New! Sign up for our free email newsletter.
Science News
from research organizations

Aiming to improve customer experience? Put the relationship first!

Date:
June 20, 2017
Source:
University of Twente
Summary:
Customer experience plays a major role in why consumers choose a specific product or service. But how do you improve that customer experience? One expert has been conducting research into the question of how organizations do this successfully.
Share:
FULL STORY

Customer experience plays a major role in why consumers choose a specific product or service. But how do you improve that customer experience? University of Twente PhD student Harald Pol has been conducting research into the question of how organizations do this successfully. He defended his dissertation, Mastering Meaningful Customer Connections, on June 16.

Loyalty

A customer's emotional experience of an organization, product or service is an important factor in determining that customer's loyalty. There is also an economic aspect: customers will not only return sooner and more frequently, but by creating an experience, organizations can also ask a higher price for their products and services. The most obvious example of this is a simple cup of coffee: at a 'normal' catering establishment, you will pay about €2.50 for this, while at Starbucks this is around €3.75, and on the terrace of a café on the Place du Tertre in Paris you can easily pay about €8 for the same cup of coffee.

Personal relationship

Pol decided to search for explanations using the Relational Models Theory (Fiske, 1991), a theory that had until recently mostly been used to describe and explain relationships between individual people. He noted that there are two common types of relationships: Communal Sharing and Market Pricing. With Communal Sharing, both parties invest in the relationship without keeping track of what the relationship is yielding. The main values experienced are equivalence, concern for the surrounding environment and concern for each other. Market Pricing focuses on the profits and losses of the relationship. If these profits and losses cease to be in balance, the relationship finishes.

Focus on feeling versus focus on prices

In certain sectors, it is possible to see trends in how organizations project themselves: telephone providers often emphasize lower rates or favourable terms and conditions, and in the energy sector too, many companies compete on price to win over customers from their competitors. Companies that are less able to differentiate themselves in this way often make a transition to emphasizing Communal Sharing: they increasingly compete using the feeling behind the product.

Exerting influence successfully

Companies really are able to influence the emotional nature of the customer relationship using specific words and images -- this is known as 'priming'. This is particularly effective when it occurs unconsciously and when the words or images used fit the customer's motivations for using a particular service. One of the secondary studies shows that a leaflet which contains personal images will have a more positive impact on the customer's experience and inclination to switch than a leaflet that includes only business images.

'The relationship models used by customers provide a deeper insight into the conscious and -- more particularly -- the unconscious thoughts and feelings of customers,' explains Pol. 'They demonstrate the specific values ​​that customers apply in relation to the organization. Often, these values remain invisible. But if organizations can identify and explore these values, customer behaviour can be understood and predicted better. Relationship models enable organizations to see and understand customer satisfaction, confidence, loyalty and likelihood to recommend.'


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Twente. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Twente. "Aiming to improve customer experience? Put the relationship first!." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170620120724.htm>.
University of Twente. (2017, June 20). Aiming to improve customer experience? Put the relationship first!. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170620120724.htm
University of Twente. "Aiming to improve customer experience? Put the relationship first!." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170620120724.htm (accessed May 26, 2024).

Explore More

from ScienceDaily

RELATED STORIES