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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Bank Marketing, Volume 32, Issue 7
This issue of the International Journal of Bank Marketing includes contributions that reflect important market trends that provide both challenges and opportunities for academics and bankers. The articles cover India's banking market, Muslim banking, technology, and customer satisfaction. The articles show that customer satisfaction and loyalty are important factors in financial markets across the world, and being carried out on different channels. Financial services are unique because of their value and their complexity. Looking at the issues of the International Journal of Bank Marketing over the past few years, it is striking how similar financial markets around the world behave, despite their cultural and socio-demographic differences. Research, such as those presented in this issue provides important market insights for bankers, regulators, governments, and academics.
What customers tell each other about banking services has been found important, and it is only recently that we have started to see studies that begin to focus on the active management of this phenomenon. An important additional step in this direction is taken in the paper entitled "Service quality and word of mouth: a study of the banking sector" by Dr Koushiki Choudhury, which studies the influence of service quality on customers word-of-mouth behavior. The term "Word-of-Mouth" is usually defined as the reputation of a service that customers convey to each other. A modified SERVQUAL instrument was used to capture customers' perceptions of service quality, together with exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory multiple regression analysis. The sample base is 3,600 bank customers in Kolkata, India. The findings reveal that there are four dimensions of service quality that influence customers' word-of-mouth, namely, attitude, competence, tangibles, and convenience. The practical implications are that retail bank managers should manage service delivery with the aim of promoting positive word-of-mouth activity among customers. As means to achieve positive word-of-mouth, bank managers should use intangible aspects of the service, particularly the customer-orientation of its frontline personnel, and improve the delivery of the service so that it is viewed as competent and convenient by customers.
The paper "What keeps Mobile Banking Customers Loyal?" by Dr Rhaki Thakur studies customer satisfaction and loyalty in the context of mobile banking. The influence of satisfaction and trust on customer loyalty is studied on a sample of 500 mobile banking users in India. One of the key findings is that satisfaction with previous mobile banking experiences has a positive effect on customer loyalty. In addition, mobile interface usability and service were found to have a positive effect on customer satisfaction. In order to develop customer loyalty in mobile banking, banks should seek a user-friendly interface and provide services valued by mobile banking customers.
Banking was one of the earliest adopters of large-scale commercial internet service. The internet continues to be important for banks. Customers' reasons for internet bank adoption needs to be continuously researched as their experience of the internet and financial services change. This issue is addressed in the paper by Dr Okey Onyia, Dr Tina Harrison, and Dr Stephen Tagg in their article "Towards a universal model of Internet banking adoption: initial conceptualization." Their article reports a study of the relative influence of customer readiness to use financial services, and customer readiness to use the web-channel for internet banking adoption. The term "readiness" refers to customers' preparedness, ability, and willingness to engage in internet banking. A sample of 1,000 customers in Scotland was surveyed, and both multiple and logistic regression analyses were used. The researchers find that customers need to be "ready" to use both financial services, and web-channel for adoption to take place. Compared to other types of services, financial services are highly information-based, and this fact needs to be considered when developing an online channel strategy. Bankers thus need to consider the unique features of financial services industry in online banking.
The article "Banking Service Quality in the Middle Eastern Countries," by Dr Akram Al-jazzazi and Parves Sultan reviews studies of service quality in the Middle East and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The review finds that research has identified dimensions of perceived service quality that are culture specific. The review also presents a future research agenda, which is to focus on demographic variables, customer profiles, core dimensions of perceived service quality, and measurement of service quality. These are all important factors to consider when banking in the Middle East and GCC countries.
The articles in this issue of the International Journal of Bank Marketing highlight market trends that have been ongoing for quite some time in financial services markets. India has grown to become the third largest economy in the world, and two of the papers study the Indian market. The Muslim population in the world continues to develop its unique banking system, as is studied in one of the papers featured in this issue. Technology continues to change financial service use, and the articles in this issue study both internet and mobile banking. Finally, all the articles features in this issue of IJBM focus on quality in one way or the other, which certainly continues to be an important factor for banks, especially now that the financial crisis has abated.
Kent Eriksson and Hooman Estelami