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Examining the relationships among service features, customer loyalty and switching barriers in the Greek banking sector

Eleni Koutsothanassi (Department of Business Administration of Food and Agricultural Enterprises, School of Business Administration, University of Patras, Agrinio, Greece)
Nancy Bouranta (Department of Business Administration of Food and Agricultural Enterprises, School of Business Administration, University of Patras, Agrinio, Greece)
Evangelos Psomas (Department of Business Administration of Food and Agricultural Enterprises, School of Business Administration, University of Patras, Agrinio, Greece)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 18 September 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to present and empirically validate a conceptual framework that explores the links between the two service features (physical and interactive) and their impact on customer loyalty. It also introduces and investigates the potential intervening role of a single personality dimension (neuroticism) in the relationship between service features and customer loyalty. In addition, examining whether the customer’s switching barriers affect customer loyalty is also an aim of the present study.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from a sample of 224 customers in the banking industry in Greece. The respondents were picked using simple random sampling. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to validate the latent factors of the proposed conceptual framework, whereas their relationships were examined through linear regression analyses.

Findings

The empirical data verify that physical and interactive features of service quality have a significant impact on customer loyalty. The study also concludes that customer neuroticism has an intervening effect on the relationship between service features and customer loyalty. In addition, switching barriers such as confidence benefits, special treatment benefits, switching costs and availability and attentiveness of alternatives affect a bank’s customer loyalty.

Practical implications

This perspective could improve managerial understanding of the service-quality/customer-loyalty relationship and lead to more focused decisions. During the period of economic Greek crisis, the customers’ learning and understanding, the immediate response to their needs and expectations, the provision of customer services in accordance with their personality type and the establishment a long and effective relationship with them may have an important impact not only on success but also mainly on bank survival.

Originality/value

Previous studies have shown the positive and significant relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty in the banking industry, but this study extends the literature of consumer behavior theory by examining the distinct role that the physical and interactive service features play in the formation of customer loyalty. While it is known the role of personality in customer satisfaction has not been analyzed sufficiently the effect of neuroticism in the evolution of the above relationship. The present study tries to fill the bibliographic gap focusing on the Greek banking sector in the period of economic crisis.

Keywords

Citation

Koutsothanassi, E., Bouranta, N. and Psomas, E. (2017), "Examining the relationships among service features, customer loyalty and switching barriers in the Greek banking sector", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 9 No. 3/4, pp. 425-440. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQSS-02-2017-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited