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The Voice of the Customer in e-Banking Relationships

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This paper explores the impact of recent technological advances in the context of UK retail financial service institutions (FSIs). Findings are presented from focus groups with non e-bank retail customers and e-customers. The objective of the study was to identify consumer attitudes towards their FSIs' approach to customer relationship management (CRM). We argue that firms which attempt to replace face-to-face contact with their customers with different (albeit cost effective) technologies may undermine the way customers perceive communication, and thus affect the relationship. It would appear from our findings that consumers are broadly apathetic, and in some cases hostile, towards their FSIs, viewing relations largely as functional arrangements. Non e-customers are clearly unhappy with the content of their current relationships even though a number point to the advantages of access to a "human face". The enthusiasm of e-customers for e-banking is often initiated by the lure of high interest rates and sustained by their ability to control the interaction exchange. We conclude that electronically-mediated CRM may still be an important way for firms to invent the future with their customers, but this should take place on more equitable terms than hitherto. FSI practitioners must listen to the voices of their customers if they are to learn to cope with the complexity of new ways for customers to interact (or not) with their service suppliers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-03-01

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