Can banks improve customer relationships with high quality online services?

Carmel Herington*, Scott Weaven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this research is to explore the impact of online service quality on the level of customer delight and on the development of customer relationships. Design/methodology/approach - A self-complete survey was used to collect data from a convenience sample of 200 Australian respondents who use online banking. Factor analysis and structural equation modelling were used to test the proposed model of relationships. Findings - Online service quality has no impact on customer delight, e-trust or the development of stronger relationships with customers. It does have a relationship to e-loyalty. However, the "efficiency" dimension of online service quality is related to e-trust and also indirectly to relationship strength through e-trust. The "personal need" and "site organization" dimensions of online service quality are related to e-loyalty, with "personal needs" exhibiting the strongest impact. Customer delight has no relationship to online service quality, nor e-trust, relationship strength or e-loyalty. Research limitations/implications - Generalizability is the main issue. Further research is required to confirm results and examine the identified lack of association between customer delight and e-loyalty. Further exploration of all scales is recommended. Online service quality is not a sufficient method for retaining customers through relationship building and does not result in delighting customers. Practical implications - Online service quality is not enough to develop strong relationships with bank customers. Banks can achieve customer loyalty through attending to their personal needs in online situations as well as providing a well organized site. Alternatively, if banks wish to develop strong relationships with customers, they must provide user-friendly and efficient websites while also developing trust in the website. Relationship building and e-loyalty appears to represent different things to different customers. Therefore, online service quality alone is not a sufficient means of building strong relationships and retaining customers. Originality/value - Results provide important insights into the impact of online service quality on relationship building with customers. Also online service quality for banks appears different to other previously researched retail settings and has different associated outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-427
Number of pages24
JournalManaging Service Quality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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