Examining Cross-buying Intentions Through Customer Trust In Malaysia’s Banking Sector

by Benjamin Kitos Sipaun


Service industries are generally typified by intense competition and Malaysia’s banking sector is no exception. Thus, it is important for commercial banks to gain competitive advantages over their competitors. To this end, relationship marketing is a viable strategy particularly in the development of customer trust in bank employees, and the onward benefit of encouraging potential cross-buying by bank customers.

This research sought to investigate the effects of several employee characteristics, namely attitude, product knowledge, service delivery and relationship norms, on customer trust in the employee, and subsequently the effect of customer trust on the intention to cross-buy from the employee. Following a review of the relevant literature, a conceptual model and related hypotheses were developed and tested using multiple regression analysis on a sample of 265 housing loan borrowers in the country. Housing loan borrowers were selected due to their relatively substantial interpersonal episodes with bank employees.

Apart from hypotheses testing, regression analysis was also used to examine the mediating effects of customer trust on the relationship between employee characteristics and customer cross-buying intention. Results indicated that employee service delivery, relationship norms and product knowledge were positively associated with customer trust, in that order by decreasing strength of impact. Attitude was found to have no significant effect on customer trust. Subsequently, trust was found to be positively related to cross-buying intention.

The findings also showed that customer trust partially-mediated the effects of service delivery and relationship norms on cross-buying intention, and had a fully-mediating role with respect to product knowledge. In terms of implications to theory, this research examined customer relationships at the individual level as suggested in relevant comments in the literatUre regarding future research direction; in terms of managerial implications, this research highlighted the importance of maintaining a positive working environment for employees.

This study included in its scope the effects of employee characteristics, which were detected to both have and have not been investigated before, on trust and cross-buying intention; as such, it adds to the current body of knowledge in these areas.

Continued research is encouraged, taking into account lesser-studied relationship marketing defining constructs and their effects on customer cross-buying.

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