment in a service setting is due to its ability to influence consumer attitudes (Koernig, 2003) and behavior intention (Keillor, et al., 2004). As customers are involved in the production and consumption process of a service conducted within a physical environment, the physical environment will have a deep impact on customers perception of service experiences (Bitner, 1992).The reliability dimension comprises of promises and doing it right sub dimensions (Dabholkar et al., 1996). Besides fulfilling promise and performing the right service as part of reliability, the researchers added the availability of merchandise as part of the doing it right sub dimension. According to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, consumers in Asia demand superb quality, especially the availability of merchandise in stores, much more than the Western customers (Maisara Ismail, 2002). The interaction among store personnel and store customers are important as customers are more loyal to a store if the store is seen as warm, friendly, and impulsive (Bellenger et al, 1976). Several researchers has studied this dimension in different or across cultures and found that the interpretation of the dimension and importance of each item in the dimension is affected by the culture of the society studied (Imrie et al., 2002). Dabholkar et al. (1996) proposed a new dimension problem solving which was not addressed in SERVQUAL. This dimension incorporated stores willingness to handle returns and exchanges, 6|Page

shows a sincere interest in solving customers problems, and also store personnels ability to handle customer complaints directly and immediately. They highlighted the need to have problem solving as a dimension by itself because of the importance of service recovery in providing good service. Store policy influences various aspects of service quality (Dabholkar et al, 1996). They elaborated store policy to include high quality merchandise, parking facilities, convenient operating hours, acceptance of major credit cards, and stores own credit card. Moreover store size is used as a critical basis of grocery stores categorization due to shoppers preference to form simple perceptual categories of grocery stores. As a result store, type or store format, as a basis of grocery stores categorization, was also linked to store size (Uusitalo, 2001). A study on the service quality of supermarket found that personal interaction and physical aspects were the only two important determinants in the respondents evaluation of the service quality of a supermarket. The other dimensions namely Policy, Problem solving and Reliability were found not to be important in the measure of service quality for a supermarket (Mehta et al, 2000). Nevertheless, hypermarkets which are larger, tends to offer lower prices, provides more efficient climatically-controlled shopping area, and more consistency in its service offering as compared to supermarkets (Arnold and Luthra, 2000). Large store chains emphasize and compete on the basis of a wide and deep mix of merchandise (Odekerken-Schrder et al, 2001). Larger grocery stores provide convenience as large amounts of goods can be purchased during one shopping trip and can easily be transported by car (Klemz & Boshoff, 2001).This convenience is supported by increased mobility as consumers have more choices of where to shop and how much to shop(Clarke,2000). Hypermarkets are claimed to be popular as they provide one-roof shopping convenience, reasonable prices, air conditioning and ample parking (Moreira, 2003). RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Simple random and convenience sampling was applied. Data was collected from 60 customers of Total Mall in Bangalore, by administering a structured questionnaire. The secondary data was collected from various journals, magazines, and websites. The collected data was analyzed by


using statistical tools such as FACTOR ANALYSIS, ANOVA AND CHI-SQUARE TEST. The attributes of each dimension is analyzed in detail. The RSQS scale was applied to measure fivedimensions of service quality viz., Physical Aspects, Reliability, Personal Interaction, ProblemSolving Capacity and Empathy. Likerts five point scale was also employed for the study. HYPOTHESES H1: There is no significant difference in preference for parking facility by customers H2: There is no significant difference in customer satisfaction levels with regards to store layout and product display H3: There is no significant difference in the customer expectations with regards to service quality from employees DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION Age and gender of the respondents have been selected to analyze the profile of respondents. The table and the pie-chart are developed using SPSS Tools. a) Age The following table shows: Table: Respondent's Age Category Frequency Valid Less than 18 years 18 to 29 years 30 to 39 years 40 to 49 years 50 to 59 years Total 2 20 7 4 2 35 Percent 5.7 57.1 20.0 11.4 5.7 100.0 Valid Percent 5.7 57.1 20.0 11.4 5.7 100.0 Cumulative Percent 5.7 62.9 82.9 94.3 100.0


Respondent's Age Category

Under 18 18 - 25 25-40 above 40

Graph: Respondent's Age Category

The above data and graph show that the maximum no of respondents are in the age group of 18-25 followed by the age group of 25-40 who are the frequent visitors and influence the opinions about factors of service in a retail store.

b) Gender Table: Gender category Frequency Valid Female Male Total 9 26 35 Percent 25.7 74.3 100.0 Valid Percent 25.7 74.3 100.0 Cumulative Percent 25.7 100.0


Female Male

Graph: Gender

The above data shows that the maximum no of respondents who frequent the retails stores are the men who again influence the factors of services. Following test are conducted, based on the data type, the tests hold true for the number of respondents, that is the sample is assumed to represent the population as a whole. 1. ANOVA Test [ANalysis Of VAriance] This section analyses if there is any significant impact of Parking Facility on the customers who visit to store. ANOVA Parking Facility Sum of Squares DF Mean Square Between Groups Within Groups Total 2.543 56.600 59.143 3 31 34 .848 1.826

F .464

Sig. .039

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The last column depicts the Significance level, the value is 0.039 < 0.05. Hence at 95% confidence level, the Null Hypothesis is rejected. Therefore there is significant difference in the preference for parking facility by the customers.

Inference: Based on the above results, it can be said, the customers who visit Total mall prefer to have better parking facility. This may be due to the kind of purchasing done in the retail store and the time spend for the same. 2. Chi Square Test In this section, the association between the Store layout and the Merchandise planning is analyzed. That is, to find out if the customers are happy with the store layout and the product placing with in the store. Chi-Square Tests Value DF Pearson Chi-Square Likelihood Ratio Linear-by-Linear Association N of Valid Cases 19.733(a) 22.421 .063 35 12 12 1

Asymp. Sig. (2-sided) .181 .033 .801

The last column depicts the significance value as 81.9% (i.e. 100 18.1 = 81.9%), hence there is no significant association between the above two variables at 95% confidence limit. Therefore the customers are not satisfied with the layout plan. Inference: Looking at the values of the retail store, the problem with the Total mall is that if the customer wants to go to 2nd floor, he/she has to first go to 3rd floor and then come to 2nd floor via escalator. This could be the reason of dissatisfaction for the customers in Total mall.


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The attributes considered for Factor Analysis are -Visual attractiveness, Modern looking equipments and fixtures, Cleanliness and attractiveness. Layout of the store, Merchandise availability, Error-free sale transaction and records, Store commitment, Employee knowledge, Employee behavior, Prompt service, Individual attention, Courteousness, Customer Problemsolving, Acceptance of major credit cards, Parking facility. Factor Analysis of Total Mall: KMO and Bartlett's Test Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy. Bartlett's Test of Sphericity Approx. ChiSquare Df Sig. .555 302.911 120 .000

Based on the KMO test results, sampling adequacy= .555 As it is greater than 0.5, we can infer that we can carry out factor analysis. Total Variance Explained Componen t

Initial Eigen values Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings % of Cumulative % of Cumulative Total Variance % Total Variance % 1 3.012 18.827 18.827 3.012 18.827 18.827 2 2.722 17.011 35.838 2.722 17.011 35.838 3 2.452 15.327 51.165 2.452 15.327 51.165 4 1.789 11.180 62.345 1.789 11.180 62.345 5 1.511 9.445 71.790 1.511 9.445 71.790 6 1.131 7.066 78.857 1.131 7.066 78.857 7 .887 5.547 84.403 8 .705 4.404 88.808 9 .527 3.293 92.101 10 .414 2.590 94.691 11 .293 1.834 96.525 12 .192 1.199 97.724 13 .135 .841 98.565 14 .128 .798 99.363 15 .068 .423 99.787 16 .034 .213 100.000 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

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We see from cumulative column in the above table that the 6 factors extracted together account for 78.857% of the total variance.

Rotated Component Matrix (a) Component 3 4 .061 -.012 .000 -.088 .491 -.020 .090 -.056 -.050 .094 -.036 -.370 .821 .103 -.713 -.005 -.566 .411 -.536 -.220 .108 .022 .080 -.161 .491 .194 .822 -.819 .646 .037 .110 .031

Error free sales Store Merchandise Parking Facility Customer Problem Cleanliness Product position Modern look Credit card use Service Time Prompt Service Individual Attention Employee Behavior Courteous Store commitment Physical Facility Employee Knowledge

1 .919 .866 -.566 .060 .215 -.265 -.235 -.176 .194 -.305 -.195 .128 .432 -.201 .193 .086

2 -.082 .208 .031 .839 .820 .741 -.135 -.067 -.418 -.491 -.249 -.123 -.086 .059 -.056 .048

5 -.102 -.016 -.073 -.331 .294 .141 -.001 .010 -.088 .169 -.248 -.185 .227 .862 .619 .109

6 .099 -.022 -.467 .073 -.122 .189 .147 -.146 .339 .273 -.059 -.062 .032 .213 -.105 .929

Looking at rotated component matrix table, we can infer that out of 15 attributes, mainly six features are significant than rest of the factors. These factors are - Doing it right, Cleanliness of the stores, Appearance, Courteousness, Facilities, Employee knowledge. Out of these factors, the most significant factors are- Doing it right and Employee knowledge. FINDINGS: 1. The customers who visit the Total mall are more inclined to have better equipped parking facility. 2. Factors like ease of movement and proper utilization of space must be taken into consideration 3. Employees were lacking in product knowledge. 4. Addressing customer concern and resolving it immediately was also found to be lacking. 13 | P a g e

5. The employees were found to be lacking courteousness towards the customers and behaved rudely. 6. Promptness in delivering the product was not there. 7. Damaged goods were not replaced immediately.

SUGGESTIONS: Based on the above findings, following suggestions have been recommended 1. The parking facility at the Total mall needs to be improved, as it has been seen that there is very less space for four wheelers when compared to the two wheelers as most of the customers make it a family visit 2. The Total mall need to provide a separate route to go to 2nd floor directly, as this could help the customers to locate the products easily 3. Total mall should concentrate more on enhancing employee knowledge about the products. 4. Addressing customer concerns immediately can definitely generate trust and good will among customers 5. Employees need to be more patient and maintain restrain towards customers. 6. Promptness in delivery of goods needs to be looked into. 7. Replacement of damaged goods should be done with immediate effect.

CONCLUSION This study has demonstrated the actual measurement of retail service quality in hypermarkets and also considered the impact of retail service quality on customers overall evaluation of retail service quality. Service Personnel is the key factor impacting customers perception of service quality in supermarkets. By improving the performance of employees, supermarkets and various other retail formats can increase customers satisfaction. Appropriate action plans need to be implemented based on the various aspects the store is found to be lacking in. Other factors impacting customers overall evaluation of retail service quality like reliability and employee interaction with customer should be taken into account in future research.

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REFERENCES 1) Arnauld, E. J., Price, L.L., Zinkhan, G. M. (2002), Consumers, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education 2) Arnold, S. J. & Luthra, M. N. (2000), Market entry effects of large format retailers: a stakeholder analysis, International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 28 (4/5), 139-154. 3) Bellenger, D. N., Steinberg, E., and Stanton, W. W. (1976), The congruence of store image and self image. Journal of Retailing, 52 (1), Spring, 17-32. 4) Bitner, M. J. (1992), Servicescapes: The impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees. Journal of Marketing, 56, April), 57-71. 5) Clarke, I. (2000). Retail power, competition, and local consumer choice in the UK grocery sector. European Journal of Marketing, 34 (8), 975-1002. 6) Cronin, J., and Taylor, S. (1992). Measuring service quality: a reexamination and extension. Journal of Marketing, 56, July, 55 68. 7) Dabholkar P A, Thorpe D I and Rentz J O (1996), A Measure of Service Quality for Retail Stores: Scale Development and Validation, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 24, No. 1. 8) Feinburg, R. A. & de Ruyter, K. (1995). Consumer-defined service quality in international retailing. Total Quality Management, 6 (1), March. 9) Finn, D.W. and Lamb, C.W., An evaluation of the SERVQUAL scale in a retailing setting, in Holman, R. and Solomon, M.R. (Eds), Advances in Consumer Research, Association for Consumer Research, Provo, UT, pp. 483-90, (1991). 10) Ghobadian, A., Speller, S. & Jones, M. (1994). Service quality: concepts and models. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 11 (9), 43-66. 11) Grnroos, C. (1984). A service quality model and its marketing implications. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 24 (1), Winter, 36 44. 12) Imrie, B. C., Cadogan, J. W. & McNaughton, R. (2002). The service quality construct on a global stage. Managing Service Quality, 12 (1), 10-18. 13) Juran J M (1999), How to Think About Quality, in Juran J M and Godfrey A B (Eds.), Jurans Quality and Book, 5th Edition, pp. 2.1-2.3, McGraw-Hill, New York 14) Kaul, Subhashini, Measuring retail service quality: Examining applicability of 15 | P a g e

international research perspectives in India, IIMA Working Papers, (2005). 15) Keillor, B. D., Hult, G. T. M., & Kandemir, D. (2004). A study of the service encounter in eight countries. Journal of International Marketing, 12 (1), 9-35. 16) Klemz, B. & Boshoff C. (2001). Environmental and emotional influences on willingnessto-buy in small and large retailers. European Journal of Marketing, 35 (1/2), 70-91. 17) Koernig, S. K. (2003). E-Scapes: The electronic physical environment and service tangibility. Psychology & Marketing, 20 (2), February, 151-167. 18) Mattila, A. S. (1999). The role of culture and purchase motivation in service encounters evaluation. Journal of Services Marketing, 13 (4/5), 376-393. 19) Maisara Ismail (2002, October 8). Retailers told to be cautious of global players dominance. BusinessTimes,p3 20) Mehta, S. C., Lalwani, A.K. & Soon Li Han (2000). Service quality in retailing: relative efficiency of alternative measurement scales for different product-service environments. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 28 (2), 62-72. 21) Moreira, Debra (2003, November 15). Is Bigger Always Better? Malaysian Business.p. 37. 22) Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., and Berry, L.L. (1985) A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research. Journal of Marketing, 49, Fall, 41-50. 23) Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L.L. (1988). SERVQUAL: a multiple-item scale for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality. Journal of Retailing, 64 (1), Spring, 12-40. 24) Odekerken-Schrder, G., De Wulf, K., Kasper, H., Kleijnen, M., Hoekstra, J. & Commandeur, H. (2001). The impact of quality on store loyalty: a contingency approach. Total Quality Management, 12 (3), 307-322

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Annexure: 1
QUESTIONNAIRE I, R. Vijaya Lakshmi, Sr.Lecturer at PESIT, have taken up a research project on Retail service quality in supermarkets and hypermarkets- A survey. In this regard, I request you to spare few minutes of your valuable time and help me by giving your opinion on this retail store.

1. Gender: a) Male 2. Age group: a) Less than 18 years c) 30-39 years e) 40-49 years and above 3. Qualification: a)under graduate c)post graduate e)others(specify) 4. Occupation: a)student c) self employed e) not working 5. Income: a)less than 1 lakh c)2-3 lakh b)1-2 lakh d)3 lakhs and above b) professional d) retired b)graduate d)professional b) 18-29 years d) 50-59 years b) Female

6. How often do you visit the store? a)daily c)fortnightly e)few times a week 17 | P a g e b)weekly d)occasionally

7. Is the location of the store convenient to you? a)yes b)no

RATE THE FOLLWING IN THE TABLE AS PER YOUR PREFERENCE Neither Sl.No Features Strongly disagree Disagree agree nor disagree The store and its physical 8. facilities (trial & rest rooms) are visually attractive. 9 The store has modern looking equipments and fixtures. The store has clean attractive 10 and convenient physical facilities. The store layout at the store makes it easier for the 11 customers to find what they need & to move around in the store The store has merchandise 12 available when the customers want it. The store insists on error-free sales transactions and records. When this store promises to do something (repairs, alterations, Agree Strongly Agree



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exchanges ) by a certain time, it will do so Employees in the store have 15 the knowledge to answer customers questions The behavior of employees in 16 this store instills confidence in customers The employees in this store 17 give prompt service to customers Employees in this store tell 18 customers exactly when services will be performed This store gives customers 19 individual attention Employees in this store are 20 consistently courteous with customers When a customer has a `21 problem, this store shows a sincere interest in solving it 22 This store accepts all major credit cards This store provides plenty of 23 convenient parking for customers

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