Service Excellence: Creating Customer Experiences That Build Relationships

Ruth N. Bolton, Arizona State University

The Customer Experience is the sensory, cognitive, emotional, social and behavioral dimensions of all activities that connect the customer and the organization over time, including all touchpoints and channels (i.e., business-to-business, business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer interactions). It encompasses all activities involving the customer where the organization is the focal object, including pre-purchase activities (such as exposure to an ad, browsing a website), purchase behaviors, consumption behaviors, engagement behaviors (blogging, sharing photos), and other non-purchase activities.

This book analyzes the challenges of creating excellent customer experiences, including the infusion of technology and new media. It describes how customers participate through co-production and co-creation, and how participation influences how organizations manage demand and supply. With this background, the book takes a deep dive into the psychology of customers, including the conceptual building blocks of customer experiences and how customer experiences build relationships with organizations over time. These ideas provide a foundation for a financial and business perspective on how to manage relationships with customers that generate cash flows and profitability, including the role of pricing.

The goal of the book is to help managers translate customer insights into organizational actions.  The remaining chapters provide concepts and tools to help the manager:

  • Uncover new sources of revenue from innovations and improvements to the customer experience, including leveraging business analytics and metrics (Chapter 6)
  • Design service processes, operations and channels to create customer experiences that build relationships, as well as design responses to service failures (Chapter 7)
  • Manage people and physical evidence in co-creating the customer experience, as well as the need for a service culture within organizations (Chapter 8)

The book closes by considering the customer experience from a global perspective, as well as how customer-organization relationships are likely to unfold in the future.