The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank’s Customer Service Center has identified a need of having a solid commitment to its customers. Therefore, the department has decided to undertake research on how customers perceive their services. The department intends to conduct a research on how customers perceive their services and how to improve those services so as to match needs of customers. The mandate of the customer service center is to develop and maintain stable customer relationships by providing quality service to customers. To realize this mandate, the customer care center must understand wants and concerns of customers. The ADCB’s customers include foreigners, experts, and residents, meaning that some customers have shared concerns while others are with varying needs. Therefore, knowledge about various needs of its customers is crucial to ADCB’s success in fulfilling customer needs and ensuring their satisfaction (Amin & Isa 2008).
It is necessary to conduct a research on how service quality impacts consumer satisfaction with the main focus being on the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Literatures show that service quality is a major antecedent of consumer satisfaction. Research utilizes the SERVQUAL tool to analyze the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction as illustrated below. This study will offer a detailed illustration on how service quality affects customer satisfaction, which in turn affects profit levels of banks (Parasie 2014).
Background of Study
This chapter will examine concepts of service quality and consumer satisfaction and their importance in the banking sector, especially in terms of the ADCB. This study will illustrate how the concept is measured, as well as outlining different models of service quality. In addition, this is the point where SERVQUAL technique will be introduced. Moreover, the study will discuss why it is of particular interest to explore the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction within the banking sector and why SERVQUAL technique is useful in this study. Service quality is a better way to manage banking services in order to ensure satisfaction of consumers and this can assist in improving competitiveness and effectiveness of quality service of banks. Service quality is crucial for the growth and development of banks. It functions as a determinant of customer satisfaction. Banks constitute an important pillar of the economy; hence, measurements of service quality are becoming crucial.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank is under tense pressures due to increasing competition from both domestic and foreign banks. Various mechanisms have been adopted for retaining clients and one of the mechanisms is to increase quality service. Academicians suggest that quality services are essential for any business success. The quality nature of any service provided determines the level of customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty. Researchers have identified five attributes that are believed to have a great effect on service quality. The so-called SERVQUAL model is an important criterion used to improve expectations and perceptions of customers relating to delivered services (Amin & Isa 2008).
Service quality is one of the most critical success factors for any firm that strives to acquire a competitive advantage and enhance its competitiveness. Researchers have developed an instrument called SERVQUAL that comprises five attributes of service quality. The SERVQUAL’s five dimensions include reliability, tangibles, empathy, assurance, and responsiveness. SQ is a multi-dimensional model, which implies “different thing to different people.” According to Brahmbhatt & Panelia (2008), service quality is defined as a set of perceived judgments resulting from the assessment process where clients match their pre-purchase expectations with post-purchase perceptions. Therefore, service quality can be said to be a “function of the differences between performance and expectation along the quality dimension” (Brahmbhatt & Panelia 2008).
The service quality determines the degree of consumer satisfaction. The subject matter about satisfaction became popular in the banking sector during the 1980s. Most debates on consumer satisfaction concern actual delivery of the customer experience, expectations of the service delivery, and expectations that are either above or below the reality (Amin & Isa 2008). Positive disconfirmation arises when consumer expectations are exceeded while negative disconfirmation arises when customer experiences are below the expectations. In the current world of extreme rivalry, the only way to retain a sustainable competitive advantage consists in delivering superior quality services, which in turn attract consumer satisfaction. Consumer satisfaction can be defined as a fulfillment response of a client. It is an after-consumption feedback of a consumer that a given service has ensured a pleasing degree of consumption-related fulfilment (Brahmbhatt & Panelia 2008).
In 2013, banks in the Middle East and Africa were accused of not providing satisfactory consumer experience. A report by Ethos Consultancy (2013) informed the worldwide banking sector that consumer satisfaction levels were tolerable for the first time in three years. Declining positive customer satisfaction was most prevalent in in Africa and the Middle East, followed closely by the Asia-Pacific region and West Europe. Deplorable customer experiences do not bode well for the profitability of banks as they will be forced to invest more in their struggle to retain customers and sell more products. The report placed the United Emirates and Saudi Arabia on the 10th position at the bottom in terms of customer service. 32 countries were surveyed where Saudi Arabia and the UAE took positions 24 and 27 respectively. Moreover, in the previous year they were ranked 15 and 18, indicating that both countries recorded the gravest drops in satisfaction rates (Parasie 2014).
Pursuant to the report, poor customer satisfaction levels imply that banks’ pace is not in line with needs of young and potential customers who prefer digital banking. Banks in the UAE have repeatedly been asked to emphasize the need for customer service improvement. A small country with a population below 10 million has an overcrowded banking sector that faces “a diverse, transient customers base” represented mainly by experts and workers from all over the world. This report is a yellow card for the UAE bankers to upgrade their pace towards adoption of digital banking. They therefore should not focus much on brick and mortar banks (Parasie 2014).
Target population refers to a group of things, people, or events that the research intends to focus on for the purpose of analyzing them so as to obtain appropriate information concerning the research problem. The population refers to an entire group of things, events, or people of interest that the researcher wishes to investigate. Simple random sampling is preferred for this research because it will help the researcher select the bank’s customers. This statistical method is a probability sampling under which samples are randomly selected from a large population. The sample has been chosen since each customer in the population has an equally-likely chance of being chosen
Based on the literature review, the study has identified the following research questions:
- How is the service provided by the ADCB perceived by its clients and does it comply with expectations of the bank’s clients?
- What is the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction?
- Which construct is performing well among the five constructs in the ADCB?
Therefore, main goal of the current study is to assess and measure service quality and customer satisfaction in the ADCB and to provide suggestions based on outcomes of the study. Null hypothesis is the following: Service quality has a direct and positive effect on consumer satisfaction.
This section presents a discussion relating to the sample and procedures for data collection, as well as operational measures of variables utilized in the research in addition to statistical tests used in the evaluation of the hypothesis. This research uses a mixed method that means collecting, analyzing, and integrating both qualitative and quantitative techniques in a single study. The research will benefit more from such an approach to the conduct of an empirical analysis since mixed methods ensure a deep insight into phenomena of customer service and customer satisfaction under consideration.
Qualitative and Quantitative Techniques
This part will also account for ways of developing a persuasive and rigorous mixed methods project with strict focus on research questions, research objective, problem statement, project title, gathering and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data, utilization of computer software, and analysis of empirical results. Normally, quantitative research is useful in the relationship assessment of variables and can originate from randomized experiments, surveys, and trials. Qualitative research is useful for statisticians because it helps them understand processes and provides new theories by assessing the role of experiments and contexts in detail through focus interviews, records, groups, and reviews. Research with the use of mixed methods combines qualitative and quantitative techniques and employs strengths of the both approaches.
Combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques is useful in improving evaluation. They ensure that shortcomings of one type of data are balanced out by strengths of the other. This increases the level of comprehension by integrating various ways of study. Many evaluations tend to gather both qualitative data and quantitative data. However, it is advisable to plan in advance how to combine the two approaches. This research will use Parallel Data Gathering that means collecting qualitative and quantitative data concurrently. The research combines data through an integrated design, i.e. in the process of evaluation different data are combined to give deep understanding of the studied issue.
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Data Collection Methods
This study will use two methods of data collection, i.e. primary and secondary data collection.
Primary data will be organized for the given purpose of addressing the specified problem. The primary data to be used here mean a questionnaire survey conducted on paper or online. The researchers will be required to cooperate with and clarify any issue to respondents when distributing the questionnaire. Furthermore, primary data can mean first-hand information. Questionnaires are circulated to respondents whose views may differ on certain issues regarding the subject matter. Questionnaires are an efficient data gathering method used to examine chosen variables. The questionnaires have been handed in person to respondents. This type of data is collected during business hours.
Secondary data is information that has already been collected by other researchers. It is useful for better understanding and definition of the research problem. Secondary data will be collected from earlier studies, which can be obtained from online journals, databases, articles, books, and other internet sources.
The main objective of this research is to assess the degree of service quality as perceived by the ADCB’s customers and analyze its impact on the satisfaction of customers. The data have been collected mainly through questionnaires. Instruments in this study may be divided into three parts. The first part comprises questions about customer profiles of respondents and the second part contains five constructs-measurements of SERVQUAL, while the last part comprises nine items that examine Customer satisfaction.