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When do customers get what they expect? Understanding the ambivalent effects of customers’ service expectations on satisfaction

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journal contribution
posted on 15.06.2018 by Johannes Habel, Sascha Alavi, Christian Schmitz, Janina-Vanessa Schneider, Jan Wieseke
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. 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 que stion 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 service expectations are high, managers may benefit from reducing the likelihood that customers overly focus on the service performance.

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

Journal of Service Research

Volume

19

Issue

4

Pages

361 - 379

Citation

HABEL, J. ...et al., 2016. When do customers get what they expect? Understanding the ambivalent effects of customers’ service expectations on satisfaction. Journal of Service Research, 19(4), pp. 361-379.

Publisher

© The Authors. Published by Sage

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2016-08-08

Notes

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Service Research and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1094670516662350

ISSN

1094-6705

eISSN

1552-7379

Language

en

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