Banks' small business customers - are they successfully retained?

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Authors
Fitzpatrick, Laura
Issue Date
2003
Degree
MA of Business Studies
Publisher
Dublin Business School
Rights
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Abstract
Research shows that it is more cost effective to retain current customers than it is to acquire new customers. This empirical study identifies the key strategies employed by the main retail banks, and determines if these strategies are effective in retaining their small business customers. The successfully retained customer is highly satisfied and displays total loyalty. The links between customer satisfaction, service quality, loyalty and migration are identified in the context of the Irish banking and small business sectors. The primary research process encompasses three research segments. The sample of small businesses represents the satisfaction and loyalty levels of the sector with the main banks. The small business customer is defined as having employee numbers ranging from 1 to 50. The main bank is determined by where the customers hold their current accounts. Three main banks and two niche banks were interviewed. The niche banks represent drivers of disloyalty of customers from their main banks. Downward migration is a key area in customer retention where business is reduced with the main bank or opportunities are lost. The results show that the small business sector regards the service provider-customer relationship as the most important attribute required from the main bank. The main banks believe relationship to be their most important retention strategy for their small business customers. Small businesses are satisfied with their main banks, however, they also display considerable inertia. Downward migration hinders the successful retention of small business customers by their main banks. Banks' retention strategies are 19 per cent successful in retaining totally loyal small business customers in the Irish context and the banking and small to medium enterprise relationship is considered turbulent.