The following research for consumer preference regarding the choice for a particular Bank in the United Kingdom is done with the aim to analyze the consumer mindset and preference when they make a choice for something so essential like a Bank to whom they handover their hard earned money to. The aim of the research is to determine what consumers want and what the usually preferable features in the Bank are. In order to do so, a sample of the population would be analyzed who would be representing the entire population.
The objective of this particular research to identify the consumer demands and their preferable features would be the understanding of consumer psyche in order to be in a better position to be able to provide them with what they require. However, this would be the prime objective but the secondary objectives would be to discover the hidden factors that mostly people tend to forget while devising a Bank or its strategies. This research would also enable the person formulating the strategy to have an insight to what consumer wants and requires of their efforts and endeavors.
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Apart from that, it is essential to conduct a research for what consumer wants rather than assuming their requirements and demands. This research would enable to actually find out that which strategies are to be continued by the Bank in the future while which strategies are meant for amendments or complete eradication. Not only banks, but any products or services that are highly dependent on consumer demand and preferences need to analyze their demands and choices before entering in the area to serve them.
Hence, the primary Aim of the research is to determine the expectations and requirements of a customer from the place it entrusts its finances into. The objective is to make use of the research and make the result of the research the motive of existence. Rationale of the Research The rationale or the purpose of the research is to make sure that the consumers are receiving what they expect and require of the Banking services. It is to ensure that the current strategies adopted by the Banks in United Kingdom are appropriate or not. There are many sectors in which the Banking Industry of the United Kingdom is divided.
The purpose of the research is to analyze the different customer present in each sector and the reason of their preference for a particular sector. The sectors for Banking Industry are Independent British Banks, British Banking Brands owned by British Companies, British Banking Brands owned by Foreign Companies, Foreign Banks in the United Kingdom and External Links. The Independent Banks in United Kingdom include HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, HBOS, Lloyds TSB, Standard Chartered, Alliance and Leicester, Northern Rock, Cooperative Bank and Bradford and Bingley.
The amount of independent Banks is few in the United Kingdom as compared to other countries. The research would also enable us to understand as to whether consumers want more independent banks or not. Quite a lot of foreign banks are present in the United Kingdom as well which are ING Direct, Citibank and Bank of Cyprus. This research would also enable in understanding the reason of the presence of such humungous amount of foreign banks in the country.
In London, there is an investment and commercial branch of almost every big Bank in the world. Hence, the purpose along with determining the consumer preference and demand is to determine the purpose of the existence of different sectors and the consumer’s take on these different sectors. The research conducted would help in dividing the preference according to the sector under review which would make it easier for the Banks in different sectors to extract knowledge of their requirement. Theoretical Underpinning
Several theories were evaluated to determine which would be best to analyze consumer behavior and their reason to choose a particular Bank for their transactions and activities. The major category which it was divided into was ‘Qualitative research’ as it had to do with consumer preferences and hence could not be quantified into any numbers. It would deal with qualitative data like questionnaires, Focus Group and In-depth Interviews. However under Qualitative research is further divided into three more types which include Positivists, Interpretive and Critical.
The positivists takes the society at its face value and assumes that everything portrayed is for real and true, the interpretive assumes that the situation changes and so does human behavior as per the situation while on the contrary the critical approach takes a critical perspective on the society and everything present in the social reality is historically present and created by human minds so nothing is for real but a creation of people’s mind. The method that would be taken use of in this research would be the ‘Interpretive Research’ because it takes the most reasonable and rational approach to the data available in the social reality.
As the primary data collected in a qualitative research is highly subject to personal views, therefore it is very important to take a rational approach on the analysis of data and its interpretation. For this kind of research theory, the most important aspect is the interpretation of the collected data as it is difficult to analyze the in-depth interviews and focus groups because of the presence of no right and wrong in the approach as it is highly dependent on human views and method of interpretation. Hence, the theoretical approach used is ‘Interpretive Qualitative Research Methodology’.
Methodology Research Approach The research would be highly dependent on the data collected via primary as well as secondary sources. Since, the entire research is to determine human psyche and preferences therefore nothing can be assumed and neither is anything pre-determined. The data however would be achieved through primary sources via Focus Groups, In-depth Interviews, Questionnaire and Surveys as well secondary sources such as Internet sources, Journals, Articles, Past Researches, Magazines, and Books etc.
The theory that is used as a methodology is as defined the Qualitative Interpretive method as the data received would be either the feedback from the customers or the secondary published resources. The data interpretation is where the methodology or the theory of the research would be utilized. The focus groups would be analyzed based on people’s verbal reactions as well as their attitude and gestures and so will be the In-depth interview which would be a one-to-one interaction with the consumer. However, the answers of the questionnaire would have to be quantified and displayed via graph to display the inclination of the answers.
The research methodology used would be ‘Relational’, this is because one factor of the research would be analyzed as to whether it depends on the other or not. For example, if consumers prefer on-the-go Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Service then is it because of the low savings and high expenditures of the people in the United Kingdom. The relational approach would also help in analyzing and explaining the reason of several factors and demands by the target consumers of the Banks in the United Kingdom.
It would be helpful in explaining a lot of consumer preferences and would be better in understanding the logic behind the Human Psyche. Research Strategy The research strategy has several steps which are being followed in the conducted research. It started of with defining a title for the research which was finalized to be stated as ‘How the people choose in U. K which bank to patronize? ’ After that came the step to analyze the background data which would be partially collected via primary sources as well as secondary published sources.
The primary sources as mentioned would be the Qualitative Research tools such as the Focus Groups, Surveys and Interviews while the secondary sources would be the publishes material in the form of either past Researches in the relevant field, articles, journals or magazines. In order to get hold of the relevant sources several catalogs have been searches and the internet has been browsed in order to come up with as authentic and relevant material as possible. Even the internet sources that are being analyzed are the published authentic ones and not just the random material present.
After the collection of data, it was critically analyzed to remove all loop holes from the procedures and find reliable material from which the research can take constructive help from in order to make it as productive as possible. The next step of defining the citation style has been done with utmost care keeping the professionalism and the research relevance in mind. Therefore, the citation style used in this research is Harvard style of referencing. The material used in the literature review and the entire research would be cited in the Harvard style of citation and so would be the in-text citation.
The Harvard style has a professional work procedure and cites the work in an appropriate manner for the reader to understand where the work is taken from and along with that helps in giving the original idea provider the due importance by mentioning and recognizing their efforts. The strategy adopted in the process of the research has to be clear and defined in order to follow a research process that has a vivid objective and is able to reach its motives effectively and efficiently. Primary Data and Secondary Data Collection
The primary data will be collected with the qualitative tools such as the • In-Depth Interview: The one-to-one interviews with the few selected customers who would be questioned in detail and would have the option of answering open ended in order to gather the most data possible and then extract the one relevant. Along with the information the interviewee would also be analyzed of his/her gestures and body language. Hence, this would help in providing a deep insight in the consumers mind and preferences.
• Focus Group: This would be a method for a group of customers to express their opinion on a platform provided. Several minds when act together would give a clear view of what majority of the customers think. However, there are certain pitfalls to this procedure as well which would be tried and avoided as much as possible. • Questionnaires: These are the only tools in the qualitative method that can be quantified and does not entirely depend on interpretation.
The questionnaires would mostly contain close ended questions as the open ended ones would be there in the focus groups as well as the in-depth interviews of the customers. • Surveys: As per this method, the customers in each sector would be randomly surveyed for their opinions and suggestion to improve the Banking service in the country. Hence, all the above mentioned primary data collected would not only help in devising as to what customers prefer but also would provide with a solution and recommend possible outcomes.
The secondary sources would be from published sources. In order to analyze the scenario of Multinational Banks in the United Kingdom, the book by Geoffrey Jones (1993) is used for referencing which present the scenario of international Banks in the United Kingdom’s market. Presenting the scenario it states “the leaders were five large American Banks which dominated the process of syndicated sovereign loans as they sought to achieve an accelerated growth of their assets. They pursued lending strategies that emphasized wide margins and large volumes of loans.
” (Jones, 1993, p. 352). Another book by Francesca Carnevali called as the ‘Europe’s Advantage: Banks and Small Firms in Britain, France, Germany and Italy since 1918’ talks about the importance of small Banks. In the research the customer of small banks would also be a subject therefore this book would be of high importance as its states “small firms are part of local economies. These can be defined simply and loosely as spaces where most local saving found their way to local financial intermediaries and then back into the local economy” (Carnevali, 2005, pp. 2-3).
In order to understand the Human psyche as well as competing for customer the help of a book called ‘Competing for Customers and Capital’ by Victor J. Cook Junior (2006). It talks about the competitive cut-throat environment that today every field has including products as well as services and bridges the gap between the marketing and the finance areas. It is also helpful for those who aspire to be the upper level management as it enables the reader to understand the consumer psyche and the reason behind their preferences. A very important book that is used in the literature as a reference is a book by John R.
Weeks called the ‘Unpopular Culture: The Ritual of Complaint in a British Bank’ (2003). It talks about how unsatisfied culture of the employees spreads a negative energy in the entire organization and it effects on the performance of the employees which ultimately affects the customer service and produces unsatisfied customers. Book which talks about the history of the Banking Industry in the United Kingdom and the changing and evolutionary trends is a book by Ronald Myles Fitzmaurice (1975) called ‘British banks and banking: A pictorial history’.
In order to understand British banking history and how it dealt with crisis in the past, a book by William Frazer (2000) is used called as ‘Central Banking, Crises, and Global Economy’ which states that “Governments in crises should not be surprised, however, when aid and coordinated private-sector support packages are extended on condition that problem-causing traditions and practices be changed” (Frazer, 2000, p. 315). Along with that the news article by Steve Pain (2000) indicates the importance of customers in the generation of profits by the banks.
Hence, the satisfaction of the customers is of utmost importance and therefore they need to be given special attention to. Their needs and requirements have to be identified in order to be in a better position to provide them with better service which is up to their mark. Some companies or banks even misuse their customers by getting them into trouble so that they force them into calling the call center as “BANKS and power companies have been accused of making big money out of customers who ring their call centers” (Poulter, 2005, p.
6). Hence, there are all kinds of business running around the world and in order to have healthy business one needs to get rid of these unethical tactics. Data Analysis As mentioned above, the data collected through primary means as well as secondary means would be critically analyzed to ensure their importance in the research and to determine whether they are being utilized efficiently or not. However, due recognition would be given to any data that has been extracted from other sources and is not achieved via primary method.
The entire data collected would not be used but only the important and highly relevant portions would be selected to gain knowledge from and cite in the original research. The data would relate to the original topic as to what are the criteria of the customers when choosing a Bank in the United Kingdom. Anticipated Limitations Despite the best of efforts there are certain limitations that would be faced by the people conducting the research which are as follows;
• Time Constraint: Although there my be a lot of time available but for the research of such magnitude there is no sufficient time as with new time new data arises which can be incorporated as well. So time acts as one of the constraints. • Monetary Constraints: Due to the status of being students, there are certain financial limitations that have to be abided by, hence acting as constraints as there is not a sufficient or unlimited flow of funds.
• Knowledge: Although a lot of background research would be done and plenty of material would be read to make this research as authentic as possible but still there is some knowledge that would be unattained. Hence, that unattained knowledge would act as a constraint for further depth in the research. • Secondary Data: The presence of secondary data regarding the given topic is scarce and hence proper information of several fields cannot be gathered which is a constraint for the production of an excellent research. Ethical Considerations
The first and the foremost consideration as per the ethical boundaries would be the due recognition of the material or data taken from other authors by books, articles and journals. If they are not acknowledged, it would be included as plagiarism rather than help from various outside sources. Apart from that, what needs to be taken care of is that none of the Banks or financial institutions is allegedly claimed for poor performance. In short, there should be no incorrect data; all the data should have a back support to it in order to provide the proof of its authenticity.
One thing that is often ignored by the researchers is the pre-developed biasness or prejudice. A personal experience or a past knowledge may lead the researcher to have a pre-conceived notion regarding a certain factor. This makes the entire research to be less authentic as its starts to involve personal opinion rather than rational views. For instance, in this case the researcher might have had a bad past experience with a bank and may prolong that biasness into the research making it less objective.
Hence, in order for the research to be carried out in an ethical manner, all these ethical concerns have to be taken into account. Otherwise all the effort done by the researcher may result to be void. Conclusion The following research would be carried out with the Harvard style citation and the methodology would be ‘qualitative interpretive’ method. The primary sources of data would be the qualitative tools which include In-Depth Interviews, Surveys, Questionnaire and Focus group.
The ethical constraints would be followed to make sure that the research is highly objective without the involvement of any plagiarism, incorrect information or personal biasness or prejudice. Hence, the research would follow all the pre-determined set patterns of following a research with a research theory and methodology. Although there are slight constraints which would act as a hurdle in the way but it would be made sure that it doesn’t have a drastic impact on the research.
The hypothesis of the research would conclude as to what are the primary, secondary and involuntary (hidden) reasons for customers to choose a particular Bank in the United Kingdom. Bibliography Jones, G. (1993). British Multinational Banking 1830-1990. Oxford University Press. ISBN 019820602X. Carnevali, F. (2005). Europe’s Advantage: Banks and Small Firms in Britain, France, Germany and Italy since 1918. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199257396. Cook, V. (2006). Competing for Customers and Capital. South-Western Educational Pub. First Edition. ISBN-10: 0324405979.
ISBN-13: 978-0324405972. United States of America. Crawfordsville. Weeks, J. R. (2003). Unpopular Culture: The Ritual of Complaint in a British Bank. University Of Chicago Press. ISBN-10: 0226878120. ISBN-13: 978-0226878126. United States of America. Fitzmaurice, R. M. (1975). British banks and banking: A pictorial history. Barton. ISBN-10: 0851531547. ISBN-13: 978-0851531540. Frazer, W. (2000). Central Banking, Crises, and Global Economy. Praeger Publishers. Westport, CT, London, United Kingdom. Pain, S. (2000). Customers Co-operate in Bank's Profits Boost. The Birmingham Post. 19.
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