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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 world showed that "services companies are under a constant and dynamic change" while "customers are becoming less loyal, more price sensitive and discerning ..." (Sigala & Christou, 2006).

It is the common knowledge that customers are the lifeblood of any company's business nowadays. Because of their importance, customers perceive that they have the power to demand high service quality (Macdonald, 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, 1995). As a result, service providers must redouble 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 for the survival and development of any company (Parasuraman, Berry & 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 & 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, 1996; Gounaris, Stathakopoulos & Athanassopoulos, 2003).

Second, SQ is a key to long-term profitability as it affects the repurchase intentions of both existing and potential customers (Anderson, Fornell & Lehmann, 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, 1994; Mittal & Lassar, 1998; Roig, Garcia, Tena & Monzonis, 2006).

And finally, SQ can be used to fan word-of-mouth advertising (Julian & 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, Lo & Hui, 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 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 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 and in the U.S. The authors put this powerful tool in a real organizational setting in Vietnam, 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.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Understanding the concept of service quality

SQ is a multi-dimensional concept (Jamal & Naser, 2002); it means different things to different people (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 (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, 1951), value (Feigenbaum, 1951 & Abbott, 1955), conformance to specifications (Levitt, 1972 & Gilmore, 1974), conformance to requirements (Crosby, 1979), fitness for use (Juran, 1974, 1988), loss avoidance (Taguchi cited in Ross, 1989) and meeting and/or exceeding customers' expectations (Gronroos, 1982 cited in Parasuraman et al., 1988). Quality is also defined as "a measure of the extent to which the service delivered meets the customers' expectations" (Ghobadian, Speller & Jones, 1993) which was supported by Harrison (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 (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, 2004). Cronin and Taylor (1992) even concluded that this model fit well with the banking industry. The research focused on the performance of a bank; therefore, SERVQUAL was adopted.

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 (Buttle, 1996). These five dimensions were also considered as the skeleton of SERVQUAL (Bahia & 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 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 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 and Wyckoff (1978 cited in Parasuraman et al., 1988) all agreed that SERVQUAL measures perceived quality or the discrepancy 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 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, 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).

Hypotheses

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.

METHODOLOGY

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.

Sampling plan

Convenience sampling was applied. Thus, every customer who came to the bank during business hours (8.00-16.00) from Monday to Friday and Saturday 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 & McDougall, 2003; Chisnall, 2005), designing questionnaire (Crouch & Housden, 1996; Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2003; Robson, Pemberton & McGrane, 2005) were seriously considered.

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 (Cui, Lewis & Park, 2003). However, researchers are still on the way to quest for the instrument with universally applicable dimensions of SQ (Bolton & Myers, 2003). In the meantime, 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 (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).

Measurements

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.

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. The invalid ones caused by the failure to answer all the questions required. The data collected from 268 questionnaires were later used to analyse the bank situation.

Reliability Analysis

Before analyzing any data collected, the researchers had conducted the scale's reliability test for the main items of the questionnaire. In other words, they were 32 items (both CE and CP scores). For all of the items, The Cronbach's alpha 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, 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 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 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.

Gender--Frequency relationship

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.

Other findings

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 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.

CONCLUSION

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%).

RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS

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.

MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS

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 the services and differentiate the bank from its competitors.

* effectively communicate with its customers to pave 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 (Rose & Watkins, 1997).

LIMITATIONS

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.

APPENDICES

Here is the output of the Reliability test for 32 main items in the questionnaire (obtained from SPSS)
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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Vu Thi My Chinh, Vietnam National University

Nguyen Viet Anh, Vietnam National University
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
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Author:Chinh, Vu Thi My; Anh, Nguyen Viet
Publication:Journal of International Business Research
Geographic Code:9VIET
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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