When Do Customers Get What They Expect? Understanding the Ambivalent Effects of Customers' Service Expectations on Satisfaction

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State: Public
Version: Author's accepted manuscript
Serval ID
serval:BIB_06B0490A56A6
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
When Do Customers Get What They Expect? Understanding the Ambivalent Effects of Customers' Service Expectations on Satisfaction
Journal
Journal of Service Research
Author(s)
Habel  J., Alavi  S., Wieseke  J., Schmitz  C., Schneider  J.-V.
ISSN
1094-6705
Publication state
Published
Issued date
11/2016
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
19
Number
4
Pages
361-379
Language
english
Abstract
Extant research established that customers’ expectations play an ambivalent role in the satisfaction formation process: while higher expectations are more difficult to meet and thus cause dissatisfaction, they simultaneously increase satisfaction via customers’ perceived performance owing to a placebo effect. However, to date, knowledge is scarce on the question under which conditions either the positive or negative effect of expectations on satisfaction prevails. Building on information processing theory, the authors hypothesize that an essential contingency of the indirect, placebo-based effect is the degree to which customers are able and motivated to process a service experience. Three studies with a total of over 4,000 customers in different service contexts provide strong evidence for this hypothesis. Thus, managers are well advised to provide a realistic or even understated prospect if the service context favors customers’ ability or motivation to evaluate. Conversely, if customers are neither able nor motivated to evaluate the service, increasing customer expectations represents a viable strategy to enhance satisfaction. Relatedly, if customers hold low service expectations, managers should foster customers’ ability and motivation to evaluate the service. In contrast, if customers harbor high service expectations, managers should prevent customer from overly focusing on the service performance.
Keywords
service expectations, customer satisfaction, information processing
Create date
06/09/2016 10:00
Last modification date
20/08/2019 12:28
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