The Personal Touch in Customer Contact: The Influence of a Personal Approach on Customer Relationships and Customer Experience

Harald Pol*, Mirjam Galetzka, Ad Pruyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Customer-supplier relationships are becoming more digital. However, a personal approach still seems to be a key success factor in the service journey, creating an optimal customer experience. In this research, we investigated the effects of a personal communication approach on customer experience and customer relationship. The personal touch was operationalised in two studies focusing on written forms of communication (Study 1) and spoken forms of communication (Study 2) amongst customers of an energy company. Both studies show that a personal tone of voice in customer contact results in a more positive customer experience (in terms of consumption emotions, customer satisfaction and recommendation intention). However, it does not impact the long term relationships between service provider and customers. Customers do not adjust previously built relationship norms when they are approached in a more or less personal way, as long as the chosen approach does not violate relationship norms. The research is relevant for organisations interested in the effects of a more personal approach in customer contact. The paper combines existing theories on customer experience and customer communication with the existing theories on relational models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Business Marketing and Management
Volume5
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Customer experience
  • Customer contact
  • Customer relationships
  • Personalisation
  • Digital Transformation (DT)

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