By better understanding how emotion influences the willingness or ability of customers or employees to participate in service production, we can refine our ability to design operational processes that are both efficiently delivered and poised to improve customer engagement over the long term.
“Mitigating the Negative Effects of Customer Anxiety through Access to Human Contact”
It is a well-established result in social psychology that when people feel anxious, they seek advice from others. However, increasingly companies that operate in high-anxiety settings (like financial services, health care, and education) are deploying self-service technologies (SSTs), through which anxious customers transact without human contact. The impact of customer anxiety on service relationships is neither well understood, nor consistently factored into service design.
In this paper, one field experiment and a series of four laboratory experiments, conducted in high-anxiety financial service contexts, document the negative effects of anxiety on customer choice satisfaction, firm trust, and long-term engagement, and explore the impact of giving self-service consumers the option to interact with a person.
Download the paper here: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3328971
INFORMS Behavioral Operations Section 2019 Best Working Paper Award, First Place
POMS College of Behavior in Operations Management 2019 Junior Scholar Paper Competition, Second Place
Washington Post, March 13, 2023, “Vanishing customer support is driving us all insane”
Vox, January 26, 2023, “The death of the customer service hotline”
AARP, September 10, 2021, “Chatbots May Deliver the Best Customer Care”
Insights at Questrom, December 7, 2020, “Who does AI help: Customers or Companies?”
Harvard Business Review Webinar, September 25, 2019. Listen to the replay here
Harvard Business Review Magazine, July-August 2019, “IdeaWatch: How Necessary Is the Human Touch?”
Harvard Business Review (April 2019, Digital Article)
HBS Working Knowledge Infographic (April 2019)