Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Service Quality in Banks and Customer Relationship Strength
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


Today, the Swedish banking industry is facing aggressive competition as a consequence of many changes; increase of competitors in the marketplace, changes in the market structure, technological advancements and the use of Internet banking, and the increase of customer demands. Therefore, the pressure that each bank faces is high and banks need to upgrade their strategies and adjust their business approach to the quick changes. An understanding of customers’ expectations and perceptions of service quality is a prerequisite to make customers satisfied as well as prolong and strengthen the bank-customer-relationship.


Purpose and Research Questions

Investigate the service quality of Swedish banks and its influence on the nature of the relationship between the banks and their private customers in Umeå.


  1. What are the overall as well as the specific gaps between expected and perceived service quality of banks’ private customers?
  2. Is there a tendency towards loosening the relationship with the main bank?


Theories and Models

The theories and models we discuss in our study are related to the purpose and research questions. Therefore, we first discuss the general concept of marketing and services marketing and afterwards review related theories and models. The central concept of our research is the SERVQUAL and Gap Model being the most famous model used to measure service quality, also in retail banking. This model is used to investigate the existing gaps between the expected and perceived service quality which refers to our first research question. For answering the second research question, we propose a Bank-Customer-Relationship Model based on our assumptions and adjusted according to the findings.



Our philosophy is positivistic as we collect and analyze quantitative data to draw conclusions, as well as realistic, as the survey is conducted in a social reality. This philosophical perspective shapes the way the whole research is designed. Reviewing and finding theories first, that are relevant to our purpose and then, analyzing the data collected in order to prove the theories, classifies our research approach as deductive. Our chosen strategy is, conducting a survey at only one point of time which defines our study as cross-sectional. Our data was collected by using non-random sampling. We distributed self administered questionnaires to 200 respondents in Umeå city, being customers of any bank.

Findings and Conclusions

Referring to our first research question we conclude that an overall gap between expected and perceived service quality of banks’ private customers exists. But, there is a considerable difference between gaps of different bank services. Customers consider some of the services more important than others, therefore they expect more. Other services seem to be less important for them, so they expect less. Finally, there is also a neutral consideration for some other services. Referring to our second research question, the findings indicate that the bank-customer-relationships might develop a tendency to weaken even though bank customers are still highly satisfied with their main banks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 71 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-24860OAI: diva2:227882

Available from: 2009-08-12 Created: 2009-07-20 Last updated: 2009-08-12Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(1770 kB)571 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1770 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hartl, KathleenRuci, Irida
By organisation
Umeå School of Business

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 571 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 512 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link