Customer Experience Creation

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Journal of Retailing 85 (1, 2009) 31–41

Customer Experience Creation: Determinants, Dynamics and Management Strategies Peter C. Verhoef a,∗ , Katherine N. Lemon b , A. Parasuraman c , Anne Roggeveen d , Michael Tsiros c , Leonard A. Schlesinger d b a University of Groningen, Faculty of Economics and Business, P.O. Box 800, NL-9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands Boston College, Carroll School of Management, Fulton Hall 510, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 United States c University of Miami, School of Business Administration, P.O. Box 24814, Coral Gables, FL 33124, United States d Babson College, 231 Forest Street, Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States

Abstract Retailers, such as Starbucks and Victoria’s Secret, aim to provide customers a great experience across channels. In this paper we provide an overview of the existing literature on customer experience and expand on it to examine the creation of a customer experience from a holistic perspective. We propose a conceptual model, in which we discuss the determinants of customer experience. We explicitly take a dynamic view, in which we argue that prior customer experiences will influence future customer experiences. We discuss the importance of the social environment, self-service technologies and the store brand. Customer experience management is also approached from a strategic perspective by focusing on issues such as how and to what extent an experience-based business can create growth. In each of these areas, we identify and discuss important issues worthy of further research. © 2008 New York University. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Keywords: Self-service; Management strategies; Retail branding; Social Environment

Introduction Creating superior customer experience seems to be one of the central objectives in today’s retailing environments. Retailers around the globe have embraced the concept of customer experience management, with many incorporating the notion into their mission statements. For example, Valero Energy Corporation is committed to ensuring a positive retail experience for customers by focusing on convenience, value and quality. Dell computers focuses on delivering the best customer experience in the markets the firm serves, while Toyota’s mission statement is to sustain profitable growth by providing the best customer experience and dealer support. Similarly, it has been argued that the success of Starbucks is based on creating a distinctive customer experience for their customers (Michelli 2007). Additionally, a recent IBM report identifies customer experi-

∗ Corresponding author at: Department of Marketing, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 800, 9700 AV, Groningen, The Netherlands. Tel.: +31 503637065. E-mail address: (P.C. Verhoef).

ence as a key factor for companies to use in building loyalty to brands, channels and services (Badgett, Boyce, and Kleinberger 2007). Yet despite the recognition of the importance of customer experience by practitioners, the academic marketing literature investigating this topic has been limited. Publications on customer experience are mainly found in practitioner-oriented journals or management books (e.g., Berry, Carbone, and Haeckel 2002; Meyer and Schwager 2007; Shaw and Ivens 2005). In general, these publications tend to focus more on managerial actions and outcomes, than on the theories underlying the antecedents and consequences of customer experience. For example, Pine and Gilmore (1999) argued that creating a distinctive customer experience can provide enormous economic value for firms, and Frow and Payne (2007) derived managerial implications, such as the careful management of customer ‘touch points’, based on qualitative case studies. To the best of our knowledge only a limited number of articles explore customer experience in depth from a theoretical perspective. More specifically, Gentile, Spiller, and Noci...
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