The banks that do well in the 1990's will be those which re-discover the customer and start to manage customer service. Customers tend to define service quality by what is spoken, heard or seen in their encounters with the bank. The 'service encounter', that is the interaction between bank and customer, is the obvious focus of service quality management. Yet the service encounter and the qualities of service cannot be isolated so easily in banking, especially retail banking. This paper focusses on the conceptual and managerial aspects of service quality rather more than methodological considerations.