Guest Post, by Stephanie Thum, CCXP

Back Up Your CX Leadership Strategies with Data from These Five Academic Studies

“Expert” opinions from blogs, books, and podcasts are great. But there is just something about being able to build on what you believe to be true by leaning on data from published academic research. In the customer experience profession, we now have the benefit of hundreds of published academic studies that apply to our world. I recently began integrating more scholarly readings on customer experience into my work. Here are my top five favorites from recent months. Side benefit: they are all free to access! See if you think they might be worth putting on your reading list.

  1. A Phenomenological Study of Customer Disvalue

If good experiences equal customer value, then how do we start to understand negative customer experiences and the reverse phenomenon—customer disvalue? Disvalue is a separate, deeper phenomenon than customer dissatisfaction. Disvalue is about the lasting impressions customers have of doing business with a company that just really lets them down. This study describes disvalue phenomena and hints at how customers might deal with the situation, including protests, revenge, and telling others about their experience. (Free.)

Source: The Iranian Journal of Management Studies, Volume 13, No. 3, Summer 2020, pages 367-390.

  1. Narcissism, interactivity, community, and online revenge behavior: The moderating role of social presence among Jordanian consumers

This study is a good companion read to study on customer disvalue mentioned above. Researchers found that customers’ personal levels of narcissism and their social media participation and presence increased their intentions and desire to enact revenge on a brand after a bad experience. The key takeaway: customers can get pretty cranky no matter how hard you try. Companies need to be aware of and prepared for the pitfalls of perceived poor customer experiences. (Free.)

Source: Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 104, March 2020.

3. Virtual team leader communication: Employee perception and organizational reality

In this study, virtual teams that thought their leaders were excellent communicators believed their teams were performing well. But when researchers compared the teams’ subjective perceptions of their performance to objective data on an organizational balanced scorecard, virtual teams were not performing as well as they thought. The takeaway: leaders need to use great tools and speak with clarity regarding performance avoid being misinterpreted. (Free.)

Source: International Journal of Business Communication, Volume 57, No. 4, October 2020, 452-473.

4. Design for Service Inclusion: Creating Inclusive Service Systems by 2050

Despite recent efforts by the business world to be inclusive of customers with disabilities, exclusion and discrimination are still problems. Service exclusion exists in cultures where employees treat vulnerable customers in discriminatory ways, instead of with empathy or proactive service. This article explains the ins and outs of service exclusion. It calls attention to barriers to change, like the reality that the cost of lawsuits is still oftentimes less than the cost of change. It offers success strategies for improving experiences for all customers. (Free.)

Source: Journal of Service Management, Volume 29, No. 5, July 2018, pages 834-858

5. Do you respond sincerely? How sellers’ responses to online reviews affect customer
relationship and repurchase intention

Customers get annoyed when you respond to their online reviews with shameless self- promotion and a plug for your next sale. To them, it comes across as indulging in your own self- interest, rather than accepting their feedback. This study found that when that happens, relationship quality and customer repurchase intentions decrease. Read this to understand how you should you respond so that customers feel valued and ready to buy again. (Free.)

Source: Frontiers in Business Research in China, Volume 14, No. 1, December 2020, 367-390.

Hundreds of academic articles have been published in just the past 15 years alone that apply to our work in customer experience leadership. There is room for more, so keep watching for the best, most applicable studies that carry with them the rigors of peer reviewed, scientific evaluation. Google Scholar is a great starting resource!

Feel free to comment with some of the most helpful academic resources you have written, contributed to, or found helpful.

Stephanie Thum is the Founding Principal at Practical CX, LLC, having served as one of the first agency-level heads of customer experience in the U.S. federal government. During that time Stephanie advised President Obama’s interagency task force on customer experience. She also served as Chief Advisor for Federal CX at Qualtrics, and CX Influencer for SAP.

Stephanie is also a founding member of the CXPA, where she helped build the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) certification process and the global customer experience professional community.

Follow Stephanie on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter.

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