Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dissertation on Customer Satisfaction

Dissertation on Customer Satisfaction

Its has been noted that emotions are present in the pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase phase of all interactions. The post-purchase phase actually serves as input for the next pre-purchase phase. This actually makes all interactions a continuous cycle (Liljander and Strandvik, 1996) thereby making every interaction equally important. It is the employees’ job to insure that the customers’ experience is a positive one. This positive experience will influence their overall level of satisfaction, generating customer loyalty and ultimately greater profits. The studies examined utilized different study methods in-order to determine how customers’ emotions affect their level of satisfaction before, during, and after any service encounter.


A quote from Pughs’ study (2001) sums up the attitudes that employees in any customer service oriented job should uphold, “A professional acts as they must, not as they feel”. The employee should act “as they should”: happy, empathic, and sincere. The only problem is that sometimes it is not only the employee that should act accordingly- sometimes the customer needs to be reminded of this premise.

Twenty-five percent of the studies critiqued developed the notion that perhaps there are emotional profiles and that we as employees need to have a better understanding of this concept. Dube´ and Morgan (1996) found that there are individual variations in sensation seeking or affect intensity. This may influence one’s processing strategies, either positively or negatively. Dube´ and Morgan (1996) found that even women and men process satisfaction differently. They discovered that women’s judgements were predominately influenced by their first-day negative emotions; where as the men’s level of satisfaction was dependent on their first-day positive emotions. The question arose whether there are emotional patterns or profiles with certain consumer groups relating to consumer satisfaction (Liljander and Strandvik, 1996). The data from the above study proves this theory has some merit and should be studied further.

The second idea, which was discussed among 63% of the empirical studies, is the notion that the customers perceived impressions could ultimately alter their emotions during the service. Liljander and Strandvik (1996) suggest that perceived positive and negative emotions are affected by the attributes made by the customer.

This can become a problem if they are expecting poor service. Negative emotions that accompany the customers can only make the employees’ job tougher. It is the employees’ job to give great service so that the customer leaves happy and returns. A happy customer generates more profit!

The first step to having a successful relationship is providing the customers with great service. The second step is to try to ensure that emotions displayed and encountered by both parties are positive and helpful. Eighty-eight percent of the studies focused on the emotions experienced during the service. Customers that reported to be more at ease and calm during the service rated the overall quality higher than those who reported emotions that were consistent with agitation and anger (Tansik and Routhieaux, 1997). The experience is usually attributed to the establishment and this includes the employees. Machleit and Mantel (1999) and Westbrook and Oliver (1991) found that the emotions experience during the shopping episode lead to a variety of responses such as spending levels, and word of mouth. This is important when the emotions experienced are negative. It has been noted that only strong negative emotions effect satisfaction (Liljander and Strandvik, 1996). When companies have a negative emotion attached to its image, it will fail.

The employee is the key to having a successful interaction. Menon and Dube´ (2000) discussed the fact that customers believed that the salesperson’s behavior is an important fact in controlling their emotions. Emotions can be either intentional or unintentional reactions (Liljander and Strandvik, 1996). If the employee can control his/her emotions and make the encounter a positive experience then the customer will leave happy. This is considered emotional labor. This added job can create stress in the employee and research has suggested that it is hard to fake emotions for long periods of time. These emotions will eventually be revealed via facial cues and vocal expressions (Pugh, 2001). Pugh noted in his investigation that emotional labor requires the worker to produce an emotional state in another person. One would hope that this emotional state would be a positive one because expressions of anger threaten the individual and can consequently fosters anger in others (Menon and Dube´, 2000). This means that the customer can effect the employee and the employee can effect the customer allowing for a corresponding change in their emotional state. Even though employee contribution to the situation seems to be the most influential element in producing a happy customer, only 38% of the studies touched on this subject. Seventy five percent of the research concentrated more on the level of post-satisfaction related to emotions then on how to control the situation via the employees.

Keeping emotions positive during the service will lead to positive satisfaction after the service. Satisfaction has been noted to be a post-purchase evaluative judgement (Westbrook and Oliver, 1991). You cannot change the level of satisfaction after the emotional experience. This is why more studies need to utilize their resources on how to insure that the process during the interaction is a positive experience. Consumers are three times more likely to blame the service provider when the outcome is a failure. Usually the consumer considers the affair to be negative if they did not receive what was expected. This leads us to the provider gaps-especially gap 3. If the organization can train their people properly on how to deal with the range of emotions that a customer and employee can produce, then this gap could be closed. Having high post-purchase satisfaction leads to an advantageous pre-purchase situation, which frequently precipitates a future purchase.

The display of emotions has shown to be an important factor in impacting the customer. The outcome of this interaction is the key to any financial consequence – good or bad (Pugh, 2001). The organizations’ profits are the bottom line. The service profit chain suggests there is a link between the employee’s attitude, customer satisfaction and profits. Pugh’s research shows that there is little proof to this statement, but looking at the Customer Satisfaction and Emotions’ matrix proves otherwise.

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