Trying to provide information tohelp customers frame expectationsis so important to companies that they’ve gotten very creative in doing so. The provision of information helps reduce the consumers’ perception of the purchase as being risky. Research indicates that providing customers with realistic previews of anticipated purchases can have tremendous positive outcomes for the customer and the firm:Ikeaspends a lot of money renting large footprint spaces, but they believe that the money is well spent if the display rooms can help customers envision what a collection of furniture would look like in their children’s rooms or in their home offices. The idea is that the room displays help customers try out the purchase even prior to committing to the purchase; visiting Ikea, customers can experience the room as it would be, test drive the furniture, see how the candles would look, etc. (See research by Professors BoEdvardssonand BoEnquist(U of Karlstad), and Robert Johnston (Warwick Business School).)
If you think you want to be trained to entertain children at birthday parties, you could go tomooseburger.comand walk through what classes would be like at clown school. This site offers particularly sophisticated marketing, as it also discusses moose’s points of competitive differentiation; i.e., answering the question of why you should go to their clown school and not another.If you’re a risk-seeker, you can visitnewyork.trapezeschool.com, where they clarify your expectations quite explicitly, promising that you will “see what you’ll do in your first class.”Increasingly, to stimulatetraveland to even out seasonal demand, the many players in the hospitality industry (airlines, hotels, travel agencies, information sources) are providing “previews,” online access to video footage covering regions in the Caribbean islands, Mexico resorts, Florida and Hawaiian islands. It’s like being there (trial) before going there (purchase).
On a more serious note, marketers are trying to figure out how to get people to comply with preventative health maintenance services. Many women put their firstmammogramoff, in part because they don’t know what to expect. The procedure sounds scary and could possibly be painful. Marketers ran a study showing some women a realistic preview (written information and a video tape depicting the process), and others to no such preview. The women who were given the preview had more realistic and accurate expectations of the screening; were significantly less anxious; and were more satisfied ultimately with the screening experience.(See research by Professors Mary JoBitnerand William T.Faranda(ASU).)
5aspects customers look for:1) Reliability2) Tangible cues3) Responsiveness4) Assurance/knowledge5) Empathy/caringE’s, absolute vs. relative, dynamic, other standards, industry standard, minimally acceptable, customer’s idealZone of customer toleranceformed by desired (hi)and adequate (lo)zone narrow for critical purchaseExpectations basic--not magichotel: clean, secure, keep promiseauto repair: competent, explain, respect
Customer informationabout a hospital
efficiencyattentionto needsconcern for needshelpfulnesscheerfulnesssensitivityskillresponsivenessconcernknowledgeableAttentivenessavailabilityskillwillingness to give infocomfortcondition of roomvisitor arrangementsfoodproceduresInstructionsexplanationsefficiency
admissionsdaily carenursing caredoctor carelivingarrangementsdischargebilling