Keynote 08: John Bateson
Services Research and the Aging Population:Threat or Opportunity
For the first time in human history the number of people over 65 will soon outnumber those under 15. Within a single generation large parts of the world have already made the transition. People are aging healthier, feel younger than they are and want to continue their lifestyles. However, their minds, senses and bodies age even though they are healthy, and many changes start at 40 not 70. This presentation looks at the impact of an increasingly aging population on services research, particularly in technology and robotics.
Aging has important effects on consumer psychology and behaviors. For example, there is a 0.9 correlation between age and satisfaction ratings from over 200 companies. The healthy aged consciously avoid situations that could be unpleasant. They are more loyal to their service firms and known experiences, and less likely to experiment. They are more “emotional” and more prone to depend on their service providers. They are less able to hear instructions in noisy or distracting situations and less able to pick out one conversation amongst many. They are more sensitive to ambient light and glare in the real or virtual world. Less able to process complex decisions and more susceptible to information presented anecdotally. Technology offers the chance aid such decisions. All the senses change, as does the mind and body. All these changes impact service research and management.