Historically, firms have dedicated an abundance of resources in the pursuit of customer satisfaction and its corresponding favorable consequences. However, research indicates that customer satisfaction may not necessarily result in the outcomes pursued. This paper aims to focus on the concept of customer delight and explore antecedents and consequences of interest to the service firm. More specifically, the proposed model explores the linkages of employee effort, employee expertise and the firm’s tangibles to customer surprise and joy which in turn lead to customer delight and per cent of budget spent.
Data were collected from a grocery store. The hypothesized relationships were tested using structural equation modeling.
Results from this study yield new insights into the dual pathways leading to customer delight through joy and surprise. That is, joy and tangibles lead to both joy and surprise, whereas expertise leads to joy alone. Both joy and surprise are completely mediated through delight to per cent of budget spent. Interestingly, higher frequency customers experience a stronger relationship from joy to delight.
The findings have implications for the ongoing debate on the viability of customer delight and extending the theoretical understanding of why customer delight represents such a powerful force in the service environment.
By providing specific variables that impact both joy and surprise, management can develop tactics to develop delight initiatives.
This is the first study proposing multiple paths to customer delight. Further, this is the first study to link needs based and disconfirmation into a single model.
Barnes, D., Collier, J., Howe, V. and Douglas Hoffman, K. (2016), "Multiple paths to customer delight: the impact of effort, expertise and tangibles on joy and surprise", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 277-289. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-05-2015-0172Download as .RIS
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