Measuring service quality, customer satisfaction and brand equity at a selected fitness club in Pietermaritzburg.
Mtshali, Mxolisi Malcom Zwelibanzi.
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The main aim of the study is to measure the perceptions of gym members with regard to the three constructs (service quality, customer satisfaction and brand equity). This was prompted by the fact that there are gaps in knowledge concerning the significance of the three constructs within the fitness industry. Furthermore, there are limited studies that have concentrated on these constructs within the South African industry, especially in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The intense competition within the South African fitness industry. Therefore, this motivated the researcher to also look at the relationships among these constructs. A convenience sample of 99 gym members who voluntary participated was selected from a fitness club in Pietermaritzburg. The data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire and subjected to different kinds of statistical analyses. Descriptive statistics, reliability analyses and inferential statistics were considered for each construct and the data presented in tables and graphs. The research findings are: The service quality dimensions rated from lowest to highest are: tangibles, reliability, assurance, responsiveness and empathy. Furthermore, most of the key service quality 22-variables, based on their importance to the gym members, were rated above average. The results also revealed that most of the gym members are satisfied with the services offered by the selected fitness club. Significant and positive correlations were found to exist between service quality and customer satisfaction. The brand equity dimensions, rated in ascending order are, brand loyalty, brand awareness, perceived quality and brand association. All the 12- variables of brand equity were rated above average. In addition, significant and positive correlations were found to exist between service quality and brand equity. It is recommended that the fitness club should place greater emphasis on the evaluation of service quality, gym member’s satisfaction and brand equity to maintain and attract gym members, while sustaining a competitive advantage against rivals. However, It would be beneficial if similar studies were to be conducted with other fitness clubs in Pietermaritzburg or a comparison between fitness clubs in Pietermaritzburg and Durban.