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

Jaume I University of Castellón (SPAIN)
Taking into account how expensive it is to maintain customer loyalty programmes it is necessary to know which aspects of the firm’s service are the ones that really deliver value to the customer. The aim of this paper is to study the relationships between perceived value, satisfaction and consumer loyalty in the financial services market, in order to know which factors are the most important for gaining the customer’s loyalty. In this way the results will help practitioners to design more effective marketing programmes.

In this work we pay special attention to the consumer’s loyalty formation process. For this purpose we use a theoretical model from the social psychology (Fishbein y Ajzen, 1975) with the objective of obtaining a better comprehension of the psychological processes that make one individual return to the same provider. A personal survey was made of 200 customers of financial entities, and structural equations models were used to test the relationships posited.

In the last ten years there have been important changes in the business of consumer financial services. The main characteristic that has marked the evolution of the financial system has been increased competition in the sector. The banking business has undergone changes in the regulation of the sector, changes in consumers’ demand for services, technological changes, and the entry of new competitors from businesses outside banking (Gardener et al., 1999). Due to this, an increasingly open and competitive framework has been formed, in which many financial entities are beginning to be concerned to develop defensive strategies in order to avoid indiscriminate loss of customers. Although the banks have recently taken much interest in generating perceived value for the customer, they have experienced high levels of dissatisfaction on the part of users (Johnston, 1997). This is because it is not yet fully understood exactly what consumers want. While it seems to be clear to everybody how important it is for the firm to compose an offer of value to the customer, it does not seem to be clear what the value perceived by the customer is.

The conceptualisation of loyalty has evolved with time. Initially most research was focussed on the dimension behavioural of loyalty and insufficient attention was paid to what the customer thought [Jacoby and Chestnut,1978; Gremler and Brown, 1996].
To solve these problems, Oliver [1999] proposed a model of loyalty based on the cognition -affect -performance paradigm. According to this model, loyalty behaviour is conditioned by the consumer’s intention of loyalty.

The main contribution of this paper is to propose a customer’s behaviour loyalty model. In that model we can find the most important factors that influence the loyalty behaviour. The fact of taking a multidimensional aproach of perceived value will help us to identificate the main aspects that are important for customers.

In this sense, we have found confirmation for the Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) and Oliver (1999) approaches. We have proved the logical sequence cognition-affect-intention-behaviour. In this way the customer’s cognitive assessments that we obtained are crucials to determinate the behavioral loyalty. However, emotional aspects are very important to explain the customer’s final behaviour. On the other hand we have found that social aspects are important too. For customers is very important what their social environment think about their behaviour.