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Literature review and analysis
This chapter illustrates the literature research approach applied and presents the works that other researchers have published on this theme. The aim is to provide an overview of the relevant literature concerning the topics of this paper, identifying the research boundaries and clarifying the glossary adopted.
Literature Review research approach
A reach literature is available on Customer Experience topic. Internet websites, books and articles by leading academics are the preferred source for the following review; peer-review publications represent additional literature material considered.
According to Henley Management approach a concept centric approach has been applied. The following literature tree shows the different concepts studied and presented in the following paragraphs.
Kotler and Keller (2006) affirm that “the marketplace isn’t what it used to be”. It is radically changed due to the influence of external forces as in particular:
- Changing Technology: The digital revolution and the web.2.0 era have created an Information and Participation Age characterized by more personalized products/services and more targeted communications. Electronic social network and virtual community are diffusing rapidly;
- Customer empowerment: The customers are sophisticated and require specific competencies and high quality, driven by the perceptions both of what technology is promising and what the competition is offering;
- Customization: The customers are more and more demanding personalized product/services and more efficiency and efficacy communications;
- Disintermediation: the success of online applications has created disintermediation amplified by the web.2.0 technology.
Recent books as “Beyond Disruption” and “Radical Marketing” have analyzed the success stories of some companies as Apple, Sony, Virgin Atlantic Airways, etc explaining that, in this changed context, the key of success is the adoption of a different marketing approach characterized by the focus on stretching limited resources, good and continuous relationship with customers to provide more satisfying solutions to customer needs.
Schlesinger and Heskett (1991), for example, confirm that organizations should abandon the industrial (mass-production) approach to services and adopt a "new model" of service based around customers' requirements. This new marketing approach influences also the evaluation of “quality” of services/products. In fact as affirmed by the management guru Tom Peters starting from 1982 and confirmed by Butz and Goodstein (1996) “the quality may no longer provide a clear competitive advantage if it is not correlated with customer satisfaction”. These considerations are testified also by changes, analyzed by Gale (1994) and Naumann (1995), in the strategy of numerous companies that are moving toward the “customer value delivery”. Therefore the increasing relevance of the Customer Experience comes out and it replaces the advertising as key to brand and customer loyalty building (Frank Yao, 2007). Therefore “the customer experience to maximize the customer satisfaction is the next competitive battleground” (Shaw 2003).
But what is Customer Experience?
Kelly Goto (2004) defines the customer experience as “the overall perception and comprehensive interaction an individual has with a company, service or product. A positive user experience is an end-user‘s successful and streamlined completion of a desired task.” This definition highlights that to obtain an exemplary customer experience is needed to meet exactly the customer’s wants and needs maximizing its satisfaction through products/services simply and easy to use. To do that it’s required the strong integration among the primary and secondary activities od the company value chain and in particular among internal divisions as the marketing, production and product design.
The customer experience happens at touch points (peoplesales, mobile or website services etc) defined as customer-company intersections using different channel (store, mobile, call center, web) defined as interaction channel (Chatman, 2002) and is filtered by the customer’s expectations about the company value propositions (Seybold et al., 2001).
As summarized by Parasuraman et al (1990) the customer experience is strictly depending on the right balancing of customer expectation and perception that guarantees the achievement of service quality (see par.3.3) and a good customer satisfaction. In Fig.3.2.1 these elements are correlated following the IBM Customer Experience methodology described in detail in the par.3.4
As showed in the figure the Customer Experience is the results of the company and customer interaction. In fact starting from the company value proposition the customer realizes its own perception of that, influenced by its expectation obtaining. The Value Perception generates the final real company value realization. Therefore what the company products/services proposition is able to realize in terms of value is strictly depending on the customer experience.
Customer Perception and Expectation
Some researchers as Frank Yao and George Day affirm that among all indexes in customer experience management, the biggest challenge is customer perception management, or customer perception satisfaction
The Customer Perception is the “customer evaluation of all of the benefits and costs of being in relation with the company - compared to alternatives” (Kotler & Keller, 2006). The value perception must be as much as possible aligned with the value expected by the client. Misalignment could result in over-investment in value proposition or under value realization. To optimize the value perception is key to understand and focus the resources on improvement of the Value Drivers which are the elements “that enhances the perceived value of a product or service in the perception of the consumer and which therefore creates value for the producer” (BNet definition).
The Customer Expectation, using the Parasuraman et al. description (1985), can be represented as “the mutable internal standard”, derived from customer wants and needs, external environment, previous experiences, company communication and word-of-mouth.
As sustained by Urban in “The Emerging Era of Customer Advocacy”the Customers are “value-maximizes and they evaluate which offer will deliver the most perceived value and act on it”.
The customer delivered value (Fig.22.214.171.124), is expressed by Kotler in 1991 as:
TCV is a function of Product Value, Service Value, Personnel Value, Image Value;
TCC is a function of Monetary Cost, Time Cost, Energy Cost, Psychic Cost and Opportunity Cost.
The implications of these considerations are very well summarized by Swaddling and Miller. They affirm that the organizations must assess the total customer value and total customer cost associated with each competitor’s offering in order to know how it rates in the customer’s mind. The organizations that are at customer perceived value disadvantage can act or to increase the total customer value or to decrease total customer cost.
Gale (2000) reviews the Customer Value as related to Product and Service Quality, Customers Relationship from which the loyalty is depending, and Organization Image moving the focus on the concepts of Service Quality (see par.3.3), Brand and Loyalty that are more and more relevant factors in the increasing customer volatility scenario.
Going deeper to analyze the Customer Value depending factors, a specific focus is required by the Brand. Many definitions have been provided for it but one of the most diffused is the Aaker (1996) one: “A brand is a distinguishing name and/or symbol (such as a logo, trademark, or package design) intended to identify the goods or services of either one seller or group of sellers, and to differentiate those goods or services from those of competitors”. It remarks that the brand is an element that characterizes and distinguishes a product from other similar in the customer perception protecting the interests of both producers and customers. Keller in 1998 defined “A brand is a product, then, but one that adds other dimensions to differentiate it in some way from other products” focusing on customers’ perception of the differences among brands in a product category that can generate competitive advantage.
An interesting definition of loyalty, indeed, is provided by Oliver in 1997. He affirms that loyalty is “a deeply held commitment to re-buy or re-patronize a preferred product or service in the future despite situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behavior”. It highlights the importance of a high loyalty to get over the strong and continuous environment influences. This definition is more than ever actual considering the high environment turbulence and the necessity to maintain a high customers’ loyalty to face the global competition.
Therefore the companies should understand and continuously update the levers (value drivers) to nourish loyalty and maintain or better improve the customer experience. The researches done by Forrester (2003) and IBM Institute of Business Value Study (2004) show that the results are not yet good. In fact 44% of all experiences are described by Forrester as “bland or uneventful by customers as they demand easy-to-use solutions”.
As said before, in the last two decade the importance of customer perception and of the products/services quality is rapidly increasing (Peterson and Wilson, 1992), producing a proliferation of researches about the customer satisfaction.
The Customer Satisfaction, in fact, is the “leading criterion to determine the quality that is actually delivered to customers through the company Products/services” (Vavra, 1997).
The result of the researches is the development of nine theories (Saleh and Ryan, 1991; Oh and Parks, 1997; Ekinci and Riley, 1998 etc) being no uniformity of opinion among researchers.
The main reason of disagreement is related with the nature of customer satisfaction. The question is: Is the customer satisfaction subjective or objective?
Some authors as Kotler and Keller (2006) sustain that it is a sensation, “a customer’s feelings of pleasure or disappointments” resulting from perceived performance in relation to his own expectation. Therefore it is a psychological concept that cannot be scientifically explained. It involves the “feeling of well-being and pleasure that results from obtaining what one searches for and expects from an appealing product and/or service” (WTO, 1985). Maister (1985), well remarks that both the perception and the expectation are subjective while some other researchers sustain that the customer satisfaction process has both the subjective and objective soul. In fact the expectation is subjective and the perception of the product/services characteristics objective (Thus, Klaus, 1997). This thesis is more accredited and sustainable being some final products/services attributes valuable more or less in the same manner by different customers (for example usability, accessibility, performance) even if the subjectivity in the evaluation cannot be avoided. Therefore, even if the customer expectations are subjective, the knowledge of the quality evaluation criteria has to be pursued. In particular Giles (2003), as the result of over a thousand interviews, highlights four relevant elements of evaluation of value perceptions that represents the value drivers: speed (it does not necessarily mean fast, but rather appropriate to expectation); quality and reliability of the information (customer's sense of understanding and knowing); easy; personal recognition (profiled services).
Critical is also the knowledge of customer expectations and the variables that influence it in order to monitor and foresee changes (Hayes, 1997) that will influence the quality judgment.
Based on the above consideration Customer Satisfaction Measurements systems have been developed. The reasons to create a Customer Satisfaction Measurements are numerous and different but can be summarized in provide information and enable communication with customers (Berkman and Gilson, 1986) to improve the knowledge of customer expectations and finally the perceived service quality level. Naumann (1995) details these reasons in five objectives:
- to understand the attributes most important in the customer decision making, their relative importance and evaluate the company performance in delivering each of that;
- to measure the improvement of the more significant attributes linking that with the internal measurements used to evaluate the value-added process;
- to capture the customer-driven source of innovation;
- to measure competitive strengths and weaknesses in customer perceptions;
- to link Customer Satisfaction Measurements data to internal systems.
On the other hand it’s important to remark that the organizations, still often, don’t know their current customers' satisfaction levels and therefore set unreachable goals or goals that cost too much in terms of time and resources (Dutka, 1994).
In the above paragraphs we have proposed an overview of the literature related to the Customer Experience and its main components (Customer Expectation, Perception and Satisfaction). In this paragraph, indeed, the service quality models that summarize the relationship among these elements are analyzed.
The ISO 8402 in 1986 propones a interesting definition of quality: "quality is the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service”. This highlights that the quality is the results of the “totality” of the product/service characteristics “that bear on the ability to satisfy stated or implied needs" as afterwards complemented IN 1991 by the ISO 9126.
The literature suggests that service quality is multi-dimensional (Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Parasuraman et al., 1985), consisting of a number of factors or attributes and, as a consequence, to measure the service quality, occurs to measure the attributes that influence the overall quality assessment. One of the most famous models is the SERVQUAL Gaps Model (Fig.3.3.1) proposed by Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry that is a useful tool to control potential gaps between the customer expectations and perceptions of performance. It is finalized to identify trough customers’ survey possible gaps within an organization (1 to 4) that produce the customer final perceived quality gap.
As showed in the figure above the model evaluates the service quality trough the gaps between the customers’ expectation and the perceived organization’s performance. As a consequence the service quality is calculated as the difference between the customer's perception scores and the customer expectation scores. Furthermore SERVQUAL takes into account the correct perceptions of the service attributes’ relative importance in order to prioritize them and focalize the organization resources to improve the most relevant service attributes. The organizations have to review their delivery and business model in order to define the actions that avoid the first four gaps with the minimum effort in terms of cost and time. The final aim is, of course, to get over the Gap 5 between the perceived and expected service. The model, furthermore, compares the perceived service quality for a specific organization against the reference best-in-class organization.
The method is based on 5 products/services attributes (dimensions):
Tangibles: Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials
Reliability: Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately
Responsiveness: Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.
Assurance: Knowledge and courtesy of employees or service capabilities to convey trust and confidence (usability).
Empathy: Ability to provide care and individualized attention/services to the customers.
The SERVQUAL model has been deeper studied and also criticized. The first criticism done by Leon A. Kappelman, Victor R. Prybutok and Thomas P. Van Dyke, relates to the difficulty to quantify the expectations being, as said before, mutable and depending from external factors; furthermore, as a consequence, if the expectations are difficult to quantify then the gap score becomes much less reliable. Finally, doubt has been expressed in particular by Francis Buttle in 1990, related the 5 attributes, their capability to represent the theoretical and operational model and the applicability of the method for all the industries. He proposed the following new dimensions:
Tangibles: Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication materials.
Reliability: Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
Responsiveness: Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.
Competence: Possession of required skill and knowledge to perform service.
Courtesy: Politeness, respect, consideration and friendliness of contact personnel.
Credibility: Trustworthiness, believability, honesty of the service provider
Feel secure: Freedom from danger, risk, or doubt.
Access: Approachable and easy of contact.
Communication: Listen the customers and acknowledge their comments, keep customers informed in a language which they can understand.
Understanding the customer: Make the needed effort to know customers and their needs.
These dimensions highlight more the customers’ personal dimension in the evaluation process of the service quality as confirmed and detailed suddenly in 2005 by Luis Lages and Joana Fernandes that introduced the Service Personal Values scales in addition to the SERVQUAL scale based on three dimensions related to the personal customer satisfaction.
Other models have been specialized for the web service quality as the E-S-QUAL (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, Malhotra, 2005) which is specialized for measuring the web services quality delivered. This model introduced additional two scales to measure the quality, based always on psychological criteria, distinguishing between customers that use frequently web site and customers that have non-routine usage of web services and consequently define two scales. The E-S-QUAL scale well represents the service quality criteria of first customers’ typology. It is a 22-item scale of four dimensions:efficiency, fulfillment, system availability, and privacy. TheE-RecS-QUAL scale is the second one and it is based on responsiveness, compensation, and contact dimensions containing 11 items.
Independently by the adopted model, there are different opinions about how the overall satisfaction is evaluated by the customers. In fact some researchers sustain that the satisfaction is the sum total of satisfactions level of each individual dimensions or attributes; others sustain that it depends by each specific attribute’s satisfaction level. The different vision depends on the different belief about the process of consumer choice, expressed in the compensatory and non-compensatory models. The first model is based on the consideration that during the decisional process an attribute’s weaknesses is compensate by the strength in other ones (in the mobile industry the availability of on line recharge can compensate the low satisfaction level of personalized tariff and plans).
Non-compensatory models sustain that the customers establish a minimum acceptable level for each or same attributes and are satisfied only if the attributes equal or exceed the minimum level (Lewis and Chambers, 1989) (for the mobile industry for example the on line information about the customer mobile profile).
Based on the above considerations is easy to understand the Cadotte and Turgeon services’ categorization (1998, pp. 45-51) into satisfiers, dissatisfiers, critical and neutral categories.
Satisfiers, “represent an opportunity stand out from the crowd'';
Dissatisfiers “particularly require management control to prevent poor performance. Minimum standards should be established, and the focus should be on maintaining these standards”;
Critical services which objective is “to raise performance beyond the norm''. Their evaluation can be satisfactory or dissatisfactory;
Neutral services are either not salient for the customers or easily improved to achieve customers' standards.
IBM Customer Experience methodology
Starting from the literature models analyzed in the above paragraph, many companies have developed a methodology to measure the Customer Experience that better reflect their own industry, offering characteristics and value proposition.
Among these, IBM has developed in 2003 its own methodology based on 4 pillars (Fig.3.4.1):
- Channels considered as transmission means for delivering value from one point to another. In some cases a channel is a virtual area where customers and company communicate exchanging value;
- Moments-of-Truth as points at which the value delivered are deeply influenced and the customer feels itself vulnerable. At the Moments of Truth the proposition should meet or exceed the customers’ expectations to generate a good experience that will reap benefits. Otherwise or a negative experience is produced which will have a very detrimental effect;
- Irritant as points at which the value delivered are deeply influenced and are considered as the organization promises or disappointed customer expectations;
- Value Drivers as, for example, usability, functionality, performance and credibility represent the products/services characteristics that can produce a competitive advantage if their perceived value is good. For each value driver attributes that measure it are suggested. The relevance of value drivers depends on each channel. In addition, channel relevance must be declined according to industry specificity.
The Moments of Truth has a greater weight being decisional moment in which the customer can choose to abandon the customer disapproving its proposition, while the Irritant are evaluation moments in which the customer satisfaction level can improve or gets worse but there is not the risk to lose the customer.
Value Drivers impact on the Value Realization metrics with different weight. Leveraging on each value drivers can increase revenue by making customer interaction a good customer experience while increasing cost benefit thanks to the effort reduction of the typical marketing activities. The final goal of this methodology is to measure the company value realization which can be translated in wallet share, market share, and customer profitability.
The methodology follows four steps as showed in Fig.3.4.2.
It starts with the industry background assessment in order to clarify the boundary of the analysis and the customers’ profiles. In the second step using the scenario approach, the profiles behaviors are analyzed highlighting the customers’ expectation through the Moments of Truth and Irritants.
The Assessment of Value Drivers (third step) evaluate the customers’ perception through the value drivers’ measure. Benchmark techniques are also used to compare with peers or best-in-class industry players. An action plan that explores business direction and objectives is produced, taking in account the organizational barriers, technological context and capabilities.
- The web customer experience
Since the Internet started, marketers identified some characteristics making it a unique medium from both a marketing and customer point of view.
As described by Lindström and Andersen (2000), Internet is “Everything – everywhere – anytime”. In fact Internet is a medium which is global, reached from everywhere, always open, interactive, dynamic and easy to update. It represents both a sale and a distribution channel, a two-way communication channel that enables feedback gathering. Therefore it represents a powerful marketing tool.
From a customer point of view the main characteristics of the web, as explained by Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000), are the richness and continuous updating of the information and services, as it overachieves the physical and timing boundaries, the users interactivity and involvement increased thanks to the web.2.0 era since 2007 and, finally, the personalization of the communication and services.
Also on the web channel the importance of the customer experience is increased nourishing numerous studies. Jesse James Garrett (2004), in particular, has analyzed complex web processes characterized by high-quality customer experience. He affirms that a successful web site fulfills the organization’s strategic objectives while meets the needs of its users. A consistent and satisfactory web customer experience is the “glue” of the best content and the most sophisticated technology.
The web customer experience has been well defined by Souza (2001) as “The total interaction that a visitor has with a site, including satisfaction with ease-to-use, content, and function”. From this definition the three main elements, as sustained also by the current literature, which represent value drivers influencing the customer web experience can be derived. They are:
- Functionalities. All the authors (De Chernatony 2001; Ind and Riondino 2001; Koyanl et al. 2003) affirm that the primary reason people use websites is to gather information and access services. De Chernatony emphasises the need of quality, rather than the information quantity; Koyanl remarks that, independently by the web site usability, the value provided depends on how much the contents meet the customer expectation
- Usability. As highlighted by illustrious authors as Jackob Nielsen (the father of usability) and Kania (2000) the web site has to be easy as if a website is difficult to use, people leave. Therefore the usability represents a survival condition for web-site. This position is confirmed by a survey of Princeton Survey Research Associates in 2002 that highlighted how most users (80%) expect the navigation and information search to be easy.
- Credibility. An additional result of the Princeton Survey is the importance of the “credibility” or “believability” (Fogg and Tseng 1999; Fogg 2003). The 80% of users think the trust in information influences the decision to visit a website and nearly 70% want to be able to identify the information sources to have the control on the information. The users are no more passive but they are beginning active and critics.
In the recent years the Performance (Steve Souders 2007; Andrew B. King 2008, Peter A. Bromberg 2005) has been added as fourth value drivers due to the increased amount of transactions, services and information passed trough web channel.
In 2001 De Chernatony emphasized that the Internet has also spawned a new way for customers to share information, by-passing brand owners and interacting with the site’s community. Kania (2000) hypothesized leveraging on the Internet’s virtual communities the relationships between brands and customers’ communities can be reinforced.
From the above considerations the new dimension of the virtual social networking, based on the interactivity and virtual community is highlighted as new element that influences the web customer experience. These are the premised of the web.2.0 era
A converging eco-system (Telecommunication, IT, Media, Consumer Electronics) is occurring that enables easier access and participation of web users with real-time interconnectivity, fostering social networks, composite services and new business models (IBM Institute of Business Value, 2006) (Fig.3.6.1).
As said by O’Reilly in 2004 “we realized that the Web was on the cusp of a new era, one that would finally let loose the power of network effects, setting off a surge of innovation and opportunity.” He was speaking of the “seismic shift” from web.1.0 to web.2.0 era.
It is important to clarify that Web.2.0 is not only a new technology paradigm but “Web2.0 is a set of economic, social, and technology trends that collectively form the basis for the next generation of the Internet - a more mature, distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness, and network effects” (O’Reilly 2005). It represents a deep change in the approach and behaviors of the organizations, customers and suppliers based on, as said by Don Tapscott & Williams (2006), “new competitive principles such as openness, peering, sharing, and acting globally”.
Eight definitions (Tim O’Reilly, 2005, Paul Graham, 2005, Jason Fried, 2006) summarize the web.2.0 characteristics:
- The wisdom of crowds
- Shared web applications
- Web as platform
- User participation
- Rich user experience
- Data is the next Intel inside
- Permanent Beta
- Marketing buzzword
In these definitions the participative role of users is highlighted. In the web.2.0 era, in fact, leveraging on the diffusion of web-based communities and hosted services, the end-users give a direct contribution to the information/services creation and diffusion (O’Reilly, 2005).
Don Tapscott & Williams (2006), in their book “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything” introduces the notion of “prosumer” to refer to the creation of products/services by the same people who ultimately will use them. As reported by the Time referring to the web.2.0 era in December 2006 “…the World Wide Web has become a tool to join together the small contribution of millions of people and make them relevant”.
The impact of web.2.0 on market is still clearer if we refer to the Kotler and Keller analysis (2006) of current markets evolution. In particular in Fig.3.6.2 is showed the relationship between the industry and the market. It highlights that the organizations and the customers are connected by four flows. Traditionally the organizations send products/services and communications to the market; in return they receive money and information (preferences, attitudes and sales data).
With the 2.0 era the customers can contributes directly to the product/services creation (Long Tail effect, User Generated Content and Perpetual Beta) and the communication are bidirectional. Furthermore leveraging on the “Viral Effect” the organization communication and advertise is diffused automatically among the virtual network.
The above web.2.0 characteristics produce the following benefits:
- Reduced risk due to the direct customers’ involvement;
- Closer relationship with customers;
- Real-time data to make quantifiable decisions;
- Increased responsiveness;
Web.2.0 is both the result of and cause of cultural change and has many facets (Dion Hinchcliffe’s blog, 2007):
- Business Models that provide real value and have promise for the future. For instance, the “long tail”, viral marketing and viral advertising described in the following;
- Approaches such as services instead of products, the web as a platform etc.;
- Concepts such as folksonomies, syndication, participation, reputation;
- Technologies such as AJAX, REST and services as wikis, blogs, forum, tagging and mashup that allow non-technical people to contribute to Internet contents.
As said by Williams Tapscott, millions of people share their news, information, and views in the “blogosphere”, a self-organized network of over 50 million personal sites continually updated. Companies are encouraging the growth of virtual communities to attract numerous additional customers.
Due to the effects of web.2.0 a variety of markets are going to disappear or to be largely resized as the advertisement market, the world of newspapers and media replaced by the virtual viral marketing and advertising and by blogs and itune phenomena, while others are empowered as the telecommunication thanks to the increased information and communication traffic.
In fact, a collateral effect of web.2.0 is the so-called viral marketing and viral advertising that represent marketing techniques that encourages the people to use pre-existing social networks to pass along, voluntarily, marketing message producing both a positive effect as the sales and brand loyalty increase and also the impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm.
Gartner in the Symposium/ITExpo (2006) has recommended that most organizations have their revenue generating lines of business on a web.2.0 model by 2008. In particular Gartner prescribes that: “Operate All Revenue Generating Channels in a Web.2.0 Architecture by 2008. Enterprise architects must act as catalysts that speed the formation of unified business technology strategies and their execution”.
Of course, the new mass collaboration has also negative impacts as, for example, the reduction of companies’ profit due to the success of “open source” projects as the new software implementation, diffusion and maintenance or the wikipedia encyclopaedia’s initiative or the download of music and films.
Finally, as sustained by the recent results of a McKinsey survey about web.2.0 (July 2008) there are still barriers to the organizations’ web.2.0 adoption due to mainly the difficulty to understand the financial return, the lack of the culture of openness and horizontal collaboration, the lack of knowledge and competencies about the web.2.0 technology and finally the lack of management commitment to sustain the transformation.
Literature review summary
From the literature review can be stated the bases for the fieldwork. In particular it has highlighted that in the current turbulent environment characterized by global competition, technology empowerment and more demanding customers is key to control and continuously improve the customer experience defined as the overall evaluation of the interaction a customer has with company value proposition (Goto, 2004). Customer Experience is not only considered as a way to increase customer relationship but also as a way to drive decision that will support company strategy in terms of value proposition in the long terms.
As the above definition highlights the Customer Experience is a measure of the Customer Satisfaction and is directly depending on Customer Perception and Customer Expectation. In fact as clearly explained by Kotler and Keller (2006) the Customer Satisfaction is a customer’s feeling of pleasure or disappointments resulting from perceived performance in relation to its own expectation.
In the Customer Experience evaluation the subjective component is inevitable depending on customer’s personal evaluation of the proposition, but the knowledge and control of the quality evaluation criteria is possible and needed to correctly address the organization resource and strategies. In fact the evaluation criteria are based on the subjective quantification of attributes that represent the value drivers as, for example, the service performance, usability brand etc. These have to be measured through the interaction channel between the customers and the organization.
To do that Customer Experience methodologies have been realized and, among that, IBM has developed its own methodology specialized for the web propositions based on four pillars, the Interaction Channels, the Moments of Truth and Irritants and Value Drivers.
All the above considerations about customer experience have to be specialized to represent the web customers’ experience. The web, in fact, as sustained by marketers and in particular Lindstrom and Andersen (2000) has special characteristics being reached from everywhere and anytime, interactive and dynamic. It well responds to the current customer expectations in terms of easy access to the information and services, interaction and social networking and personalization of communications. Therefore the web is become the preferred interaction channel.
Content/Features, Usability, Credibility and Performance are the key website design aspects driving customer-value. People mainly use websites to gather information and access services, but the website’s Usability and Performance (the efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction with which users achieve specific goals) and Credibility (the website “believability”) emphasize or affect the perceived Content/Features value.
Furthermore on the web a “seismic shift” is being from the so-called web.1.0 to the web.2.0 era. The web.2.0 era is the next generation of the web characterized by a more active users’ role, an increased share of information and services through the community networks, an increased openness and innovation rate. Therefore the companies have to adapt their business models and strategies to receipt these changes. In particular the companies have to increase the interaction, innovation rate and the attention to the customers improving their Customer Experience management system. The web.2.0 is changing the customer wants and needs and the consequently the value drivers.
The Interactivity level, the Innovation Rate and the Communities’ Credibility seem influence the value perception of the new web services propositions and therefore can represents a new additional set of web services value drivers.