Customer Delight: A Review

By Alexander, M. Wayne | Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, January 2010 | Go to article overview

Customer Delight: A Review


Alexander, M. Wayne, Academy of Marketing Studies Journal


INTRODUCTION

Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel (2006) state that, "... businesses have begun to realize that simply satisfying customers may not be enough. Rather, they should strive for 'customer delight,' which comes when customers are satisfied completely (p. 214)." Only recently has customer delight and its opposite, outrage or disgust, been given much attention in the literature. Note that though some see delight as an extension of satisfaction at the extreme positive end and outrage or disgust at the extreme negative end, others view delight and its opposite as a concept separate and apart from satisfaction. The review below examines both delight and disgust and avoids that satisfaction research which sheds little light on delight, it antecedents, and consequences.

The review is organized into two sections: antecedents and results. Each review examines the theoretical underpinnings, the methodology, and the conclusions as they relate to delight/disgust. The criteria for choosing published material for review include the mention of delight and/or its opposite somewhere in the article, usually in the theoretical underpinnings or conclusions/discussion. This review is not meant to be exhaustive nor an abstract, but a short summary of the research and opinion relative to delight along with my comments.

ANTECEDENTS OF DELIGHT/DISGUST

Oliver, Rust, and Varki (1997)

In a review of the services literature, Oliver, Rust, and Varki conclude that while a growing body of literature exists on consumer satisfaction and dissatisfaction, little academic work as been performed on customer delight (p. 313). Yet service practitioners believe that in order to retain customers they must go beyond satisfaction to delight. Indeed, they see delight/disgust as different concepts than satisfaction/dissatisfaction. The practitioners, then, define delight as a strong, positive, emotional reaction to a product or service. And though delight is dependent on emotion in the consumer's response to consumption, the type of emotion is not clear ...

The academic's perspective provides little insight into the concept of delight. While some assume that delight is at an extreme end of a satisfaction/dissatisfaction continuum, and by extension disgust is at the other, the research has not established this proposition.

In their review of the emotion literature, delight is defined as "... a combination of high pleasure (joy, elation) and high activation ... or surprise (p. 317)." That is, delight occurs when the consumer experiences a positive outcome and the outcome is unanticipated.

The authors develop a model of delight and satisfaction based on Oliver's (1981) disconfirmation paradigm. In a set of six hypotheses the model links (a) surprise to arousal, (b) disconfirmation and arousal to positive affect, (c) surprising consumption, arousal, and positive affect to delight, (d) positive affect and disconfirmation to satisfaction, and (e) satisfaction and delight to behavioral intention.

To test the model, two studies examined consumers patronizing a recreational wildlife theme park (n = 90) and single ticket purchasers for a symphony concert (n = 104). Satisfaction was measured with surveys containing Likert-type scales. Surprise and delight were measured directly on a frequency scale from "Never" to "Always." Surprise was also measured in terms of performance as compared to expectations. Those who felt that consumption was much better than expected in an extreme sense were categorized post hoc as surprised (p. 321).

Hypothesis 3, the most relevant to the topic at hand, postulated that, "delight is a function of surprising consumption, arousal, and positive affect." The authors concluded from the first study that the data supported the hypothesis. On the other hand, delight and intention to repurchase were not related. In the second study, delight was related to affect only. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Customer Delight: A Review
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.