HOW GOALS, EMOTIONS, AND TOUCHPOINTS INFLUENCE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Ruth Bolton, Arizona State University

 

The purpose of this study is to investigate how customer experiences differ across market segments, channels and nations. It aims to answer the following research questions about the customer experience:

RQ1:    How do customers’ goals magnify or diminish the effects of experiential attributes on the satisfaction with the customer experience?

RQ2:   How do customer emotions influence satisfaction with the customer experience across different touchpoints?

RQ3:   Are customers’ responses to delivered experiences sufficiently robust across customer´s goals, touchpoints and markets (e.g., countries) that a retailer can and should customize the designed experience to better satisfy customers?

The study studies how satisfaction with the customer experience at a touchpoint – after controlling for overall perceptions of the retail brand and previous purchase or consumption. Satisfaction with the customer experience is modeled as a function of the customer’s goals, emotions, touchpoint and experiential attributes. The model is operationalized with survey data from 2.5 million customers from 47 markets. Satisfaction equations are estimated for each combination of goal, touchpoint and country generating elasticity estimates for each predictor variable. The results show that customers magnify experiential attributes (e.g., attractive) that link to their focal goals (e.g., browsing) or emotions (e.g., excitement). However, even when customers have the same goal there are different experiential attributes that are important across touchpoints. The moderating effects of goals and emotions are roughly comparable in magnitude to those of touchpoints. The theoretical explanation is that people’s goals, emotions and touchpoints direct their attentional mechanisms toward congruent environmental cues. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for retailers seeking to design and deliver excellent customer experiences.