Investigating service quality perceptions of MBA students : a case study on South African retail banks.
Bhengu, Mbalenhle Sithuthukile.
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The purpose of the study was to gain insight into the perceptions and expectations of University of KwaZulu - Natal students, studying towards their MBA, on the service quality of South African retail banks. The retail banking sector is a sector that is highly concerned with a high face to face interaction and can be classified as a service industry that has been characterised with aggressive product and pricing differentiation. The need to conduct this research is highlighted by researchers such as Kostov, Arun and Annim (2014) as well as Durdana and Zizak (2015) who outline that the topic of service quality perceptions and expectations, according to the student market in retail banks, is a limited field of research. The literature review highlighted that the retail banking sector, being a sector that is strongly service orientated, would achieve a greater level of trust and confidence in their relationships with their clients’ through an attainment of service excellence. In addition, the literature review placed a particular emphasis on the student market, specifically the Postgraduate market, which is considered to be a lucrative market in the retail banking industry. An investigation into their service quality perceptions and expectations of retail banks across South Africa would motivate retail banks to design suitable and attractive products for the student market which would increase competitive advantage build positive reputations as well as increase the financial returns of retail banks. The SERVQUAL as well as the Gaps model of service quality (both developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985), are the main theories in this study and the variables used pertain to retail banking. The researcher used a questionnaire which had a five – point LIKERT scale and the questionnaire was linked to quality dimensions relating to the retail banking industry as well as the SERVQUAL instrument. A simple random sampling technique was employed. The researcher identified the MBA students as the population, consisting of 400 registered students, and a total sample size of 165 students was identified and assessed. Sekaran and Bougie’s (2010) sample table was used to arrive at this figure. The researcher used the statistical package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 13 for windows programme for the complete analysis and presentation of the data. Descriptive as well as inferential statistics were used to analyse the data and the data was presented in the form of tables, graphs and figures. The data results reveal the expectations and perceptions of the MBA students and the respective service quality gaps are outlined in the research. The research presents relevant recommendations to address these service quality gaps as well as offer short – medium term goals for the retail banking sector. The findings of the research revealed a statistically significant difference between the expectations and perceptions of the service quality gaps amongst MBA students. In an attempt to improve the service quality, retail banks need to focus on effective client retention and acquisition strategies that will attract the student market to continue banking and build fruitful relationships with their respective retail banks.
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