Technology, Trust and B2B Relationships: A Banking Perspective

Technology, Trust and B2B Relationships: A Banking Perspective

Raechel Johns (University of Canberra, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-501-8.ch005


Technology has altered business processes, and the use of self-service technologies changes the nature of service delivery. The importance of developing and fostering relationships with customers has long been regarded as important within services marketing (Berry, 1983) and also within B2B relationships (Ford, 1990). In the 1980s and 90s, a shift in marketing focus has seen an increased emphasis on relationship marketing (Morgan and Hunt, 1994). This chapter reviews the results and implications of recent exploratory research conducted with a small sample of Australian business bank customers (n=20). This research makes a contribution toward answering the research question “what impact does the use of self service technologies have on relationships within a business-to-business context?” Utilising a banking context, this research explores how the use of Internet banking impacts on relationships between the bank and its business customer. In exploring this research area, a greater understanding of banking relationships and business banking customers has been identified.
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Reasons For Introduction Of Technology In A Banking Context

Bank Perspective: Cost Savings

Competitive pressures from other banks and building societies have forced banks to reconsider the way they do business. Over the past several decades, distribution of banking has been seen as a means of providing customer service and reducing costs (Sathye, 1999; Hughes & Hughes, 2004) and differentiating themselves from competitors (Easingwood & Storey, 1996). Self-service delivery has become a driving force in banking since the mid 1990s (Pikkarainen, Pikkarainen, Kajaluoto & Pahnila, 2004), and, in general, the use of Self Service Technologies in the industry is increasing. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) (Howcroft, 1993; and Carson, Gilmore & Walsh, 2004), telephone banking, and ultimately internet banking were introduced to enhance distribution, improve banking processes and make cost savings (Hughes & Hughes, 2004). This rapid increase in the use of Internet banking within financial services (Eriksson & Marquardt, 2001) highlights it as an appropriate industry for investigation, due to the removal, or at least, reduction, of face-to-face relationships.

Whilst cost savings are essential, pressure to increase profitability has meant that banks are required to focus on developing and maintaining long terms relationships with customers (Kandampully & Duddy, 1999); particularly in a B2B context, where relationships are key to keeping customers (Adamson, Chan & Handford, 2003; Hawke & Heffernan, 2005a). Regardless of whether technology is utilised or not, customers still seek quality when adopting services (Bitner, 2001). Generally customers benchmark their service delivery against dependable outcomes, easy access, responsive systems, flexible response to customer needs and apologies if a service delivery goes wrong (Bitner, 2001). Therefore it is imperative that service delivery is appropriate for business customers due to the importance in relationship building. Cost savings benefit the bank, while relationship building provides a benefit to both the bank and business customer.

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