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Zeina Al Hakim

DBA Graduate - 2012

Thesis title

Service Quality Dimensions and Customer Satisfaction: A Study in the Lebanese Retail Banking Industry

Supervisor(s)

Caroline Cuny
This doctoral research was initiated for the purpose of investigating the relationship between perceived service quality and customer satisfaction among bank customers in Lebanon and defining service quality by uncovering its dimensions relevant to the Lebanese culture. Due to the lack of similar studies in Lebanon and the significant contribution of the banking sector to the Lebanese economy, the researcher decided that the investigation should be conducted within the Lebanese retail banking industry. Moreover, due to the turbulent competitive banking environment in Lebanon and the pressing need to adopt a marketing orientation strategy that focuses on the consumer, understanding what satisfies bank customers becomes crucial, as does finding out what matters most to these customers in their service quality evaluations, to serve them better. Based on an extensive literature review, a model was proposed with a combination of variables: perceived service quality, customer satisfaction, bank reputation, perceived payment equity, and gender. In addition to an exploratory study to discover the dimensions of service quality, a series of hypotheses attempt to explain the relationship between perceived service quality and customer satisfaction. The model was tested using a quantitative research technique. Using convenience sampling, the research sample was chosen from customers of Lebanese banks and included 1336 respondents (54% men, 46% women) from 36 out of the 51 commercial banks operating in Lebanon. Data analyses uncovered the new dimensions of service quality, measured using the SERVPERF tool, specifically applicable to Lebanese retail bank services and provided support for five of six hypotheses. The findings confirm the importance of stressing service quality to ensure customer satisfaction by focusing on bank reputation, reliability, empathy, and tangibility dimensions of perceived service quality. Moreover, the results uncover interesting gender-related differences in the evaluation of perceived service quality and customer satisfaction that should be taken into consideration when designing and delivering bank retail services in Lebanon. The major outcome of this research is a new tool to measure service quality in Lebanese banks: theLebanese Bank Service Quality Assessment Tool (LBSQAT).