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Customer delight: a review.

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. However, affect was related to arousal and arousal to surprise.

In their discussion, the authors suggest that customer delight is qualitatively different from customer satisfaction. Future research, then, should probably examine the concept of delight as separate and apart from satisfaction: that is, not an extreme form of satisfaction. Though the authors did not specifically examine the opposite of delight, anger/disgust, it seems safe to conclude that it is not an extreme form of satisfaction either.

Keiningham, Goddard, Vavra, and Iaci (1999)

Rather than measure delight directly, the authors suggested that 'very satisfied' customers would include delighted ones. They followed Roche Diagnostic Systems as it changed from a product-oriented company to a customer-driven one under the belief that customer satisfaction, retention, and profits would improve with the change.

Focus groups were conducted with customers to learn about 'critical interactions' that customers used to form opinions about the company. Using the focus group data, questionnaires designed to measure satisfaction were created utilizing a five-point, negatively based Likert scale: very satisfied, satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, dissatisfied, and very dissatisfied. As changes were made in customer-company interactions, telephone interviews with 508 customers monitored satisfaction. The data indicated that as the number of 'very satisfied' customers increased, so did sales and profits. However, the relationship between satisfaction and delight was not examined.

Schneider and Bowen (1999)

The authors first note that satisfying customers is not enough to retain them. Instead, loyalty may be a function of delight. Because most customers' emotions range from moderately satisfied to moderately dissatisfied, they are not particularly store loyal. But customers who are delighted will become loyal buyers and tell others. The outraged will defect and never return. The focus here, then, is on customer delight and its opposite, rage, both considered more intense than satisfaction and dissatisfaction, in an attempt to understand the customer's emotions and the effect of emotions on loyalty.

Schneider and Bowen discuss two models: the met-expectations or disconfirmation of expectations model and a needs based model. The former proposes that delight results from providing a positive, surprising departure from expectations. "That is, a customer's expectations are positively disconfirmed, which activates an aroused state that is quite positive (p. 37)." For example, customers possess expectations about the retail purchase process, and by meeting them stores generate satisfaction. Greatly exceeding expectation, then, results in delight. But the authors conclude, "... systematically evoking customer delight by exceeding customer expectations is a difficult management task (p. 37)." And the met-expectations model does not offer insights into emotionally charged customer reactions such as delight and outrage.

The needs-based model postulates that delight and outrage stem from the way retailers handle the security, justice, and self-esteem needs of their customers. While unmet expectations can cause disappointment, needs are central to a core state of well being such that failure to satisfy them can cause outrage and gratification can yield delight. Security is "the need to feel unthreatened by physical or economic harm (p. 38)." To fulfill a security need, a firm must know which promises related to physical or economic harm customers expect it to honor, and then always keep its promises. Justice is "the need to be fairly treated (p. 38)." Customers expect service providers to treat them fairly. If they perceive otherwise, they become angry. Self-esteem is "the need to maintain and enhance one's self-image (p. 38)." Firms can enhance a customer's feelings of self-worth by acknowledging the customer's perspective, importance, and rights so that he/she feels important and competent in the service setting.

Schneider and Bowen suggest that when human resource managers satisfy their employees' needs the effort will transfer from employees to customers. Companies that build positive relationships with customers by treating them as people first and customers second will generate retention and profitability. However, the authors do not empirically test either met-expectations or needs-based model.

Kumar and Iyer (2001)

The authors assume that customer delight is an extreme level of satisfaction but they propose to determine those factors that discriminate between the two. Customers expect a level of performance from a retail service experience, but the expectations may be different prior to the event than after because the experience will affect the post expectations. Perhaps post-experience expectations will involve the interpersonal behavior of the service provider whereas characteristics of the service itself make up the pre-experience expectations. Kumar and Iyer propose, therefore, that interpersonal behavior attributes better discriminate between satisfaction and delight than characteristics of the service itself. More specifically, they hypothesize that the latter will lead to customer satisfaction and the former to delight.

In a field study they conducted telephone interviews with 191 customers of car dealerships. Professional interviewers asked questions about the service encounters when subjects last visited the dealership. Respondents rated their service experience on a scale from 1 (completely dissatisfied) to 10 (completely satisfied) with three additional questions about interpersonal aspects and four on characteristics of the service itself. The former included questions about the staffs' attitude, helpfulness, and explanations provided. The latter asked about dealerships' cleanliness, hours, length of time needed to complete the work, and the scheduling of work.

From the data collected, the authors concluded, "aspects related to a service provider's interpersonal behavior are better discriminators between customer satisfaction and customer delight than aspects related to the firm's service characteristics (p. 54)." Managers wishing to delight customers should direct resources to improving interpersonal factors (e.g., training) over service characteristics. Note, however, that Kumar and Iyer did not measure delight independently, but as an extreme form of satisfaction. As they stated, "Respondents who gave a 9 or a 10 rating on the question pertaining to 'overall satisfaction with the service' were considered as 'delighted' customers ... (p. 53)."

Kumar, Olshavsky and King (2001)

Although some see delight as composed of both joy and surprise (from Plutchik, 1980), Kumar, Olshavsky and King propose that customers can be delighted without being surprised. They suggest that Plutchik's findings were an artifact of his methodology.

The author's replicated Plutchik's two studies with three of their own but with changes in the methodology. In the first study they increased the number of positive emotions included in the list of emotion word combinations given to subjects. Thus, they gave each of 50 undergraduate students a questionnaire containing 12 pairs of emotions/feelings and asked them to provide a name for the basic emotions that made up each of these 'complex' emotions. They found that a number of 'complex' emotions were composed of joy and surprise with delight being only one but with excitement garnering the most responses.

In the second, study they increased the number of positive 'complex' emotions shown to subjects over those used by Plutchik. They gave two lists of emotion terms to 48 subjects. List A contained 14 positive and 4 negative emotion terms. List B included 8 basic emotions. Subjects were to think how they felt as they experienced each emotion in list A and then indicate which of the list B emotions they also felt in response. Only 25% said that joy and surprise went along with delight while 72% experienced joy without surprise when they felt delighted. .

In the third study the authors proposed two kinds of joy. 'Magic' joy is based on a short-lived experience causing a person to feel that, through good luck, the unexpected fulfillment of a wish will change his/her situation. 'Real' joy is caused by one's own or other's effort as he/she interacts with the world around him/her. 'Magic' joy involves a measure of surprise while 'real' joy does not.

Questionnaires were given to the audience of an Irish dance performance and 145 were returned. The questionnaires contained six-point Semantic Differential scales with extremely dissatisfied and extremely satisfied at the ends. Surprise was measured with a seven-point SD scale ranging from very surprised to not at all surprised. Also collected were prior exposure, intentions to return, the extent to which they experienced nine emotions (including delight) to which they felt aroused and captivated, and demographic factors. Specifically, delight was measured on a six-point scale with 'did not feel the emotion' at one end and 'experienced the emotion very much' at the other. Few subjects felt surprise but everyone experienced high levels of delight, thrill, excitement, and joy. No significant differences in delight were found between those experiencing high levels of surprise and low levels. Joy, however, did have a significant effect on delight.

The authors concluded that consumers can be delighted either by joy and surprise or by joy alone. Though joy and surprise comprise delight, a stronger case could be made for joy alone.

Verma (2003)

Following Bitner and Hubbert (1994), Verma defines satisfaction as "the result of assessment made by the customer of service delivery in comparison with their [sic] prior expectations (p. 122)." Satisfaction occurs with positive disconfirmation (Oliver, 1977). And "delight is experienced when the customer is pleasantly surprised in response to an experienced disconfirmation (p. 123)." That is, delight occurs when a customer receives a service or product that satisfies but also provides an unexpected value or unexpected satisfaction. The difference between satisfaction and delight is that he former involves receiving the expected while in the latter the customer receives the unexpected. Note, however, that Verma assumes that delight is an extreme positive form of satisfaction. From Schneider and Bowen (1999), Verma defines outrage as the failure to gratify the customer's needs. And Verma assumes that outrage is the extreme negative form of satisfaction.

Verma asked 150 executives to relate their experience with a service firm that lead to either outrage or delight. Their observations were content analyzed and 97 critical incidents identified. From these critical incidents Verma identified delighters and dissatisfiers/outrage.

Delighters included positive interpersonal factors such as employee politeness, respect, friendliness, consideration, taking a personal interest in the customer's problems and needs and solving them, and going beyond the call of duty. Dissatisfiers/outrage included negative interpersonal factors such as not delivering promised service, rude and offensive behavior toward the customer, and an uncaring attitude. Note that 'dissatisfiers' and 'outrage' were used interchangeably.

Mascarenhas, Kesavan, and Bernacchi (2004)

Citing Fournier and Mick (1999), and Keiningham, Goddard, Vavra and Iaci (1999), customer satisfaction, retention, and delight are seen as a function of the amount of attention paid to and the participation invited from target customers at every step of the value chain. The authors call this Customer Value Chain Involvement (CVCI). And achieving customer satisfaction, retention, and delight will result in greater market share and profitability (from Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2003),.

CVCI exposes customers to a firm's value chain rather than just to its finished products or services. Examples include self-service gas stations and auto assembly line tours. Following Sawhney and Zabin (2002), the authors propose four areas of CVCI: customer relationship management (CRM), supply-chain management (SCM), employee relationships management (ERM), and partner relationships management (PRM) with CRM occurring at all stages of the value chain in relation to SCM, ERM, and PRM.

The authors state that the CVCI process generates customer experiences that are engaging, committing, and delighting. The experiences develop lifelong loyalties in customers. The authors provide examples of customer involvement in new product development, product design and manufacturing, product bundling, and customer service. The authors offer no research-based evidence testing their CVCI model.

Arnold, Reynolds, Ponder, and Lueg (2005)

These authors review of the literature suggests that customer satisfaction is linked to such positive outcomes as increased market share, profitability, retention, loyalty, etc. (Anderson and Sullivan, 1993; Anderson, Fornell, and Lehman, 1994). Yet they note that firms often cannot connect satisfaction to profitability and that satisfied customers often do not repurchase but switch to another firm (Reichheld, 1996; Oliver, 1999). Perhaps satisfaction is not enough and customer delight is required to achieve the desired results (Schlossberg, 1990). But few studies specifically dedicated to customer delight have appeared in the literature and none in a retail setting. And the research on delight's shopping experience opposite such as outrage or disgust is limited. The authors propose to examine delight in a retail setting and also the sources of delightful and terrible shopping experiences.

In their review of the delight and disgust literature, Arnold et al. examined Oliver's (1980) expectancy-disconfirmation model as an example of a behavioral conception of delight. Consumers compare perceived performance with prior expectations. If performance exceeds expectations, positive disconfirmation exists and the customer is satisfied. If the disconfirmed performance is unexpected or surprising, surprise disconfirmation (Oliver, 1997) exists and "provides [a] basis for understanding the cognitive foundation of delight (p. 1134)." Plutchik (1980) provides an affective basis for delight. He considers delight as a combination of joy and surprise. Arnold et al. point out that Westbrook and Oliver, (1991), Oliver and Westbrook (1993), and Oliver (1993) provide research support for Plutchik's conceptualization. Thus the antecedents of delight may include surprisingly high positive disconfirmation, arousal, and positive affect while outcomes include repurchase (Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982). Arnold, et al. state that terrible shopping experiences have not been researched in a retail setting and review instead dissatisfying experiences.

Arnold et al. conducted qualitative research using the critical incident technique. Open-ended, structured interviews were conducted with 113 informants who were asked to describe a shopping experience that was absolutely, positively delightful and then one that was absolutely, positively terrible. The taped interviews were transcribed and transcriptions analyzed for critical incidents.

Associated with delightful shopping experiences were interpersonal incidents where the salesperson was extremely helpful, friendly, and solved the shoppers' problems. Non-interpersonal satisfiers revolved around the product: finding the right product at a bargain price. Terrible, disgusting experiences came from unhelpful, unfriendly, pushy, unethical and inept salespeople and from products that were high priced and did not perform as expected. Arnold et al. conclude that a formal model of retail customer delight is needed.

Berman (2005)

In his review of the literature, Berman first notes that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not opposite ends of the same continuum. Further, dissatisfaction is not the opposite of delight. Those things that cause dissatisfaction if not present do not cause satisfaction when present. And at the far negative end of the dissatisfaction continuum is outrage. At the far positive end of the satisfaction continuum is delight.

The author sees a qualitative and quantitative difference between delight and satisfaction. Satisfaction is a cognitive concept while delight is an affective one. Satisfaction comes from exceeding expectations while delight occurs with a positive surprise beyond expectations. More specifically delight requires a combination of joy and surprise (Plutchik, 1980) while outrage, the opposite of delight, is a function of anger and surprise. Therefore, assuming a linear relationship among dissatisfaction, satisfaction and delight is a mistake, he believes.

Berman lists theoretical reasons and cites studies that support the notion that dissatisfaction is not the opposite of customer delight and satisfaction/dissatisfaction are not a dichotomy (see Cadotte and Turgeon, 1988 and Oliver, 1997). Even measuring delight is problematic because no accepted scale exists. He also offers practical outcomes from delighting customers. While satisfaction may not generate customer loyalty, delight tends to achieve loyalty. And with loyalty often comes positive word of mouth promotion. And Berman provides six examples of how organizations can delight their customers. (1) Provide courtesy and empathy and try to understand customer needs. (2) Find and deliver the right product to customers. (3) Do more than satisfy the customer by providing unexpected, very positive, services. (4) Provide novelty and entertainment to customers. (5) Focus on multiple contacts with customers with attempts to please customers at each contact. (6) Reposition the organization to provide solutions to customers rather than only products and services. He also supplied a list of changes organizations need to implement in order to better deliver delight. Berman, however, provides no empirical evidence to support his suggestions..

Finn (2005)

"Customer delight is conceptualized as an emotional response, which results from surprising and positive levels of performance (p. 104)." That is, following Plutchik (1980), delight is a combined outcome of joy and surprise. Satisfaction, however, represents a cognitive response to consumption. Outrage, the opposite of delight, is also conceptualized as an emotional response.

In an extension of the Oliver, Rust, and Varki (1997) research, Finn surveyed a convenience sample of 319 university students and staff who had recently visited a consumer web site. He found support for the conceptualization of consumer delight and customer satisfaction as distinct constructs. "The distinct delight and satisfaction constructs are at the heart of separate emotional and cognitive response sequences ... (p. 113)."

McNeilly and Barr (2006)

McNeilly and Barr conceptualize delight in terms of customers' expectations. Expectations are beliefs that customers hold about a product or service performance (p. 152). Expectations serve as standards customers use to judge performance of a product or service. The authors assumed that delight is a positive consequence of exceeding a customer's expectations. Their study identified factors that led to exceeded expectations held by clients of service firms.

Accounting firms' clients were interviewed to determine whether and how the service firms' delighted their clients. Interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 50 business clients. Using telephone, e-mail, and face-to-face sessions, open-ended questions were asked to elicit examples of exceptional service that exceeded normal expectations. The data was used to construct a second survey that was administered to a convenience sample of 58 company representatives. The study found that accounting firms exceeded their clients' expectations when they meet deadlines, keep promises, and are knowledgeable about their clients' firms. However, "... few clients are truly delighted, unexpectedly wowed, or surprised (p. 157)." The authors overlooked the possibility that delight may not be the same as exceeding customer expectations.

Burns and Neisner (2006)

Rather than focusing on expectations, perceived performance, and satisfaction modeled within a confirmation/disconfirmation paradigm, Burns and Neisner believe that affective evaluations are important to the level of satisfaction experienced by customers in a retail setting. From Liljander and Strandvik (1997), the "process of comparing expectations with perceived performance ... is ... comprised of a cognitive process within a consumer's conscious control, and an affective process outside of conscious control (p. 50)." This exploratory study, then, proposed to examine the roles played by cognition and emotion in the development of customer satisfaction in a retail setting. In this replication of Krampf, Ueltschy, and d'Amico (2003), Burns and Neisner hypothesize that though both explain customer satisfaction in a retail setting, emotions play a larger role than cognitive evaluations.

In this exploratory study, 158 college students were divided into four groups, with each group receiving a different scenario. Two expectations scenarios depicted past experience with an unnamed retail store; one built high expectations and one created low expectations. Two performance scenarios depicted a new retail experience: a pleasurable experience and a performance failure. Participants completed scales measuring confirmation/disconfirmation, or cognitive evaluation of the perceived performance, and emotions, or the emotional reaction to the perceived performance. Customer satisfaction was measured with a two-item scale eliciting expectations and satisfaction. Emotions were measured with a five-point scale developed by Izard (1977). Note that 'surprised,' 'delighted,' and 'angry' were assessed with this scale.

Both cognitive evaluation and emotional reaction explained the level of satisfaction experienced in a retail setting, but with the former more important than the latter. 'Surprise' did not explain satisfaction, though anger/delight did when expectations are high and performance low. The authors conclude that because their customers' emotional reactions to performance may contribute to their assessments of satisfaction, retailers whose customers possess high expectations may need to attend to these customers' emotions.

THE RESULTS OF DELIGHT/DISGUST

Ngobo (1999)

Ngobo defines delight as "100% satisfaction." He conceptualizes customer satisfaction as an emotional response to a consumption experience such that measures of satisfaction describe emotional feelings like delight. But his thesis states "customer delight may not be worth the effort because there are threshold points where the effect of satisfaction on loyalty increases at decreasing rates and the firm stops reaping the benefits of customer satisfaction in terms of customer loyalty (p. 469)."

The author measured satisfaction with a seven-point Likert scale and repurchase intentions with a five point Likert scale. The sample consisted of bank clients (n=78), car insurance policyholders (n=57), a retailer's customers (n=56), and camera buyers (n=224).

Based upon his findings, Ngobo states that "there exists a minimum threshold to be reached for satisfaction to have greater positive effects on loyalty." And though "there exists a linear relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty ... the linear relationship is important only within a specific segment of satisfaction or where customers do not have a large choice set (p. 475)." He concludes that at the 100% satisfaction level of customer delight, loyalty levels off. He recommends that managers should develop moderate satisfaction in customers because this level results in the greatest loyalty. Note that Ngobo did not measure delight directly but only assumed that it exists at 100% satisfaction.

Rust and Oliver (2000)

Rust and Oliver draw upon the customer satisfaction literature to build a mathematical model to examine the issue that delighting customers "raises the bar" and makes it more difficult to satisfy them in the next purchase cycle. They do not test their model.

In their brief review of the literature, they conclude, "Features with the capacity to delight are those that are unexpectedly or surprisingly pleasant, or add utility to the product beyond that which is expected (p. 87)." And after a review of the prior work on disconfirmation, they conclude "... delight cannot be achieved without surprisingly positive levels of performance" and this "... performance must be positively valenced (p. 88)."

A customer's memory of occasions where a firm delighted them heightens their expectations relative to future interactions. Customers may recall delighting occurrences, come to accept them as normal, and expect even more features (assimilated delight). However, customers may also remember the delighting experience, consider it a one-time event, savor the memory, and hope it happens again (reenacted delight). Or, customers may forget the delighting event and experience it again as new (transitory delight). The three memory components form a continuum with assimilated at one end, reenacted in the middle, and transitory at the opposite end.

The authors present 11 assumptions that incorporate disconfirmation of expectations theory, the relationship between customer retention and profits, the cost of service quality, and the inability of competitors to duplicate the delighting service. The authors believe their mathematical model demonstrates that delighting the customer is an attractive strategy if (1) satisfaction has a strong influence on behavior, (2) future profits receive significant weight in the model, (3) the satisfaction of competitors' customers has a strong impact on retention and other behaviors, and (4) the firm is able to capitalize on dissatisfied customers of competitors by converting them into its customers (p. 91). If these four factors exceed a given threshold, delighting the customer will be profitable. However, once delighted, expectations are raised and make delighting the customer more difficult in the future. Delight programs will be successful if customers forget previous delighting experiences, if an even more delightful experience can be achieved, and if other firms' customers can be attracted. Note that the authors assume, but do not state, that delight is an extreme form of satisfaction.

Evans and Burns (2007)

In this research effort delight is defined as "... an extension of satisfaction, characterized by pleasure or positive affect, and experienced by customers when their expectations are surprisingly disconfirmed (p. 1627)." Evans and Burns conducted three exploratory studies to investigate product-related delight. In the first, they installed a camera and microphone in the dash of a new automobile and recorded the evaluative behaviors of 308 females and 472 males who examined the car at the 1999 British Motorshow. They categorized the viewers' verbal and facial expressions qualitatively and gave each a subjective rating from 1 (delight) through 5 (disgust). They found "22 overt and instantly recognizable customer delight responses to distinct vehicle features (p. 1629)."

The second study asked four women and 12 men to examine a car and then drive it while an interviewer rode along and asked the subjects to discuss those vehicle attributes that appealed to them. The interviewer then categorized each attribute on a scale from 1 (like) to 5 (delight). The small sample size prevented the researchers from analyzing the delighters they identified. The third study gave 12 women and 18 men visitors to a 1999 London Motorshow notebooks to record delighters, defined as features of a car that "stand out" and "make you go, 'wow' (p. 1631)." Subjects rated each attribute evaluated from 1 (like) to 5 (delighted). The authors concluded that delighter attributes involved styling and the look of the car, that much appeal was due to the novelty of an attribute, and that delighters tended to appeal to the subjects' emotions and feelings. The authors provided suggestions for automobile manufacturers as they design, produce and attempt to sell cars.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The research generally does not measure delight or anger/outrage/disgust directly. Rather it assumes that they are extreme examples of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Such an assumption is questionable. Second, research in the field needs a theoretical model of delight and its opposite. Third, a theoretical model of anger/outrage/disgust and its/their opposite is/are also needed. Such satisfaction/ dissatisfaction models as the expectancy disconfirmation model (see Oliver, 1997) seem inappropriate to explain delight/anger/outrage/disgust and their outcomes. Fourth, though the research reviewed above generally assumes that delight can lead to repurchase behavior or loyalty to a retailer, a theoretical link between delight and its outcomes has yet to be developed. This is even more the case for anger/outrage/disgust and its/their possible outcomes. These theoretical links are needed for additional research. Fifth, if surprise is a part of delight, is it possible for a retailer to continuously surprise customers? More work is needed on this question as well.

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M. Wayne Alexander, Minnesota State University Moorhead
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Author:Alexander, M. Wayne
Publication:Academy of Marketing Studies Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Words:5732
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