Service provider: Coast Capital Savings
Type of service: Banking
Price: The services I use come with no monthly free
Overall Satisfaction: 7/7
Chapters covered: 4-11
Topics covered (page numbers in textbook): Reliability (89); Management listening to customers (139); Relationship Marketing (147); Relationship Value of Customers (156-157); Switching Costs (162); Make the Service Fail Safe (201); Servicescape as Facilitator (287); Service Culture (312-313)
Likelihood of Return: 7/7
I have been using Coast Capital ever since I first had a bank account and as you are about to hear, I have found very little room for improvement in their overall service offerings and I feel that they would compare quite favourably to any bank in Canada.
Reliability in a service sense means that a company “delivers on its promises… about delivery, service provision, problem resolution and pricing” (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2013, p. 89) on a consistent basis. Coast Capital has been – in my experience – the picture of reliability in the interactions that I have had with them. They are consistently willing to take the extra step to ensure complete customer satisfaction. These efforts all stem from an excellently cultivated culture across all of their branches which has landed them on the list of “Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures” on multiple occasions (Engel, 2012).
Where it Starts
This culture of excellent customer service starts at the top of the branch with management, Coast Capital management is always available to help the front line employees which enrich their “understanding of customer expectations and needs” (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2013, p. 139). By interacting on the front lines management is more in touch with how to reach out to customers in the most successful ways. Coast Capital relies heavily on the relationships that they form with customers to ensure that they continue to bring them back for a lifetime of services from their bank. Relationship marketing is a “strategic orientation, that focuses on keeping and improving relationships with current customers rather than acquiring new customers” (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2013, p. 147). Given the challenge of switching between banks for most customers, it is wise for Coast Capital to focus on retaining the customers that they have already got (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2013, p. 162).
Banks must look at the long-term relationship value of customers because while customers may produce little revenue when they are first acquired they may need much more lucrative services down the road such as mortgages or loans. In order to identify ideal customers Coast Capital likely uses the formula to look at the lifetime profitability of customers which refers to the lifetime value of a customer after costs are considered (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2013, p. 156).
This mix of building relationships with customers combined with an excellently built culture has been highly successful for Coast Capital as it “had its best year yet in 2012, with net income up nearly 17 per cent to $72.4 million from $62 million last year” (Sherlock, 2013). Coast Capital has now become “Canada’s second-largest credit union [which] now has 504,000 members, who opened more than 28,000 new Free Chequing, Free Debit and More accounts in 2012. President and CEO Tracy Redies said these accounts saved customers about $38 million in banking fees last year” (Sherlock, 2013).
Coast Capital is always willing to hear from customers if they have a complaint about the service experience. Just the other day, I walked into the bank because I had lost my debit card only to see a massive line, despite the fact that most of the tellers were open. Apparently the look on my face when I saw the line must have been rather disappointed because the receptionist at the front desk asked right away if there was anything that she could do to help me. I told her that all I needed was a new debit card so that I could use the ATM, as I said this, another employee walked by and offered right away to take me to the investment area and get a new card made for me right away, no waiting in line at all. By making this extra effort Coast Capital had followed the simplest rule of service quality, they had done it right the first time (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2013, p. 201). I walked out of the bank in less than five minutes and left a very satisfied customer.
SERVQUAL in Canadian Banking
SERVQUAL studies the “perceptions of service quality of a particular company” (Ladhari, 2009) and can be applied to the banking industry in Canada as well, below are the dimensions that are measured for the SERVQUAL index.
- Tangibles (measured by 4 items): the appearance of physical facilities, equipment and personnel;
- Reliability (5 items): the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately;
- Responsiveness (4 items): the willingness to help customers and provide prompt service;
- Assurance (5 items): the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and conﬁdence; and
- Empathy (4 items): the level of caring and individualized attention the ﬁrm provides to its customers.
Based on my experiences, Coast Capital has been highly successful, especially when compared to competitors in their industry when measured against the SERVQUAL index. This brings us back to the discussion of culture; Coast Capital has done an exceptional job in building a culture “where an appreciation for good service exists, and where giving good service to internal as well as… external customers is considered a natural way of life and one of the most important norms by everyone” (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2013, p. 313) within the organization. By aligning this culture to demands within the industry they have set their employees up for success in serving the needs of their customers
Coast Capital has undergone multiple re-brandings and branch redesigns to get to their current Servicescape. They use the Servicescape as a facilitator to “aid… in the performances of persons in the environment…the setting design [enhances] the efficient flow of activities in the service setting” (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2013, p. 287). An example of the effectiveness of the servicescape is found in the open design allows you to see all of the services that the bank offers from the center, conveniently the same place that the reception is located which allows them to direct you to any area where you may need help.
Through consistently strong efforts to meet and exceed industry standards in several aspects of service Coast Capital has proved itself as one of the most successful banks in British Columbia. They will need to effectively expand their culture as they continue to expand with people becoming more demanding of what their bank can offer them, Coast Capital will continue to deliver on these expectations.
Engel, A. (2012, February 25). Strong cultures provide results; ‘Great people that fit create great cultures’. National Post, p. FP 19. Retrieved from https://libsecure.camosun.bc.ca:2443/login?url=http://libsecure.camosun.bc.ca:2068/docview/923670584?accountid=26530
Ladhari, R. (2009, June). Assessment of the psychometric properties of SERVQUAL in the Canadian banking industry. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 14(1), 70-82. Retrieved from https://libsecure.camosun.bc.ca:2443/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=40308462&site=ehost-live
Sherlock, T. (2013, March 6). Coast Capital income climbs 17 per cent for best year yet. The Vancouver Sun, p. C 4. Retrieved from https://libsecure.camosun.bc.ca:2443/login?url=http://libsecure.camosun.bc.ca:2068/docview/1315065715?accountid=26530
Zeithaml, V., Bitner, M., & Gremler, D. (2013). Services Marketing. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.