The impact of information technology on customer service in the Jordanian banking sector
During the last two decades the bank marketing literature has been characterised by a concern for service quality and information technology (IT) within the industry. IT and customer service are relatively new `strategic weapons' for banks, both being concerned with the deployment of information. The two concepts relate to the building and maintenance of long-term profitable relationships between the customer and the bank. With increasing competition it has become necessary for banks to keep ahead of rivals by differentiating themselves and IT is seen as an opportunity to achieve a sustainable `competitive advantage', especially in terms of improving service quality. In the light of this, the aim of this study is to investigate the influence of IT on the quality of service in the Jordanian banking sector. To accomplish the study objectives a questionnaire survey was conducted with two independent samples (bank customers and branch managers). The empirical work involved the development of questionnaires which were used for data collection and the study sample consisted of 550 bank customers and 67 branch managers. Initially, the data in the questionnaires were analysed to provide a general description of the respondents' characteristics and their perceptions of individual variables of service quality, IT-based service, customer satisfaction / loyalty and bank selection criteria. The research hypotheses were tested using Kruskal-Wallis, Mann-Whitney, Spearman Correlation Coefficient and t-tests. The main results of the study show a significant and positive relationship between IT and customer service. The more IT is used, the better the perception of service quality be. The results also give another strong indication that IT is playing a crucial role, with regard to bank selection criteria. Additionally, the findings revealed that the least important factor in influencing customers' choice of their banks is higher interest on savings and deposits, which is strongly related to religion and cultural background. On the other hand, it has been found that the most important factors in motivating the adoption of electronic channels by customers are time-saving, followed by the convenience of these channels. The study suggests several recommendations in order to increase the effectiveness of IT in Jordanian banks and improve their strategic and `competitive positions'. Finally the thesis ends by setting out an agenda for further work.