European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences
ISSN 1450-2275 Issue 28 (2011)
© EuroJournals, Inc. 2011
Designing a New Model for Determining Customer Value
Satisfaction and Loyalty towards Banking Sector of Iran
Academic member of Management Department
Azad University of Meshkin Shahr, Iran
M.A in Business Administration and Expert of Research and
Education Department in Sina Bank, Iran
Mohammad Safari Kahreh
Corresponding Author, PhD Candidate of Business Policy Making
University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Customer satisfaction and loyalty is two dimensions of the most important constructs in
relationship marketing. In the new marketing era customer satisfaction is a main effective
factor for long term behaviour of customers. Also, Loyalty of customers leads to increase
business value and remain business costs low as well. That means lower than the time when
companies seek for new customers. This article aims to design a new model for customer
value, satisfaction and loyalty in banking sector of Iran. The study chooses the most
important factors mentioned in literature. After literature review in detail, the main factors
that affect on the customer satisfaction and loyalty will identified. Number of these factors
was directly affected on loyalty while another number of these factors were indirectly and
via the satisfaction was affected on the loyalty. Thus in this paper a new model that
determined this relationships will presented. This research is descriptive and analytic and it
is carried out in a survey design. The participants are the three biggest bank’s customers in
Iran. More than 1000 questionnaires had been sent to the participants and just 750
questionnaires were used in final analysis. The findings examine the impact of these
antecedents on customer value, satisfaction and loyalty. This study also investigates and
analyzes the relations among these antecedents. Finally the findings propose a model which
is the most fitted with the data. The findings revealed that there are many interactions
between these variables related to customer behaviour and these relations could depict a
process which begins with company behaviour and then continues with customer
behaviour. Also, Customer Value for investigate the determinants of customer satisfaction
and loyalty, is essential and key concept. The article also discusses marketing implications
of the results, both theoretically and practically.
127 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
Keywords: Customer loyalty, customer value, satisfaction, banking sector, Iran.
Satisfaction and loyalty of customers are important factors having effect on managerial thoughts in
1990’s. Notably, to understand, satisfy and forecast needs of customers were considered most
important competitive advantages for companies (Vilares and Coelho, 2003).
Nowadays, in competitive economy there is no warranty for business companies to survive.
Loyal customers can be of great help to companies to survive and improve. Therefore, companies need
to concentrate on loyalty of customers and enjoy customers' loyalty as a main strategy for future.
Although, many companies have accepted loyalty as a key strategy to survive they do not seem
understand the meaning and apply it effectively. Many researchers believe that loyalty antecedents are
complex and dynamic, changing and evolving over time (Johnson, Herrmann, and Huber, 2006). There
are still a number of important gaps in understanding of the loyalty and other relationship marketing
constructs (Taylor, Hunter, and Longfellow, 2006).
Reichheld and Sasser (1990) stress the importance of customer loyalty in sharpening a firm’s
competitive edge. Customer loyalty will eventually become visible in a company’s bottom line through
increased revenue, decreased customer acquisition costs, reduced costs of serving repeat customers,
and increased profits. Consumer’s behavioral motivation of loyal relationship is assumed from their
satisfaction level. Customer satisfaction is understood as an evaluative process of consumption
experiences. The role of creating customer value is meeting a target customer’s needs and thus,
increasing customer satisfaction (porter, 1985). Thus, it can be argued that the objective of loyalty
marketing, which is achieved through keeping and nurturing customers, rests upon delivering customer
value and customer satisfaction.
This article develops a model for determining customer value, satisfaction and loyalty using
several important constructs together to determine their impacts on loyalty and also considering the
relations among these antecedents. While the main effects of trust, commitment and cooperation are
quiet apparent, and have indeed been supported in existing literature, their interaction effects have
rarely been examined. this paper attempts to build a more complete model that incorporate the main
effects of customer value, satisfaction, trust, commitment, cooperation and complaints handling on
loyalty together with the interaction effects between these items. Indeed this study tries to explain the
relationship between three components of marketing endeavors in the banks including: customer
value, satisfaction and loyalty.
2. Literature Review
2.1. Customer Value
In today’s competitive environment, creating superior customer value is necessary to protect a
company’s market niche (Day, 1990). Porter (1985) notes that a company can adopt one of two generic
market strategies: product differentiation or cost driven competitiveness. Day (1990) argues with
porter’s position, explaining that both strategies bear the same objective: creating superior customer
value. He points out that each strategy should be based on significant customer value. Otherwise,
regardless of what strategies are taken, achieving market leadership will fail.
Many marketing strategists and much management literature suggest that creating superior
customer value is a key element for a company’s success (Porter, 1996; Woodruff, 1997). However,
the definition of customer value is quite diverse and varies with academic field and from researcher to
researcher even within the same field. Huber, Herman and Morgan (2001) express diverse definitions
of customer value. They note: “the value concept is multifaceted and complicated by numerous
interpretations, biases, and emphasis”. The concept of value is used not only different in diverse fields,
such as finance, economics, management, information system, justice, ethics, etc., but also in streams
128 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
of marketing literature, including relationship marketing, consumer behaviour, pricing, and strategy
The definition of customer value that theorists share is that customer value reflects how the
customers perceive products or services, not what a firm wants to objectively deliver to its customers.
Customer value is linked to use of a product or service. Customer value is related to the trade off
between what the consumer pays in exchange for acquiring and using a product or service from the
seller, and what the customer perceives he or she has received (woodruff, 1997).
Three models of the customer value definitions are proposed by Khalifa (2004). These are:
value components models, utilitarian or benefits/costs ratio models, and means- end models. Each
modeling category emphasizes certain dimensions of customer value, paying little attention to others.
Thus, taken separately, each of these three models are imperfect by themselves, and their usefulness is
limited (Khalifa, 2004).
2.2. Customer Loyalty
Engaging in loyal relationship between individual consumers and their product/service provides is
beneficial for both parties. Oliver (1999) argues that firms have shifted their strategies away from an
emphasis on simply satisfying consumers to an emphasis on keeping and nurturing them, due to the
profit impact of having loyal customers. Nurturing profitable customers through various types of
relationships has emerged as an important issue. Through loyal relationships, consumers can receive
higher level of their preferred service or products from their providers. Also, the market paradigm shift
from mass marketing centric to customer centric marketing stimulates firms to adapt customized
service. The customer- centric marketing encourages firms to seek individual customer’s needs and
wants. This trend will ultimately lead to firm’s increasing marketing productivity and market diversity
in household and business markets (Sheth et al, 2000).
Considerable discussion exists in the academic literature over the definition and dimensions of
loyalty or similar constructs such as commitment (e.g., Ball, Coelho, and Vilares, 2007; Oliver, 1999;
Dick and Basu, 1994). Customer loyalty is an important objective for strategic marketing planning
(Kotler, 1984) and represents an important basis for developing a sustainable competitive advantage
(Maydeu- Olivares and Lado, 2003). Some researchers state that a positive relation exists between
loyalty of customers and performance of companies. Customer loyalty leads to increase business value
and remain business costs low as well. Increase in value and save money means lower time when
companies seek for new customers. Many definitions about loyalty have two points in common; that is,
behavioural aspect and attitudinal aspect (Oliver, 1999). Behavioural loyalty is customer’s repeated
transaction and researches usually measure this aspect by observational techniques. Attitudinal loyalty
is both positive affect toward the relationship’s continuance, and the tendency to continue to remain in
the relationship (e.g. Morgan and Hunt, 1994). The method for measuring attitudinal loyalty is usually
questionnaire-based. These two kinds of loyalty are both highly prized because they are intertwined
and influence company’s profit (Oliver, 1999).
Several definitions, based on attitude and also behavioural intentions, exist for loyalty. Some
researchers define two factors in loyalty items: active loyalty (word-of-mouth and intention to use) and
passive loyalty (not switching even under less positive conditions) (Ganesh, Reynolds, and Arnold,
2000). The theory of transaction cost (Williamson, 1975) introduces three major advantages of keeping
customers loyal: first, acquisition costs will decrease because fewer dissatisfied customers have to be
replaced; second, long-standing customers are not as price sensitive and, third, loyal customer can
provide more feedback to the supplier (wong, Chan, Ngai, and Oswald, 2009). Loyalty forms when a
customer thinks a benefit he receives from a company is more than other companies (Mirhadi, 2006).
The current study measures attitudinal loyalty, first because of a focus on behavioural loyalty alone
may masks any causes in which customers are loyal for reasons of convenience or habit (Ball, Coelho,
and Macha´s, 2004). Second, Strong attitudinal loyalty makes customers more resistant to other’s
attempts to steal them away (Gundlach, Achrol, and Mentzer, 1995) and also more resistant to counterpersuasion
and search for alternatives (Dick and Basu, 1994). Furthermore, Iran’s baking sector has
129 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
changed greatly, because it is just a few years that private sector has entered the market. Not many
years ago there were just governmental banks in Iran but there are now 9 private banks. So, because of
increasing competition among the banks, governmental bank’s market share is diminishing. So it is
more important for the banks to know how their customers will behave in the future and so bankers
have to know customers’ attitudes and tendency to be loyal to their current banks.
3. Research Model and Hypotheses
In this section conceptual model of the research are presented. In this research eight variables are
identified for determining customer loyalty in the banking sector, including:
• Service Quality
• Complaint handling
And also: Customer Value that affect on Customer Loyalty through above 8 variables.
Figure 1 show the research conceptual model and whole of the relationships between identified
Figure 1: The Research Conceptual Framework
Satisfaction and loyalty are related but they are clearly distinct (Ball et al., 2004). Satisfaction is the
one of the most important antecedents of loyalty stated in various researches (e.g., Gummerus,
Liljander, and Pura, 2004; Ulaga and Eggert, 2004; Ranaweear and Prubho, 2003). The more satisfied
customers have greater retention rate (Anderson and Sullivan, 1993; Fornell, 1992). The relationship
between satisfaction and loyalty is almost a proved relation and exists in many famous models such as
130 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
ECSI (e.g., Deng, Lu, Wei, and Zhang, 2009; Espejel, Fandos, and Flavia´n, 2008; Ball et al. 2007). In
line with earlier research (e.g., Bodet, 2008; Zins, 2001).
H1a: customer value is positively related to customer satisfaction.
H2a: customer satisfaction is positively affected on customer loyalty.
Cooperation, Trust and Commitment
Satisfied customers generate the positive word of mouth (Schneider and Bowen, 1999). But
satisfaction alone does not ensure continuing customer support. While satisfaction is an important
driver, trust, commitment and cooperation are also likely to influence loyalty (Ranaweera and Prubho,
2003). Morgan and Hunt (1994), identifies these two variables as key mediating variables of
relationship marketing. Several studies consistently identify commitment and trust as central constructs
of relationship marketing (Ulaga and Eggert, 2004).
Trust is logically and experientially a critical variable in relationships, as the marketing
literature shows (Green and Orth, 2009; Moorman, Deshpande, and Zaltman, 1993). This variable is
based on past behaviours but it shapes the future (Walter and Ritter, 2003). Recent researches show
that while satisfaction and trust are closely related but they are conceptually different and consequently
have different impacts on loyalty (szymanski and henard, 2001; Geyskens, Steenkamp, and Kumar
1998). Some researchers argue that trust is stronger emotion than satisfaction so it may have greater
impact on loyalty (Hart and Johnson, 1999). Several articles discuss that trust along with commitment
is an important antecedent of loyalty (e.g., Floh and Treiblmaier, 2006; Ball et al., 2004; Wong and
Commitment is one of the key concepts in relationship marketing (Hennig-Thurau and Klee,
2002; Dwyer, Schurr, and Oh, 1987). Moorman et al. (1993) defines commitment as an exchange
party’s long-term desire to maintain a valuable ongoing relationship with another. Some literatures
recognize trust as a preceding state for commitment development. These researchers believe that
building trust among customers has positive influence on customer commitment (Čater and Čater,
2010; Keh and Xie, 2009). Many studies show that trust influences commitment empirically (e.g.,
Lancastre and Lages, 2006; Walter and Ritter, 2003; Ruyte, Moorman, and Lemmink, 2001).
Many researches show that relationship commitment motivates buyers to act (Hennig- Thurau
and Klee, 1997; Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Moorman et al., 1993). These researchers state that
commitment is positively related to the loyalty and it is proved empirically in many researches (e.g.,
Wang, 2008; Dimitriades, 2006; Wong and Sahal, 2004).
Cooperation refers to “the extent that the work of the buyer and seller is co-oriented” (Metcalf,
Frear, and Krishnan, 1992). Cooperative behaviours are voluntary (Mills and Morris, 1986). Morgan
and Hunt (1994) suggest that cooperation requires the two parties in a relationship to participate
actively to achieve mutual benefits. So, cooperation promotes success in the relationship. Lancastre
and Lages (2006) explain that there is positive relationship between commitment and cooperation.
Since the commitment is higher among individuals who believe that they receive more value from
relationship, highly committed customers should be willing to reciprocate effort on behalf of a firm due
to past benefits received (Chonko, 1986; Mowday, Porter, and Steers, 1982).According to Dai study
(2002) customer cooperation is positively related to customer loyalty.
H1b: customer value is positively related to cooperation.
H2b: cooperation is positively affected on customer loyalty.
H1c: customer value is positively related to trust.
H2c: trust is positively affected on customer loyalty.
H1d: customer value is positively related to commitment.
H2d: commitment is positively affected on customer loyalty.
131 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
The concept of service quality is linked to the concepts of perceptions and expectations. Service quality
perceived by the customers is the result of comparing the expectations about the service they are going
to receive and their perceptions of the retail baking’s actions (Lapierre et al, 1996). If perceptions
exceed expectations, the service provided by the retail banks will be considered excellent; if it only
equals the expectations it will be regarded as good or adequate; if it does not meet them, the service
will be classed as bad, poor or deficient (Vazquez et al, 2001).
Figure 2: Approaches to the concept of quality.
Source: Garvin (1988), Huete (1997) and James (1997).
H1e: customer value is positively related to service quality.
H2e: service quality is positively affected on customer loyalty.
Hsu (2008) defines complaint as a conflict between the customer and the organization. Complaint
handling is a case of customer interactions. In the ECSI model, satisfaction is antecedent of the
complaints handling. According to social exchange theory how the company deals with its customer
complaints has great impact on how the customers perceive their relation with the firm. It is a part of
the value that companies make for their customers. Improper and slow handling of complaints could
reasonably be perceived by customers as opportunistic behaviour or incompetence and consequently it
has negative impact on credibility of the company and thereby on customers trust to the company
Morgan and Hunt (1994) propose this variable as an antecedent of trust. Complaint handling,
hereafter referred to as “complaints” is already validated as an antecedent of loyalty in the ECSI model
and it proposed by Ball et al. (2004), as antecedent of trust in an extension of ECSI model. The
relationship between the level of customer complaints and the level of customer loyalty depends on the
efficacy of a company’s complaint-handling capabilities (Fornell, 1992).
H1f: customer value is positively related to complaint handling.
H2f: complaint handling is positively affected on customer loyalty.
The marketing literature’s perspective on reputation generally views it as an aggregation of
performances, actions, or images regarding consumer knowledge about a brand, which essentially
equates reputation to branding. This perspective suggests that reputation is a resource that can be used
to generate value. Reputation can be viewed as being the result of a continuous process of credibility
132 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
transactions, thereby enhancing trust and commitment. The notion of image has been widely used by
marketing and behavioural science scholars to refer to people’s perception of a product, store, or
corporate entity (Pan and Li, 2011). Some researchers (Gartner, 1996; Pike & Ryan, 2004) argue that
there is a third dimension, cognitive image, which reflects the behavioural aspect (i.e., intention to
visit) of one’s destination perception. Image of organization in the mind of customers for constructing
loyalty is very important. The image of a bank is relying of any marketing activities and achievement
of its programs.
H1g: customer value is positively related to image of bank.
H2g: image of bank is positively affected on customer loyalty.
From both theoretical and practical perspectives, it is worth studying what makes marketing
communications that introduce new products effective, especially in banking industry. The marketing
communication decision has become far more complicated, because they essentially function in both
business and consumer markets. Therefore, an investigation of the marketing communications used to
launch products in banking industry may offer interesting and significant insights into various launchsupporting
communication behaviours across product categories and services.
When marketing communication are related to the customer’s needs and wants it is positively
affect on bank’s profitability and can gather more liquidity in the market.
H1h: customer value is positively related to communication.
H2h: communication is positively affected on customer loyalty.
H3: customer value is positively affected on customer loyalty.
4. Research Methodology and Design
4.1. Research Method
The method of this research are Applied Research in goal, and in the view point of data gathering is
Descriptive-Analytic (non-experimental) that is implemented with the case study format. In this study,
by using a standard questionnaire the relationship between identified variables of research will test. For
achieving this purpose, 17 hypotheses were formed.
The study was done in a large governmental commercial bank (Melli Bank) with hundreds of branches
was contacted in order to obtain a sample. In this research a standard questionnaire was used to gather
data. The study is conducted in Tehran city. More than 1000 questionnaires had been sent to the
participants and just 750 questionnaires were used in final analysis.
4.3. Validity and Reliability
Validity and reliability are two necessary features for every measuring material such as questionnaire
because these materials should analyze data and provide final conclusions for researchers. To sum up,
validity means that a measuring material is used to measure the characteristics.
A questionnaire with 45 questions was used for data collection. 5 questions were about
descriptive statistics and characteristics of respondents and measured by numerical measures. Others
were evaluated by the Likert 5-choice measurement. Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient was used to
measure reliability. The average of Cronbach’s alpha for 5 basic elements and categories of this
research was 0.842 that is more than the mean acceptable alpha. Hence, the questionnaire is reliable.
133 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
Reliability of the questions was evaluated. Table 1 shows the results (Alpha Cronbach is used
to test the reliability of the materials used in the research). All these parts bear high reliability (a> 0.7)
Also, validity of this questionnaire, because this instrument was unique and for gathering data
was used in this research, was meet by means of experts insights and then examine and analysis of
Finally, the gathered data was processed by SPSS and LISREL 8.50.
Table 1: Reliability Test Results
Independent Variable Dependent Variable Alpha Cronbach amount Number of questions
Customer value Satisfaction 0.778 2
Customer value Cooperation 0.876 2
Customer value Trust 0.805 2
Customer value Commitment 0.890 2
Customer value Service Quality 0.799 2
Customer value Complaint handling 0.8000 2
Customer value Image 0.768 2
Customer value Communication 0.859 2
Satisfaction Customer loyalty 0.896 3
Cooperation Customer loyalty 0.888 3
Trust Customer loyalty 0.769 3
Commitment Customer loyalty 0.840 3
Service Quality Customer loyalty 0.870 3
Complaint handling Customer loyalty 0.834 3
Image Customer loyalty 0.877 3
Communication Customer loyalty 0.860 3
Customer value Customer loyalty 0.905 5
Table 2: Descriptive characteristics of case of the research (Gender)
Gender Percent Number Total
Table 3: Descriptive characteristics of case of the research (Work Area)
Work Area Percent Number Total
Academician 10% 75
Bank’s managers 13% 100
Bank’s Customers 77% 575
5. Analysis and Results
For measuring the model by using gathered datas, we use t-test and β coefficient. Results show that all
of the 8 variables positively impact on customer loyalty and also customer value is positively affect on
both 8 main variables of research and customer loyalty.
Figure 3 show the results of structural model based on gathered datas.
134 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
Figure 3: Results of the structural equation modeling
6. Conclusion and Recommendations
Customer satisfaction and loyalty is two dimensions of the most important constructs in relationship
marketing. In the new marketing era customer satisfaction is a main effective factor for long term
behaviour of customers. Also, Loyalty of customers leads to increase business value and remain
business costs low as well. That means lower than the time when companies seek for new customers.
This article was designed a new model for customer value, satisfaction and loyalty in banking sector of
Iran. The study chooses the most important factors mentioned in literature. After literature review in
detail, the main factors that affect on the customer satisfaction and loyalty were identified. Number of
these factors was directly affected on loyalty while another number of these factors were indirectly and
via the satisfaction was affected on the loyalty. Thus in this paper a new structural equation modeling
that determined this relationships will presented. This research is descriptive and analytic and it is
carried out in a survey design. The participants are the three biggest bank’s customers in Iran. More
than 1000 questionnaires had been sent to the participants and just 750 questionnaires were used in
final analysis. The findings showed that customer value are positively affected on all of 8 identified
variable of research and also all of main 8 identified variables of research were positively affected on
customer loyalty for banking sector. In this research we propose a new model that was unique and
innovative one in the banking industry.
Future researchers can use this model for banking sector or other industries that similar to this
industry and develop and enrich this model. Also bank’s managers and decision makers can use these
identified variables for constructing lifetime and profitable relationships with customers.
135 European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences - Issue 28 (2011)
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