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The Impact of Cognitive versus Affective Aspects on Consumer Usage of Financial Service Delivery Channels

By Ana S. Branca

Abstract

This paper explores the consumer decision-making process when using service delivery channels. Among service delivery channels, the main focus of the research concerns technology-based delivery channels. Technology continues to change the delivery function of companies and to affect customers’ usage decisions regarding the delivery channels available. Understanding how customers react to the technology-content of channels and decide how to use the delivery channels of the firm is a key asset for achieving profitability and differentiation. This conclusion is particularly valuable as firms address the financial impact of new technology-based channels and their success in transferring low value-added transactions to electronic channels. Despite the development of new technology-based delivery channels, there is limited knowledge about how customers react to, choose and use these channels. The paper addresses this research void by developing a model that describes customers’ attitudes and usage frequency behavior in the context of banking delivery channels. A set of hypotheses concerning affective and cognitive determinants of consumers’ behavior is derived from the model. These hypotheses were generated after extensive research into the fields of services marketing, psychology and innovation theories, together with insights provided by a series of in-depth interviews conducted with bank managers and customers. A questionnaire was mailed to users of the four main bank delivery channels. The findings demonstrate that consumer decision concerning usage frequency differs between delivery channels, and illustrate which factors should be stressed in order to affect this decision.

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