Customer Satisfaction in Indian Retail Banking: A Grounded Theory Approach

By Mandal, Pratap Chandra; Bhattacharya, Sujoy | The Qualitative Report, July 15, 2013 | Go to article overview

Customer Satisfaction in Indian Retail Banking: A Grounded Theory Approach


Mandal, Pratap Chandra, Bhattacharya, Sujoy, The Qualitative Report


Introduction

Customer satisfaction is the key to long term success of any organization (Peppers & Rogers, 2005). Keeping the importance of customer satisfaction in mind, banks need to maintain stable and close relationships with their customers. Customer satisfaction levels need to be judged. The application of the knowledge of customer satisfaction is imperative to establishing and maintaining a long-term relationship with customers and long-term competitiveness (Kumar & Reinartz, 2006). Banking is a high involvement industry. Banks recognize the fact that delivery of quality service to customers is essential for success and survival in today's global and competitive banking environment (Wang, Han, & Wen, 2003). Researchers have found that customer satisfaction has a measurable impact on purchase intentions (Carter, 2010), on customer retention (Voss & Voss, 2008) and on a firm's financial performance (Chalmeta, 2006).

Customers' wants, needs, and expectations change quickly. Therefore, what would have delighted and surprised them a short while back might not satisfy them at present (Richards & Jones, 2008). Banks may not be able to provide superior services to the customers unless customer expectations are known (Leverin & Liljander, 2006). Customer expectations can be known through the knowledge of satisfaction levels of customers (Jham & Khan, 2009). This necessitates the measurement of customer satisfaction level. Customer satisfaction cannot be measured unless the factors affecting customer satisfaction are determined. This necessitates an in-depth study about the factors affecting customer satisfaction.

Customer Satisfaction in Indian Retail Banking

The economic growth and development of India has been influenced and accelerated by the expansion of the banking system. The Indian banking industry has shown enormous growth during the past two to three decades. Retail banking is a service industry and delivers its services to the consumer. A satisfied customer is the best person to generate positive word of mouth for a retail bank.

The banking industry in India has undergone a number of major changes in the post-independence era. More recently, liberalization, the opening up of the economy in the 1990s and the government's decision to privatize banks resulted in the banking reforms. Like any other financial services, the banking industry, too, is facing a market that is changing rapidly. New technologies are being introduced and there is always a fear of economic uncertainties. Fierce competition, more demanding customers and the changing climate have presented an unparalleled set of challenges (Lovelock, 2001). This has led the Indian banking industry to experience difficult times. In such a competitive scenario, it is extremely important that banks are able to retain a loyal base of customers. To attain this and to improve their market and profit positions, banks in India have to formulate their strategies and policies towards increasing customer satisfaction levels.

Banking institutions all over the world have recognized the importance of customer satisfaction and of developing and maintaining enduring relationship with their customers as two crucial parameters leading to increased business performance. At the same time, several banking institutions are experiencing increasing level of retail customer dissatisfaction. Research suggests that customer dissatisfaction is still the major reason of bank customers' switch to other banks (Manrai & Manrai, 2007). This dissatisfaction could be because of a variety of reasons (access, services, products, prices, image, personnel skills, treatment credibility, responsiveness, waiting time, location and technology).

The importance of measurement of customer satisfaction lies in the fact that one key to customer retention is customer satisfaction (Seiders, Voss, Grewal, & Godfrey, 2005). …

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