Measuring customer satisfaction based on service quality gap at a local bank in Vietnam.INTRODUCTION
The global trends and challenges in services in today's business Today's Business is a show on CNBC that aired in the early morning, 5 to 7AM ET timeslot, hosted by Liz Claman and Bob Sellers, and it was replaced by Wake Up Call on Feb 4, 2002. world showed that "services companies are under a constant and dynamic change" while "customers are becoming less loyal, more price sensitive and discerning dis·cern·ing
Exhibiting keen insight and good judgment; perceptive.
dis·cerning·ly adv. ..." (Sigala & Christou, 2006).
It is the common knowledge that customers are the lifeblood life·blood
1. Blood regarded as essential for life.
2. An indispensable or vital part: Capable workers are the lifeblood of the business. of any company's business nowadays. Because of their importance, customers perceive that they have the power to demand high service quality (Macdonald Mac·don·ald , Sir John Alexander 1815-1891.
Canadian politician and the first prime minister of the Dominion of Canada (1867-1873 and 1878-1891). He is considered the organizer of the Canadian confederation, established in 1867. , 1995). This leads all companies to the battle competing for customers. Moreover, customers are now more aware of other service providers as well as the range of financial products available for them in the marketplace. Customer expectations rise accordingly, thus they are "more critical" when choosing the service (Akan Akan (əkän`, äk`ən), people of W Africa, primarily in Ghana, where they number over 7.5 million, Côte d'Ivoire, and Togo. They speak languages of the Twi branch of the Kwa subfamily. , 1995). As a result, service providers must redouble re·dou·ble
v. re·dou·bled, re·dou·bling, re·dou·bles
1. To double.
2. To repeat.
3. Games To double the doubling bid of (an opponent) in bridge.
v. their efforts if they want to be winners in this battle (Edvardsson, Thomasson & Ovretveit, 1994). And financial service providers are not exceptions for that.
In that context, service quality (SQ) is a prerequisite pre·req·ui·site
Required or necessary as a prior condition: Competence is prerequisite to promotion.
n. for the survival and development of any company (Parasuraman, Berry Berry, former province, France
Berry (bĕrē`), former province, central France. Bourges, the capital, and Châteauroux are the chief towns. & Zeithaml, 1988). Many authors backed up this statement since the early of the 1980s until now. Their reasons are as followed.
First, it is a critical factor in achieving competitiveness in most service industries (Galloway Galloway, district, Dumfries and Galloway, SW Scotland. The Rhinns, or Rinns, of Galloway is a rocky double peninsula that juts into the North Channel of the Irish Sea; its southern extremity is called the Mull of Galloway and is the southernmost point in Scotland. & Ho, 1996). Only when SQ is paid enough attention to can the company differentiate itself from other rivals in the marketplace and gain a lasting competitive advantage in the long run (Galloway & Blanchard Blanchard may refer to: People
Second, SQ is a key to long-term profitability as it affects the repurchase re·pur·chase
tr.v. re·pur·chased, re·pur·chas·ing, re·pur·chas·es
To buy (something) again.
The act of buying something that one previously sold or owned.
Noun 1. intentions of both existing and potential customers (Anderson Anderson, river, Canada
Anderson, river, c.465 mi (750 km) long, rising in several lakes in N central Northwest Territories, Canada. It meanders north and west before receiving the Carnwath River and flowing north to Liverpool Bay, an arm of the Arctic , Fornell & Lehmann Leh·mann , Lotte 1888-1976.
German-born American soprano known for her performances in operas by Richard Strauss. She sang with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City (1934-1945). , 1994; Caruana & Pitt, 1997; Leverin & Liljander, 2006). Furthermore, if customers stay long with the company, more profit can be gained by reducing customer acquisition costs and lowering costs thanks to serving repeat customers (Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser & Schlesinger Schles·in·ger , Arthur Meier 1888-1965.
American historian whose works include The Rise of the City (1933). His son Arthur Meier, Jr. (born 1917), also a historian, was an adviser to President John F. , 1994; Mittal Mittal is a gotra of the Agrawal community, often used as a last name. It may refer to:
American musician who gained fame as the cofounder and lead guitarist of the folk-rock group the Grateful Dead (1965-1995). , Tena & Monzonis, 2006).
And finally, SQ can be used to fan word-of-mouth advertising (Julian Julian
or Julian the Apostate Latin Julianus Apostata orig. Flavius Claudius Julianus
(born AD 331/332, Constantinople—died June 26/27, 363, Ctesiphon, Mesopotamia) Roman emperor (361–363), noted scholar and military leader. & Ramaseshan, 1994). This powerful tool can help the company to recruit new customers with lower cost. It is estimated that attracting new customers is about four times more expensive than retaining the current ones (Wang (Wang Laboratories, Inc., Lowell, MA) A computer services and network integration company. Wang was one of the major early contributors to the computing industry from its founder's invention that made core memory possible, to leadership in desktop calculators and word processors. , Lo & Hui Hui
Muslim people of western China. They number about nine million. Their ancestors were merchants, soldiers, craftsmen, and scholars who came to China from Islamic Persia and Central Asia from the 7th to the 13th century and intermarried with the Han Chinese and other local , 2003). The research topic, measuring customer satisfaction based on service quality gap, has been widely discussed by many researchers for years. In the scope of this research, the authors intended to provide insights into the gaps between customer expectations and customer perceptions towards the SQ which the local bank was offering. The researchers also explored the relationship between the age, gender of the respondents In the context of marketing research, a representative sample drawn from a larger population of people from whom information is collected and used to develop or confirm marketing strategy. and their bank visit frequency.
The hypotheses the researchers aimed at testing including (1) There is a gap between customer perception and customer expectation towards the bank's SQ, and (2) There is an association between age/ gender of customers and the frequency of their bank visits.
While SERVQUAL SERVQUAL Service Quality framework is the most widely used SQ measuring tool in developed countries (Blanchard & Galloway, 1994), it has not been applied in developing Asian countries as popularly as it has been in developed countries in Europe Europe (yr`əp), 6th largest continent, c.4,000,000 sq mi (10,360,000 sq km) including adjacent islands (1992 est. pop. 512,000,000). and in the U.S. The authors put this powerful tool in a real organizational setting in Vietnam Vietnam (vēĕt`näm), officially Socialist Republic of Vietnam, republic (v), 128,400 sq mi (332,642 sq km), Southeast Asia. Occupying the eastern coastline of the Southeast Asian peninsula, Vietnam is bounded by China on the north, by Laos , one of the developing Asian countries, with the hope to contribute to the literature to some extent. Furthermore, the research also helped the local bank managers to gain deeper understanding of their business and their customers.
This paper began with a brief review of the relevant literature developed earlier, followed by the researchers' hypotheses and the methodology explanation. In later parts, the results were presented, and discussed before the conclusions were drawn.
Understanding the concept of service quality
SQ is a multi-dimensional concept (Jamal JAMAL Just Another Macro Language & Naser, 2002); it means different things to different people (Bennington Bennington, town (1990 pop. 16,451), seat of Bennington co., SW Vt.; chartered 1749, settled 1761. It includes the villages of North Bennington and Old Bennington. & Cummane, 1998). Firstly, service is abstract (Sureshchandar, Rajendran & Anantharaman, 2002). As a result, service is difficult for suppliers to explain and for customers to assess (Edvardsson et al., 1994). Secondly, no global definition of quality has been established until the time of speaking even though this has been the focus of discussion throughout history. Rather, different definitions are accepted under different circumstances CIRCUMSTANCES, evidence. The particulars which accompany a fact.
2. The facts proved are either possible or impossible, ordinary and probable, or extraordinary and improbable, recent or ancient; they may have happened near us, or afar off; they are public or (Reeves & Bednar, 1994). The search for this definition carried out by Bennington and Cummane (1998) showed that quality has been defined variously as excellence (Pirsig, 1974 & Kitto Kitto may refer to:
Noun 1. conformance - correspondence in form or appearance
agreement, correspondence - compatibility of observations; "there was no agreement between theory and to specifications (Levitt, 1972 & Gilmore Gilmore is a surname, and may refer to: People
1. One who spells words: students who are good spellers.
2. An elementary textbook containing exercises that teach spelling.
Noun 1. & Jones, 1993) which was supported by Harrison Harrison, town (1990 pop. 13,425), Hudson co., NE N.J., an industrial suburb on the Passaic River opposite Newark; inc. 1869. The town has several foundries. Its manufactures include plastics, paperboard, and metal products. (2000). Among many definitions, Reeves and Bednar (1994) stated that the most popular definition of quality was meeting and/or exceeding customers' expectations. And this definition was adopted within the scope of this paper.
SERVQUAL model--a SQ measuring instrument
A sound measure of SQ is necessary in any organisation, especially service organisations for a number of reasons. Firstly, it identifies the aspects of service requiring performance improvement. Secondly, it assesses how much improvement is needed on each aspect, and evaluates the impact of improvement efforts (Zeithaml & Bitner, 2003). Lastly, the right measurement method also helps to guide management's decisions to achieve the maximum impact on customers with limited resources (Bennington & Cummane, 1998; Machauer & Morgner, 2001).
What do customers consider when they judge SQ? This question has been addressed by many researchers over the years. Now it is safe to conclude that customers do not perceive quality in a uni-dimensional way. Instead, they judge it based on a number of factors relevant to the context (Zeithaml & Bitner, 2003). Hemmasi, Strong and Taylor Taylor, city (1990 pop. 70,811), Wayne co., SE Mich., a suburb of Detroit adjacent to Dearborn; founded 1847 as a township, inc. as a city 1968. A small rural village until World War II, it developed significantly in the second half of the 20th cent. (1994) said that the most widely used and tested SQ instrument has been SERVQUAL. Moreover, it is also the most frequently applied model in international settings (Newman, 2001; Kassim & Bojei, 2002, Sureshchandar et al., 2002; Zhou Zhou or Chou or Chow
A Chinese dynasty (traditionally dated 1122-221 b.c.) characterized by great intellectual achievements, including the rise of Confucianism and Taoism and the writing of the , 2004). Cronin Cronin is a surname, and may refer to
This framework was based on the gap theory developed by Parasuraman et al. (1985). In the earliest stage of SERVQUAL, there were ten components of SQ. They were tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, communication, credibility, security, competence, courtesy, understanding/ knowing the customer, and access (Parasuraman et al., 1985). Later on, these determinants were consolidated into SERVQUAL instrument with five dimensions: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy empathy
Ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. The empathic actor or singer is one who genuinely feels the part he or she is performing. (Buttle Buttle refers to:
skeleton, in anatomy, the stiff supportive framework of the body. The two basic types of skeleton found among animals are the exoskeleton and the endoskeleton. of SERVQUAL (Bahia Bahia, state, Brazil
Bahia (bäē`yə), state (1991 pop. 11,867,991), 216,612 sq mi (559,921 sq km), E Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. Salvador (also called Bahia) is the capital. & Nantel, 2000). In their works in 1988, its authors, Parasuraman et al. defined them as followed.
Tangibles: "the appearance of physical facilities, equipments, personnel".
Reliability: "the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately".
Responsiveness: "the willingness to help customers and to provide prompt service"
Assurance: "the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence".
Empathy: "the caring, individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.
2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.
3. attention the firm provides its customers".
Thus, while SERVQUAL refers to only five dimensions, it still covers all ten original components as mentioned earlier (Parasuraman et al., 1988; Zeithaml et al., 1990).
The survey asks customers to provide different ratings on the level of service which they expect from the company and on their perception of service delivered by the company in two separate parts. The first part of the measuring process is to establish customer expectation (CE) of the service they want and the second part is about customer perception (CP) of the services actually provided. During the measuring process, customers will use a 22-statement questionnaire based on the above-mentioned five dimensions. In each statement, the 7-interval Likert scale Likert scale A subjective scoring system that allows a person being surveyed to quantify likes and preferences on a 5-point scale, with 1 being the least important, relevant, interesting, most ho-hum, or other, and 5 being most excellent, yeehah important, etc is applied to measure customers' expected quality and customers' perceived quality. By contrasting these two measurement profiles from customers, the difference between what the customers expected from the bank and what the bank has done to meet those expectations can be clearly seen (Zeithaml & Bitner, 2003).
Besides the authors, other researchers such as Sasser, Olsen Olsen may refer to:
2. Discrepancies are material and immaterial. between CE and CP. In the SQ literature, customer expectations are understood as "desires or wants of consumers" (Zeithaml, Berry & Parasuraman, 1993) or "what they feel the service provider should offer rather than would offer" (Parasuraman et al., 1988). Customer perceptions are defined as "the customer's judgement of the service organization's performance" (Llosa, Chandon & Orsingher, 1998).
The importance of demographic information
Today organizations have to manage their activities within limited available resources. Thus, how to allocate To reserve a resource such as memory or disk. See memory allocation. those resources effectively is always the question set for any management team. The more they understand their customers, the better their decisions could be. Demographic information such as age, gender, income, marital status marital status,
n the legal standing of a person in regard to his or her marriage state. , education, etc. could be of great help (Kaynak & Harcar, 2004). It is definitely helpful information for the bank managers because their respondents of different gender and age group could have different decisions when doing business with the bank (Spathis, Petridou & Glaveli, 2004; Palmer & Bejou, 1995).
H1: There is a gap between customer perception and customer expectation towards the bank's service quality.
H2: There is an association between age/ gender of customers and the frequency of their bank visits.
Due to the uniqueness of the study focusing on a local bank in Vietnam and the necessity of valid and reliable data to gain an insight into the situation, collecting quantitative data from a primary research was the researchers' choice. The primary data were collected through a point-of-sale self-administered questionnaire survey with the sample size of 1,000 in three weeks' time with the help of the bank staff at all branches of the bank in Vietnam.
Convenience sampling was applied. Thus, every customer who came to the bank during business hours BUSINESS HOURS. The time of the day during which business is transacted. In respect to the time of presentment and demand of bills and notes, business hours generally range through the whole day down to the hours of rest in the evening, except when the paper is payable it a bank or by a (8.00-16.00) from Monday Monday: see week. to Friday Friday: see Sabbath; week.
young Indian rescued by Crusoe and kept as servant and companion. [Br. Lit.: Robinson Crusoe]
See : Servant and Saturday Saturday: see week; Sabbath. morning (8.00-11.30) over the period of three weeks' time was offered to participate in the study.
Validity of the questionnaire content
In developing the questionnaire, previous studies in the data collection method by using point-of-sale self-administered questionnaire (Oppenheim, 1992; Hiles, 1993; Zikmund, 2003; Hill, Brierley Brierley (Pronounced as "bry"-"early") is a town and a civil parish in the metropolitan borough of Barnsley (part of South Yorkshire, England), on the border with West Yorkshire. & McDougall Mc·Dou·gall , William 1871-1938.
British-born American psychologist who theorized that human behavior is determined by both instinctive and intentional strivings. , 2003; Chisnall, 2005), designing questionnaire (Crouch & Housden, 1996; Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill Thornhill may refer to:
A pilot study was needed for some reasons. First, SERVQUAL model was developed in the West. As a result, it would be best suited to be applied in that culture (Winsted, 1997). Second, cultural differences can affect the way people evaluate SQ because they lead to various dimensions of SQ accordingly (Malhotra, Francis, Agarwal & Baalbaki, 1994 cited in Winsted, 1997). Third, the banking practices are different in each region of the world, in most cases in each country. Thus, the same measurements could not be used directly in the banking sector in an Asian country Noun 1. Asian country - any one of the nations occupying the Asian continent
country, land, state - the territory occupied by a nation; "he returned to the land of his birth"; "he visited several European countries" (Cui, Lewis & Park, 2003). However, researchers are still on the way to quest for Verb 1. quest for - go in search of or hunt for; "pursue a hobby"
quest after, go after, pursue
look for, search, seek - try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of; "The police are searching for clues"; "They are searching for the the instrument with universally applicable dimensions of SQ (Bolton & Myers, 2003). In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile , SERVQUAL can be employed.
Because the survey was conducted in Vietnam, the questionnaire was translated into Vietnamese for the benefit of Vietnamese respondents. Although two experienced senior managers in that local bank checked and approved the content validity content validity,
n the degree to which an experiment or measurement actually reflects the variable it has been designed to measure. (wording and meaning) of the questionnaire, the researchers still decided to carry out a pilot study to test the potential effectiveness and limitations of the questionnaire (Robson et al., 2005).
Based on the pilot study results with 30 bank customers, the researchers made necessary adjustments to the questionnaire before distributing it to the potential respondents in the main survey. Pilot studies have also been performed with other banks which have employed SERVQUAL (Bahia & Nantel, 2000).
The refined version of the questionnaire included seven questions carefully designed in terms of content and answer strategies.
Question 1 asked the branch visit frequency level of the respondent In Equity practice, the party who answers a bill or other proceeding in equity. The party against whom an appeal or motion, an application for a court order, is instituted and who is required to answer in order to protect his or her interests. .
Question 2 asked about the respondent's opinion of different service attributes using the five SERVQUAL dimensions, as suggested in the Literature--reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibles.
Question 3 asked the respondent to rate the importance of each SQ dimension.
Question 4 asked the respondent to specify whether the overall SQ has changed over the last six months.
Question 5 asked whether the respondent would recommend the bank to their family members/friends
Question 6 asked about the gender of the respondent.
Question 7 asked about asked the age of the respondent.
FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
In the scope of the main survey, 1,000 questionnaires were distributed in all bank branches nationwide. After three weeks' time, 284 questionnaires were collected (28.4% out of the total number of questionnaires distributed). Out of 284 questionnaires returned, 268 were considered to be valid and usable USable is a special idea contest to transfer US American ideas into practice in Germany. USable is initiated by the German Körber-Stiftung (foundation Körber). It is doted with 150,000 Euro and awarded every two years. . The invalid Null; void; without force or effect; lacking in authority.
For example, a will that has not been properly witnessed is invalid and unenforceable.
INVALID. In a physical sense, it is that which is wanting force; in a figurative sense, it signifies that which has no effect. ones caused by the failure to answer all the questions required. The data collected from 268 questionnaires were later used to analyse an·a·lyse
v. Chiefly British
Variant of analyze.
analyse or US -lyze
[-lysing, -lysed] or -lyzing, the bank situation.
Before analyzing any data collected, the researchers had conducted the scale's reliability test for the main items of the questionnaire. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , they were 32 items (both CE and CP scores). For all of the items, The Cronbach's alpha Cronbach's (alpha) has an important use as a measure of the reliability of a psychometric instrument. It was first named as alpha by Cronbach (1951), as he had intended to continue with further instruments. value ranged from 0.836 to 0.848, which are greater than suggested criterion 0.7. The measurements can be considered reliable with the sample (See Appendices ap·pen·di·ces
A plural of appendix. , Table 1, 2 & 3).
Testing Hypothesis 1--There is a gap between customer perception and customer expectation towards the bank's SQ.
The researchers aimed at comparing three groups of respondents on five SQ dimensions, in terms of expectation and perception levels. Based on the 7-point Likert scale, the mean difference between the perception and the expectation statements measured the perception-expectation gap (PE gap) (Coulthard, 2004). As suggested by Parasuraman et al. (1988), if the P-E gap has the value of 0, there is no difference between CE and CP towards the SQ; if CP-CE<0, then customer expected more than what the customer perceived the bank offered or the bank did not meet CE; if CP-CE>0, then the performance of the bank exceeded the customer expectation.
The researchers adopted the order of importance of five service quality dimensions as suggested by Parasuraman et al. (1988) when designing the questionnaire. Thus, reliability was the most critical dimension, followed by responsiveness, assurance, empathy and tangibles. In the scope of this research, the authors aimed at measuring the respondents' satisfaction of each dimension. Thus, only the percentage of answers with P-E gap [greater than or equal to] 0 would be taken into consideration. As stated earlier, when P-E gap = 0, how customer perceived from what they offered by the bank matches with their expectation. Therefore, only P-E gap with value >0 would be discussed further.
In terms of the first dimension, reliability, group 3 had the highest percentage of respondent having P-E gap [greater than or equal to] 1, especially in statement 2 and 3. 35.95% of group 2 also had P-E gap with regards to statement 3.
Evaluating the second dimension, responsiveness, group 3 continued ranking the highest percentage group. 18.3% of group 2 was notable when assessing statement 2. Even though P-E gap existed across all statements, the respondents were quite satisfied with the bank performance. For the third dimension, assurance, answers of group 2 and 3 showed that a large number of respondents were not happy with the bank. Group 1 was quite satisfied except for the 26.56% who expected more from statement 3.
The results obtained when evaluating the fourth SQ dimension, empathy, showed that group 2 was the group with highest percentage of respondents having the gap.
Assessing the last SQ dimension, tangibles, group 2 expressed their opinions through the lowest percentage of respondents having the P-E gap. But it was not the case with group 1 and group 3, especially with three statements from 2 to 4.
The results could give the bank evidences to see how respondents perceived the bank's SQ and the importance of making necessary improvements to bridge their P-E gap.
The P-E gap width varied across all five dimensions of SQ. And it was necessary for the bank to know how wide it was in each statement. The percentage of each respondent group having the P-E gap was subdivided into smaller groups based on the P-E gap value. For e.g., the gap value may be large, but the percentage of people having answers with that gap was small or it did not make much sense compared to the total number. It meant it might not be very necessary for the bank to give it the top priority in their agenda. This could be vice versa VICE VERSA. On the contrary; on opposite sides. as well, say, the gap was small but the majority of respondents shared that opinion.
Testing hypothesis 2: There is association between age/ gender of customers and the frequency of their bank visits.
To serve their customers best, the bank managers need to know how frequently their customers visit the bank branch to allocate the resources (i.e., capital, labor) in the bank more effectively. The researchers also needed that information to analyse the profile of the local bank's customer in relation to their frequency of the bank visits. Besides, the frequency of their bank visits definitely influence their perception towards the bank's SQ. The more they come, the more precise their perceptions are.
Respondents were grouped under three categories:
Group 1: Respondents visited the branch once a week or more often
Group 2: Respondents visited the branch less often than once a week but once a month or more
Group 3: Respondents visited the branch less often than once a month
The findings provided an overview of the branch visit frequency level of respondents. Group 2 was the largest group with 57.1%, followed by Group 1 with 23.9%. The group with the lowest frequency was Group 3 with 19%.
The researchers also employed the Chi-square test to check the "age and frequency" as well as the "gender and frequency" relationship.
Age--Frequency relationship across 6 age groups
The researcher employed Chi-square test here. The significant value was 0.000 (<0.01), and by the usual decision criteria the null hypothesis null hypothesis,
n theoretical assumption that a given therapy will have results not statistically different from another treatment.
n stating that there was "no association exists between age and frequency level" was accepted. In other words, no significant association at 1% significance level (because this overrides 5%) existed between respondents' age and their frequency level.
Chi-square test was used again here. The significant value was 0.117 (>0.05), and by the usual decision criteria the hypothesis stating that there was "no association exists between gender and frequency level" was rejected. In other words, the chi-square test of independence of the relationship between gender and frequency level found a statistically significant relationship between the variables. It can be seen clearly that 17.3% of Group 1, 63.5% of Group 2 and 19.2% of Group 3 were males while 28% of Group 1, 53% of Group 2 and 18.9% of Group 3 were females.
The Chi-square test results clearly suggested that there was no association between age and frequency level of respondents while there was an association between respondents' gender and their frequency level.
The researchers also took a further step to find out the distribution pattern of respondents in terms of age and gender. This demographic information was analyzed an·a·lyze
tr.v. an·a·lyzed, an·a·lyz·ing, an·a·lyz·es
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.
2. Chemistry To make a chemical analysis of.
3. for the purpose of giving the bank managers another reference source for better decisions.
The age distribution showed that there were 5 age groups instead of 6 (Table 11). The majority (61.6%) of the bank customers were young people (31.7%) between 24 to 35 years old and middle-aged people (29.9%) between 36 to 49 years old. Respondents between 50 and 59 made up the third largest group (15.7%), followed by the youngest respondent group between 18 and 23 (13.4%). The smallest group (9.3%) were people over 60 years old.
It can be seen clearly from the gender distribution that out of 268 bank customers 61.2% were females while males accounted for 38.8%.
From the above statistical numbers, the researchers could conclude that the majority of respondents with high frequency level were the second youngest group (24-35) and middle-aged people (36-49), followed by other groups. In terms of gender, female respondents always accounted for the majority compared to male ones.
This study found that P-E gaps of different widths existed across all five SQ dimensions. Though the majority of respondents were quite satisfied with what they perceived from the bank, the gap was not too broad to be bridged. The width of the gap (or the value of P-E gap) varied depending on each particular aspect of these five SQ dimensions. It is true that no bank can be the best for all customers (Zineldin, 1996). In addition to the first finding, the study proved that there was an association between gender and frequency level of respondents while there was no association between age and the frequency of their bank visits.
Besides the main findings, the research also produced some other findings giving the bank a deeper insight into their customers. The study helped the bank management team to know that (1) the majority of respondents with high frequency level were the second youngest group (24-35) and middle-aged people (36-49); (2) female respondents (61.2%) always accounted for the majority compared to male ones (38.8%).
SERVQUAL framework has not been applied in developing Asian countries as widely as it has been in developed countries such as the U.S. or European countries. Throughout an in-depth study of the application of SERVQUAL as a SQ measuring tool in a real organizational setting, this research contributes to knowledge to some extent.
To a lesser or greater degree, this study was also beneficial for the bank managers. They could gain deeper understanding of SQ dimensions concerned by bank customers. Also, the study provided them with further information of the frequency level of customers in association to age and gender. This could be employed as the background to develop the best suited strategies to maximise customer satisfaction.
In the light of the literature mentioned in the early part of this paper and the findings revealed from the customer survey, the researchers strongly suggested that the bank should:
* allocate more resources to upgrade the service quality offered to the most frequent customer groups.
* bridge the present P-E gaps to fully satisfy and retain the customers in the era which they are vital to the business success (Quinn & Humble, 1993).
* develop the right strategies to please different groups of customers based on what they value and expect, in other words, this is the way to augment aug·ment
v. aug·ment·ed, aug·ment·ing, aug·ments
1. To make (something already developed or well under way) greater, as in size, extent, or quantity: the services and differentiate the bank from its competitors.
* effectively communicate with its customers to pave PAVE Cardiology A clinical trial–Post AV Node Ablation Evaluation the way for managing and exceeding their expectations (Groth & Dye, 1999).
* periodically conduct customer surveys to best use this invaluable source of information for generating continuous SQ improvement (Lin & Jones, 1997) as required by the nature of financial services The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page. (Rose & Watkins, 1997).
It is difficult to find a framework with a set of SQ dimensions that can apply across culture while cultural differences can give the same statement different meanings when it is read by different people (Winsted, 1997). To improve the model validity and to reduce the risk of cross-cultural application of this model when applied in Vietnamese cultural context, a pilot study was carried out before launching the main survey. However, it is still the weakness of this study.
Another weakness of this study is the use of a convenience sample. It is because people who did not come to the bank during the three weeks did not get an equal chance to take the survey.
The other limitation related to the fact that the researchers relied on data provided by the local bank. The researchers were in the U.K. during the time the data collection process took place. In an effort to control the situation and minimise the limitation of this research, they forwarded the questionnaire design and clearly stated the requirements of the sampling plan to the local bank. However, it was impossible to say for sure that there were no mistakes made all the way through this process.
FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS
The relative importance of SQ dimensions in customers' eyes was identified from the primary research results. This suggested the researchers to look further into the nature of each SQ dimension and pay more attention to the most important service aspects ranked by customers. In doing so, the services can be improved in the directions which customers highly value.
Vietnamese people belong to high-context culture (Rodrigues, 1997). This makes the researchers think that the answers collected from Vietnamese customers in their study are less straightforward than the answers other studies found for the western customers?
National culture plays an important role in the way customers judge the services provided or the company's efforts in satisfying the needs and wants of customers (Zeithaml & Bitner, 2003; Laroche et al., 2004). Further studies should be done to find out how culture is so powerful, what kind of cultural elements have magnified the impact on the way customers perceive SQ in Vietnam and how to utilise these factors to develop the best suited strategies to minimise the P-E gap and maximise the bank's ability in satisfying its customers.
Customers normally think that price is an indicator of quality. For example, they may think that the more they pay, the better the service should be (Kangis & Passa, 1997). Thus, the price factor and its influences on CE should also be taken into consideration.
Here is the output of the Reliability test for 32 main items in the questionnaire (obtained from SPSS A statistical package from SPSS, Inc., Chicago (www.spss.com) that runs on PCs, most mainframes and minis and is used extensively in marketing research. It provides over 50 statistical processes, including regression analysis, correlation and analysis of variance. )
Table 1: Case Processing Summary N % Cases Valid 268 100.0 Excluded(a) 0 .0 Total 268 100.0 Table 2: Reliability Statistics Cronbach's Alpha N of Items .847 32 Table 3: Item-Total Statistics Scale Mean Scale Variance if Item if Item Deleted Deleted S1D1E 176.41 145.778 S1D1P 176.68 140.557 S2D1E 176.69 143.952 S2D1P 177.07 134.460 S3D1E 176.57 148.830 S3D1P 176.60 140.922 S1D2E 176.28 147.049 S1D2P 177.07 135.190 S2D2E 176.10 150.049 S2D2P 176.54 143.867 S3D2E 176.37 147.133 S3D2P 176.97 138.467 S1D3E 176.44 147.813 S1D3P 176.65 141.696 S2D3E 176.37 149.327 S2D3P 176.63 142.975 S3D3E 176.77 143.203 S3D3P 176.63 144.662 S4D3E 176.39 146.725 S4D3P 176.44 145.438 S1D4E 176.82 144.507 S1D4P 176.83 141.826 S2D4E 176.44 144.862 S2D4P 177.06 135.206 S1D5E 176.60 144.428 S1D5P 176.77 141.315 S2D5E 176.46 147.897 S2D5P 176.46 146.571 S3D5E 176.75 145.025 S3D5P 177.03 138.692 S4D5E 176.48 150.265 S4D5P 176.44 147.857 Corrected Cronbach's Item-Total Alpha if Correlation Item Deleted S1D1E .355 .843 S1D1P .515 .838 S2D1E .414 .841 S2D1P .532 .836 S3D1E .164 .847 S3D1P .377 .842 S1D2E .320 .844 S1D2P .477 .839 S2D2E .164 .847 S2D2P .349 .843 S3D2E .321 .844 S3D2P .414 .841 S1D3E .243 .845 S1D3P .423 .840 S2D3E .188 .846 S2D3P .389 .841 S3D3E .509 .839 S3D3P .386 .842 S4D3E .362 .843 S4D3P .290 .844 S1D4E .349 .843 S1D4P .354 .843 S2D4E .459 .841 S2D4P .480 .838 S1D5E .348 .843 S1D5P .395 .841 S2D5E .257 .845 S2D5P .290 .844 S3D5E .388 .842 S3D5P .416 .841 S4D5E .101 .848 S4D5P .212 .846 Table 4: Explanation of A Abbreviation Explanation Statement content S1D1E Customer Expectation When the bank promises to towards Statement 1, do something by a certain Dimension 1 times, it does so. S1D1P Customer Perception towards Statement 1, Dimension 1 S2D1E Customer Expectation When you have a problem, towards Statement 2, the bank shows a sincere Dimension 1 interest in solving it. S2D1P Customer Perception towards Statement 2, Dimension 1 S3D1E Customer Expectation The bank performs the service towards Statement 3, right the first time. Dimension 1 S3D1P Customer Perception towards Statement 3, Dimension 1 S1D2E Customer Expectation Employees in the bank give towards Statement 1, you prompt service. Dimension 2 S1D2P Customer Perception towards Statement 1, Dimension 2 S2D2E Customer Expectation Employees in the bank are towards Statement 2, always willing to help Dimension 2 you. S2D2P Customer Perception towards Statement 2, Dimension 2 S3D2E Customer Expectation Employees in the bank are towards Statement 3, never too busy to respond Dimension 2 to your request. S3D2P Customer Perception towards Statement 3, Dimension 2 S1D3E Customer Expectation The behavior of the employees towards Statement 1, in the bank instils Dimension 3 confidence in you. S1D3P Customer Perception towards Statement 1, Dimension 3 S2D3E Customer Expectation You feel safe in your towards Statement 2, transactions with the bank. Dimension 3 S2D3P Customer Perception towards Statement 2, Dimension 3 S3D3E Customer Expectation Employees in the bank are towards Statement 3, consistently courteous Dimension 3 with you. S3D3P Customer Perception towards Statement 3, Dimension 3 S4D3E Customer Expectation Employees in the bank have towards Statement 4, the knowledge to answer Dimension 3 your questions. S4D3P Customer Perception towards Statement 4, Dimension 3 S1D4E Customer Expectation The bank has employees who towards Statement 1, give you individual Dimension 4 attention. S1D4P Customer Perception towards Statement 1, Dimension 4 S2D4E Customer Expectation Employees of the bank towards Statement 2, understand your specific Dimension 4 needs. S2D4P Customer Perception towards Statement 2, Dimension 4 S1D5E Customer Expectation The bank has modern-looking towards Statement 1, equipment. Dimension 5 S1D5P Customer Perception towards Statement 1, Dimension 5 S2D5E Customer Expectation The bank's employees towards Statement 2, appear neat. Dimension 5 S2D5P Customer Perception towards Statement 2, Dimension 5 S3D5E Customer Expectation Materials associated with the towards Statement 3, service (such as pamphlets Dimension 5 or statements) are visually appealing at the bank. S3D5P Customer Perception towards Statement 3, Dimension 5 S4D5E Customer Expectation The bank has convenient towards Statement 4, business hours. Dimension 5 S4D5P Customer Perception towards Statement 4, Dimension 5
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Table 1: Percentage of respondents having answers with P-E gap [greater than or equal to] 1 across all statements Dimensions No. Statements Percentage of respondents having answers with P-E gap > 1 Group 1 Group 2 Reliability 1 When the bank promises 6.25 4.58 to do something by a certain times, it does so. 2 When you have a 10.94 15.03 problem, the bank shows a sincere interest in solving it. 3 The bank performs the 9.38 35.95 service right the first time. Respon- 1 Employees in the bank 4.69 5.23 siveness give you prompt service. 2 Employees in the bank 6.25 8.5 are always willing to help you. 3 Employees in the bank 7.81 18.3 are never too busy to respond to your request. Assurance 1 The behavior of the 4.69 24.84 employees in the bank instils confidence in you. 2 You feel safe in your 3.13 32.68 transactions with the bank. 3 Employees in the bank 26.56 35.95 are consistently courteous with you. 4 Employees in the bank 9.38 37.91 have the knowledge to answer your questions. Empathy 1 The bank has employees 17.19 39.87 who give you individual attention. 2 Employees of the bank 1.56 18.3 understand your specific needs. Tangibles 1 The bank has modern- 20.31 10.46 looking equipment. 2 The bank's employees 48.44 15.03 appear neat. 3 Materials associated 26.56 13.08 with the service (such as pamphlets or statements) are visually appealing at the bank. 4 The bank has convenient 25 13.72 business hours. Statements Percentage of respondents having answers with P-E gap > 1 Group 3 When the bank promises 27.45 to do something by a certain times, it does so. When you have a 43.14 problem, the bank shows a sincere interest in solving it. The bank performs the 49.02 service right the first time. Employees in the bank 23.53 give you prompt service. Employees in the bank 19.61 are always willing to help you. Employees in the bank 17.65 are never too busy to respond to your request. The behavior of the 31.37 employees in the bank instils confidence in you. You feel safe in your 25.49 transactions with the bank. Employees in the bank 50.98 are consistently courteous with you. Employees in the bank 27.45 have the knowledge to answer your questions. The bank has employees 23.53 who give you individual attention. Employees of the bank 7.84 understand your specific needs. The bank has modern- 17.25 looking equipment. The bank's employees 33.33 appear neat. Materials associated 54.9 with the service (such as pamphlets or statements) are visually appealing at the bank. The bank has convenient 50.98 business hours. Table 2: Percentage of respondents having answers with P-E gap [greater than or equal to] 0 across all statements of the first dimension--Reliability 1st Dimension No. Statements The P-E gap width ([greater than or equal to] 0) Group 1 Reliability 1 When the bank From 0 to 1 promises to do 50% had P-E gap=0 something by a 6.25% had P-E gap=1 certain times, it does so. 2 When you have a From 0 to 1 problem, the bank 51.6% had P-E gap=0 shows a sincere 10.9% had P-E gap=1 interest in 0.65% had P-E gap=2 solving it. 3 The bank performs From 0 to 1 the service right 68.8% had P-E gap=0 the first time. 9.4% had P-E gap=1 5.88% had P-E gap=2 Statements The P-E gap width ([is greater than or equal to] 0) Group 2 Group 3 When the bank From 0 to 1 From 0 to 2 promises to do 72.6% had P-E gap=0 45.1% had P-E gap=0 something by a certain 4.6% had P-E gap=1 27.5% had P-E gap=2 times, it does so. When you have a From 0 to 2 From 0 to 2 problem, the bank 7.71% had P-E gap=0 29.4% had P-E gap=0 shows a sincere 14.4% had P-E gap=1 25.5% had P-E gap=1 interest in solving it. 17.7% had P-E gap=2 The bank performs the From 0 to 2 From 0 to 2 service right the first 39.2% had P-E gap=0 23.5% had P-E gap=0 time. 30.1% had P-E gap=1 21.6% had P-E gap=1 27.5% had P-E gap=2 Table 3: Percentage of respondents having answers with P-E gap [greater than or equal to] 0 across all statements of the second dimension-- Responsiveness 2nd No. Statements The P-E gap width Dimension ([greater than or equal to] 0) Group 1 Responsiv 1 Employees in From 0 to 1 eness the bank 45.3% had P-E gap=0 give you prompt 4.7% had P-E gap=1 service. 2 Employees in From 0 to 1 the bank 60.9% had P-E gap=0 are always 6.3% had P-E gap=1 willing to help you. 3 Employees in From 0 to 1 the bank 48.4% had P-E gap=0 are never too 7.8% had P-E gap=1 busy to respond to your request. Statements The P-E gap width ([greater than or equal to] 0) Group 2 Group 3 Employees in From 0 to 2 From 0 to 2 the bank 41.2% had P-E gap=0 49.0% had P-E gap=0 give you prompt 4.6% had P-E gap=1 17.7% had P-E gap=1 service. 0.65% had P-E gap=2 5.88% had P-E gap=2 Employees in From 0 to 1 From 0 to 1 the bank 49.7% had P-E gap=0 66.7% had P-E gap=0 are always 8.5% had P-E gap=1 19.6% had P-E gap=1 willing to help you. Employees in From 0 to 2 From 0 to 1 the bank 30.1% had P-E gap=0 70.6% had P-E gap=0 are never too 17.0% had P-E gap=1 17.7% had P-E gap=1 busy to 1.31% had P-E gap=2 respond to your request. Table 4: Percentage of respondents having answers with P-E gap [greater than or equal to] 0 across all statements of the third dimension--Assurance 3rd No. Statements The P-E gap width ([greater Dimension than or equal to] 0) Group 1 Assurance 1 The behavior of From 0 to 1 the employees 62.5% had P-E gap=0 in the bank 4.69% had P-E gap=1 instils confidence in you. 2 You feel safe From 0 to 1 in your 42.2% had P-E gap=0 transactions 3.13% had P-E gap=1 with the bank. 3 Employees in From 0 to 2 the bank are 54.7% had P-E gap=0 consistently 20.3% had P-E gap=1 courteous 6.25% had P-E gap=2 with you. 4 Employees in From 0 to 1 the bank 32.8% had P-E gap=0 have the 9.38% had P-E gap=1 knowledge to answer your questions. Statements The P-E gap width ([greater than or equal to] 0) Group 2 Group 3 The behavior of From 0 to 2 From 0 to 2 the employees 33.99% had P-E gap=0 51.0% had P-E gap=0 in the bank 20.3% had P-E gap=1 19.6% had P-E gap=1 instils 4.58% had P-E gap=2 11.8% had P-E gap=2 confidence in you. You feel safe From 0 to 2 From 0 to 1 in your 31.4% had P-E gap=0 66.7% had P-E gap=0 transactions 32.03% had P-E gap=1 25.5% had P-E gap=1 with the 0.65% had P-E gap=2 bank. Employees in From 0 to 2 From 0 to 2 the bank are 37.3% had P-E gap=0 43.1% had P-E gap=0 consistently 34.6% had P-E gap=1 35.3% had P-E gap=1 courteous 1.31% had P-E gap=2 15.7% had P-E gap=2 with you. Employees in From 0 to 2 From 0 to 1 the bank 49.7% had P-E gap=0 56.9% had P-E gap=0 have the 34.6% had P-E gap=1 27.5% had P-E gap=1 knowledge to 3.27% had P-E gap=2 answer your questions. Table 5: Percentage of respondents having answers with P-E gap [greater than or equal to] 0 across all statements of the fourth dimension--Empathy 4th No. Statements The P-E gap width ([greater Dimension than or equal to] 0) Group 1 Empathy 1 The bank has From 0 to 2 employees 39.06% had P-E gap=0 who give 12.5% had P-E gap=1 you individual 4.69% had P-E gap=2 attention. 2 Employees of the From 0 to 1 bank under- 34.38% had P-E gap=0 stand your 1.56% had P-E gap=1 specific needs. Statements The P-E gap width ([greater than or equal to] 0) Group 2 Group 3 The bank has From 0 to 3 From 0 to 2 employees 46.41% had P-E gap=0 52.94% had P-E gap=0 who give 30.72% had P-E gap=1 17.65% had P-E gap=1 you individual 8.5% had P-E gap=2 5.88% had P-E gap=2 attention. 0.65% had P-E gap=3 Employees of the From 0 to 2 From 0 to 1 bank under- 51.63% had P-E gap=0 54.9% had P-E gap=0 stand your 14.38% had P-E gap=1 7.84% had P-E gap=1 specific needs. 3.92% had P-E gap=2 Table 6: Percentage of respondents having answers with P-E gap [greater than or equal to] 0 across all statements of the fifth dimension--Tangibles 5th No. Statements The P-E gap width Dimension ([greater than or equal to] 0) Group 1 Tangibles 1 The bank has From 0 to 2 modern-looking equipment. 46.9% had P-E gap=0 18.8% had P-E gap=1 1.56% had P-E gap=2 2 The bank's From 0 to 2 employees 39.1% had P-E gap=0 appear neat. 32.8% had P-E gap=1 15.6% had P-E gap=2 3 Materials From 0 to 2 associated 42.2% had P-E gap=0 with the service 25% had P-E gap=1 (such as pamphlets 1.56% had P-E gap=2 or statements) are visually appealing at the bank. 4 The bank has From 0 to 1 convenient 62.5% had P-E gap=0 business hours. 12.5% had P-E gap=1 12.5% had P-E gap=2 Statements The P-E gap width ([greater than or equal to] 0) Group 2 Group 3 The bank has From 0 to 1 From 0 to 1 modern-looking equipment. 66.0% had P-E gap=0 51.0% had P-E gap=0 10.5% had P-E gap=1 17.7% had P-E gap=1 The bank's From 0 to 3 From 0 to 1 employees 64.1% had P-E gap=0 37.3% had P-E gap=0 appear neat. 13.1% had P-E gap=1 33.3% had P-E gap=1 1.96% had P-E gap=2 1.31% had P-E gap=3 Materials From 0 to 2 From 0 to 2 associated 46.4% had P-E gap=0 35.3% had P-E gap=0 with the service 8.5% had P-E gap=1 43.1% had P-E gap=1 (such as pamphlets 4.6% had P-E gap=2 11.8% had P-E gap=2 or statements) are visually appealing at the bank. The bank has From 0 to 2 From 0 to 1 convenient 65.4% had P-E gap=0 43.1% had P-E gap=0 business hours. 11.8% had P-E gap=1 51.0% had P-E gap=1 1.96% had P-E gap=2 Table 7: Frequency distribution of respondents Frequency level No. of respondents Percent Once a week or more often 64 23.9 Less often than once a week but 153 57.1 once a month or more Less often than once a month 51 19 Total 268 100 Table 8: Chi-Square Tests (Age vs. Frequency level) Value df Asymp. Sig. (2-sided) Pearson Chi-Square 114.430(a) 8 .000 Likelihood Ratio 120.53 8 .000 Linear-by-Linear Association 4.057 1 .044 N of Valid Cases 268 Table 9: Sex vs. Frequency cross-tabulation Frequency Once a week Once a month or more often or more Sex Male Count 18 66 Expected Count 24.8 59.4 % within Sex 17.3% 63.5% % within Frequency 28.1% 43.1% % of Total 6.7% 24.6% Female Count 46 87 Expected Count 39.2 93.6 % within Sex 28.0% 53.0% % within Frequency 71.9% 56.9% % of Total 17.2% 32.5% Total Count 64 153 Expected Count 64.0 153.0 % within Sex 23.9% 57.1% % within Frequency 100.0% 100.0% % of Total 23.9% 57.1% Frequency Total Less often than once a month Count 20 104 Expected Count 19.8 104 % within Sex 19.2% 100.0% % within Frequency 39.2% 38.8% % of Total 7.5% 38.8% Count 31 164 Expected Count 31.2 164 % within Sex 18.9% 100.0% % within Frequency 60.8% 61.2% % of Total 11.6% 61.2% Count 51 268 Expected Count 51.0 268.0 % within Sex 19.0% 100.0% % within Frequency 100.0% 100.0% % of Total 19.0% 100.0% Table 10: Chi-Square Tests (Gender vs. Frequency level) Value df Asymp. Sig. (2-sided) Pearson Chi-Square 4.287(a) 2 .117 Likelihood Ratio 4.410 2 .110 Linear-by-Linear Association 1.821 1 .177 N of Valid Cases 268 Table 11: Age distribution of respondents Age Groups No. of respondents Percent Under 18 0 0 18-23 36 13.4 24-35 85 31.7 36-49 80 29.9 50-59 42 15.7 60+ 25 9.3 Total 268 100.0 Table 12: Age and gender distribution of respondents in 3 groups Group Frequency level Group Age group Age (%) (%) 1 Once a week or 23.9 Under 18 0 more often 18-23 1.6 24-35 56.3 36-49 40.6 50-59 1.6 2 Less often than 57.1 Under 18 0 once a week but 18-23 11.1 once a month 24-35 30.1 or more 36-49 33.3 50-59 11.1 60+ 14.4 3 Less often than 19 Under 18 0 once a month 18-23 35.3 24-35 5.9 36-49 5.9 50-59 47.1 60+ 5.9 Group Gender Gender (%) 1 Male 28.1 Female 71.9 2 Male 43.1 Female 56.9 3 Male 39.2 Female 60.8