CEO Perception of Customer Satisfaction: An Empirical Study

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper examines chief executive officers' perceptions relative to customer satisfaction. Additionally, customers of the chief executive officers' banks were asked to indicate their expectations concerning customer satisfaction. First, a survey was sent to chief executive officers from 60 banks, with 41 banks responding. Subsequently, 150 surveys were sent to each of the 41 responding banks for random distribution to each tenth customer who came to the lobby or motor bank. Both customers and chief executive officers were surveyed in the three major population areas of Texas (Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Austin-San Antonio). 'The research included both urban and rural banks within the three major population areas. Significant evidence of the disparity between chief executive officers' perceptions concerning customer satisfaction and that of the customers' actual expectations was noted..

INTRODUCTION

Customer satisfaction related to expectation fulfillment is an extremely important and critical issue facing organizations in the complex business environment of today. The banking industry is, certainly not an exception to this premise. In fact, it has been widely held in financial institutions that customer satisfaction may be the most influential factor in the selection of a banking institution. Likewise, with all of the changes taking place in the financial marketplace and the increase in competition, it becomes apparent that more attention must be given to customer service and satisfaction.

Based on what customers have indicated in various banking situations, personalized and quality customer service will provide banks with the ability to be more competitive than those banks who fail to deliver the expected level of quality service.

To develop and implement a successful customer relations program, a financial institution must begin by determining the inherent view within the organization relative to customer service. Usually, it is determined that management sets the standard by which an organization establishes its goals and objectives. For management to set the standard, there must be some perception of what the customer or prospective customer wants and needs. By inference, the employees and officers of a financial institution usually exhibit those service characteristics emanated by management.

Therefore, it is not only important to obtain customer input as to the services and products they desire, but it is equally important to receive management's perceptions of the customers' wants and needs to avoid situations where the institution fails to live up to customer expectations due to failed communications. For example, management may determine that his/her bank does not need more than one automated teller machine. Management's basis for the decision is based upon low usage of an existing machine in a poor location. On the other hand, customers may be moving from that bank because they believe the competition has machines in locations that better meet their needs.

This empirical study examines management perceptions against customer expectations of quality service, and shows the gap between perception and expectation.

EXISTING LITERATURE

The American Bankers Association (1994) reported that during the past decade banks have seen their customer base decline. Efforts to reduce this decline have not proved successful to date. One thing that appears to be promising is the implementation of good customer service. To implement good customer service, it has been shown that researching customer expectations and determining customer desires is vital. Studies have shown that developing programs that revolve around customer expectations is necessary in the implementation of a successful customer relations atmosphere (Zeithaml, Parasuraman, & Berry, 1990). This directly relates to the implementation of a successful customer satisfaction program that measures and delivers goods and services. …