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Drivers of Customer Loyalty and Firm Profitability Research

5015 words (20 pages) Essay in Marketing

12/01/18 Marketing Reference this

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Financial institutions perform a vital role in facilitating the aggregation and allocation of capital with the help of conveying individual savings in to loans to businesses, government and individuals. The role of banking division in the concentration and distribution of capital in Ghana can not be disputed. The recent credit crunch has left a deep impact over the performance of various banks all over the world. Thus, in order to survive in the long run, the institutions need to adopt competitive strategies. One and the most important of such strategies in the banking sector constitute customer loyalty to business which makes the banking businesses competent. In this paper, we will analyze the determinants of customer loyalty and their impact on the share market and firm profitability with the help of studying the customer relationship management (CRM) and contact management of Barclays Bank in Ghana.

In the late seventies and early eighties, the state owned banks in Ghana dominated the formal banking system of the country as they had monopoly with respect to their spread and operations (Hinson and Hammond, 2006). However, the banking environment has now been evolved. According to Hinson and Hammond (2006; p.45), universal banking law has permitted all categories of banking to be performed under a single body for corporate banking which has greatly restructured the scopes of competency in various banking products in Ghana. Thus, the banking sector in Ghana has been brought in to the competitive arena which is based on the customers and products due to the reforms and deregulations. This infers that the management of the banks in Ghana should employ the strategies that provide customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, customer retention and thereby, increase firm profitability and market shares.

1.1 Service Quality Concept

The European school of thought, vastly expressed by the work of Gronroos (1984), explains that the customers recognize service quality from two aspects which are: (1) the technical aspect of service and (2) the functional aspect of the service. Technical quality is determined by knowing if the customer’s expectations from the service are fulfilled or not. The functional quality is recognized through the customer’s perception about the service production and its delivery. According to Richard and Allaway (1993), both of these distinctions are correct and needed to define customer’s service quality analysis and loyalty behaviour. However, this concept does not consider the physical environment of the service. Thus, the American school of thought led by the work of Parasuraman et al., (1985, 1988) has been adopted in various studies which states that service quality is basically the difference between perception and expectation of the delivery of service. According to this model, service quality has five dimensions on which customer’s judgement about perceived service quality is based. These dimensions are:

  • Reliability: Performance assurance, accuracy and dependability of the service.
  • Responsiveness: Will to help and provide prompt service to the customers.
  • Assurance: Knowledge, courtesy and ability of the employees that ensures trust and confidence.
  • Empathy: Care and special attention given to the customers.
  • Tangibles: Outlook of the personnel, equipments and other physical facilities.

These five dimensions will be measured through a scale called SERVQUAL comprising of 22 items. Service quality is operationalized according to the gap between perception and expectation (P-E). Thus, the SERVQUAL determines the gaps in the service delivery of a firm. SERVPERF is another service quality measure that has been developed by Cronin and Taylor (1992) considering that SERVQUAL was inadequate. According to them, performance and not perception minus expectation determines service quality by proving that expectations have almost no impact on the customer’s evaluation about service quality. Both of the SERVQUAL and SERVPERF conceptualizations have been incorporated in our research model for this study. Although, our research model includes P – E, we measure service quality on the basis of perception only since expectation is insignificant (Cronin and Taylor 1992; Brady et al., 2002). However, the basics of Parasuraman et al’s., (1988) dimensions of service quality have been retained in our model. Moreover, the 22 items of these dimensions in our study are slightly modified according to relevancy. 7 point likert scale will be used to measure P.

1.2 Customer Loyalty Concept

In our study, we have incorporated both attitudinal and behavioural concepts of customer loyalty. The following cues will be used to measure customer loyalty in the banking sector of Ghana.

  • Word of Mouth: Recommendations made by the customers to their friends and family for using the services of the bank.
  • Repeat Purchase: Repetition or consistency in making purchases by the customers for the bank’s products and services.
  • Satisfaction: The level of pleasure or happiness of the customers with their bank’s services and products.

2. SERVICE QUALITY MODEL

The Disconfirmation Paradigm (Parasuraman et al., 1985) allows service quality model to measure disparity between consumers’ perceptions and their expectations for the quality of service. Figure 1 given below represents the service quality model for the banking sector. This model illustrates that there are five gaps in delivering the quality service to the customers. These gaps are described below.

  • Gap 1: This gap can be referred as ‘Understanding’ as it depicts the difference between expectations of the customer and the management perceptions of the customers’ expectations.
  • Gap2: This gap can be referred as ‘Service Standards’ since it depicts the disparity between management perceptions of customer expectations and specifications of service quality.
  • Gap 3: This gap can be referred as ‘Service Performance’ as it illustrates the disparity between the service quality specifications and the actual service delivered to the customer.
  • Gap 4: This gap can be referred as ‘Communications’ since it shows the disparity between service delivery and external communication with the customer about the service.
  • Gap 5: This gap can be referred as ‘Service Quality’ as it depicts the disparity between customer expectation for the quality of the service and the customer’s perception about the performance of the firm.

Gaps 1 till 4 impact the service delivery leading to Gap 5. Thus, these four gaps have a very strong influence over the gap 5.

This study will focus on the potential discrepancies found in all the gaps. The managerial implications associated with these gaps must be assessed in order to formulate proper business strategies. These resultant strategies will then be properly implemented for closing the identified gaps found in the banking sector in Ghana and thereby, to improve service quality and profitability of concerned Bank.

  • Word of Mouth
  • Communication
  • Personal Needs
  • Past Experience
  • Expected Service
  • Perceived Service

Gap 5

  • Service Delivery
  • External Communications with Customers

Gap 4

  • Translation of Perceptions
  • in to Service Quality Specifications
  • Management Perceptions of Costumer Expectations

Gap 2

Gap 3

Gap 1

 

3. PROBLEM STATEMENT

The gaps 1 to 4 impact the service delivery and are concerned with the management and service providers of the bank. Thus, the question arises, what variables or factors are responsible for creating these gaps or what is the lacking of the management that refrain them from delivering the quality service to the customers?

As for Gap 5, the question arises which business strategies should be adopted to reduce the gaps and thereby, improve service quality and performance of the bank.

4. HYPOTHETICAL MODEL

This paper is aimed towards finding loyalty drivers according to the viewpoint of the customers of the Ghanaian retail banking. This chapter of the paper will present a hypothetical model that will be used to determine the relationship among loyalty, loyalty drivers, bank’s profitability and market share. Figure 2 provided below represents the framework of our hypothetical model.

The model presented in figure 2 below explains the service quality as perceived by the customer. This model has been premised on seminal model (SERVQUAL), Cronin and Taylor (1992; SERVPERF), Parasuraman et al., (1988) and Brady and Cronin (2001). The quality of service conceptualized by 2 pathways that are: (1) P-E representing the gap in between perception, ‘P’ and expectation, ‘E’ and (2) P that represents only perception as the conceptualization of expectation (E) is not important (Cronin and Taylor, 1992). Thus, perception is what is actually measured. Hence, the questionnaire in the survey will consist of a single set to elicit answers concerning customer’s perception (Brady and Cronin, 2001) instead of two sets of questionnaires for measuring perception and expectation distinctively and for determining the difference between the two as was done by Parasuraman et al., (1988). The framework provided in this paper demonstrates the fact that fake loyalty may be found abundantly and incomplete satisfaction will result in customer switching.

The model below illustrates a gap which represents the disparity between the customer’s perception and expectation. Since the expectation of a customer does not influence the actual service delivered to him/her by the bank, thus, it holds an insignificant value. This infers that the actual service delivered will depend on the perceived service quality which in turn is also influenced by various service quality dimensions namely: tangible, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. Moreover, it is known that these dimensions influence both the customer’s service quality perceptions and the management designed service quality. Thus, the hypotheses and the hypothetical model are the same for all the gaps mentioned above. This research paper will investigate the disparity between the perceived service quality and the actual quality of service delivered to the customer by measuring the above mentioned service quality dimensions.

 

Service quality dimensions

  • Competitive Price
  • Expectations (Expected Service)
  • Perception (Perceived Service Quality)
  • Satisfaction
  • Loyalty
  • Actual service Experienced
  • Tangible
  • Reliability
  • Responsiv-eness
  • Assurance
  • Empathy
  • Bank’s Profitability
  • Bank (image & reputation)
  • Market share
  • Dissatisfied customers
  • Switching customers

 

5. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES

5.1 Purpose of the Research

The purpose of this study is to empirically analyze the hypothetical model and the related hypotheses. The analysis of the hypothetical model will lead to the formulation of appropriate business strategies that will overcome the potential disparity between perceived service quality and the actual quality of service delivered to the customer upon implementation.

5.2 Research Objectives

5.2.1 Primary Objective

The objective of this paper is to investigate the drivers of customer loyalty and firm profitability with the help of collecting empirical evidence through interviewing the customers of various banks in Ghana and also, through assessing a case study of Barclays Bank Ghana. Due to the distinct cultural values of the Ghanaian Society, our study will focus on the extant literature.

5.2.2 Secondary Objectives

Businesses conventionally implement aggressive marketing strategies in order to draw the attention of the new customers and thus, increase market share at the cost of competitors. According to the latest trends in competition, those businesses benefit the most that focus on retaining their customers while providing them the goods and services (Roberts, 2005). Customer retention with the help of enforcing quality in products, services, prices and accessing facilities of the bank among others play a critical role in customer satisfaction. Studies have shown that satisfied customers always return to their service providers and also, make their recommendations to friends and families which in turn increase both market share and profitability of the firm.

In the banking sector of Ghana, it is generally hypothesized that high performance of the bank is associated with high customer retention. Thus, Bankers appraise customer loyalty as the key factor towards maintaining market share and increasing profitability of the bank. Due to the high customer chum, it is important to know that what drives customer loyalty. Ghauri and Grönhaug (2005; p. 14) state that assumptions and speculations should not be accepted or rejected unless these assumptions are critically studied to give logical and reliable reasoning for their acceptation or rejection. This study seeks to attain this aim that requires investigation of the drivers of customer loyalty serving as the core of design strategies that result in the increase of customer retention and bank performance by taking in to account the case study of Barclays Bank in Ghana.

6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES

6.1 Research questions

In order to study the optimization of the enterprise contact management through a CRM enabled contact centre platform by taking in to consideration the case study of Barclays Bank in Ghana, the following question are being posed in this paper.

What are the factors driving customer loyalty in Ghana’s banking sector, in particular Barclays Bank Ghana?

What are the factors that set back customer loyalty and retention in the banking sector in Ghana, particularly Barclays Bank Ghana?

Does customer loyalty is achieved through customer satisfaction?

Do reluctant customers approach other banks in order to get better and improved customer relations and services?

6.2 Hypotheses

Our study will test the following hypotheses in this paper.

H1- Service quality influences loyalty and satisfaction of the customer.

H2- Tangibility, responsiveness, reliability, assurance and empathy are the five dimensions of service quality that vary to the extent to which they instigate customer loyalty and satisfaction.

H3- Customer loyalty and satisfaction depend upon competitive pricing.

H4- Perceived reputation and image of the bank stimulate customer loyalty.

H5- Bank’s or enterprise’s profitability can be increased by customer loyalty and market share.

H6- Reluctant customers approach other banks in order to get improved service quality from other banks.

7. BACKGROUND- BANKING IN GHANA

Ghana has a well structured financial system that is built around the capital market, the Bank and the non Bank Financial Institutions. Banks are further divided in to the following classes on the basis of a licensed system:

Universal Banking under Class I banking license.

Universal and off-shore Banking under Class II banking license.

Universal, off-shore Banking and ARB (Association of Rural and Community Banks) APEX Banking under the general banking license.

(Bank of Ghana, Annual report, 2007).

At present, the minimum amount of GHC 60 million is required to be possessed by the banks that are operating in Ghana as their stated capital (Bank of Ghana, Annual report, 2007). Ghana has 26 major banks operating under the Universal banking license and 126 rural and community banks that have been licensed for ARB Apex banking system. And also, 41 non Banking Financial Institutions which comprise of Discount Houses, Finance Companies, Mortgage Finance Companies, Savings Companies, Loans Companies and Leasing Companies. All of these NBFIs are supervised by the Bank of Ghana that is the central bank of Ghana. The activity based division of Commercial, Merchant and Development banking operating previously in Ghana have been replaced by this categorization. This was done in the wake of the initiative for the financial reforms that enabled universal banking in Ghana and thus, dissolved the operating limits hypothesized on the initial activity of incorporation. The goal was to transform the conventional way of banking operation in order to welcome competitive trading in to the banking sector.

Dr. Acquah, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana stated in his speech at the Fifth Banking Award Ceremony that universal banking was introduced in order to promote new banks, liberalize the options for the banking services, extend the branch network and increase competition for deposit at the level of retail (Acquah, 2009).

Since the banks constitute 70 per cent of the financial sector, thus, they are the most common source for contributing to the economy (Bawumia, 2008). The head offices of all the banks in Ghana are situated in the national capital of the country while their several branches are located in major cities and town of Ghana that are owned by the government, Ghanaians, foreigners or the combination. Currently all the banks in Ghana possess Universal Banking License. Only 12 banks in Ghana are owned by its citizens. The table below shows the banks operating in Ghana with their branch networks, area of activity and proprietorship.

Name of Bank

Number of Branches

Ownership

Current Banking Licence

Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd

120

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

Merchant Bank (Ghana) Ltd

16

Ghanaian

Universal

Ecobank Ghana Limited

32

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd

143

Ghanaian

Universal

National Investment Bank Ltd

24

Ghanaian

Universal

Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Ltd

19

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

SG-SSB Bank Limited

36

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

The Trust Bank Limited

17

Ghanaian

Universal

Agricultural Development Bank Ltd

50

Ghanaian

Universal

Amalgamated Bank Limited

10

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

Prudential Bank Limited

10

Ghanaian

Universal

Fidelity Bank Limited

6

Ghanaian

Universal

Zenith Bank Limited

9

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

Stanbic Bank (Ghana) Limited

10

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

Unibank Ghana Limited

11

Ghanaian

Universal

Intercontinental Bank Limited

12

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

HFC Bank Ghana Limited

11

Ghanaian

Universal

First Atlantic Merchant Bank Ltd

4

Ghanaian

Universal

International Commercial Bank Ltd

12

Ghanaian

Universal

Guaranty Trust Bank Limited

5

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

CAL Bank Limited

10

Ghanaian

Universal

United Bank for Africa (Gh) Ltd

16

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

Bank of Baroda Ghana Ltd

1

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

BSIC

1

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

BPI Bank Limited

9

Non- Ghanaian

Universal

Table 1: Banks in Ghana (Source: Price Waterhouse Banking Industry Survey, 2008).

7.1 The era of post Banking Reform in Ghana

Developments in the era of post Banking Reforms in Ghana can be concisely expressed as the transformation of the distressed and dysfunctional banking system with illiquidity and insolvency, credit rationing and interest rate controls in to a market based regime along with improving the bank supervision in order to ascertain that efficiency and profitability is increased (Acquah, 2006).

The Economic Recovery Programmed (ERP) introduced the Financial Sector Adjustment Program, generally referred as FINSAP so that the banking sector can play a vital role in promoting the economic development. This program was executed in two in two phases. In the first phase, FINSAP 1, provisions were made for liberalizing the banking industry and restructuring the distressed banks in Ghana (Brownbridge et al., 1998). The restructuring part was very crucial since these banks were either extremely important for the economy or deeply associated with other economic activities such that their demolition may result in disastrous ramifications.

The second phase, FINSAP 2 brought new dimensions in the financial industry reform program through privatizing state owned banks, technological advancements, human capital development and careful supervision and regulation by the central bank of Ghana. In addition to this, the second phase of FINSAP characterized cautious banking through revising the Banking Law of 1970 and through introducing the Banking Laws of 1989 and 2004 which enforced the requirement of minimum capital keeping in view the increased number of banks and branches.

Due to FINSAP 2, the banking and the financial industry in Ghana experienced strong regulation and supervision along with the advancement in latest payments and settlement system. Above all was the Payment Systems Development Strategy by the central bank of Ghana that focused at the delivery of financial services that enhanced the financial intermediation with the help of the progress of electronic payment products that include ATM (Automated Teller Machine) services, e-money, transfer of funds at the point of sale, SMS (Short Message Service), internet and telephone banking. Recently, e-zwich was brought in to the market in order to build a common platform that assisted in connecting the different banking institutions through a biometric smart card (Acquah, 2009). All the banks responded positively to the introduction of information and communication technology (ICT) in delivery of financial services which in turn improved the financial performance.

This outlook over shadowed the competition and distinguished market share and profitability among the banks in Ghana. The new foreign and private banks launched latest technologies whereas the government banks have to cope up with the redundant man power and non-performing assets.

The new banks encounter the challenges of market share, spread and size from the conventional banks. In order to overcome this challenge, the new banks employed the strategic option of swift implementation of the prescribed new products and the development of financial services administered by the Bank of Ghana so that the un-banked, banked and under banked customer classes of the population could be captured.

7.2 The Case Study of Barclays Bank, Ghana

As shown in the table 2 provided above that Barclays Banks holds a leading position in the Ghanaian financial services market place in addition to an aggressive nationwide branch network. Thus, Barclays being the premier banking institution of Ghana is leveraging its distinct characteristics in order to compete effectively in the highly competitive and fast progressing banking and financial services industry of Ghana.

In order to further differentiate itself from the rest in the competition, Barclays Bank is headed towards promoting its strategy of holding its market leadership position through developing its customer management functionality with the help of implementing a robust solution for customer relation management (CRM) with strongly emphasizing over its customer service operations. Barclays commenced this initiative for CRM in order to facilitate the customer facing the bank’s operations with the technology platform enhancing the bank’s operations and enabling the bank to compete effectively in addition to becoming a truly customer focused organization.

Thus, Barclays is looking forward to working with a reputable organization in order to develop and upgrade its existing customer contact centre along with integrating it with CRM Dynamic Solution by Microsoft.

Completely equipped, contact centre of Barclays Bank will eventually enable the customers to interact and deal with the bank via multiple channels such as voice, e-mail, fax, IVR, web, etc.) that fulfils various functionalities of sales, marketing and service at the time of their convenience either with a customer representative or through self service.

It is highly vital for Barclays to enhance its processes facing customers in order to develop the business relationship in between its customers and employees for attaining its business goals. The implementation of such an advance and complex customer management project is to be based upon detailed and comprehensive planning, apt consulting and allocation of technical resources to ascertain that the desired goals are achieved with in a certain time period, being as cost effective as possible. Electronic services department of Barclays strongly believes that the goals of this initiative required being in line with the overall business strategies of Barclays Bank.

It has been observed from similar engagements that spanning numerous industries is not adequate to ensure desired result. Barclays must recognize the important role that it has to play in the initial stages of the project. Complete commitment and dedication from Barclays is required through out the total time frame of the project in order to ascertain and realize the significance of enhancing its customer management functionality which will ultimately result in the growth in revenue and profitability.

7.2.1 Requirements for the Barclays Bank Ghana

Barclays Bank Ghana is looking forward to improving its overall customer management operations through commencing a CRM strategy that is most likely to enhance the banks customer focus strategy. The first stage of this CRM initiative will emphasize over improving the customer service function of the bank through making new advancements in its current platform for the centre. This is achieved by employing latest tools that will improve the interaction of the customers with the bank either through the customer service representation or by means of self service.

The first stage of CRM initiatives is most likely to improve the sales and marketing processes of the operation of the bank and set the stage for linking these processes with the customer service operations and allowing them to access the tools that will support in improving their performance, enhance their functions and recognize understand the customer as the Banks’ primary asset.

The bank has recognized the following basic functions necessary for improving its existing contact centre platform.

Outbound Calls and Multimedia Channels

Automatic Distribution of Calls

Caller Line Identification

Complaint Management

Interactive Voice Response

Integration of CRM

Computer Telephony Integration

Call Recording

Reports or Dashboard

System Backup

Barclays Bank has also recognized the following modules of Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform as the desirable milestones for the project.

Marketing module

Service Module

Sales Module

Workflow Module

Analytical Module

7.2.2 Recommended Solution

The recommended solution is divided in to the following three different components.

CRM-Workshop for Business Process Mapping

Implementation of Microsoft Dynamic CRM

Up gradation of the platform of Contact Centre Technology

7.2.3 Business Process Mapping

The aim of this exercise is to recognize the current business processes, future business processes and the gap between the two scenarios. It is formulated to overcome barriers between the business values and its technology. The outcome is strict accountability and a higher probability of customer satisfaction through its deployment.

The exercise will determine the metric that need to be tracked down, managers and customers that will be held accountable for these measurements of the performance, required new processes, impact of processes and sub processes on data importing, solution configuration and integration with other technologies and systems used at the back end.

The results of this exercise are given below:

Detailed Process Map that consists of report on current state as validated by the stockholders.

Detailed Process Map consisting of report on future state as validated by the stockholders.

Gap Analytical Report

Business Requirements Report

After the above documents have been produced, the business users will eventually examine and validate the provided information. After approval, these documents will be used to support project execution.

7.2.4 Deployment of CRM System

The desired outcome of the successful deployment of a CRM system is determined through the end user’s usage and willingness to use it daily in order to improve their personal productivity. In this regard, the adapted methodology gives a frame work for dealing with customer relationship management as a business strategy and also as a project for developing technical systems. The concept behind this process is that technology alone with out strategy does not produce business results. Thus, a proper strategy for CRM is required to be adopted side by side with the deployment of the technical system. The success of CRM lies in the implementation of the technology with the clear picture of the improvements in measurable business performance.

7.2.5 Strategy

The strategic model used by the Barclays Bank Ghana constitutes of four components that must be understood in order to achieve real business advantage from any CRM based project.

Figure 2 (Source: e.Services Africa Ltd. 2010).

Performance Management

The purpose of any CRM project in an organization is to improve or optimize its performance. However, it is complicated to precisely define: the areas and object to be improved, the extent of this improvement and the enhancement of this improvement measure through the CRM system. This objective is fulfilled by embedding key point indicators, business metrics in the form of understandable charts and graphs in to the user interface of the CRM system. This enables the user to use the system as a routine activity. User can easily find the changes made by them to the system in clear metrics on their dashboard. Users and the management must seriously operate the business in accordance to the embedded metrics on the dashboards.

Management Commitment

Commitment of the management serves as the basis for success of any CRM project. Senior managers must completely comprehend and be involved in adopting CRM as a strategy and they must also, actively take part in the implementation of CRM project. Existing processes need to be changed for improving performance of any business or system, thus, any CRM project could be referred to an effort for changing management and modifying behavior. Managers are supposed to support such changes. Irrespective of the technological functions, the managers must back the process changes along with communicating the fact that new procedures need to be adopted in order to achieve the desired goals of the business.

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