M. Estrada, J. Sánchez, J.C. Fandos, M.A. Moliner

Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
Taking into account the environment of market crisis in which Spain and Europe find themselves it is fundamental to know what aspects of banking services are really valued in order to devote more effort to them, satisfying customers effectively and propitiating their loyalty. At the same time, the aging of the population presents older adults as a great entrepreneurial opportunity for banks.

Older adults have certain peculiarities and needs that cause them to perceive the service offered differently. The aim of this paper is to study the service quality perceived by older adults and its relation to satisfaction and loyalty formation in the context of banking services.
314 personal surveys were conducted with older customers of Spanish financial entities and structural equations models were used to test the relationships considered.

According to the results obtained in this study, the relational dimension of service quality is the most valued by older adults, followed by the functional dimension and then by the tangible dimension. This leads, with age, to a tendency to trust in one’s own experience, in habit, above any other influence. It is important for the bank to provide a feeling of security, contribute information that the older person can understand, devote the necessary time to the transaction, have trained personnel available, etc.

As regards the functional perception of banking service quality, older adults prioritize speed and effectiveness in service performance over the cost. With respect to the more tangible aspects of quality, they are more concerned with the confidentiality offered by the installations than the state of them. In this sense, banks must design their offices favoring the creation of spaces that enhance this feeling of privacy as well as adapting ergonomically to the needs of age.

Finally, the relationship between service quality, satisfaction and loyalty in older adults is very high. Older adults are more rational than young people and only adopt new products and services if they are convinced of their necessity. They tend to be loyal provided that they are satisfied. They are cautious for reasons of perceived risk and tend to be the most reliable and loyalest customers of financial entities.

This study has certain limitations due fundamentally to the characteristics of older adults. Moreover, the study was carried out only in certain very specific cities in Spain, which may skew the results obtained. As future lines of research we propose segmenting the collective of older adults according to socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyles in order to observe possible differences in the results obtained. We further propose expanding the study to other countries to be able to compare possible differences.