Cameron School of Business at UNCW

Customer delight during a crisis: understanding delight through the lens of transformative service research

Posted by Cameron School of Business on Sep 21, 2020 10:14:40 AM

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Story notes contributed by Lisa Scribner, Professor in Marketing at the UNCW Cameron School of Business.

Faculty in the Cameron School of Business have recently published a timely COVID-19-related paper in the Journal of Service Management, which is an A journal according the ABDC journal list. Dr. Donald Barnes (marketing), Dr. Jessica Mesmer-Magnus (management), Dr. Lisa Scribner (marketing), Dr. Alexandra Krallman (marketing), and Dr. Rebecca Guidice (management) studied “Customer delight during a crisis: Understanding delight through the lens of transformative service research.”

Utilizing theories from social psychology that highlight core social needs, this research examines how customer needs change during a crisis. The authors explain that customers can, and do, experience delight during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but the factors that drive this delight differ from those during “normal” times of affluence and relative societal predictability. The key is understanding 5 core social needs: trust, self-enhancement, sense of belonging, understanding and control. These needs become more relevant in difficult times. That is, in difficult crisis contexts, customer needs shift to being more eudaimonic in nature (needs that are rooted in human nature as opposed to self-interests).

The key takeaway is that a company should attend to their customers’ salient needs in those moments when customers are vulnerable. For example, a service provider simply showing kindness and understanding can positively impact core needs, resulting in customer delight. This research was done in collaboration with the Center for Sales Excellence & Customer Delight at the Cameron School of Business.

Read the journal article here:

Topics: marketing, customer delight, covid, research, consumer psychology, advertising psychology

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Cameron School of Business at UNCW

UNCW was established as Wilmington College in 1947. The Department of Business and Economics became the Cameron School of Business in 1979. Focused on the transformation of today’s business world from the industrial age into the information age, business education at the Cameron School of Business is focused on the technical, analytical and interpersonal skills students will need to lead this fundamental change in the business world through the 21st century.

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