Customer suggestions offer valuable insights to companies, and suggestion sharing is a form of engagement that strengthens customers’ relationships with firms. Yet research to date has neglected to explicitly study the antecedents of direct-to-firm consumer suggestion sharing or to adequately characterize the behavior. This paper aims to address this deficiency.
The research draws on two surveys using three different elicitation techniques – critical incident, direct reporting and scenario response. Inductive content analysis of consumer responses is used to derive exploratory insights regarding the range of factors that motivate and inhibit consumer suggestion sharing, with an emphasis on consumer service-related contexts.
Potential self, other and firm benefits motivate suggestion sharing, whereas a host of factors, including the effort involved, a lack of perceived firm efficacy and unpleasant sharing contexts inhibit it. The findings reveal a rich portrait of antecedents that illustrates how direct-to-firm suggestion-sharing behavior combines elements of customer citizenship behavior, customer complaint behavior and online community idea sharing.
The research relies upon reporting by US students and consumers.
Service firms hoping to avail themselves of customers’ desire to contribute to their and their customers’ betterment must understand and manage the tripartite nature of consumer suggestion sharing evinced by the antecedents revealed.
To the best of the author’s knowledge, this research offers the first description of the range of factors that motivate and inhibit direct-to-firm consumer suggestion sharing. As such, it provides a theoretical foundation upon which future consumer suggestion-sharing research can build.
The author gratefully acknowledges the feedback provided on earlier versions of this manuscript by R. Bret Leary, Laee Choi, Jean (Hyo) Jeon, Todd Donovan, James Leonhardt and Mark Packard. Special thanks to the graduate students who assisted in the qualitative data analysis, Qifan Chen and Lexey Sbriglia.
Burnham, T. (2020), "I’ve got an idea! Exploring the antecedents of suggestion sharing in consumer services", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-08-2019-0312Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited