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: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JOSM-05-2020-0146/full/html