Quality and customer satisfaction: A case study in Brazil
The dissertation deals with the case of CEEE-Companhia Estadual de Energia Eletrica, an electric power utility located in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil. Customer satisfaction with the services provided by CEEE is investigated within three groups of consumers: residential, commercial, and industrial. The purpose of the dissertation is to find answers to the following research questions: (1) What is service quality in public utilities, and particularly in an electric power company? (2) What service quality dimensions do customers want to be provided and favor the most? (3) How does the market measure service quality? (4) What should be done by companies, and particularly by an electric utility monopoly, to increase the performance of the rendered service? (5) How does this impact customer satisfaction, retention, and intention to recommend? and (6) How do we start a company-wide quality program provided that the resources are scarce and therefore priorities should be set forth?
To investigate the posed questions, the study begins with an exploratory survey of CEEE's Board. The survey is followed by qualitative research of the three customer groups. After qualitative analysis of the data is concluded, questionnaires for the quantitative research, as well as hypothetical models, are developed. Dillman's "Total Design Method" is used to design the questionnaires.
The basic ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Model) is used to approach customer satisfaction. Data are processed by PLS (Partial Least Squares) which follows the procedure developed at the National Quality Research Center of the University of Michigan Business School.
In summary, commercial customers are the most dissatisfied with the services provided by CEEE, while residential customers are the most satisfied. To improve quality, priority should be placed on commercial customers and include efforts to improve productivity gains throughout the company. Also, CEEE's image should be improved through a better communication process with the market and an intensive and extensive training of personnel. A special marketing campaign could help build a better image by explaining CEEE's goals to improve quality. Finally, a bottom line of satisfaction scores (as quality indicators) should be set for the entire company.