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Age identity, stereotypes and older consumers’ service experiences

Age identity, stereotypes and older consumers’ service experiences This study aims to use the lens of the stereotype threat theory to explore older consumers’ age identity and experiences with service providers.Design/methodology/approachThis study used semi-structured interviews with Australian consumers aged between 55 and 69. Data were examined using thematic analysis.FindingsOlder consumers justify a younger cognitive age by distancing themselves from the negative stereotypes associated with ageing and by associating themselves with attitudes and behaviours consistent with a younger age identity. Older consumers are confronted with age-based stereotype threats in a services context through four practices. Exposure to these threats results in service failure and can have a negative impact on both consumers’ ability to function effectively as consumers and their overall well-being.Research limitations/implicationsA more diverse sample is required to identify the extent to which age-based stereotype threats are experienced and which services marketing practices have the most detrimental impact on older consumers.Practical implicationsThe findings provide insight for services marketers seeking to effectively cater for older consumers and have implications for service staff training, service technology and communications.Social implicationsThe findings have implications for the well-being of older consumers in terms of their self-efficacy and self-esteem as well as their ability to function effectively as consumers.Originality/valueThis study contributes to the nascent understanding of older consumers’ experiences and their expectations of service interactions and advertising communication. The findings also extend the literature on service failure by demonstrating how age-based stereotypes threaten age identity, resulting in a negative customer experience. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Services Marketing Emerald Publishing

Age identity, stereotypes and older consumers’ service experiences

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References (66)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0887-6045
eISSN
0887-6045
DOI
10.1108/jsm-10-2019-0386
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims to use the lens of the stereotype threat theory to explore older consumers’ age identity and experiences with service providers.Design/methodology/approachThis study used semi-structured interviews with Australian consumers aged between 55 and 69. Data were examined using thematic analysis.FindingsOlder consumers justify a younger cognitive age by distancing themselves from the negative stereotypes associated with ageing and by associating themselves with attitudes and behaviours consistent with a younger age identity. Older consumers are confronted with age-based stereotype threats in a services context through four practices. Exposure to these threats results in service failure and can have a negative impact on both consumers’ ability to function effectively as consumers and their overall well-being.Research limitations/implicationsA more diverse sample is required to identify the extent to which age-based stereotype threats are experienced and which services marketing practices have the most detrimental impact on older consumers.Practical implicationsThe findings provide insight for services marketers seeking to effectively cater for older consumers and have implications for service staff training, service technology and communications.Social implicationsThe findings have implications for the well-being of older consumers in terms of their self-efficacy and self-esteem as well as their ability to function effectively as consumers.Originality/valueThis study contributes to the nascent understanding of older consumers’ experiences and their expectations of service interactions and advertising communication. The findings also extend the literature on service failure by demonstrating how age-based stereotypes threaten age identity, resulting in a negative customer experience.

Journal

Journal of Services MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: May 25, 2020

Keywords: Older consumers; Stereotype threat; Service failure; Service encounters; Vulnerable consumers

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