Essays on personalization in multichannel financial services

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2010-11-19
Checking the digitized thesis and permission for publishing
Instructions for the author
Information Systems Science
Degree programme
v, 82, [116] s.
Acta Universitatis oeconomicae Helsingiensis. A, 372
The proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICT) has transformed the way consumers interact with service providers. This dissertation focuses on understanding this phenomenon in the financial services context. The perceptions and behavior of consumers are the main interest; however, the voice of the financial service providers (FSPs) is also heard. The main research phenomena are multichannel consumer behavior and personalization of service and communication. The research is conducted in two financial contexts: the first two essays address wealth management services and the last two investigations are carried out in the online banking context. One of the essays presents a new conceptualization of personalization. The dissertation draws on the interdisciplinary service science approach, and can be positioned at the intersection of information systems, marketing and consumer behavior research. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are used in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the complex phenomenon. The qualitative investigation into the interaction between FSPs and customers reveals that trust and involvement are important determinants of customer behavior in the financial markets. Furthermore, different facets of trust are important for consumers and financial experts. The results of a quantitative study confirm that consumers’ multichannel use is a norm rather than an exception in the wealth management context. A link is made between the channel and consumer characteristics, and the preference of using either predominantly electronic service or predominantly personal service. There are statistically significant differences between the consumer groups with regard to their demographic profiles, asset distributions and perspectives on several aspects concerning the relationship with the FSP. In addition, there is an association with the lower perceived relationship between the customer and the FSP and an increased preference for electronic service delivery. Furthermore, a new conceptualization of personalization based on literature review and research profiling is presented. When communication between the FSP and customers is studied, different channels and messages with different types of personalization are suggested to bank consumers. Some channels are considered as improper for bank marketing whereas traditional direct mail is found to be suitable for general messages. E-mail functionality embedded in the online bank is considered to be the best approach for messages containing self-referent information. In general, the type of promotional message that is perceived to be the most acceptable in the online banking context is a preference-personalized informative message. The study is elaborated upon through experiments in online bank. The results uncover that personalized messages are attended to more than general messages. Personalization appears to be a worthwhile endeavor, even in goaldirected services. This dissertation contributes to the understanding of the multichannel behavior of consumers in the financial services context, and the acceptability of personalized promotional messages, and personalized wealth management services in general.
Supervising professor
Saarinen, Timo, professor
Other note