University Of Tasmania

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How positive service experiences contribute to service captivity

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 08:35 authored by Stavros, C, Westberg, K, Russell, R, Marcus BanksMarcus Banks

Purpose: Service captivity is described as the experience of constrained choice whereby a consumer has no power and feels unable to exit a service relationship. This study aims to explore how positive service experiences can contribute to service captivity in the alternative financial services (AFS) sector for consumers experiencing financial vulnerability.

Design/methodology/approach: A total of 31 interviews were undertaken with Australian consumers of payday loans and/or consumer leases.

Findings: The authors reveal a typology of consumers based on their financial vulnerability and their experience with AFS providers. Then they present three themes relating to how the marketing practices of these providers create a positive service experience, and, in doing so, can contribute to service captivity for consumers experiencing financial vulnerability.

Research limitations/implications: The benefits derived from positive service experiences, including accessible solutions, self-esteem, and a sense of control over their financial situation, contribute to the service captivity of some consumers, rendering alternative avenues less attractive.

Practical implications: AFS providers must ensure a socially responsible approach to their marketing practices to minimize potentially harmful outcomes for consumers. However, a systems-level approach is needed to tackle the wider issue of financial precarity. Policymakers need to address the marketplace gaps, regulatory frameworks and social welfare policies that contribute to both vulnerability and captivity.

Originality/value: This research extends the understanding of service captivity by demonstrating how positive service experiences can perpetuate this situation. Further, specific solutions are proposed at each level of the service system to address service captivity in the AFS sector.


Publication title

Journal of Services Marketing












Emerald Publishing Limited

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Finance services

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