About Time: How Temporal Construal Changes Customer Satisfaction

Clock FaceTime works wonders–it’s a familiar saying that speaks to the fluid nature of an individual’s experiences, and how, as time passes, perceptions of those experiences often change. And yet, in customer satisfaction research, time has often been neglected, despite the fact it plays a significant part in how customers reflect on their service experience. In their article, “The Temporal Construal of Customer Satisfaction,” published in the November 2015 issue of Journal of Service Research, authors Gabriele Pizzi, Gian Luca Marzocchi, Chiara Orsingher, and Alessandra Zammit of the University of Bologna outline how customer satisfaction changes over time. In particular, the paper highlights how customer feedback shifts from focusing on concrete details to more abstract details as time passes.

The abstract:

Traditional customer satisfaction research considers satisfaction judgments invariant to temporal distance. We conduct two experiments and a field study to show that the amount of time elapsed between a service consumption experience and its evaluation influences satisfaction judgments. We show that consumers rely on concrete attributes to represent near-past (NP) experiences and on JSR Coverabstract attributes to represent distant-past (DP) experiences (i.e., different construal levels). The findings indicate that construal mechanisms generate intertemporal shifts in the importance of the attributes driving satisfaction over time (Study 1), in the weights assigned to abstract and concrete attributes of a past service experience (Study 2), and in overall satisfaction judgments when abstract and concrete attributes perform differently (Study 3). Overall, the results provide support for the idea that satisfaction judgments shift over time as a result of the different psychological mechanisms that are activated as a function of the time elapsing between the service experience and its evaluation. Managers are advised to adopt longitudinal approaches to customer satisfaction measurement: An immediate assessment to capture customers’ evaluations of the performance of the concrete details of the experience and a delayed assessment to measure customer satisfaction with more abstract and goal-related features of the experience.

You can read “The Temporal Construal of Customer Satisfaction” from Journal of Service Research by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Service Research? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

This entry was posted in Change, Customer Satisfaction, Service and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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