Validating the EUCS Model to Measure the Level of Satisfaction of Internet Users in Local Banks in Italy

Validating the EUCS Model to Measure the Level of Satisfaction of Internet Users in Local Banks in Italy

Rubens Pauluzzo (Department of Economic and Statistical Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy) and Enrico Fioravante Geretto (University of Udine, Udine, Italy)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/JOEUC.2018010104
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In this study, the EUCS model has been used for measuring online banking user satisfaction in the local banking sector. The authors focused on Italian co-operative banks. The study involved the submission of a questionnaire to a sample of 600 retail consumers of small-sized co-operative banks. The model was tested with SEM techniques. The findings reinforce EUCS theory for internet banking satisfaction with large sample size, and provide evidence about the psychometric stability of the EUCS tool for measuring online banking user satisfaction in the local banking setting. The study will be useful to policy makers and banks to better understand why internet banking is not the favoured channel for service delivery in Italy and which are the main factors able to increase the acceptance of the online banking channel.
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In the current competitive scenario, companies achieve better performance levels if they are able to increase their efficiency, provide high quality products/services, and improve the relationship with their customers. Long-term customer loyalty has become fundamental in service markets (Bowen & Chen, 2001; Henning-Thurau, Gwinner, & Gremler, 2002; Yuen & Chan, 2010). In the banking sector, increasing the value perceived by clients is considered crucial to improve customer satisfaction, value creation, and performance levels. The increased competitiveness and similarity of provided services have pushed banks to better identify the determinants of customer satisfaction (Ferreira, Jalali, Meidutè-Kavaliauskiene, & Viana, 2015; Fraering & Minor, 2013). Thus, understanding customer needs has become an imperative in order to measure the behavioural intentions of the clients (Yuen & Chan, 2010; Zeithaml, 1998). A successful banker should be able to anticipate customer needs, by providing high quality and more efficient services to increase customer satisfaction.

Today, customers have multiple channels to get the information they need, research products and services, manage their accounts, resolve issues, and interact with their banks. Thus, the selected channels can have a relevant impact on customer satisfaction and bank performance (Huber, Magin, & Herrmann, 2015; Kaura, 2013; Levesquee & McDougall, 1996; Luiz Henrique & Augusto de Matos, 2015, Sayani, 2015). The online banking channel, in particular, has rapidly evolved in the last decade, both for clients and banks. From the customers point of view, internet banking has become a source of a complete set of banking services, when it only provided product information just a decade ago. From the banks point of view, as customers demand more products and services to be available on the online channel, internet banking has evolved from a merely tactical to a strategic tool to increase customer engagement and satisfaction (Al-hawari, 2015; Jalali, Ferreira, Ferreira, & Meidutè-Kavaliauskiene, 2015; Marakarkandy & Yajnik, 2013; Zhu & Chen, 2012). Banks are expected to increase their online marketing success by leveraging all the tools available in the net age. As stated by DeLone and McLean (1992), one of the most important determinants of information systems (IS) success is user satisfaction.

This topic acquires particular relevance for the local banking model due to its local character, the small-size of the banks, the traditional high retention rates and the characteristics of their customers. The present paper focused on local banks in Italy. Italy, together with Austria and Germany, is one of the historical homelands of the local banking model. They accounted for 80% of all European Less Significant Institutions (LSIs), the vast majority of them being small co-operative banks (Véron, 2014). In terms of number of institutions, LSIs represent about 96% of the European banking industry (Dombret, 2015). About 90% of Italian LSIs are local banks and over 70% of them are co-operative banks (ECB, 2014). However, external and internal pressures have been dramatically changing the local banking model and the traditional relationships between local banks, households, and companies that have characterized the Italian banking market of the last decades.

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