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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2017

Joan Ball and Donald C. Barnes

The purpose of this paper is to combine the evolving fields of customer delight and positive psychology to investigate a broader conceptualization of customer delight…

1407

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to combine the evolving fields of customer delight and positive psychology to investigate a broader conceptualization of customer delight. Furthermore, to investigate antecedent variables that impact this broader conceptualization.

Design/methodology/approach

This research employed structural equation modeling in a hedonic context.

Findings

Key findings indicate that aside from joy and surprise, gratitude also has a positive impact on customer delight. Furthermore, psychological sense of brand community (PSBC) and transcendent customer experiences (TCE) were shown to positively impact the proximal antecedents of customer delight.

Research limitations/implications

Extending the domain of customer delight beyond joy and surprise contributes to the theoretical discussion on what customer delight represents to the service firm. Further, this research identifies new theoretical relationships between PSBC/TCE and customer delight.

Practical implications

By offering the broader conceptualization of customer delight, this research contributes to the discussion of whether delight is possible or even profitable. Namely, by moving past joy/surprise, this research suggests that managing gratitude can be a strategic lever that the modern service firm can utilize.

Originality/value

This is the first research to evaluate gratitude as an antecedent to customer delight. Further, by combining positive psychology and delight research this research identifies new predictors of positive customer experiences.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 April 2020

Rebecca M. Guidice, Donald C. Barnes and Brian R. Kinard

With increasing competition in the marketplace, there is a greater push for exceeding customer expectations and delivering customer delight to ensure firm’s success. The…

Abstract

Purpose

With increasing competition in the marketplace, there is a greater push for exceeding customer expectations and delivering customer delight to ensure firm’s success. The main reason for this push is the beneficial outcomes for the firm. More recently, hidden benefits have been identified (i.e. elevated customer emotions can positively impact other customers and employees in the service environment). Adding to this developing literature, the current research develops a model that links antecedents and outcomes to employee perceptions of customer delight.

Design/methodology/approach

Both field and panel data, as well as multiple statistical methods, were utilized to test the hypothesized relationships. The field data were collected from employees of a national specialty retailer.

Findings

Service climate and interpersonal influence have a positive impact on customer delight and employee perceptions of customer delight. In turn, employee perceptions of customer delight positively impact harmonious passion and job dedication. In addition, accountability for pleasing customers is a significant moderator of the relationship between employee perceptions of customer delight and harmonious passion, but not between employee perceptions of customer delight and job dedication.

Research limitations/implications

This research contributes to the ongoing debate on the viability of customer delight as a service standard by investigating the under-studied perspective of the frontline employee.

Practical implications

This research contributes to the debate on the value of customer delight as a service standard by investigating the under-studied perspective of the frontline employee. A key takeaway for practitioners is how to create and manage the delight spirals that can occur when customers are delighted.

Originality/value

This is the first study that evaluates antecedents and outcomes of employee-perceived customer delight in a single model. This is also the first study to measure the impact of employee perceptions of customer delight with field data.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 August 2020

Donald C. Barnes, Jessica Mesmer-Magnus, Lisa L. Scribner, Alexandra Krallman and Rebecca M. Guidice

The unprecedented dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced firms to re-envision the customer experience and find new ways to ensure positive service encounters. This…

2364

Abstract

Purpose

The unprecedented dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced firms to re-envision the customer experience and find new ways to ensure positive service encounters. This context has underscored the reality that drivers of customer delight in a “traditional” context are not the same in a crisis context. While research has tended to identify hedonic need fulfillment as key to customer well-being and, ultimately, to invoking customer delight, the majority of studies were conducted in inherently positive contexts, which may limit generalizability to more challenging contexts. Through the combined lens of transformative service research (TSR) and psychological theory on hedonic and eudaimonic human needs, we evaluate the extent to which need fulfillment is the root of customer well-being and that meeting well-being needs ultimately promotes delight. We argue that in crisis contexts, the salience of needs shifts from hedonic to eudaimonic and the extent to which service experiences fulfill eudaimonic needs determines the experience and meaning of delight.

Design/methodology/approach

Utilizing the critical incident technique, this research surveyed 240 respondents who were asked to explain in detail a time they experienced customer delight during the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyzed their responses according to whether these incidents reflected the salience of hedonic versus eudaimonic need fulfillment.

Findings

The results support the notion that the salience of eudaimonic needs become more pronounced during times of crisis and that service providers are more likely to elicit perceptions of delight when they leverage meeting eudaimonic needs over the hedonic needs that are typically emphasized in traditional service encounters.

Originality/value

We discuss the implications of these findings for integrating the TSR and customer delight literatures to better understand how service experiences that meet salient needs produce customer well-being and delight. Ultimately, we find customer delight can benefit well-being across individual, collective and societal levels.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 May 2016

Donald C. Barnes, Joel E. Collier, Vince Howe and K. Douglas Hoffman

Historically, firms have dedicated an abundance of resources in the pursuit of customer satisfaction and its corresponding favorable consequences. However, research…

4918

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from a grocery store. The hypothesized relationships were tested using structural equation modeling.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Practical implications

By providing specific variables that impact both joy and surprise, management can develop tactics to develop delight initiatives.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 January 2017

Nadine L. Ludwig, Donald C. Barnes and Matthias Gouthier

Deciding on the appropriate level of service is one of the paramount decisions a firm must make. Making this decision more complicated is the debate regarding the…

Abstract

Purpose

Deciding on the appropriate level of service is one of the paramount decisions a firm must make. Making this decision more complicated is the debate regarding the viability of aiming for the highest level of service or customer delight. One avenue of research missing from the literature is the impact of providing delight to one customer while in the presence of others. In response the purpose of this paper is to evaluate the emotional and cognitive reactions of the observing customer.

Design/methodology/approach

Structural equation modeling was utilized to evaluate a sample of 272 respondents. Additional moderation analysis was conducted on the impact of perceived deservingness.

Findings

Findings indicate that the observing customer experiences the dual effects of joy and jealousy which both impact perceptions of unfairness and subsequent behaviors of complaining and repurchase. The perceived deservingness of the customer experiencing the delight is shown to reduce the impact of jealousy on unfairness.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations include cross-sectional data and the fact that the data were retrospective.

Practical implications

This research suggests that firms should embrace the positive contagion that occurs between the delighted customer and observer while attempting to minimize the impact of jealousy.

Originality/value

This is the first research to quantitatively evaluate the impact of a customer viewing another customer receiving delight.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

Donald C. Barnes, Joel E. Collier and Stacey Robinson

The purpose of the current research is to evaluate how customer contact level and customer service-based role conflict influence the relationship between customer emotions…

3781

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the current research is to evaluate how customer contact level and customer service-based role conflict influence the relationship between customer emotions and work engagement, while simultaneously evaluating psychological capital as an outcome of work engagement. Customer service research highlights the impact of employee attitudes and behaviors on customer satisfaction. More recently, this relationship has been examined in reverse, evaluating how customer emotions influence the employee. Unfortunately, previous research has not evaluated variables that inhibit the impact of customer emotions on the employee.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from frontline employees across high and low customer contact service contexts. The hypothesized relationships were tested using structural equation modeling.

Findings

This research provides empirical evidence that employee-perceived customer delight impacts employee work engagement. However, through a process of feedback, customer service-based role conflict impacts the relationship between customer emotions and employee emotions. Finally, the conceptual model illustrates how engaged employees can create their own personal resources vis-à-vis the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.

Research limitations/implications

This research identifies both antecedent and outcomes variables associated with work engagement, as well as identified mediating factors.

Practical implications

Results suggest that the quality and level of contact that frontline employees have with customers impact their work engagement. Furthermore, engaged frontline employees have the ability to create their own personal resources.

Originality/value

This research makes contributions to the understanding of the impact of positive customer emotions on frontline employees.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 September 2013

Donald C. Barnes and Joel E. Collier

Frontline employees (FLEs) represent a major source of value creation for the modern firm. As such, firms are constantly evaluating different attributes of potential and…

4210

Abstract

Purpose

Frontline employees (FLEs) represent a major source of value creation for the modern firm. As such, firms are constantly evaluating different attributes of potential and current employees in the hopes of attracting, retaining, and rewarding key employees. Recently, the construct of work engagement has garnered interest as an important indicator of employee performance. However, much is unknown about this construct with regards to antecedents, outcomes and measurement. Thus, the purpose of the current research is to contribute to the developing literature on work engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from FLEs across high and low customer contact service contexts. The hypothesized relationships in the model were tested using structural equation modeling (SEM).

Findings

This research provides empirical evidence that service climate, job satisfaction and affective commitment influence work engagement. Employee's work engagement subsequently impacts constructs such as career commitment and adaptability. Furthermore, the authors conceptualize work engagement as a multidimensional higher order construct that exhibits a superior fit compared to a simple first order conceptualization.

Research limitations/implications

This research provides guidance on how to measure work engagement as well as identifying both antecedent and outcomes variables associated with the construct.

Practical implications

Results suggest that the service firm has some impact on the level of work engagement FLEs exhibit. Furthermore, this research highlights the importance of the link between positive emotions and FLE performance.

Originality/value

By utilizing the contemporary broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, this research makes contributions in the developing understanding of the impact of positive emotions on FLEs.

Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2014

Abstract

Details

Practical and Theoretical Implications of Successfully Doing Difference in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-678-1

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1975

Tom Schultheiss and Linda Mark

The following classified, annotated list of titles is intended to provide reference librarians with a current checklist of new reference books, and is designed to…

108

Abstract

The following classified, annotated list of titles is intended to provide reference librarians with a current checklist of new reference books, and is designed to supplement the RSR review column, “Recent Reference Books,” by Frances Neel Cheney. “Reference Books in Print” includes all additional books received prior to the inclusion deadline established for this issue. Appearance in this column does not preclude a later review in RSR. Publishers are urged to send a copy of all new reference books directly to RSR as soon as published, for immediate listing in “Reference Books in Print.” Reference books with imprints older than two years will not be included (with the exception of current reprints or older books newly acquired for distribution by another publisher). The column shall also occasionally include library science or other library related publications of other than a reference character.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1974

Tom Schultheiss, Lorraine Hartline, Jean Mandeberg, Pam Petrich and Sue Stern

The following classified, annotated list of titles is intended to provide reference librarians with a current checklist of new reference books, and is designed to…

Abstract

The following classified, annotated list of titles is intended to provide reference librarians with a current checklist of new reference books, and is designed to supplement the RSR review column, “Recent Reference Books,” by Frances Neel Cheney. “Reference Books in Print” includes all additional books received prior to the inclusion deadline established for this issue. Appearance in this column does not preclude a later review in RSR. Publishers are urged to send a copy of all new reference books directly to RSR as soon as published, for immediate listing in “Reference Books in Print.” Reference books with imprints older than two years will not be included (with the exception of current reprints or older books newly acquired for distribution by another publisher). The column shall also occasionally include library science or other library related publications of other than a reference character.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

1 – 10 of 320