Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality in the Texas Retail Floral Industry

in HortScience
Authors:
Wayne A. Becker101 Funchess Hall, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, AL 36849-5408

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Bridget K. Behe101 Funchess Hall, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, AL 36849-5408

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James L. Johnson101 Funchess Hall, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, AL 36849-5408

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Christine D. Townsend101 Funchess Hall, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, AL 36849-5408

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Kerry K. Litzenberg101 Funchess Hall, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, AL 36849-5408

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After a survey describing the range of products and services offered by Texas florists and supermarket floral departments, a modified SERVQUAL instrument measured customer perceptions and expectations of floral service quality. Florist customers were 3.2 years older, had a slightly higher household income, bought floral products twice as often from a florist, spent $14.53 more on each florist purchase than supermarket customers; they also made four fewer floral purchases from supermarkets during the previous 6 months. Supermarket customers spent $14.40 more on each supermarket floral purchase than did florist customers. Reliability was the most important and tangibles were the least important of the five service quality dimensions. Although expectations for both groups were similar on 18 of 22 service quality items, florists' customers perceived higher service quality than did supermarket customers. Although customers of both retail outlets had expectations higher than perceptions, florist customers had smaller, less negative gap scores. This result showed that florists better met customer expectations than did supermarket floral departments, a potential competitive advantage.

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