Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
The development of technology and the Internet have in many ways influenced how companies conduct their business, and what creates a competitive advantage. Previous research have recognized that due to this development, those companies that can create a superior value for the customer will also be the ones that can create a competitive advantage.
One industry that has focused a lot on technology during the last couple of years is the banking industry. In fact, this industry was one of the first to adopt and implement technology in their business. The banks have previously used services where there is no physical interaction between customers and employees, such as Internet banking, mobile banking, ATMs etcetera. These services are also known as Self-service technologies (SSTs) and are a well-researched area. Today, there is a new service in the banking industry that has the potential to be “the next big thing” - online advising. This will create a new type of interaction were the customers and employees communicate through the use of a computer software and a computer interface – much like a video exchange.
To our knowledge, no bank in Sweden has launched this particular service, which makes the topic very interesting and current to study. In the initial phases of this study, we defined the following research question and purpose that would guide this research:
How can banks in Sweden use a synchronous CMC service to facilitate value-creation with its customers?
We aim to understand how a synchronous CMC could facilitate value creation in the banking industry by investigating what types of values online advising could bring about. In addition, by studying similarities between banks, we aim to understand how prepared banks are for the implementation of online advising in terms of opportunities/challenges and if they can use a synchronous CMC to cope with the challenges associated with current SSTs.
Online advising relates to the theoretical field of Computer-mediated communications (CMC) where there are no previous studies that answers this research question and purpose. Previous studies within this field have instead focused on other channels of communication, such as email, chat and forums. To fulfil this identified gap, we conducted a study with a qualitative research design and a single case study. After we conducted six semi-structured interviews with a sample that includes the major banks in Sweden we found valuable results. These results indicate that the majority of the banks included are not prepared for a synchronous CMC service - online advising. However, the results showed that this service can facilitate value-creation through saving time and making it more convenient for customers, also known as a cost/sacrifice type of value. Our results further show that a synchronous CMC can cope with the challenge of “isolation”. This means that SSTs can create a human separation that online advising can cope with, as this service creates more of a personal connection between customer and employee.
2014. , 60 p.