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Title: Service quality : an empirical study of expectations versus perceptions in the delivery of financial services in community banks
Author: Bexley, James B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 1718
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2005
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This study is an in-depth empirical investigation that seeks to compare consumer expectations to perceptions in the delivery of service within community banks in the southern United States. It has as its aim to develop a useful instrument to evaluate service quality by comparing consumer expectations to their perceptions of delivered service. An additional purpose is to determine bank chief executive officers’ ability to predict consumer expectations in the area of service delivery. The theoretical portion of the study focused upon a review of the history of banking in the United States and its subunit, the State of Texas, which is uniquely different from the banking systems of Europe and Asia. The literature was also examined to review service quality and customer satisfaction. In order to examine methods to predict service quality in community banks, an investigation was carried out among consumers of fifteen community banks in the southern United States. The collection of the data was driven by six research hypotheses and involved two questionnaires. One questionnaire ask for customer expectations versus perceptions. A second questionnaire required the chief executive officers of the consumers’ banks to state their perceptions of what their consumers expected in the way of service delivery. The main findings of the research built upon and extended the research by Ittner and Larcker (1996) which noted that the three prime components of customer satisfaction revolved around three specific antecedents—perceived quality, perceived value, and customer expectations, the study strongly reinforced and confirmed the importance of the three antecedents. This study indicated that while expectations are very high, perceptions are also high, but not as high as expectations. Milligan (1995) advanced the idea that it should be obvious that the element of service quality was the primary driver in bank selection, but no confirmation study was made by him or others comparing the five factors (service quality, location, advertising, recommendation of others, and service charges/fees). This study concluded that service quality was the most important factor in the selection of a community bank in the southern United States. With no specific literature relating specifically to bankers’ perceptions of service delivery expectations by consumers, one of the most significant findings in this study noted that 77.3 percent of the responses to the questions indicated a match of bankers’ perceptions with consumers’ expectations. While outcomes indicated that perceptions were equal to or greater than expectations, this does not conclusively prove that satisfactory service quality will tend to be associated with outcomes equal to or above expectations. This could indicate that the customers did not expect much in the way of outstanding service. Based upon results obtained from surveys, there appears to be a high likelihood that a bank could reasonably predict the retention of customers using the overlaid plots that in this study show high expectations and high perceptions. However, this study could not conclusively substantiate that gender, income, and education impact service quality in community banks. Given the limited amount of literature relating to the delivery of service quality by community banks in the United States, this study provides both researchers and practitioners an empirical study of both consumers’ and bankers’ expectations and perceptions of service delivery, which had not been fully explored in the past.
Supervisor: Hewer, Paul ; Sparks, Leigh Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Banks and banking United States ; Financial services industry United States ; Consumer satisfaction United States ; Marketing Ph.D. thesis ; Service Quality ; Banking ; Financial Services ; Service Delivery