A Comparative Study of Consumer Decision Making


In the contemporary business environment, service quality is recognised as a major factor because it helps in influencing the consumer decision-making process. It is significant for the business organisations in every industry to provide effective services to their customers in order to retain the customers for a longer period of time (Goetsch and Davis, 2014). In a similar context, the banking industry also tends to focus on service quality aspects as the service perception of the consumers directly affects their decision-making process (Kaura et al., 2015). The customers of conventional banks and Islamic banks are expecting more enhanced services with respect to the day-to-day activities. The customer perception gets influence on the basis of services excellence delivered by the bank. Some of the Islamic and conventional banks in Bangladesh are providing effective services to its customers, for example, customers can transfer the money to another bank through using the ATM of the bank for free (Wulandari and Subagio, 2015). In this context, the research study will focus on conducting a comparative study in order to examine the consumer decision making-process towards conventional and Islamic banks of Bangladesh on the basis of the difference in service quality.


Research Question

“To what extent the consumer decision-making process in conventional banks is different from that in Islamic banks in Bangladesh?”

Research Aim

The main aim of this research is to examine the consumer decision-making process in conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh on the basis of differences in the service quality. In the light of this aim, the research study is focusing on analysing the perception of the customers about the service quality attributes of the both Islamic and conventional banks. The research aims to examine the direct impact of service quality of the banks on the consumer decision making process in a specific context of Bangladesh. In order to address this research aim, the research objectives are formulated as below:

Research Objectives

To review the literature related to the consumer decision making process in conventional and Islamic banks;

To review the service quality perception in Islamic and convention banks;

To assess the service quality perception of the customers for the services offered by conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh;

To examine the impact of service quality perception on consumer decision making process in conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh.

Service Quality Perception

In any service-based industry, such as the banking sector, the role of service and service quality is extremely crucial. Pratibha (2015) stated it to be the differentiating factor in the overall performance of the banking firm and the very basis for the existence of the whole industry as well. Izogo & Ike-Elechi (2015) defined service quality as an achievement in customer service. It is a reflective encounter of the service and provides a thorough and detailed description of the overall level of satisfaction among the customers. According to Liu & Tingko (2016), a highly effective way to measure service quality is through the perception of service quality.

In this regard, Collier & Carol (2015) used a SERVQUAL, a 22-item scale that measures service quality. They determined that this model is a very effective way of measuring and evaluating the quality of service quality. However, they further stated that this scale is not all-inclusive because it does not take into account various aspects of service quality. The study by Ali & Raza (2017) focused on analyzing the service quality perception and customer satisfaction in Islamic banks in Pakistan. They determined that the SERVQUAL model is a very effective source of obtaining information about service quality perception among the customers of Islamic banks in Pakistan.

Consumer Decision Making Process in Conventional and Islamic Banks

The process of decision making is very difficult and consists of a number of aspects (Ashraf, et al., 2015). By understanding this process, businesses can learn about the demands of the customers and also determine ways through which they can provide maximum satisfaction to the customers. In return, it becomes simpler for companies to gain their loyalty, as stated by Wulandari & Subagio (2015). Their study was qualitative research that used the phenomenological approach. They found that one of the main reasons for selecting services of Islamic banks is that the majority of the administrative services are free and are provided to the customers in a very friendly manner. Thus, it can be said that polite nature of employees in Islamic banks is one of the key factors that customers take into consideration while selecting the bank that they want to avail services from (Abou-Youssed & Wael, 2015).

They further found that wide array of services and ease of transaction is a key factor for selecting the conventional banks. (Knotot, et al., 2016) supported these results by stating that customers chose conventional banks because they are more reliable than the Islamic banks. Such reliability provides a significant confidence boost to the customers, and therefore they tend to opt to avail services of conventional banks instead of the Islamic banks.

Impact of service quality perception on consumers

Today service quality forms a very important part of working of businesses regardless of the market that they may be a part of. It is now imperative for companies that they provide the best and high-quality services to the customers to positively influence their attitude and perception towards the company. According to the impact of service, quality perception is a significant impact on the customers and their decision-making abilities. On this basis, it may be said that the findings of Shandilya, et al. (2018) are very accurate, as they also emphasized on the role and relevance of service quality perception on the customers.

Vatjanasaregagul (2015) explored the association between service quality and consumer decision factors. They found that there is not much significant difference between expectations and perceptions of service quality among the customers. They further found that there is a positive and direct relationship between quality perception and decision factors. This means the customers make decisions on the basis of their perception of services provided by an organization. In a similar manner, Ismoyo, et al. (2017) found that service quality perception has a significant impact on customer satisfaction levels. This means that companies need to provide better quality services in order to satisfy the customers to the greatest possible extent.

Contribution to knowledge

The decision-making process of customers in the banking industry is a very complicated one. There are a large number of factors and forces play a crucial role in this process. Service quality is one such factor. There are a number of studies that explored and discussed the impact of services and service quality on the consumer decision-making process. However, there are very few studies that have analyzed the decision-making process in the case of conventional and Islamic banks. Such a lack of comparative analysis makes this study all the more attractive and useful in terms of the overall value that it would add to the literature available on the topic. This study will bridge the gap in terms of lack of information and knowledge that compares the consumer decision-making process in conventional and Islamic banks.

Research Methodology

A research philosophy is considered as a comprehensive set of including the perceptions and assumptions, concepts, values which are held by the researchers. It constitutes the fundamental step which helps in conducting the study as it provides a focus and direction for the research and facilitates detailed and critical examination regarding the social phenomenon. A well-defined research philosophy offers a logical justification regarding the assumption followed in the study along with the base to the research (Taylor et al., 2015). The three major forms of research philosophies which are applied in the research study are positivism, interpretivism and pragmatism research philosophies. The proposed research study will incorporate a pragmatism research philosophy for the purpose of studying the subject of the study. Pragmatism research philosophy integrates both positivism and interpretivism research philosophies for the purpose of ascertaining a meaningful description of the subject of the research study (Taylor et al., 2015). The reason for selecting pragmatism philosophy as it will help in developing a conceptual understanding on the decision-making process of consumers in conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh with the help of mixed research.

Research approach is defined as the fundamental reasoning which has been applied in the research study for the purpose of reaching a logical conclusion for the study. It offers a logical direction to the research study which helps in studying, analysing as well as deriving suitable conclusion for the research (Flick, 2018). The two types of research approaches which are followed in the academic research are deductive and inductive approaches. . In the context of the proposed research study, inductive approach has been used. The main reason for selecting this approach, also known as the ‘bottom-up’ approach, tends to focus on providing a detailed observation about the research phenomena and then move towards generalising the idea. Thus, through this approach the researcher can focus on exploring the research topic in greater detail (Flick, 2018).

In the current study, descriptive research design has been used. Through this design the researcher can focus on describing the topic in a detailed manner, thereby exploring and discussing its various theories. It is a theory-based research design that discusses and presents the data in a manner which can be easily understood by the readers and helps them to gain a significant grasp about the research topic. This way the researcher can provide a comparative analysis of impact of quality of services provided in conventional and Islamic banks on the decision-making process of the customers. (Creswell and Poth., 2017).

Data collection is considered as significant for carrying the research in an effective manner with the help of gathering the relevant data pertaining to the research study (Bell et al., 2018). This research study will incorporate both quantitative and qualitative research methods with the help of conducting surveys and interviews. In addition to this, the proposed research study will use primary data collection methods for the purpose of gathering the relevant information relating to the aim and objectives of the study. The primary data for this research will be collected by conducting surveys and interviews.

The surveys for this research study will be conducted with 300 consumers of conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh to assess their perceptions with regards to services offered by conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh. In addition to this, interviews will be conducted with 6 managers employed in the conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh to obtain information about the impact of service quality perception on the consumer decision making process in conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh. The 300 participants will be asked to fill out a questionnaire while the three managers each from both conventional and Islamic banks will be interviewed. The surveys and interviews will be conducted from City Bank Limited (conventional bank) and Islamic Bank Bangladesh Limited (Islamic bank). These banks will be chosen on the criteria of their popularity and service quality.

The survey questionnaire will comprise of both open and close-ended questions which will be distributed to the consumers through emails. The information about the emails of consumers will be obtained from the respective banks by communicating the purpose of surveys. Further, the access to managers will be gained by contacting them through telephone. For the purpose of undertaking interviews, 3 managers from City Bank Limited and 3 managers from Islamic Bank Bangladesh Limited will be contacted. The managers will be asked for their availability for the interview and accordingly the telephonic interviews will be undertaken. The use of surveys and interviews will help in enhancing the reliability and accuracy of the research findings. The use of primary data over secondary data is preferred in this research as it will help in gaining more clarity and accuracy in the findings which will establish a clear comparison between the decision-making process of consumers in the conventional banks and Islamic banks in Bangladesh. Further, the use of primary data collection method is beneficial as this enables the conduct of face-to-face interviews with the managers for obtaining detailed information on research subjects and surveys for accurate insights on the subject of research (Bell et al., 2018).

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Research Ethics

The proposed research will address the ethical considerations such as confidentiality of the participant information and authenticity of the content presented in the study. For this purpose, the identity of the participants will not be disclosed in the research findings and the work of previous authors used in the study will be cited in the findings of the study.


The proposed research outcomes will help the managers in ascertaining the perceptions of consumers with respect to the service quality regarding the conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh. In addition to this, the outcomes of this research will help in improving the banking practices of conventional and Islamic banks in Bangladesh which will help kin changing the perception of the consumers with respect to the service quality. . Primary data collection methods of questionnaire surveys and interviews have been used in the current study. The data collected through these methods will be analysed and presented through descriptive methods. The primary data has been collected from 300 subjects to understand their perception about service quality provided in conventional and Islamic banks and the impact that it has on their decision-making process.


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