The Relationship between Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction at EmiratesNBD bank

The Relationship between Service Quality and


Customer Satisfaction at Emirates NBD Bank

Service quality is defined as the worldly attitude or evaluation of the overall excellence of the service provided (Schneider, 2004). It can also be defined as the extent, to which the consumers expectation of the service performance measures up to the actual perception of the service excellence, when the service is consumed. Therefore, in the case of Emirates NBD Bank, service quality will be defined as the overall perception of excellence towards the banking services provided to the consumers. It is important to realize that quality is defined from the consumers point of view, and not the service providers point of view. It is possible, therefore, for the consumer to perceive a service as non-quality, even when the service provider expects their service has quality.

Studies show that service quality is often gauged by the consumers according to a couple of dimensions (Hernon, 2000). These dimensions include empathy, responsiveness, access, competence, communication, courtesy, credibility, understanding the customer, reliability, and security. This is especially accurate for banking services. Another important dimension that has been discovered over time, especially with the increasing automation of the service delivery, is the way a service provider responds to or corrects the errors they make. Considering that service providers are human and that the automated systems are also human operated, consumers know that errors are bound to be made. However, the fewer they are and the sooner and more seamlessly these errors are corrected, then the better chances the service has of qualifying as being of a quality.

Consumer satisfaction refers to the level, to which a customers expectation measures up to their actual perception after the consumption of a service (Hernon, 2010). Service quality usually is determined by some dimensions that are similar, but it may also differ among the different consumers due to different expectations and perceptions. It is possible for a service to be viewed as quality and satisfy one consumer, while it is completely dissatisfying and perceived to have lower quality by another one. This may be caused by different expectations and needs. This makes consumer satisfaction a very personal experience for every customer, and forces the service provider to ensure they understand the needs and expectations of their customers, so as to have their services considered of a quality (Chakrapani, 1998).

The subject of service quality and consumer satisfaction usually is a bit confusing for most service providers, because they either do not understand the difference, or they do not see the relationship between the two. While a service may meet the need of a customer, it may be perceived as low quality due to a couple of factors and as such, may make it harder for the service provider to retain such a customer. A service may also be perceived as quality by a customer, but may fail to meet the customers specific need, in which case they would be forced to look for another service provider.

The hypothesis of the study is that service quality and customer satisfaction are mutually exclusive requirements for customer retention. The main purpose of the study is to examine to what extent the two are related, and to what extent the two dimensions determine the rate of customer retention in the bank. To obtain answers and insight into this issue, a research study was carried out among the sample of customers of three different age groups, the young or the youth, the middle aged consumers, and the elderly.

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Data collection was carried out through filling both quantitative and qualitative questionnaires that have the interviewees gauge the banks services, air their dissatisfaction points, and also their perception of ideal services. Customers were also required to indicate their level of satisfaction with the banks service, as well as the level of importance they place on having their needs met over service quality and vice versa. Data was collected over a period of three months from a diverse sample in order to be as representative as possible. In addition to this, data was also collected from focus groups containing three different age groups in order to determine whether or not age was a factor in the perception of quality, and also to determine whether age affected what the consumer viewed as important in a service or as a deal breaker. The hypothesis was tested using a chi square test and in a group.

It was found that age did determine the extent, to which a customers retention was based on the service quality or satisfaction with the service. The younger age groups, especially those between the ages of 18 and 28, appeared to place more emphasis on their needs being met, rather than on the way the service was delivered. Simply put, the dimensions mentioned on the first page that are used to define quality were not the things they were too keen on. For students especially, they were just happy to have their needs met, and did not actively seek to be made to feel necessarily pampered.

The older interviewees, however, appeared to have more expectations from their service providers. For them, satisfaction entailed much more than just having their needs met. While the younger ones would maintain a service provider, who met their needs, but did not necessarily care to work on other dimensions, such as courtesy and security, the older generations expressed the high level of expectation they had on the service quality in addition to having their needs met. They were, therefore, likely to walk away from a service provider, whose service provision they viewed as of a low quality, even though their needs were met.

Most of them gauged the banks services as quality, and only a few thought that the service delivery needed to be improved to take on a dimension or two. In terms of consumer satisfaction, the majority of the consumers interviewed were satisfied with the banks services with only a few expressing concern that their needs were not being met fully. 68 percent of the population sample viewed the banks services as both quality and satisfactory. 16 percent said the services were of a good quality, but they did not fully meet their needs. 10 percent said they had their needs met, but felt that the services could be improved. 6 percent said they found the bank services to be poor and unsatisfactory.

In light of this, the bank needs to keep up the work they are doing, since majority of their customers find their services both quality and satisfactory. They also need to work on the ensuring they understand the needs of all their consumers, so that they can meet them. A market based approach during product development is always the best one, as it entails having the customer define what kind of product or service they need, and in what way they would like it to be delivered (Hill, 2006).

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