Financial service providers have long placed considerable faith in positive word of mouth communication as a means of attracting new customers and a variety of studies of customer choice of bank highlight the significance of personal recommendation. Given that financial services tend to be characterised by a predominance of experience and credence qualities, word of mouth communication is particularly valuable, providing the potential consumer with vicarious experience of the service under consideration. The impact of word of mouth is probably at its strongest when it originates from social contacts because of their greater perceived reliability. By its very nature, this form of communication is outside the formal control of an organisation and yet its impact is such that the ability to influence or encourage word of mouth could be a powerful marketing tool. This paper provides an exploratory analysis of the importance of word of mouth and the factors which influence its role within an organisation's marketing strategy, with particular reference to customer referral campaigns. Empirical evidence is collected from the (rapidly changing and liberalising) financial services sector in India.
International Journal of Bank Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 2000
Keywords: Banking; Interpersonal communications; India; Consumer behaviour; Marketing strategy
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