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Dynamics and drivers of customer engagement: within the dyad and beyond

Julia A. Fehrer (Department of Marketing, Business School, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand) (Department of Marketing & Services Management, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
Herbert Woratschek (Department of Marketing & Services Management, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
Claas Christian Germelmann (Department of Marketing & Consumer Behavior, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
Roderick J. Brodie (Department of Marketing, Business School, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 24 May 2018

Issue publication date: 19 June 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend existing engagement research in two directions: first, it operationalizes the dynamic nature of the engagement process within a customer-brand dyad and, second, it tests the interrelationships with other network actors in a triadic network setting.

Design/methodology/approach

A 2×2 experimental design models the iterative nature of the engagement process based on repeated measures at three points in time, considering the contextual effects of connections with other customers and crowding-in effects based on monetary incentives.

Findings

This research demonstrates that in a utilitarian service setting, customer engagement does not emerge per se in the dyadic interaction between the customer and the brand. For high levels of engagement behavior to occur, incentives and ties to other network actors are essential. Further, the findings suggest a non-linear relationship between engagement behavior and its antecedents and consequences: engagement behavior must overcome a certain intensity threshold to unfold its effect.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed to explore the dynamic nature of the engagement process in experiential and interactive service settings, and more complex network settings that may involve more actors and more complex relationships.

Practical implications

By facilitating connections between customers and compensating for low intrinsic interest, managers can facilitate actual engagement behavior even in utilitarian service contexts. Once engagement behavior has been triggered, an increased engagement disposition, higher satisfaction, higher involvement and higher loyalty follow.

Originality/value

This study empirically tests the dynamic nature of the engagement process within and beyond the dyad, and has revealed a non-linear pattern of customer engagement behavior within its nomological network.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the editors of the special issue on Beyond the Dyadic: Customer Engagement in Increasingly Networked Environments and the three anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and constructive comments that enabled us to improve the manuscript. Julia Fehrer also expresses her gratitude to the German Academic Exchange Service and the University of Auckland for supporting this research (Grant No. 57140539).

Citation

Fehrer, J.A., Woratschek, H., Germelmann, C.C. and Brodie, R.J. (2018), "Dynamics and drivers of customer engagement: within the dyad and beyond", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 443-467. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-08-2016-0236

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited