An evaluation of customer retention as a strategy to enhance competitiveness in the edible oils industry in Zimbabwe (2009 - 2013)
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The main aim of the study was to evaluate customer retention as a strategy that enhances competitiveness in the edible oil industry in Zimbabwe. There is so much competition from within the industry and mainly from South Africa and Botswana resulting in imported competition and loss of market share. This research is predominantly quantitative for which primary data was collected by way of administering constructed questionnaires to companies in the edible oil industry mainly Olivine and Surface Investments, and their customers. Data was analyzed using a statistical package called SPSS in which correlation analysis was done between the identified independent variables (service quality, customer satisfaction, trust, loyalty and price) and the dependent variable (customer retention). Through SPSS again the research hypothesis was validated. The research results show that the companies in the edible oil industry are not as reliable in delivering of goods to the customers and that they are not responsive when it comes to acting promptly to customer issues. There is a weak negative correlation between price and customer retention with customers being divided over price fairness. However, the researcher found and concluded that there is a positive correlation between customer retention and industry competitiveness. The researcher came up with some recommendations which companies in the edible oil industry can adopt and improve on retention of customers. These include adopting quality service factors which include reliability and responsiveness in order to build and sustain good relations with their customers, retraining of the sales force, focus more on satisfying the customers, become more reliable through increased capacity utilization, among other recommendations provided.