In marketing literature, customer satisfaction has been traditionally studied and measured regardless of the time elapsed since the experience occurred. The effect of the elapsed time on mental representations and evaluations of service experiences is still an underexplored issue in customer satisfaction research. However, some studies have recently suggested how expectations, on-line perceptions and memories of an experience have a different impact on global evaluations, reopening the debate about the temporal pattern of satisfaction (Wirtz et al. 2003). Although few contributions provide evidence in favour of the temporal shift in the weight of the attributes which determine customer satisfaction, none has addressed thus far a theoretical explanation for the observed phenomenon. This research aims to explain why “how you evaluate a service depends on when you evaluate it” on the basis of the theoretical framework proposed by Construal Level Theory (CLT). CLT posits that individuals tend to construe distant future events by using more abstract, de-contextualized and goal- relevant information (high-level construals); on the contrary, under a proximal temporal perspective, individuals’ low-level construals tend to enhance the weight given to more concrete, contingent and goal-irrelevant information (Liberman and Trope 1998; Trope and Liberman 2000; 2003). CLT has gained a growing relevance in marketing research in exploring the effect of temporal distance on consumers’ choices and representations of alternatives which are set in the future. In comparison with the great relevance obtained in explaining consumers’ choices effectively, very few studies have explored thus far the effects of temporal distance on the construal levels of past events. Although an empirical investigation is still lacking, the literature does not deny that CLT can be applied also with regards to events which have taken place in the past (Liberman, Trope and Wakslak 2007; Liberman, Trope and Stephan 2007). Accordingly, we argue that distant past events are construed in terms of higher-level features than near past events. We hypothesize that the weights of the values associated with high-level attributes will be higher in customers’ evaluations about distant past events, whereas the weights of the values associated with low-level attributes will be higher when the same event is temporally closer. Hence, we suggest that the weights of the determinants of overall satisfaction evaluations change over time by virtue of the different representations of the event according to the adopted temporal perspective. In this paper we present and discuss the results of three experiments. Taken together, our results support the idea that CLT can be applied also with regards to past events, and that different temporal perspectives lead to different levels of overall satisfaction, according to attributes‘ construal levels. On the basis of a field study, we demonstrate that the relative importance associated to high vs. low level construals of the determinants of customer satisfaction shift with temporal distance, so that individuals tend to focus mainly on low-level, concrete features when evaluating a temporally proximal event, whereas they give more importance to high-level, abstract attributes of the same experience when evaluating it from a distal temporal perspective. Unfolding the mechanisms that determine the extensibility of CLT to the past is relevant to customer satisfaction research, where representations of past events can be translated into customers’ evaluations about their overall satisfaction with a service or a product. By shedding new light on the dynamics of customers’ judgments, this research suggests a theoretical explanation for the observed temporal shift in the determinants of satisfaction and its consequences on future intentions. It is important to understand how attributes differentially weigh on satisfaction perceptions according to tem...

The temporal pattern of customer satisfaction: a construal-level approach

PIZZI, GABRIELE;ORSINGHER, CHIARA;MARZOCCHI, GIAN LUCA;ZAMMIT, ALESSANDRA
2010

Abstract

In marketing literature, customer satisfaction has been traditionally studied and measured regardless of the time elapsed since the experience occurred. The effect of the elapsed time on mental representations and evaluations of service experiences is still an underexplored issue in customer satisfaction research. However, some studies have recently suggested how expectations, on-line perceptions and memories of an experience have a different impact on global evaluations, reopening the debate about the temporal pattern of satisfaction (Wirtz et al. 2003). Although few contributions provide evidence in favour of the temporal shift in the weight of the attributes which determine customer satisfaction, none has addressed thus far a theoretical explanation for the observed phenomenon. This research aims to explain why “how you evaluate a service depends on when you evaluate it” on the basis of the theoretical framework proposed by Construal Level Theory (CLT). CLT posits that individuals tend to construe distant future events by using more abstract, de-contextualized and goal- relevant information (high-level construals); on the contrary, under a proximal temporal perspective, individuals’ low-level construals tend to enhance the weight given to more concrete, contingent and goal-irrelevant information (Liberman and Trope 1998; Trope and Liberman 2000; 2003). CLT has gained a growing relevance in marketing research in exploring the effect of temporal distance on consumers’ choices and representations of alternatives which are set in the future. In comparison with the great relevance obtained in explaining consumers’ choices effectively, very few studies have explored thus far the effects of temporal distance on the construal levels of past events. Although an empirical investigation is still lacking, the literature does not deny that CLT can be applied also with regards to events which have taken place in the past (Liberman, Trope and Wakslak 2007; Liberman, Trope and Stephan 2007). Accordingly, we argue that distant past events are construed in terms of higher-level features than near past events. We hypothesize that the weights of the values associated with high-level attributes will be higher in customers’ evaluations about distant past events, whereas the weights of the values associated with low-level attributes will be higher when the same event is temporally closer. Hence, we suggest that the weights of the determinants of overall satisfaction evaluations change over time by virtue of the different representations of the event according to the adopted temporal perspective. In this paper we present and discuss the results of three experiments. Taken together, our results support the idea that CLT can be applied also with regards to past events, and that different temporal perspectives lead to different levels of overall satisfaction, according to attributes‘ construal levels. On the basis of a field study, we demonstrate that the relative importance associated to high vs. low level construals of the determinants of customer satisfaction shift with temporal distance, so that individuals tend to focus mainly on low-level, concrete features when evaluating a temporally proximal event, whereas they give more importance to high-level, abstract attributes of the same experience when evaluating it from a distal temporal perspective. Unfolding the mechanisms that determine the extensibility of CLT to the past is relevant to customer satisfaction research, where representations of past events can be translated into customers’ evaluations about their overall satisfaction with a service or a product. By shedding new light on the dynamics of customers’ judgments, this research suggests a theoretical explanation for the observed temporal shift in the determinants of satisfaction and its consequences on future intentions. It is important to understand how attributes differentially weigh on satisfaction perceptions according to tem...
Frontiers in Service Conference
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G. Pizzi; C. Orsingher; G.L. Marzocchi; A. Zammit
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/94621
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