How can Lao state-owned commercial banks sustain a competitive advantage through improving service quality?

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Singhavara, Vanida
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Business
Unitec Institute of Technology
Mitchell, Helen
Marriott, Jeff
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
banks and banking
state-owned commercial banks (SOCBs)
state-owned enterprises
customer service
frontline employees (FLEs)
Singhavara, V. (2016). How can Lao state-owned commercial banks sustain a competitive advantage through improving service quality? An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, service quality has become an imperative element for State-owned commercial banks (SOCBs) in Laos to improve in order to enhance customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and customer retention. This will result in gaining and sustaining competitive advantage in the long-term. Besides, SOCBs should focus on the key determinant that deliver a high level of service quality to customers to overcome the bank’s competitors that are Frontline employees (FLEs). The aim of this research study is to investigate the perspectives of management and staff toward service quality improvement. Additionally, this research project aims to identify the key improvement areas in customer service sectors of SOCBs in Laos in order to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty as well as to sustain competitive advantage. The semi-structured interview was employed as a research technique to collect data and find the answer to the research question: “How can Lao SOCBs sustain competitive advantage through improving service quality?” The data was gathered through the qualitative approach from 11 participants of which 5 of them are at managerial level and the other 6 are FLEs from three SOCBs in Laos who work in the Head Offices in Vientiane capital. The significant empirical findings reveal that all Lao SOCBs pay attention to FLEs as an essential approach to improve service quality as well as to maintain sustainable competitive advantage. Furthermore, the findings show that managers should focus on five key improvement elements to support FLEs to provide a high service quality to customers. In essence, the researcher has developed the pivotal model of key factors to be focused on to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty based on the results of the findings of this research study and which are elucidated in Figure 4. Finally, this research study can conclude that service quality is imperative for SOCBs to attain customer satisfaction and loyalty through serving a high level service quality from FLEs. As a result, SOCBs can create a competitive advantage in the long-term through providing high service quality by FLEs. It is inevitable for managers of SOCBs to focus on providing support to FLEs in the five key factors. Besides, this research also provides recommendations and directions for future research.
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