Customers' perceptions of the differentiating features of the fuel cards offered by firms in the Kenyan oil industry
This study compared perceptions of fuel card customers' with perceptions of management of fuel cards on several fuel card attributes. The underlying assumptions of the study was that success of the fuel cards in the market depended to a large extent on the degree to which customers and managements perceptions of the different card attributes were convergent. The logic of the study arose out of the fact that although there were various attributes adopted by fuel card marketers to better position their fuel cards, it was not clear whether or not customers' perceived the attributes as intended. The study sampled fuel cardholders and compared their perceptions of the different card attributes, with those of management from three oil Companies ( Shell/BP, Caltex and Total). Research instrument used to collect the data was a questionnaire. The questionnaire had open ended and close-ended questions. The close-ended questions were presented on a 5-point likert-type scales. 5 represented the most favourable and 1 the least favourable rating. The same questionnaire was administered to the managements of the three oil companies. Percentages and proportions were computed, and tables were used for illustration purposes. The chi square test was used to measure the significance of the difference between the two categories of respondents. The findings revealed that generally, the card attributes used by the three oil companies are all the same, with the exception of one attribute noted in the Caltex Star card, in which the technology used was that of Magnetic stripe, as opposed to the "smart" technology, found in both the Shell/BP card and the Total card. Further, it was found that broadly speaking, there is no significant difference in managements' and customers' perceptions of the fuel card attributes. The main conclusion from this finding is that the three oil Companies have not used differentiation as a competitive strategy to position their fuel cards. Whether these oil Companies use the other two of Porter's generic competitive strategies i.e. cost leadership or focus strategies is not known.
SponsorhipUniversity of Nairobi
University of NairobiSchool of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences