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  • Doctor of Business Administration:CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND THE IMPACT OF ITS ANTECEDENTS ON THE

    发布时间:2020-05-13 来源:https://www.boshuolunwen123.com  作者:博硕论文辅导网

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    CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND THE IMPACT OF ITS ANTECEDENTS ON THE
    DIFFERENT STAGES OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE:A DYNAMIC APPROACH.


    GRENOBLE ECOLE DE MANAGEMENT

    Extended Research Proposal
    -
    Doctor of Business Administration

     

    Supervisor
    Dr. XXX


    1.Research background

    Customer experience (CX) has become a separate offering besides the traditional product-service duopoly (Pine II, Gilmore, 1998). Companies like Walt Disney, Starbucks, Nespresso are amongst the pioneers in designing memorable customer experiences. They do not simply sell a product (e.g. coffee), they provide customers with valuable and meaningful experiences. A recent Gartner report (2014) shows that 89% of firms now expect to compete primarily on Customer Experience Management (CEM), versus 36% in 2010. This considerable increase in firms’ strategic focus shows that nowadays most companies understand the importance of customer experience and that they will mainly compete on experiences. Many firms incorporate the concept and the term ‘experience’ even in their mission statements (e.g. Nordstrom, JetBlue).

    Academic research on customer experience has been listed by the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) as the number one research priority for 2014 – 2016. In MSI’s words: “Understanding and managing the customer experience is a major concern of most firms, as well as one of the cornerstones of the marketing discipline. Managing customer experience effectively is considered by most practitioners to be a critical driver of their firm’s long-term success” (www.msi.org). CEM can become a key factor in building a sustainable competitive advantage and it should be conceived as a core competency (Singer, 2015) by companies that want to lay out the foundations for a sustainable business and exit the commoditization trap. Both practitioners and academics are contributing to the analysis of this new marketing construct. The challenge is and will be to ensure CEM does not remain a vague concept, defined so broadly that it becomes of little use to managers. According to Klaus (2011:6) "scholarship needs to become clearer as to its scope”. The concept still presents uncertainties and challenges on whether it can actually deliver the promised benefits to companies (Palmer, 2010). There is a danger that CEM may become a rebranding of service (Lemke et al., 2010).

    External and internal factors are behind the increasing interest in CEM by both practitioners and academics. Among factors external to the firm, the emergence of globalization and digitization, has contributed substantially to firms strategic shift towards customer experience. These two phenomena have generated, amongst other outcomes, a power-shift in the firm-customer relationship. Customers can now access information quickly, easily and at a very low cost. The access to information that was not readily available in the past (e.g. comparing real-time prices and features between competitors’ offerings) increases the power to chose, negotiate and interact with other customers, in real-time (e.g. customer-to-customer reviews). Porter (2008) highlighted the bargaining power of customers as one of the five forces that can shape the competitive battleground. This force acquires more power with the increase in information access. In 2009 the video “United Breaks Guitars” showed to the World the opportunities and risks linked to the new inter-connected digital world. The video was posted by a Canadian band to share their real-life experience of how a guitar had been broken during a trip with United Airlines and the subsequent reaction from the airline. The song became an instant hit on iTunes and YouTube signifying success for the customer and loss for the firm (the United Airlines stock lost 10% within 4 days). The event became to symbolize the new shift in power between firms—in this case an historical American airline—and customers—a relatively unknown band, whose video has been viewed more than 15 million times to date. Conversely, also great customer experiences can be immediately shared with millions of people around the world, within a matter of seconds. TripAdvisor epitomizes this phenomenon very well. More than 200 million customer-to-customer reviews are currently shared and have the power to influence the firm-customer experience (Verhoef et al., 2009; Lemke et al., 2011). Advances in the telecommunication arena have radically changed the way people and firms relate to each other. With more sophisticated, demanding and interconnected customers, the competitive battleground for the firm has changed (Mascarenhas, 2006). On top of that, the increasing commoditization of products and services (Schmitt,1999; Shaw, 2002; Meyer and Schwarger, 2007) requires an “upgrade” of firms’ offering. Pine & Gilmore (1998) have highlighted that services, like long-distance telephone services,, had increasingly become commoditized, and sold only on price. Since then, experiences have emerged as the next step in what the two authors call the progression of economic value (figure 1).


    Figure 1. The Progression of Economic Value – Pine & Gilmore (1998)
     
    Internal firm-level factors like the possible failure of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to offer the solution to address these challenges, and re-balance the power game on the firms’ side, has contributed to this strategic shift in focus towards customer experiences. Although CRM gives managers the tools to collect and analyze big amounts of data on customers’ history (e.g. purchases, service requests, product returns, inquiries), CRM projects have not showed an appreciable ROI.  The whole CRM approach has proved to be too invasive for the customer, without accounting for the emotional side of the relationship (Schmitt, 2003; Meyer & Schwager, 2007; Palmer, 2010). One of the first well-publicized studies about CRM, by Gartner Group in 2001 disclosed a failure rate of over 50 percent. In line with these results, a 2009 survey by Forrester found a failure rate of 47 percent (source: CRMSEARCH). CEM attempts to move beyond CRM (Homburg et al., 2015) and it requires firms to involve the whole organization, rather than mainly the customer-facing functions. CEM also requires firms to look at the total experience of the Customer with the firm’s offerings from a new angle, “outside-in”. Emotions are now part of the analysis too. Customer experience data aims at capturing customers’ subjective thoughts and feelings about a particular company's offering and uncover the meaning behind the experience (Shaw et al., 2010).


    2.Research problem and proposition

    The phenomena described above has generated an increase in attention towards customer experience, both in the academic and managerial worlds. However, a gap emerges within the extant literature. A general dearth of empirical research (Lemke et al., 2010; Klaus & Kaplan, 2013; Marketing Science Institute, 2014) and, more specifically, a lack of focus on understanding how the customer’s experience evolves over time (Verhoef et al., 2009; Palmer, 2010). No academic research has been produced so far, to empirically examine the evolution of the CX antecedents over the different stages of the buying process. Verhoef et al. (2009 :4) asks: “Are the determinants of customer experience – and the nature and extent of their effects – stable over time? Or, are they sensitive to changes in the internal environment (e.g., customer service) and the external environment (e.g., competition)?” It is in line with the gap and the recent literature developments that the research question has been identified: How does the impact of the relevant antecedents of customer experience change along the pre-purchase, purchase, consumption and post-purchase stages of the buying process?

    By investigating this research question, we offer two main contributions to extant literature. First, we contribute to empirical research on antecedents of customer experience. The extant literature on this topic has largely been static, rather than dynamic. In this research, we study how the relationship between the various antecedents of experience “evolves” over time. We define antecedent as "a preceding event, condition or cause. Something that came before something else and may have influenced or caused it "(Merriam-Webster dictionary). A deeper understanding of the dynamic aspect of customer experience is of essence because experiences are longer (than simple service encounters, as confirmed by Klaus, Kaplan, 2001 and 2013) and involve not only functional clues, but also emotional ones (e.g. Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982; Schmitt, 1999). As Customer’s emotions change over time (Magids et al., 2015; Shawn at al., 2010), we can deduct that also the entire customer’s assessment of the experience evolves over the course of the CX cycle stages. As a consequence, the relevance (i.e. impact) of the multiple antecedents end up having a different weight on the overall customer experience.

    Second, we also review the conceptual literature and propose a definition of Customer Experience, which attempts to identify a common denominator amongst the most relevant academic contributions. Starting with Pine II and Gilmore (1998), academics have been highlighting specific characteristics of the new construct. In table 1 we summarize all main CX definitions currently available in literature. The words in red bold are the key components that, put all together, constitute the uniqueness of the CX construct. “The customer experience can be defined as “the customer’s internal cognitive and affective response to any direct and indirect interaction with a firm’s product, service or part of the organization. This response is subjective and evolves over time.”. This definition clarifies the conceptual differences between CX and measurements like customer satisfaction or service quality (Klaus, Kaplan, 2011, 2013; Klaus, 2015; Lemke, 2011) and between CEM and CRM (Meyer, Schwarger, 2007; Palmer, 2010; Homburg et al., 2015). These differences demarcate CX from previous marketing constructs and they will be extensively discussed in our research.

     

     

     


    Table n.1. Definitions of Customer Experience

    3. Justification for the Research
    An increasing number of studies link customer experience with important marketing outcomes, like customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and word of mouth (Gentile et al., 2007; Lemke et al, 2011; Rose et al., 2011; Kim, Choi, 2013; Klaus, 2013). Companies like Nespresso and Apple, just to mention a few, have shifted their strategic focus towards customer-centric business modes, which create memorable experiences, besides great quality products. This increased focus, both on the corporate and academic stages, has obviously generated further interest in Customer Experience over the last few years. At the same time, the Marketing Science Institute (2014) admits that "there is insufficient empirically-based guidance as to best practices for customer experience management". Over the CX stages, there may be thousands of touchpoints to manage and they may depend on several factors (Garg et al., 2010), which may or may not be within the retailer’s control (Verhoef et al., 2009). Also, understanding the customer experience requires academics and practitioners alike to focus beyond the firm-customer boundary, including other customers and suppliers’ networks (Lemke et al., 2011). These challenges have contributed to the creation of the mentioned gap on the empirical front.
     As stated, this research will specifically address the topic of the CX antecedents’ evolution over the course of the buying process, which has been largely neglected in academia so far. The studies produced so far, analyze the impact of the identified factors in a static manner, that is, without considering that the relationship between those factors may evolve over the different stages of the experience. Consequently, they may end up having a different weight on the overall experience. This research, after a contribution to the conceptual discussion, aims at adding a dynamic element to the empirical analysis.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Table n.2. The Customer Experience antecedents – summary of currently available models

    3.1.Managerial Implications

    Firms must understand how customers’ attitudes adjust over time as the concept of experience itself involves progression over time (Palmer, 2010). Executives would benefit tremendously by being able to see which antecedents of the customer experience contribute most significantly to the customer’s individual and internal responses, and how the relationship between them evolves over the different stages. Managers should understand which key elements contribute to an experience and in which distinct areas (Poulsson and Kale, 2004). In practical terms, a determinant that is crucial in the pre-purchase stage (e.g. social environment or peer-to-peer reviews), may become of secondary relevance or completely irrelevant over the following stages. Considering that the length of the experience is difficult to quantify and it relies on several independent factors (e.g. type of service provided), consumers will have different needs at different stages of the relationship lifecycle (Frow, Payne, 2007), and this will influence their personal assessment (i.e. customer experience). As a result of the lack of research in this specific area, managers have received little guidance to date about how to design, manage and measure customized customer experiences, especially with regards to where in the total customer journey they should focalize their investments. This point is crucial in making sure that customer experience is not perceived as a vague concept. Many managers don’t know how to link CEM initiatives to a measurable Return on Investment (ROI). More than 400 CEM executives interviewed in 2014 by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services: although the majority agreed that firms will compete mainly on experiences, 45% of them found it difficult to tie CEM investments to outcomes. Being able to understand “what-matters-where” in the CX journey becomes paramount for managers, in order to carefully plan the required financial investments and customize memorable experiences for their customers.

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