05301414

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05301414

  1. 1. Would Customer Participation Certainly Cause Customer Satisfaction? Wang Haijun Human&Social Science College of Wuhan University of Science and Engineering Wuhan, China wzwhj@sohu.com Abstract customers participated in the production and delievery of Customer participation in the production of goods and the service will help them to understand the service thenservices appears to be growing. The marketing literature has make them have a appropriate expectation about thelargely focused on the economic implications of this trend and service quality, so customer participation will shorten thehas not addressed the methods of customer participation and difference ot the expected service quality andcustomers potential psychological responses to participation. On recognization. Which will help the customers to recognizethe base of the existent marketing literatures, this study is to the quality of the service and improve the satisfaction ofinvestigate the influence of customer participation on customersatisfaction by experiment. The study shows that customer the customers(Ennew and Binks,1999). Besides, becauseparticipation is not a pure stimulating factor to customer customers and contact employees work together, if thesatisfaction,perceived consistency of participation methods 、 results of the service is not as expected, customers willcustomer self-regulatory state and different service outcome will attribute some reasons to themselves which will reducehave effect on customer satisfaction in the different degree. their complaining and increase their satisfaction. But Keywords - Self-regulatory state; Customer satisfaction; according to the theory of Neeli Bendapudi and RobertCustomer participation; Perceived participation methods; P.Leone ( 2003 ) , when an outcome is worse thanCognitive consistency expected, a customer who participates in production with the firm will be as satisfied with the firm as will a I. INTRODUCTION customer who does not participate in production; When an outcome is better than expected, a customer who Customers increasingly are being encouraged to take participates in production with the tlrm will be lesson more active roles in producing goods and services. satisiled with the tlrm than will a customer who does notThey go into photography stores and use machines to participate in production. Yen Gwinner and Su(2004)crop, enlarge, correct, or enhance their photographs; also expresse their different idea, they think the customerscheck themselves in and out of hotels; and even routinely who participate in the service will pay more cost such asscan and bag their own groceries at supermarkets. energy and time, so if the service fail, they will be moreCustomer participation per se is not new. Supermarkets, dissatisfied compared with the customers who do notwhich are models of customer co-production with participate in the service.customers selecting, carting, and transporting groceries, Why customer’s participation will not sure lead todate to the 1930s. What is new is the recognition that customer satisfaction? The current literatures want toencouraging customers to be "co-producers" in this sense explain their relationship directly from different theories,is the next frontier in competitive effectiveness. We are but the results are not certain. So there should be someseeing the emergence of the "customizing consumer" influencing mediators between the two variables. What(Moyers 1989)—consumers who examine market are these factors? We shall try to settle this problems inofferings and create a customized consumption the following parts of this article.experience for themselves (Firat, Dholakia, andVenkatesh 1995). On the basis of this trend. Lovelock andYoung (1979) urge firms to use customers to increase II. METHODOLOGYproductivity. Schneider and Bowen (1995) suggest thatfirms should use customer talents to deliver superior Customer participation has been defined as "the degreeservice. Lengnick-Hall (1996) urges firms to examine the to which the customer is involved in producing androles that customers can and do play in the service delivering the service" (Dabholkar 1990) . Extending thisproduction process. Recently, Prahalad and Ramaswamy construct, Meuter and Bitner (1998) distinguish among(2000) have advocated co-opting customer competence as three types of service production based on customera competitive strategy. Until recently, the logic of these exhortations has relied participation: firm production, joint production, and customer production. In our research, we define thealmost exclusively on an economic rationale. Few cognitive consistency between customer perceivedresearches focused on the methods of customer participation methods and their expected methods asparticipation and customers potential psychological follows:”the customers perceive the methods in theirresponses to participation. Additionally, from the current participation process is consistent to the mental expectedmarketing literatures, there are still some argues about methods which can realize their hope.”whether the customer participation will definitely lead tocustomer satisfaction. Bitner(1997) believed that 978-1-4244-4639-1/09/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE
  2. 2. This consistency can be explained by the coginitive Regulatory fit is experienced when people pursue aconsistency theory(Festinger 1959; Heider 1958). goal in a manner that sustains their regulatory orientation.According to this theory, When our inner systems (beliefs, Previous research on promotion and preventionattitudes, values, etc.) all support one another and when orientations has found that regulatory fit increasesthese are also supported by external evidence, then we people_s perception that a decision they made was ‘right’,have a comfortable state of affairs. The discomfort of which in turn transfers value to the decision outcome,cognitive dissonance occurs when things fall out of including being willing to pay more for a product thanalignment, which leads us to try to achieve a maximum those who chose the same product without regulatory fitpractical level of consistency in our world. (Higgins, 2000; Higgins et al., in press). Accordingly,We also have a very strong need to believe we are being when customers participating in the service, if scenario isconsistent with social norms. When there is conflict consistent to their regulatory focus, they will be morebetween behaviors that are consistent with inner systems satisfied than those who do not participate in the service.and behaviors that are consistent with social norms, the So we propose the following hypothesis:potential threat of social exclusion often sways us H3: When customers participate in the production ortowards the latter, even though it may cause significant delievery of service, if the scenario they perceived isinner dissonance. consistent to their regulatory focus, the customers with Avnet and Higgins(2006) find besides the results the promotion focus will be more satisfied than the customers difference of the action process will have effection on with prevention focus. customers affect experience. Because customer H4: When customers participate in the production or participation is the mutual actions between customers and delievery of service, if the scenario they perceived is not contact employees, so the attitude of the customers is consistent to their regulatory focus, the customers with determined by the customers themselves and service promotion focus will be less satisfied than the customers provider. General speaking, the whole scenario of the with prevention focus. participation is designed by the service provider, so the psychological feeling of the customers is coming from their feelings about the whole scenario. The customers III. RESULTS who participated in the service always expect good results We adopt simulative scene experiment to test all the of the service, according to the recognitive consistency hypotheses. In the literatures of psychology and thoery, customers will be more satisfactied if the scenario marketing, simulative scene experiment method is the perceived are consistent with or superior to their abroadly accepted, and by using this method, we can expected situations than the customers who do not control complicated variables easily, which has quite high participate in the service. If the scenario designed by the exterior validity(Hui and Bateson,1991; Reeder, 2001). service provider is not consistent with their expected, There are totally 120 EMBA students voluntarily customers will neglect this information because they are participated in the experiment. We divide all the always looking for the proof to support their consistency. participants into two groups randomly. We can see table 1 What is more, customers who participate in the service the whole scenario pirture. spend so much energy and time cost, so they will be more TABLE I dissatisfied. Then we propose the following hypothesis: THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SCENARIO H1:when customers participate in service, if the The control of customers participation scenarios they perceived are consistent with or superior to You are on of the potential customers You are the potential customers for A their expected, they will be more satisfied than the for A brand car, now they invite you brand car, before you purchase this customers who do not participate in the service. to participate in the design of the new car,you do not have the chance H2: when customers participate in service, if the model, for the following two design toparticipate in the design of the car. scenarios they perceived are not consistent with their idea, which one is suitable to you? expected, they will be more dissatisfied than the a、 The outlin should be stydle and customers who do not participate in the service. inner design be humanistic. According to regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997, b、 Safety and responsible, and 1998), different regulatory states arise when people durable. follow different types of “self-guides:” (a) ideal self For the two groups, one group members will read the guides, individuals’ representations of desired states as scenario they participate in the service and the other one hopes or aspirations; and (b) ought self-guides, will read the other scenario they do not participate at their individuals’ representationsof desired states as duties or own pace. After the participants finished reading the responsibilities. Higgins (1987) suggested that a scenario, they will answer one item, nine points promotion focus is associated with a person’s desire to questionaire, and “1” represtents “totally dissatisfied”, “9” achieve ideal states, which are defined as that person’s represents “totally satisfactied”. We adopt selves hopes, desires, or aspirations. In contrast, a prevention questions to test participants’ regulatory focus(Brocker, focus is associated with a person’s desire to achieve ought 2002; Idson and Higgins 2000). states, which are defined as that person’s duties obligations, or responsibilities.
  3. 3. To test H1 and H2, we performed ANOVA test for the IV. DISCUSSION two groups. For the customers who participated in the Although the researchs about customer participation service and their perceived scenarios are consistent with are quite abundant in the marketing, but we do not get or superior to their expected, their mean satisfaction consistent opition about whther customer participation points is 7.63; fot those who did not participate in the certainly cause customer satisfaction. Which means some service and their perceived scenarios are not consistent influencing factors between these two variables. But with their expected, their mean satisfaction points is 6.67. current literatures pay little attention to this point, they And for the customers who do not participate in the want to settle this problem directly by using different service, their mean satisfaction point is 5.47. The two theory. So the factors between the two variables are still differences of the points(7.63 and 5.47; 6.67 and 5.47) are like “black case”. From the research background of all significant(p=0.001;p=0.001). So H1 and H2 is customer participation and the prior research results, we certified. That is to say, when customers participate in take customers regulatory focus and the consistency of service, if the scenarios they perceived are consistent with perceived scenario as the influencing factors between or superior to their expected, they will be more satisfied than the customers who do not participate in the customer participation and customer participation, which service.And if the scenarios they perceived are not fill the gap in the customer participation theory at some consistent with their expected, they will be more degree. dissatisfied than the customers who do not participate in The results give us some illuminations: when the service. customers participate in service, if the scenarios they To test H3 and H4, we devided the group in which the perceived are consistent with or superior to their expected, group members participate in the service into two groups they will be more satisfied than the customers who do not according to their perceived scenarios. The we performed participate in the service.And if the scenarios they ANOVA test for the two groups and we get the results as perceived are not consistent with their expected, they will table 2 and table 3. be more dissatisfied than the customers who do not participate in the service. TABLE 2 What is more, when customers participate in the THE RESULTS OF ANOVA FOR PERCEIVED SCENARIO production or delievery of service, if the scenario they perceived is consistent to their regulatory focus, the Regulatory focus Mean F Sig. customers with promotion focus will be more satisfied Prevention focus 6.00 than the customers with prevention focus. And if theconsistent 31.925 .001 scenario they perceived is not consistent to their Promotion focus 7.17 regulatory focus, the customers with promotion focus will Prevention focus 7.56Not be less satisfied than the customers with prevention focus. 14.336 .007consistent Promotion focus 6.67 V. CONCLUSION When customers participate in the production or Because most of the researches about customer delievery of service, if the scenario they perceived is participation and customer satisfaction are descriptive, consistent to their regulatory focus, the mean satisfaction very few literatures in marketing and management can point for the customer with prevention focus is 6.00 and give the managers detail and normative suggestions. So for those with promotion focus is 7.17, the difference of another purpose of this article is to help the company to these two points are significant(p=0.001). So H3 get design effective customer participated scenarios to supported. That is to say, when customers participate in increase customer satisfaction. Particularly, this article the production or delievery of service, if the scenario they provide demonstration proofs that there are some factors perceived is consistent to their regulatory focus, the between customer participation and customer satisfaction. customers with promotion focus will be more satisfied Firstly, customer participation can lead to customer than the customers with prevention focus. satisfaction, but which will behind some kind of And if the scenario they perceived is not consistent to precondition. From our lives, we can see many cases in their regulatory focus, the mean satisfaction point for the which customers feel too bad even they participate in the customer with prevention focus is 7.56 and for those with service such as the shopping during their tourism.The promotion focus is 6.67, the difference of these two points scenarios they perceived are consistent with or not to are significant(p=0.007). Then H4 is proved. So when their expected are very important to their satisfaction. So customers participate in the production or delievery of just designing a scenario randomly is not enough for the service, if the scenario they perceived is not consistent to companies, managers must do some investigations to find their regulatory focus, the customers with promotion which kind of scenarios are suitable to their potential focus will be less satisfied than the customers with customers. Then by designing most suitable scenarios to prevention focus. increase customer satisfaction. At the same time, because the results show customers different regulatory focus will have effect on their
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