The primary customers of retail bank are consumers and small businesses which are mainly accessed by branches and ATMs. Whereas commercial banks primarily focus on large businesses and corporate relationships. In the current economic climate of mature and fierce competition pressure, so many companies are making efforts in maintaining a loyal customer base. This is true especially in financial sector where firms are free from regulation and created an environment which gives considerable choice to customers in satisfying their financial needs. As a result of this many retail banks are focusing on their strategies to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty of the customer via improve service quality. Retail banks are following the strategies in differentiating the service offered to the customers. Usually customers find very little difference in the services offered by retail banks and any new services are given by the bank get easily match by the competitors (Coskun and Frohlich, 1992; Devlin et al., 1995). Like other service provider retail bank has also discovered that the increase in customer retention can have a substantial impact on profits. The mangers are facing problems on focusing those elements which can result in meeting customer expectations. The question is what the main determinants of customer satisfaction?
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Customer satisfaction is the main key for the survival of the companies in today's environment, where every business is going through the credit crunch. It influences the purchase behaviour of a customer (Mittal and Kamakura 2001) and it has been believed by the practitioners and academics also. According to the Peterson and Wilson 1992, this is the main goal of a company. Customer satisfaction leads towards the retention of the customer which more economical as compare to attracting new customers. In the current environment of retail baking especially with banks, banks becoming larger and the closure of the bank branch and with the wide spread of internet banking it is very difficult to understand whether the customers are satisfied or not and the what are the reasons which leads customers to satisfaction or dissatisfaction situation. The understanding of current knowledge of customer satisfaction and the main elements of satisfaction are useful for industry and therefore gives the chance to them to focus and strengthen the important areas which lead to highly satisfied customers. Previous studies have shown in particular with branch staff, branch location and convenience are the crucial factors that have some attitude on customer satisfaction in retail banking.
Like every industry, baking industries is also face market challenges like innovation of new technologies, fear from economic uncertainties, tough competition, never ending demands of customers and the changing climate. These are some challenges which can not be ignoring (Lovelock, 2001). It is believed that banks are customer centric industry and the customers are the main pillar and customer service has to be distinguishing factor. The banks are facing challenge to lower down the costs, increase in efficiency and the same time how to improve the quality of services and customer satisfaction. The heed has passed on to improve the service quality, when the customers enter the bank and deal with bank staff face to face. For customers first points of contact with the banks are their staff, so they have to be well educated about the policies of the bank (Chakravarty, 1996).
The banking sector has gone under change in its operation. Furthermore globalization and liberalization has unwrapped the economy and the government has declared the privatization of banks by reducing the hindrances in the reforms of the bank. Since the entry barriers has been cut down and the product lines unclear of banks and non- banks, the banks started carrying out their operations under competitive anxiety which originates with in the banking system because of non financial institutions and from the domestic and international capital market. This has leaded the banking sector pass through the tough time. In this current financial crisis, it is very important for banks to win the loyalty of the customer and as well as to maintain it. In order to achieve customer loyalty, to improve their market share and to increase the profit margins, so many retail banks are refocusing on their marketing strategies and policies for increasing the satisfaction level of their customers and it can be build on the loyalty of customers through improved service quality.
Need and significance of the study
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The customer service experience is a never ending task for the retail banking. Banking has changed over the past 20 years and new consumer's prosperity and confidence have gone away with the old days when customers used to treat themselves as king to be in good standing with their local branch manager.
Recently the retail bank study has gone under the re-branding phase and it gives rise to the need of a study to measure the level of satisfaction of its customers. In this time of recession where every industry is suffering from it and it has great impact on the level of customer satisfaction and the factors of satisfaction as well. The main aim of this study is to provide the information that can help the management of the bank to examine and re-design its current marketing strategies in order to retain the existing customers and to attract the new customers in today's competitive environment, when every bank is going through the financial crisis. It is believed that building relationships and delivering quality service would leads to customer satisfaction, customer retention or customer loyalty and the finally profitability. Pragmatic studies show that such links are still partial. More over this study is stand on the hypothesis that benefaction of a bank depends on the level of customer satisfaction.
The aims of this study are:
- To evaluate the level of customer satisfaction in retail banking.
- To recognize the aspects of customer satisfaction in retail banking.
Scope of the Study
The spans of this study are as follows:
- The study is only limited to the retail banking
- The study is related to the customer satisfaction and its factors which influence the customer satisfaction.
The following factors are considered in the research:
- Service provided by the bank
- The image or personality of the bank
- Convenience provided to the customers
- Pricing policies of the bank
- Maintenance of relationship with the customers.
Definition of customer satisfaction
In the popular press, writers and practitioners said that ''satisfaction'' and ''quality'' are exchangeable. At the same time the researchers have defined both of these more precisely. Some researchers have explained the satisfaction is the individual business instead of global assessment. The main difference of service and satisfaction is the satisfaction which has a broader meaning. It includes the price and service quality and the service quality consist of the perception even though the customer may not have experienced it before.
According to new survey by J.D. Power and associates, economic problems can have adverse impact on customer loyalty towards the retail banks. They have found that customer commitments towards the retail banks have gone down from last two years. Their study has noticed that in 2009 only 35 percent customers said yes that they are ''highly loyal'' to their retail banks where as in 2008 and 2009 it was 37 percent and 41 percent respectively. Thus customers those who are highly committed and for these customers there is a possibility for them to buy more products, giving referrals and less chances for switching banks. Furthermore their study also depicts that those who have lowest levels of commitment to their retail banks had deposit balances 15 percent which is higher than the average. Thus it shows the bank has to take effective measures to retain their most profitable customers. It is found that the number of problems faced by the customers has increased. It was 15 percent 12 months ago as compare to 2007 which was 12 percent. The most common problem has to do with fees. In 2008 this problem was 44 percent and now it has increased to 46 percent in 2009.
When it comes to fees, the satisfaction level is 19 points less as compare to the satisfaction of level of 2008. The J.D. Power and Associates research shows that the existing issues of fees is the biggest reason for the erosion of the customers. It has been noticed that the late fee or over draft fee has risen up in 2009 as compare to 2008 and in U.S.A it has gone to $35 from $30.
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There has been an increase in problems occurrence. Banks are trying their best to resolve these issues. It is found in the study that the customer perceptions of brand image have declined. This is because of the banks are getting lower ratting in overall reputation, customer focus and personal service. Despite of negative customer perception of banks there are few banks which are enjoying higher commitments levels and the survey shows that these banks have gained this higher commitments from more than 50 percent of its customers.
"Banks with high brand image scores typically engage in practices that focus on strong communication with customers, such as welcoming them to the branch office or following up on problems," said Beird. "By focusing on aspects most critical to the banking experience, banks can win the favor of their customers, which can lead to considerable financial rewards."
Customer is a key to success of every business and customer satisfaction is the part and parcel of companies in today's market. It effects future purchase behaviour of a customer (Parasuraman and Grewal, 1998; Taylor and Baker 1994; Mittal and Kamakura 2001) and according to practitioners and academics alike the customer satisfaction is the highest goal of a company ( Peterson and Wilson 1992). In reality, if the ultimate goal of marketing is human happiness ( Bagozzi and Nataraajan 2000, p. 6) then marketing continuously should look into the customer needs and find out the way how to satisfy those needs, which will contribute to the '' emotional well being of the consumer (Holbrook 2001).
Customer satisfaction has become the crucial for the organization which are rapidly increasing in the market and making the competition fierce in order to improve the quality of their product and services. In the words of Oliver (1981, p. 27), customer satisfaction is "the summary psychological state resulting when the emotion surrounding disconfirmed expectations is coupled with the consumer's prior feelings about the consumption experience." Customer satisfaction has also been defined by Hunt (1977, p. 459) as "an evaluation rendered that the (consumption) experience was at least as good as it was supposed to be." Furthermore, Engel and Blackwell (1982, p. 501) have opined it to be, "an evaluation that the chosen alternative is consistent with prior beliefs with respect to that alternative." Therefore it can be said that customer satisfaction is the judgement after the purchase. Customer satisfaction is the happiness of the customer after consuming the product and services. It is directly related the wants satisfying power of a product or services to the need of a customer.
According to the Rust and Zahorik 1993, investments in customer satisfaction, service quality and customer relationships in long run result in profitability and market share. Furthermore if customer is satisfied that means he/she will come again to you in that way you can retain the customer and it will help to increase the loyalty of the customer and as a result of this the profit level will go up ( Hallowell, 1996). It has been confirmed and armoured by Levesque and McDougall (1996) that poor customer service or poor service of a product result in decrease of customer satisfaction and there would be chances that customer will not recommend the services to other customer or should also not turn up for the next time. Besides this, getting a new customer costs more to the company as compare to the cost of retention of customer (Reichheld andSasser, 1990).
Customer satisfaction is believed and considered as a cognitive disconfirmation involving some comparison standard ( Liljander and Strandvik 1997). Most of the literature has shown the relationships among perceived performance, expectations, disconfirmation and satisfaction as modelled in the disconfirmation theory. It is believed that customers bring certain expectations to the encounter exchange when they compare with the perceived expectation performance ( Alford and Sherrel 1996). It leads to the positive and negative disconfirmation. The positive disconfirmation result in increased satisfaction while negative disconfirmation leads to the decline of customer satisfaction ( Yi 1993; Oliver 1980). This type of disconfirmation model can be used in both product based analysis as well as in service sector for research. These rewards especially in retail banking sector are very true. With increase loyalty a retail bank can understand the needs of the customer minimise its servicing cost and will have the opportunity for cross selling. It is apparently mention by Reichheld and Sasser, 1990 that a retail bank which increased its customer retention by 5% can increased its profit by 85%. Improvement in customer satisfaction result in better retention rate and both these things can come to the firm from different activities available to the firm.
In the current situation of financial crisis of retail banking particularly where banks branches are getting close and with the widespread of internet banking, it is very crucial to know whether the customers are satisfied or dissatisfied and what are the issues which are leading to this situation. A review of the existing literature review shows that the customer satisfaction is global rather than specific. It can be checked from the past experience of customer satisfaction (Rust and Oliver, 1994; and Taylor and Baker, 1994). However, some researchers have focused that customer be like to develop standard for the product on the basis of the general performance of the product apart from the expectation of the brand's performance and these factor influence the process of conformation or disconfirmation (Cadotte et al.,1987). Therefore there is a debate that, besides cognitive factors, satisfaction decision is also depends on emotional components and taking into consideration that both exist together and make individual contribution in the process of satisfaction.
Previous studies have apparently shown the link between overall satisfaction and service quality (Anderson and Sullivan, 1993). Out of so many factors service quality is one of the factors of customer satisfaction (Parasuraman et al., 1994). Therefore, there is a big argument between researchers regarding whether the customer satisfaction is a pioneer of service quality judgements or not (Parasuraman et al., 1985; and Bitner et al., 1990). It has been shown by the definitive analysis that service quality cannot be detached from the theory of customer satisfaction.
Recent studies have shown that the customer satisfaction is not only influenced by the perception of service quality but also get affected by the perception of product quality. It is proven fact that price always plays an important role for the customer. So the price factors, situational and personal factors of the customer are also important factors in the satisfaction process (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000). For instance, in case of retail bank customer satisfaction is get influenced by the perception of service quality but is also get affected by the perception of the product quality (such as the number option available for customer to deposit), price of the product (charges charge by the bank or the rate of interest offered by the banks on different deposits), personal factors such as unavoidable factor like weather conditions and emotional state of customer.
Retail Banking and Customer Satisfaction
Retail banking is a service industry and it deal with the money of the customer and its main focus in on how to manage it. In this type of industry customer satisfaction and retention of the customer is very crucial as customer has so many alternative available in the market. There is a fierce competition in this sector. In this industry, a relationship is depends on the nature of the member due to its uninterrupted nature. Customer satisfaction in the banking sector was the hospitality factor which was related to the bank features and the quality of its personnel (Rust and Zahorik, 1993). According to Krishnan et al. (1999), in his one of his study he put forward satisfaction with product quality which is the main element of overall customer satisfaction. Furthermore their study explains the impact of service delivery factors diverge very much on customer satisfaction. To illustrate more, they became aware of the fact that the customer those who had heavy trade and had high investable assets for them automated telephone service was eminent as compare to other factors of satisfaction.
In other research, Hallowell (1996) explore the relationship between loyalty and customer satisfaction and his result were quite similar to Parasuraman et al. (1994). The conclusion of the research was satisfaction with price and satisfaction with service was essentials in overall satisfaction measurement. The measurements which were used in above study were general or other words reasonably all-inclusive and finally came up the conclusion that all the elements measured had contribution in overall satisfaction. The study emphasized that the service features of branch, staff and information are dominant factors. According to Johnston (1997), by increasing the service quality and these efforts did not contribute or did not make any difference in customer satisfaction. In his studies, he suggested that satisfaction or dissatisfaction did not get affected by these factors. Furthermore he apparently mentioned that some elements of service quality increase the level of satisfaction, if improved. On the other hand, other elements did not improve the satisfaction but it leads to the way of dissatisfaction or decrease the dissatisfaction alone. McDougall and Levesque (1996) looked at the outcome in detail of service quality, complaint handling and service features on customer satisfaction in retail banking sector. Their experimental study said that the factor on which satisfaction in retail banking depends are motivated by various factors and also include service quality proportions. The overall customer satisfaction can also be affected by the offer of the service provider. The study concluded that bank location (the location of bank means how conveniently a customer can reach the bank), competitive bank interest rate as compare its competitors, bank employees (it includes the skills, knowledge and how efficiently they are dealing with the customers) are few factors among all other factors which oblige customer satisfaction and it does not make any difference if the customer is borrower.
Reichheld and Sasser 1990 have recognised the benefits of customer satisfaction. It helps in retention of the customers of a bank. They stated that the more customer stays with the bank creates the usefulness of a bank to the customer. It depends on number of factors like the amount of time customer spends with the bank. It included the high cost of introducing new customer to the bank or attracting new customer and it increase the value of bank, amount of purchases and helps in building the better understanding of the bank and it leads to the positive word of mouth promotions for a bank. A study of Bloemer and kasper has focused on how satisfaction, image and perceived service quality helps in building loyalty in a retail bank.
According to Anderson and Sullivan 1993, there are strong relationships between the service quality magnitudes (polite service provider) and the overall customer satisfaction. However there has been significant argument about the basic proportions of service quality, the measurement of these dimensions (Brown et al., 1993; Parasuraman et al., 1993; Smith, 1995; Teas, 1993), and the gears of customer satisfaction (Hausknecht, 1990; Yi, 1990). The practical study has shown the little importance of service quality dimensions in deciding the customer satisfaction (Fisk et al., 1993). A large number of researches have been done in order to developing and measuring service quality. There is a debate that service quality consists of five basic dimensions (Brown et al., 1993; Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Teas, 1993). Practical evidence and theoretical debate suggest that there can be two prime proportions of quality service (Carman, 1990; Brown et al., 1993). First may be the result characteristic of the service and the second may be relational (the relation between the customer and employee) aspect of service Piercy, 1992; Parasuraman et al., 1991b). The service quality is believed as a difference between expectations and the performance Cronin and Taylor, 1994; Smith, 1995; Teas, 1994). The facts suggest that the service quality should be measure on performance only (Cronin and Taylor, 1994; Teas, 1994; Brown et al., 1993). On a broader sense the main two dimensions of service quality summarized the nature of outcome and relational process (Parasuraman et al. (1991b). The trust of the customer is associated with service outcome, tangibles, responsiveness; guarantee and empathy are the part and parcel of service process. Customer is always looking for empathy rather than sympathy. Customers always judge the service accuracy and reliability of the used services. They judge the other dimensions as the service is delivered (p.41). Whereas fundamental dimensions are varied with the service setting and it appears that service out come and the relational aspect exist almost in every cases as they are the basic of service.
Customer satisfaction is also depending on how the service provider is offering the services to the customer. In retail banking the efficiency of the service provider does matter that means how conveniently and competitive the service provider is providing the services. It affects overall customer satisfaction in a long run. It has been researched that the location of the bank plays important role in choosing the bank (Anderson et al., 1976; Laroche and Taylor, 1988; Thwaites and Vere, 1995). The location of the bank is a plus point for customer as well bank. Easy accessibility of the bank helps customers to do their business activities with the bank. These features of the bank can be effective for its existing customer on customer satisfaction. The other factor which helps in choosing of the bank is competitive interest rate on savings and loans. So the rate of the bank should be competitive as compare to other bank. Customers are more liked finicky about the competitive rates as it impacts the customer's financial situation. So, Competitive bank rates of bank influence the customer satisfaction.
Customer complaint handling
Most of the customers change their service provider because of the unsatisfactory problem resolution (Hart et al., 1990). When customers face the problem, they may get irate and switch to new service provider, complain to the existing service provider and they may stay with the service provider in hope that things will get better (Hirschman, 1970). As compare to other sector retail banking has a high switching cost. It is seen that dissatisfying situation always call direct reaction and in this situation whether the customer will complain or not. It is believed that when bank response to complain of the customer it leads customer from dissatisfaction situation to the satisfaction situation. In fact, there are evidences when ever service provider take the responsibility of the problem and resolve it as soon as possible; it increases the loyalty of the customer for service provider (Hart et al., 1990). According to (Fornell and Wernerfelt, 1987 also when customers complain, they give the chance to the company to resolve it successfully and if the firm resolve problem successfully it increase loyalty and profits. Now a day bank follow on the complaints, when customer complain of anything and when it get resolve successfully then bank call customer to know whether their issue has been resolved successfully or not. It increases the satisfaction of the customer. Retail banks are investing too much money in setting up the call centre which work 24 x7 a week in order to provide the excellent customer service. Thus customer satisfaction and retention of the customers get influenced by the customer complain handling.
Very little evidence has been found about how customer product usage impact customer satisfaction. Customer with different product usage or need can have different determents of the customer satisfaction. In retail banking, customers who have use typical product like mortgages or loan may get influence by service features, such as competitive bank rates as compare to those who do not have these product. Thus, the determinants of customer satisfaction may different depending on customer needs or their characteristics. As we all know choice is independent.
The major aim of this dissertation is to identify the factors that affect the customer satisfaction level in retail banking. The methods uses in the research are accepted from previous literature which deals with service quality and customer satisfaction (Blanchard and Galloway, 1994; Levesque and McDougall, 1996; Jamal and Naser, 2002; Chakrabarty, 2003; Karatepe et al., 2005; and Shil and Das, 2008).
Sample and sample size
The respondents have been selected from different demographic factors such as age, gender, marital status, education levels, and employment status and income groups. The total 100 respondents are picked up randomly those who visit a specific branch of the XYZ bank. The respondents are interviewed by the researcher itself. It has been advisable that a study which is designed to know the factor structure should have more observations rather than variables. The minimum total sample should be at least of 50 observations.
For this research the information has been gathered from the customers and one of the most prominent retail banks is chosen for the study. The bank is recently has gone under the re-branding and has a strong significant in retail sector and has been named as XYZ bank for the reason of privacy. The one branch is selected erratically of the bank for the study. The research is done in London and located in United Kingdom with a large and diverse population. The respondents have given the choice to choose from the scale 1 to 5 where 1 is denoted with strongly disagree and 5 is with strongly agree, in order to measure variables in the hypothesis of this research. Existing established measures are modified and accepted for this dissertation. The validity and reliability tests have been done of the questions which are in survey questionnaire so that valid and reliable data should be analyzed accurately to get the meaningful findings.
The survey includes a section on customer's profile. The degree of customer satisfaction of product and services offered by the bank get influence by the varieties of demographic and other factors. The demographic profile of the customers can be seen clearly in Table A.
As it can be seen from Table A that the respondents are relatively equal balance of males and females which 53% and 47%. The most of the sample customers are in the age group of 26 to 35 years and the percentage is 55%. After this the highest percentage is 32% which is age group of below 25 and which clear from this those 32% respondents are youngsters. The Demographic profile of the customer is clearly showing the more than half of the respondents are unmarried which is 56% and on the other hand 40% respondents are married. Table A clearly shows that 64% respondents are post graduates and 29% graduates. It means respondents have high literacy rate. In order to find the better result the respondents are a mix of students (26%), self-employed (4%), wage employed (25%), professionals (42%) and others (3%). It can be seen from demographic section of employment status that employment levels are high among the respondents. In the last section of Table A of monthly income indicates that the majority of the respondents are earning between £ 10,000 and £ 20,000 and the percentage is 69%. On the other hand 23% respondents are below the income of £ 10,000 and 8% respondents earn more than £ 20,000.
Factor Analysis Results
The raw data factor has been analyzed after using SPSS 17.0 to summarize the 22 variables into smaller sets of linear composites which hold the most of the information in the original data set. The data is subjected to primary section analysis and the method classify under the broad area of factor analysis. Furthermore the 22 variables are reduced to seven principal apparatus via varimax rotation and it can be seen in Table B. The pre- analysis testing is done in order to check the suitability of the entire factor analysis. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy is 0.779 and the Bartlett's test of sphericity is 754.689 which are significant at p < 0.001 (Table C). Thus it point out that the model is appropriate for factor investigative procedures (Hair et al., 2006).
According to the analysis, the seven factors with eigenvalues are greater than 1.0 and these are the explanation for the total variation of 65.787%. In order to establish the internal uniformity, Cronbach's alpha is calculated for the seven factors and which are 0.720, 0.733, 0.634, 0.673, 0.518, 1.00 and 1.000 respectively (Cronbach, 1951).
These derived factors show the different elements of retail banking, which outline the primary factors from the original 22 scale response from given items. The first factor from the Table B depicts the elements of services given by the bank and therefore name given as ''BANK SERVICE''. These are the elements about the skills and efficiency of the employees, how they behave with the customers and how their behaviour helps in building confidence in customers, the number of employees in each branch whether each branch has sufficient staff or not, the suitable timing of the bank and the response of the concerned employees when problem is addressed to him.
Factor 2 is all about the statement or commitment of the bank with the customers which is directly related to the image of the bank and therefore the name has been given as ''BANK PERSONALITY''. The elements are about the apparent objective or motive of the bank to satisfy the customers, the name of the bank means how much the name of the bank is appealing to the customer and image of the bank in the market which is directly related to the brand and now days every customer goes for the brand and the last is related to the mission and goal of the bank in other words it can be said the commitment of the bank towards customers. The elements which has been taken in factor 3 in keeping in mind the convenience and comforts a customer should get from the retail bank and thus termed as ''CUSTOMER CONVIIENENCE''. It is related to the location of the ATM machine and the facility of the ATM machine at various locations, the location and the number of the branch of the bank (how easily customer can reach to the branch and the area where it is located which is related to the infrastructure) and the entrance or ambience of the bank and the internal environment of the bank and the last but not the least is comfort level of the bank.
Factor 4 is consist of the number of ways through which bank can charge (penalties) it customers and it can be anything related to late fee or check bounce. The thing is the interest rate offered by the bank on various deposits. It is competitive enough or not. The interest rate charged by the bank on loans or borrowing. It is satisfactory or not. Factor 5 is all about the healthy relationship with the customers of a bank and therefore termed as ''BANKCRM'' The elements are the time taken by the bank to resolve the issue of a customer, for how long usually customer stands in the queue to be served, the utility of product and services given by the bank whether they have need satisfy power or not and the intention of the customer to stay with the bank.
The factor 6 mention about the parking availability for the customer when they come for banking that is why termed as ''BANK PARK'' and the last factor 7 is related to the charges which is collected by the bank as compare to its competitors ( other banks) and names as BANK CHRG which is an abbreviation of bank charge.
A major contribution of this study is to provide an opportunity to the managers of retail banking to recognise the factors of customer satisfaction in this cut throat competition. Even though the satisfaction is on the higher side however there remains a lot to be done by the managements of the retail banks in order to increase the satisfaction level of their customers and to improve on the retention rates. According to Jham 2005, the satisfaction of the customers in regards of retail banks is linked with the performance of the banks.
In future the researchers can use the same variables (which have been used in this research) for the study of other industries as these are not industry specific to measures the satisfaction levels of customers in other retail settings. The similar type of studies can be conducted in other cities to measure the customer satisfaction level in retail banks.
Regarding the limitations of the study it can be said that current economic climate (credit crunch) may have an influence on customer's satisfaction level of retail banks. Secondly, the responses have been taken from the customers of retail banking in UK. The level of customer's satisfaction of under developing economy may vary from the customers of developed economy as both economy have different culture and back ground which plays an important role in the outcome of this study.
To sum up the major contribution of this study is the provision of an approach for the management of the retail banking sectors to know the factors of customer satisfaction which influence the satisfaction level of customer and can pay heed towards them. The approach of this research has included the items beyond the service quality to capture the area of impact of factors that stimulate the customer's satisfaction. The study has endowed insights and implications for managers in retail banks thus enabling them to improve customer satisfaction and retention rates.
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