Marketing at the bottom of the pyramid: service quality sensitivity of captive microfinance borrowers
F. Robert Buchanan
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Purpose – The aim of this paper is to survey the working poor who are microfinance borrowers, examining their perceptions of customer satisfaction and corporate social responsibility. Design/methodology/approach – Validated scale measures were presented in a cross-sectional field study survey of 201 respondents. OLS regression was used after determining factor loadings and reliabilities. Findings – Customer dissatisfaction with the microfinance product, lack of commitment from lender's staff, and dissatisfaction with informational support, were all significantly related to future purchase intentions. Only dissatisfaction toward the firm's people was significantly related to perceptions of CSR. Practical implications – Dissatisfied poor would prefer to buy elsewhere, even if they find the seller to be socially responsible. However, attitudes and behaviors of the firm's agents convey low CSR. Microfinance customers were sensitive to customer service. Service quality was also significantly related to their perceptions of CSR. Originality/value – This exploratory research is novel, examining stakeholders at the bottom of the pyramid. Indian respondents came from the origins of microfinance, and are seldom sampled. Despite being captive customers with few alternatives, microfinance borrowers are sensitive to customer service. This service is also significantly related to their perceptions of CSR.