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Customer Delight: A Review

by M Wayne Alexander
published by Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 2010
Ref AMSJ14-04

Is simply satisfying customers still enough to ensure customer loyalty? Or should the aim be to achieve ‘customer delight’, defined as a combination of joy and surprise?

It is only more recently, writes the author, that customer delight, and its opposite, outrage or disgust, have been given much attention in the literature. In this article, the author reviews the literature and identifies requirements for further research.

Some researchers, notes the author, measure delight and disgust as extreme ends of a satisfaction/dissatisfaction continuum, but such an assumption, he states, is questionable. Some of the research cited in the article also assumed that delight leads to repurchase and customer loyalty, but a theoretical link between delight and its outcomes is required.

The author cites Rust and Oliver (2000) who concluded that ‘Features with the capacity to delight are those that are unexpectedly or surprisingly pleasant…’. But, he goes on to ask, ‘If surprise is part of delight, is it possible for a retailer to continuously surprise customers?’

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About the authors

M. Wayne Alexander is a Professor at the School of Business, Minnesota State University Moorhead, US

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