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Enhancing customer satisfaction and experience in financial services: a survey of recent research in financial services journals

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Abstract

While the primary objective of financial services organizations, such as banks, investment firms, insurance companies, and accounting service firms is maintaining financial viability and success, and risk management, current view among academics, researchers and practitioners in financial services is that provision of satisfactory services to customers and enhancing customer experience is also vitally important. Presently, academic literature and industry discussions in service management and financial services management, recognize the importance of enhancing customer satisfaction (CS) and customer experience (CX). Historically, CX was not treated as a separate concept/construct but, rather, as an element related to CS and Service Quality (SQ). Today, the importance of the construct as an integrated and self-sufficient concept is recognized. For many years, researchers and practitioners have treated CS and CX interchangeably. However, the present understanding in the field of service management is that while CS, often measured through static CS measurement surveys, is an important measure, CX defined as the sum total of conscious events, as a coordinated series of interactions between a customer and a brand, and how a customer feels about a company over time, is the real measure of how customers perceive their interactions with a company. The main objective of this paper is to ascertain the level of interest on CX and CS, particularly on issues relating to CX based on customers’ dynamic total journey, in published research in key academic journals in financial services management during the period 2015–2020. Toward this objective, we want to see how many papers in these journals focus on classical CS, CX, and modern customer journey based CX, and identify issues in CS and CX addressed by them. Our second objective is to compare this research with interest and emphasis on CX in the financial services industry as indicated by non-academic industry reports, commentaries, and conference topics. In identifying research on classical CS, we have adopted a broader view that includes research on several concepts recognized in academic literature as having interactions and interdependence with CS, namely service quality (SQ), customer trust (CT), customer loyalty (CL), customer commitment (CC), customer retention (CR), and customers’ perceived value (PV). We will refer to these as “CS Related Issues”. On our first objective, our survey of papers in key finance management journals indicate that while nearly 25% of the academic papers focused on classical CS Related Issues, only a very small number (1%) addressed CX directly. Even among these papers, only a very few have addressed the modern customer journey based dynamic view of CX. On our second objective, we found that research reported in financial management journals do not sufficiently address CX issues considered as important by the financial management industry. This indicates a notable gap between academic research and industry directions in CX in financial services. We recommend that greater emphasis is placed by academic researchers on CX, particularly on concepts and issues relating to modern customer journey based dynamic CX.

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Gunawardane, G. Enhancing customer satisfaction and experience in financial services: a survey of recent research in financial services journals. J Financ Serv Mark 28, 255–269 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41264-022-00148-x

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