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Service in Times of Recession: A Comparative SERVQUAL Study of Retail Banking between Axis Bank and HDFC Bank in Kolkata, India

18 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2011  

Abhijit Sarkar

Dept. of Management Studies, SMIT; ICFAI University - Sikkim

Date Written: October 22, 2011


“If there is any secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view, and seeing things from his angle” - Henry Ford.

The above statement shows how important is a customer’s point of view and perception. Any organization which aspires to enjoy sustained preference from its target group of customers would do well to put a significant effort in knowing the key elements which determine loyalty and preference of the prospective/present customer.

As a result of globalization and technological advancements, today, the competition has peaked. In this environment, only those companies can survive which offer the best services and products to the customers. Due to so many options available to the customers in the same place, attracting customers has become a tough job for the companies. Companies should possess knowledge about consumer behavior and customer satisfaction in order to survive in the market. Once the company understands the expectations of the customers, it enables the management to innovate better products/services with added benefits. This, in turn, increases its market share/profitability or even both. This stands true for the Banking sector too; also the dynamic and flexible nature of the communication channel as well as its ubiquitous reach has helped in leveraging a variety of banking activities.

Naturally the banks have become more customer oriented and offer customized services to meet individual needs. There is an increased focus on the high net-worth customers as they contribute more to the business. Banks have been offering 24-hour service to customers all 365 days of the year through their customer care centers and anytime banking services.

Since liberalization of the Indian Economy in the early 90’s the market environment has turned turbulent & dynamic the going has got a lot tougher and after coming through a global recession, the service element in banking sector has turned even more important. In such a back drop it becomes interesting to study the perceived quality of the services rendered by the Axis Bank and the HDFC Bank during the height of recession and to ponder over as to whether their operations in those difficult times has anything to do with their present market status.

Through the following pages we would reflect upon the present market status of the Axis Bank and the HDFC Bank in India and try to understand how and if at all the respective customer’s (customers of retail banking) of the above mentioned banks expected and perceived the service levels during recession through a SERVQUAL study (which was conducted during fourth quarter of 2008).

The SERVQUAL study aims to measure the service quality of the HDFC and AXIS banks by understanding customers’ perception and expectation. For this purpose questionnaires have been developed by taking into consideration the five dimensions of the SERVQUAL model. A quantitative research (same questionnaire for every respondent) has been carried out by with a sample of 150 customers. After collecting the primary data through survey, an in-depth analysis has been done by comparing the service quality of the two banks. This study aims at comparing two leading private sector banks of India; the Axis Bank and the HDFC Bank.

Keywords: SERVQUAL, Axis Bank, HDFC, Retail Banking, Recession, Indian, Calcutta, Kolkata, Comparision

JEL Classification: D12, G21, L80, L84, M31

Suggested Citation

Sarkar, Abhijit, Service in Times of Recession: A Comparative SERVQUAL Study of Retail Banking between Axis Bank and HDFC Bank in Kolkata, India (October 22, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Abhijit Sarkar (Contact Author)

Dept. of Management Studies, SMIT ( email )

Majitar (Rongpo), Sikkim 737132

ICFAI University - Sikkim ( email )

Lower Sichey
Ranka Road
Gangtok, 737101


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