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Final report to the Society for Non-Traditional Technology, Japan
Oksana Mont Andrius Plepys Research Associates International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University <http://www.iiiee.lu.se/> P. O. Box 196 Tegnersplatsen 4 SE- 221 00 Lund Sweden Phone: +46 46 222 0200 Fax: +46 46 222 0230 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Lund, February 28 2003
The authors would like to thank the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan for financially supporting this study and for useful comments on the drafts. We would like to thank our supervisor, Prof. Thomas Lindhqvist for valuable guidance and challenging comments.
This feasibility study commissioned by the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan (AIST) and supported by the Sustainable Consumption Unit (UNEP) provided an overview of approaches used in different disciplines for evaluating consumer behaviour. The study analysed the applicability of existing research concepts, theories, and tools for evaluating consumer satisfaction with product-service systems (PSS). It included a discussion of their strengths/weaknesses. BACKGROUND It has been recognised that eco-efficiency improvements at production and product design level can be significantly reduced or totally negated by rebound effect from increased consumption levels. In line with this problem factor 10 to 20 material and energy efficiency improvements have been suggested (Factor 10 Club 1994; Schmidt-Bleek 1996; Bolund, Johansson et al. 1998; Ryan 1998). The improvements, however, if not carefully done, may still lead to rebound effects through changes in resource prices. As a potential solution to the factor 10/20 vision, system level improvements have to be made, contrary to redesigning individual products or processes (Weterings and Opschoor 1992; Vergragt and Jansen 1993; von Weizsäcker, Lovins et al. 1997; Ryan 1998; Manzini 1999; Brezet, Bijma et al. 2001; Ehrenfeld and Brezet 2001). The product service system (PSS) concept has been suggested as a way to contribute to this system level improvement (Goedkoop, van Halen et al. 1999; Mont 2000). Here the environmental impacts of products and associated services could be addressed already at the product and service design stage. Special focus should be given to the use phase by providing alternative system solutions to owning products. A number of examples in the business-to-business (B2B) area exist that confirm the potential of PSS for reducing life cycle environmental impact. It is, however, increasingly evident that business examples are difficult to directly apply to the private consumer market. Private consumers, contrary to businesses, prefer product ownership to service substitutes (Schrader 1996; Littig 1998). Even if accepted, the environmental impacts of “servicised products” offers depend to a large extent on consumer behaviour. To address this problem, either behavioural or service system design changes are needed. Changing human behaviour and existing lifestyles contributes to the vision of sustainable development, but at the same time, it is an extremely difficult and time-consuming process. A potentially easier way is changing the design of the product-service system to reduce behavioural pitfalls. In order to change system design, it is necessary to understand how consumer acceptance of more sustainable solutions is formed, influenced or changed, what are the influencing factors and what are the leverage points for best results with lowest costs. Understanding consumer perceptions and behaviour in this context is crucial. CONSUMER RESEARCH IN DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES A considerable body of literature in a range of different discip lines exists on consumption, consumer behaviour, and consumer decision- making process. Research in economics, business, marketing, psychology and sociology domains studies consumer behaviour from different theoretical premises: “for economists, consumption is used to produce utility; for sociologists, it is a means of stratification; for anthropologists – a matter of ritual and symbol;
Konrad et al. Another reason could be uniformity of research focus. and to a lesser extent by sociologists. CONSUMER SATISFACTION PROCESS The paramount goal of marketing is to understand the consumer and to influence buying behaviour. 1989. Consumption . for example. The reason is probably that PSS ideas have been promoted by researchers from the environmental management.g. despite that seemingly insurmountable abyss between disciplines. rather than on actually measuring the satisfaction level with the service. The process can be depicted in the following steps (Engel. Pre-purchase alternative evaluation .utilisation of the procured option. Blackwell et al. It is consumer attitudes that are usually named as the major factor in shaping consumer behaviour and a wealth of studies is available on the topic of how attitudes can predict behaviour.assessment of whether or not and to what degree the consumption of the alternative produced satisfaction.search for data relevant for the purchasing decision. and engineering fields. Yates et al. customer decision-making process comprises a needsatisfying behaviour and a wide range of motivating and influencing factors. market response. habits. it is a way of making money”(Fine 1997). design. few studies evaluated consumer acceptance of the PSS concept – a consumption based on non-ownership of physical products. Post-purchase alternative re-evaluation . we see that many research topics and methods overlap. studies on car sharing schemes (Schrader 1999.acquirement of the chosen option of product or service. they naturally employ different research approaches.assessment of available choices that can fulfil the realised need by evaluating benefits they may deliver and reduction of the number of options to the one (or several) preferred. However. According to the model. Ronis. factors influencing consumer behaviour. Meijkamp 2000). 2001). Divestment . Most of consumer research focused on adopter categories. both from or internal sources (one's memory) and/or external sources. e. • • • • • • Besides the information processing perspective. who hold the banner of research in customer satisfaction.disposal of the unconsumed product or its remnants. For more than a decade now. Therefore. Search f information . and for business. attitudes and intentions. One of the main perspectives of the consume r behaviour research analyses buying behaviour from the so-called “information processing perspective" (Holbrook and Hirschman 1982). Luzar and Cosse 1998). a range of studies that address environmentally sound consumer behaviour. Purchase . One reason explaining the lack of studies in the area could be that. have been conducted.for psychologists – the means to satisfy or express physiological and emotional needs. see. and that there is 4 . INTER -DISCIPLINARITY OF CONSUMER RESEARCH Different research disciplines diverge in their presuppositions about human nature. etc. marketing analyses consumer behaviour by employing a psychologically grounded concept of attitudes (Balderjahn 1988. marketing. there are still not many PSS schemes in place to serve as test grounds. 1995): • Need recognition – realisation of the difference between desired situation and the current situation that serves as a trigger for the entire consumption process. waste sorting. minimisation and recycling practices. However. car use. ski rental and washing services (Hirschl.
is larger than in the case of a pure product or service. • • RESEARCH FRAMEWORKS AND METHODS A great variety of methods and frameworks for understanding and evaluating consumer acceptance and satisfaction are used in different disciplines. Both the research models and the tools. while diverse to a different extent. The study has also surveyed a range of tools used for evaluating and measuring consumer satisfaction. In the case of PSS or eco-services. with which the customer comes into direct contact. A product service system comprises four components (products. These included surveys. and networks). The complexity of the decision. and psychographic portrait of customers. Here the part of the system. Infrastructure can be evaluated when the customer comes into contact with enabling supporting technology. CONCLUSIONS 5 . are not usually exposed to the customer. and SERVQUAL model by Parasuraman. A number of drawbacks and benefits pertaining to the tools have been pointed out and discussed. observations. were found to be useful for application in the PSS research area. though observable. Therefore. which requires coordination at individual and societal level.making process and a large number of influencing factors suggest that changing consumer behaviour towards more sustainable consumption is a challenging process. DIFFERENT LEVELS OF COMPLEXITY When evaluating satisfaction with a product. Further efforts are required in order to understand relations between the functional and emotional needs of customers. information and knowledge services) that are included into PSS may be evaluated. services. Many interdisciplinary concepts and factors are of interest for research on consumer satisfaction with eco-efficient services and PSS. the Innovation diffusion of Rogers. due to closer relations with the service provider. Today consumer behaviour is increasingly dynamic as the choice of alternatives increases with the growth of global markets. rendering the evaluation process of consumer satisfaction even more complex (Mont 2000). customers can even become exposed to infrastructure and networks that support PSS delivery. the service quality model of Grönsroos. mystery shopping. In addition. in the PSS context. The study has discussed the following frameworks: Kano model of customer satisfaction. spatial layout or by evaluating signs and artefacts of the PSS. Many consumption-related issues are being increasingly addressed from interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary perspectives. consumption patterns are very flexible and prone to various influences. customers are exposed to both dimensions: product and service. the features. but in some cases may be evaluated when they come into contact with customers. customers initially assess tangible features of the product. infrastructures.no clear-cut line between different domains of consumer research. In the service context. The area of PSS and eco-efficient services is still developing. Networks. or by evaluation of ambient conditions. in-depth interviews. are considerably less tangible and are thus more difficult to assess. focus group interviews. which has implications for customer evaluation process. Person-based or other types of services (technical. an evaluation of all four PSS components becomes relevant: • • Product evaluation is conducted by assessment of products or technologies. Contrary to the suggestions from many traditional neoclassical theories.
together with functionality.fertilisation and learning is the key to success. Cross. This perspective may be unique to this discipline. But it is multifaceted and thus a combination of tools is more promising. but rather products are complex combinations of various attributes. the consumer decision-making process is much more complex and intricate than just a simple decision about shifting from owning a product towards paying per use of it. either behavioural or service system design changes are needed. which would allow us to speak the same language as our system and understand it better. All disciplines we looked at addressed consumption from some perspective. but it proves to be an insurmountable task over a short period of time. which.The environmental impacts of ever increasing consumption throughout the world have been recently recognised. One of the concepts suggested as a potential solution to reduce consumption levels is the concept of product-service systems (PSS). or may share common premises with other disciplines. Changing human behaviour and existing lifestyles contribute to the vision of sustainable development. Understanding consumer perceptions and behaviour in this context is crucial. Alternatively. The challenge is not in the availability of analysis tools. in the private consumer markets. both in terms of economic viability and environmental impact reduction. also bring status. The concept proved to be viable in the business-to-business context. Ident ified frameworks and tools were then evaluated for suitability in the PSS context. We can probably employ just one tool to measure customer satisfaction with our system. what are the influencing factors and what are the leverage points for the best results with lowest costs. User behaviour has been named as the primary reason for this situation. However. Throughout this study we demonstrated that products are not seen purely for their functional features. which can be employed for collecting information about and from consumers. but in analysis frameworks. We also provided some suggestions and examples for how several presented models could be operationalised in the PSS context.making process in the context of ownerless consumption. changing the design of product-service system to reduce the behavioural pitfalls could be a potentially easier way towards sustainable development. We also found some useful tools. We did that by looking at how different disciplines perceive the consumption process in general and the consumer decisionmaking process in particular.much more. which could prove useful in understanding the consumer decision. To address this problem. Therefore. Changing system design requires understanding how consumer acceptance of more sustainable solutions is formed. • • • 6 . influenced or changed. Many solutions have been proposed to combat the rising levels of consumption. We saw the wealth of theories and frameworks being developed trying to solve this puzzle. and much. However. Some important lessons were learned from this study: • The consumer is a moody creature – swinging between rationality and emotional behaviour. it has been less successful. serve as a key to a certain social class. We then looked closer at the potentially most promising models. the goal of this study was to take a step towards a better understanding of the complexity of the phenomena we are aiming to change. reinforce selfesteem.
infrastructures.• PSS is a system. Researchers with various backgrounds need to be involved in developing ideas and methods for measuring customer satisfaction with PSS. The criteria we want to evaluate this system against should include attributes of each dimension. and networks. • 7 . comprised of products. “Non-social” PSS practitioners should learn methods of social sciences. PSS is a multi-disciplinary area and initiating system level change will require system level effort. services.
..........................................39 5......................................1 FRAMEWORKS FOR EVALUATING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION WITH PRODUCTS ..............................................33 4.3 SOCIAL STUDIES DOMAIN ................3.........................................................31 4..................................................................................................................................................................29 4.................................................................................2 Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction ...........................................3 The SERVQUAL model .......................................52 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 8 .......12 2......................1 Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction .................................................................................5 ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES ............................2..........................3..........................................................................................................12 2.2 METHODOLOGY .......................................................2............................6 Psychographic portrait of customers...............2.............................14 3..........28 4.................34 4..................10 METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK AND GOAL OF THE STUDY...................3 Focus group interviews.........................3 LIMITATIONS .13 CONSUMER RESEARCH IN DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES .................................................................................5 Mystery shopping .....32 4........................................................................30 4...............................................................4 Observations ....1 GOAL........................................................................................45 CONCLUSIONS.................................................................................................1 BUSINESS AND MARKETING DOMAIN.........3............38 5..........40 5.............................................49 APPENDIX .35 4.............................................................................35 4.......3 TOOLBOX FOR MEASURING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION ........41 5................................1 Identifying PSS attributes ................19 3......................................................................................................................................36 4........................................................................................3 1 2 BACKGROUND.....14 3..........................3................................................4 PSYCHOLOGY DOMAIN.................................................1..............2................................1 Surveys ......................................................3..............................................4 Service Quality Model..............................................1...3 Innovation framework of Rogers .12 2...................................1...................................1...................................1 USEFULNESS OF FRAMEWORKS FOR PSS..................................47 SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER WORK ............................................................12 2...1 Why measure services with different measures? ........................................2 TOWARDS A FRAMEWORK FOR EVALUATING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION WITH PSS..................2..........1..................38 5............................................................24 FRAMEWORKS AND TOOLS FOR EVALUATING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION......1.......................................................................................40 5.................................27 4..........3............1 Marketing model for creating customer satisfaction.27 4......................5 SERQUAL model....38 5..............21 3...................................................2 Innovation framework....42 5...............2 In-depth interviews.........................................22 3..............2 ECONOMICS DOMAIN ...........................2 FRAMEWORKS FOR EVALUATING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION WITH SERVICES ............................2 Service Quality Model...............................................Table of content EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ...........29 4......................................................27 4.................4 OUTLINE OF THE REPORT ....1.............................................................................................................................2 What tools to use for evaluating PSS?.............................................51 REFERENCES .......................36 ANALYSIS OF FRAMEWORKS AND THEIR APPLICABILITY FOR PSS .....41 5..............................................................................................................
................. 1985)...18 Figure 5 The Kano model (Kano.................................................................List of abbreviations B2B B2C PSS TRA TPB SERVQUAL QFD Business-to-business Business-to-customer Product-service system Theory of Reasoned Action Theory of Planned Behaviour Service Quality model Quality Function Deployment List of Figures Figure 1 Three levels of approaches for evaluating consumer acceptance of products...............14 Figure 3 Customer satisfaction process (adopted from (Engel....................................................................................................................................................................................................27 Figure 6 Adopter categorisation on the basis of relative time of adoption of innovations (Rogers 1995).............................. Berry et al......................................31 Figure 9 Service Quality model (Parasuraman...........................................32 Figure 10 Different data collection methods for different type of attributes (Edvardsson.......................... 143154...............................29 Figure 7 The Service Quality Model (Grönroos 1982)..............................................46 List of Tables Table 1 Some attributes for tool library....... Seraku et al......................................................... Blackwell et al................... 1996) ............................................44 Table 2 Customer satisfaction measures for new products in financial services (Edgett and Snow 1997) .............................. p....40 Figure 11 PSS dimensions that can be exposed to customer judgement .................................51 9 .......43 Figure 12 Service Attribute Dual Importance Grid (Jacobs 1999) .................... 177) ...................................................................................12 Figure 2 Disciplines that study consumption and consumer behaviour .....................................15 Figure 4 The hierarchy of effects models ........................30 Figure 8 The Total Perceived Quality (Grönroos 1988).................................................. Gustafsson et al........ 2000)............................... 1995)........
Manzini 1999. Our comprehension of this approach is still in its initial stage (Sachs 1999). In other words. 2001. but what is clear already is that it is a challenging task to reduce consumption levels. Ryan 1998). 12) 10 . instead of just having products redesigned (Weterings and Opschoor 1992. Following this definition. 1 Background It has been recognised that eco-efficiency improvements at production and product design level can be significantly reduced by ever increasing consumption levels (Khazzoom 1980). Eva and Mikko Jalas. Binswanger 2001. Haake and Jolivet 2001. One of the generally accepted definitions of sustainable consumption is the following: “sustainable consumption is the use of goods and services that satisfy basic needs and improve quality of life while minimizing the usage of irreplaceable natural resources and the by-products of toxic materials. Lovins et al. Ministry of Environment: Helsinki.A dissatisfied customer will tell seven to 20 people about their negative experience. von Weizsäcker. we need a factor of 10 or even 20 in materials and energy efficiency use improvements (Factor 10 Club 1994. the total environmental impact of the economy is growing. While companies are struggling to reduce material intensity of each production unit and each product. Ehrenfeld and Brezet 2001). more value needs to be provided with fewer materials involved and less environmental impact associated with the production and total delivery of that value.link economic and environmental growth (Goedkoop. Mont 2000). which is decoupled from material resources. As a potentia l solution to the factor 10/20 vision. in which the need for product is eliminated (see Heiskanen. Ryan 1998. In order to address this problem.link consumption of goods and services from material consumption. A satisfied customer will only tell three to five people about their positive experience (Kan 1995). waste. Brezet. Sustainable consumption has been highlighted as an important constituent of sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro. van Halen et al. Johansson et al. (2000) Dematerialization Through Services . 1999. associating the management of consumption with the so-called sufficiency revolution1 . Vergragt and Jansen 1993. Schmidt-Bleek 1996. Many authors call for simplifying lifestyles and reducing consumption. which considers how much is enough for a good life. What is needed instead is consumption that is based on economic growth. The product service system (PSS) concept has been suggested as a way to contribute to the system level improvement that tries to de. there is a need to de. (Brookes 2000. 1998. OCSC 2001). p. The concept proposes that the environmental 1 Sufficiency solutions refer to organising activities in more intelligent ways.A Review and Evaluation of the Debate. while reducing the environmental impact associated with producing and delivering this value. Bijma et al. some authors propose that system level improvements have to be made. and pollution” (Sierra Club 2002). 1997. some authors suggest that for long-term sustainability. ten years later in 2002. It highlights the need to provide value to people. We propose the fo llowing definition of sustainable consumption: sustainable consumption is consumption that provides value by decoupling material-based growth from economic growth and environmental impact. as the entire economic system is based on presumption of economic growth linked to the increased use of material resources and products. Bolund. 436. 1992 at the United Nation Conference for Environment and Development and by the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. no.
there are still not many PSS schemes being developed that could serve as test grounds. 2002). it is a way of making money”(Fine 1997). habits. and consumer decision-making process. and for business. For more than a decade now. see. consumption patterns and levels. A number of examples (mainly from the business-to-business area) exist that confirm the potential of PSS for reducing life cycle environmental impact. see for example Steg. (Goodwin. According to Fine (1997). The range of disciplines that address these questions from different points of view is quite broad . recycling and other similar industries. focused on adopter categories. for sociologists. In addition.g. Konrad et al. some of the research that studied consumer acceptance. (OECD 1997). the environmental impacts of such offers depend to a large extent on user behaviour. Ackerman et al. et al (1995). et al (2002) (Gatersleben 2001).g. influenced.e. A considerable body of literature exists on consumption. for anthropologists. waste sorting and minimisation practices. To address this problem. rather than on actually measuring the satisfaction level with the service. while according to some studies it is a formidable challenge for private customers to adopt “ownerless consumption” (Schrader 1996. business and marketing. (Stern. There is a range of studies that address consumer acceptance and attitudes towards more environmentally sound consumer behaviour. and Guerin (2001) (Steg. increasingly evident that these examples are difficult to directly apply to the market of private consumers. 1997). Nemiroff et al. for psychologists. Second. mostly coming from studies of car use. 1997). it is the means by which to satisfy or express physiological and emotional needs. however. with special focus on the use phase by providing alternative system solutions to owning products. 1995. Aragón-Correa and Llorens-Montes 1996. mainly because business customers often prefer services to product ownership (Alexander 1997). this wealth of literature has also been applied to studies of consumer acceptance of environmentally sound products and services. to name just the major ones. Vlek et al. “for economists. Guerin 2001).impacts of products and associated services should be addressed already at the product and service design stage.. An increasing number of studies have been conducted in search for instruments that can potentially help facilitate the shift toward more sustainable patterns of consumption. McKenzie-Mohr. e. The reason is probably that eco-services and PSS ideas have been promoted by environmental 11 . it is a matter of ritual and symbol. Gatersleben (2001) and Rowlands. it is necessary to understand how consumer acceptance of more sustainable solutions is formed. i. Aragón-Correa and Llorens-Montes (1996). The lack of studies that measure customer acceptance of PSS depends on two main reasons. it is a means of stratification. ski rental and washing services (Hirschl.economics. consumption that is not based on ownership of goods. and ultimately a change in lifestyles towards more sustainable patterns. However. Oskamp 2000). (Rowlands. and therefore changing human behaviour may foster and maintain sustainability (Gudgion and Thomas 1991. 1995. social. consumer behaviour. e. Parker et al. attitudes and intentions. In order to initiate the change process. First. changes are needed in consumption behaviour. 2001). Dietz et al. or changed. Littig 1998). Many authors recognise that “the health of our planet is inextricably dependent upon human behaviour” (Geller 1995). studies that investigated consumer acceptance of car sharing schemes (Schrader 1999. what the influencing factors are and what the leverage points for best results with lowest costs are. It is. (Thøgersen and Ölander 2002). and psychological studies of consumer behaviour. very few studies evaluated consumer acceptance of the concept of product service systems. for example. Meijkamp 2000). consumption is used to produce utility.
1 Goal The goal of the study is to provide ideas and suggestions for how customer satisfaction with PSS can be evaluated. This report is a result of the feasibility study that is a part of the project on Life-Cycle Approach to Sustainable Consumption. consumption. Sustainable Consumption Unit. Some elaboration on how these tools could be used in the PSS context will be provided. the following framework for this study is suggested. initiated and funded by the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan (AIST) and supported by UNEP. 2. ABI Inform available at Lund University and through national Swedish library database LIBRIS. or market success of a product were included into this study. This goal will be reached in a number of steps. who hold the banner of research in customer satisfaction. These frameworks will then be evaluated as to whether they could be used for estimating customer satisfaction with PSSs and what kinds of adjustments are necessary. as the goal of the study is to evaluate applicability of the most often used methods for understanding and m easuring consumer acceptance and satisfaction. We will first provide an overview of existing concepts and schools of thought from different disciplines that try to explain consumer behaviour and consumption patterns. Emerald. engineers and designers. 2 Methodological framework and goal of the study 2. No sensory and taste ratings and preferences that do not directly translate into the purchase. Lovisa. 12 . Science Direct.2 Methodology Based on the presented perspectives that are of importance for understanding and evaluating consumer behaviour. environmental marketing researchers.management researchers. and to a lesser extent by sociologists. A number of interviews with experts in academic circles and in European and Swedish research institutions were conducted with regard to the questions about consumer behaviour and consumer acceptance of eco-efficient services and latest updates in the PSS area. The study results should be treated as indicative for future more in-depth studies in proposed areas. The overview will be followed by the presentation of frameworks and tools that are used for understanding consumer satisfaction with products and services. 2. Disciplines Attitudes Behaviours Acceptance Methods Techniques Figure 1 Three levels of approaches for evaluating consumer acceptance of products This feasibility study is a desk-top study that includes analysis of academic journals with the use of several databases ELIN.3 Limitations The study is limited by time and no deep analysis of consumer behaviour from a specific discipline point of view has been performed.
in-depth interviews. how to blueprint the service process and provides some hints on how to evaluate customer satisfaction by operationalising the Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction. focus group interviews. business and marketing studies. 13 .making processes and draws attention to the relevant current contributions to the discussion from each discipline. Section 5 analyses presented frameworks and tools for their usefulness for the area of ecoefficient services and PSS. which are used in many different disciplines. A relevant example of tool library service attributes is presented. Section 4 provides an overview of the major frameworks and techniques for understanding and evaluating consumer acceptance and satisfaction. 2. psychological research. such as economics. The section discusses whether new tools are needed for evaluating the acceptance of PSS or what kind of adjustments need to be done to suit existing techniques for the new application area. The described frameworks are Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction. and psychographic portrait of customers. due to the general nature of these tools and availability of sources. The specific tools for evaluating and measuring consumer satisfaction include surveys. Some suggestions are provided as to how to choose the salient attributes on offer. The section identified differences in studying consumer behaviour and consumption. social studies.4 Outline of the report An overview of the sections of the report is presented below. Service Quality Model of Grönsroos.The overview of tools for measuring customer satisfaction excluded practical advice on how to develop these tools and how to analyse collected data. observations. which can provide help in these respects. and the environmental field. It also highlights the linkages between the disciplines in their approach towards understanding consumer related decision. Section 3 provides an overview of some concepts and theoretical groundings from different disciplines that study consumer behaviour. Conclusions are drawn and directions for future research are discussed in section 6. and SERVQUAL model by Parasuraman. mystery shopping. Section 1 provides the background and the rationale for engaging in the research of consumer behaviour. Section 2 provides the methodological framework for carrying out the study. Innovation framework of Rogers.
and market response. drawing contributions and participants from sociology. The ultimate goal of this decisionmaking process is satisfaction of consumer needs. anthropology. Instead. The disciplines differ in their presuppositions about the human nature. This section helps the reader understand different stages in the consumer decision process and distinguish between the notions of customer acceptance and customer satisfaction. As Ackerman puts it. which might be applicable for studying the field of product-service systems. It provides background to the following sections. which analyse consumption and consumer behaviour from the point of view of different disciplines. Special focus is given to the formation of consumer needs and attitudes. business and marketing studies. They also employ different research methods. improving companies’ competitiveness and securing market share.3 Consumer research in different disciplines The study of consumption is increasingly enriched by a growing number of contributions. Consumer behaviour Business management & marketing Economics Social studies Psychology Environmental studies Figure 2 Disciplines that study consumption and consumer behaviour 3. on occasion. It is far from an overview of how consumption has been studied by different disciplines. philosophy. influencing factors of consumer behaviour. The purpose of this section is to provide a selective sampling of literature that deals with issues or methods. “a new interdisciplinary area of research on consumption has emerged in the last 10-15 years. we will see that many research topics overlap. literature. and that obviously there is no clear-cut line between different domains of consumer research.making process within the purchasing decision. history. and psychological research. a lot of consumption related issues have been addressed from an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary perspective. social. rather than to provide a thorough literature analysis. and marketing . from economics” (Ackerman 1997). Despite that seemingly insurmountable abyss between disciplines. some of which will be described in the following sections.even. In addition. the intention is to select useful sources and draw methodological and theoretical lessons. which analyses how customer satisfaction 14 . Business management and marketing are concerned with ways of satisfying and retaining customers for the purpose of generating profits. Some of the major themes in the business management domain include studies of customer relationship marketing. This section provides a selective presentation of how consumption and consumer behaviour is studied and explained by economics.1 Business and marketing domain This section provides a summary of the current understanding of consumer behaviour based on the overview of the existing body of business literature on the subject. information processing and the decision.
The need recognition process Desired state Actual state Degree of discrepancy Below threshold No need recognition At or above threshold Need recognition Internal search Information search Variables Environmental influences Culture Social class Personal influence Family Situation Exposure Attention • • • • • • Stimuli Marketer dominated Other Comprehension Memory Pre-purchase alternative evaluation Purchase Consumption • Acceptance Retention External search Post-purchase alternative evaluation Dissatisfaction Divestment Individual differences Consumer resources: time. choice and outcomes (Dewey 1910). is the model suggested by Engel et al. 15 . money. Blackwell et al. information processing • Motivation • Knowledge • Attitudes • Personality. 2000). alternative evaluation. (1995). p. Consumer decisionmaking process has the following steps: 1. and lifestyle • Satisfaction Figure 3 Customer satisfaction process (adopted from (Engel. One of the models. because it combines the consumer decision process with the influencing factors (Figure 3). Need recognition – realisation of the difference between desired situation and the current situation that serves as a trigger for the entire consumption process. 177) According to the model. which will be used in this study as a basis for understanding the consumer buying behaviour. and approaches that can help transfer customer satisfaction data into strategies for improvement of customer relations and their retention (Reidenbach and McClung 1998). 143-154.relates to competitiveness and profits. The basic concept is derived from the model of the consumer’s decisionmaking process. (Schellhase. One of the main perspectives of the consumer behaviour research analyses buying behaviour from the so-called “information processing perspective” (Holbrook and Hirschman 1982). 1995). (Johnson and Gustafsson 2000). Hardock et al. suggested by Dewey (1910) and adapted by Simon (1955). The paramount goal of the marketing domain is to understand the consumer and to influence buying behaviour. the customer decision-making process comprises a need-satisfying behaviour and a wide range of motivating and influencing factors. search. that includes the following major steps: problem recognition. methods for measuring customer satisfaction (Thomson 1995). Later this model was expanded to include other steps and add more details. (Simon 1955). values.
time. The major determinants that influence a search are product determinants.g. the need should be considered as important and the need satisfaction should be within a person’s resources (e. which represent product or service attributes or particular dimensions of their delivery. The set of alternatives for the evaluations process is called the consideration or evoked set. The outcomes of this stage depend on the actual existence of internal knowledge about the subject and on the ability of the individual to retrieve this information. the need is recognised. in the direction (advertising. brands. Mothersbaugh et al. Pre-purchase alternative evaluation . colour. or experience with a product or service. etc. Differences in product attributes are also reflected in the way the consumer knowledge about a product can be measured. However. price. or social contacts) and in the sequence of the research (brand or attribute processing). brand name.assessment of available choices that can fulfil the realised need by evaluating benefits they may deliver and reduction of the number of options to the one (or several) preferred. involvement. which is believed to be able to satisfy consumer need. The extent of the informa tion search depends on the degree of importance of the purchasing decision to the customer. and demographic features. which have different importance to various individuals (Mittal. In this step. Ratchford (1975) posits that consumers may often choose products for the status and image attributes and less for their functional features (Ratchford 1975). new product purchase.This process depends on the difference between the desired and the current state of affairs. It has been demonstrated that these image or intangible attributes are important in customer evaluations. attitudes. A number of evaluative criteria. especially when their tangible features are difficult to evaluate (Olson 1977). The consumer determinants comprise knowledge. 1990). 1994). Search for information . money. Ratchford et al. people seek information more actively than in cases of more expensive products (Engel. Blackwell et al. situational determinants. time. a number of alternatives are evaluated and the final option. The relevance of product information presented to consumers also affects the purchasing decision. while expressive /status/ and image attributes can primarily be measured through subjective experiences of consumers with products (Park. consumers also choose which alternatives they will evaluate.search for data relevant for the decision. is chosen. information received from sales people. The criteria can be functional or expressive in nature. It has been shown that irrelevant information weakens consumers’ beliefs in the product’s ability to deliver the outcome and satisfy the need (Meyvis and Janiszewski 2002). Several factors can influence this process: changed circumstances. beliefs. etc. and consumption that trigger the need for other products. better than the other options. both from internal sources (one’s memory) and/or external sources. Once a certain threshold of this discrepancy is exceeded. for example. environmental attributes. instore information. If the internal search does not produce expected results. 3.). are used for the evaluation. but of 16 . the individual turns toward external information sources. retail. In addition to the choice of criteria. and consumer determinants. For example. The search for information usually begins with the internal search for any sort of information. 1995). smell. Research on the evoked set (number of alternatives that are considered in the evaluation process) has focused on both explaining the process in which close substitutes alternatives sharing the same attributes (usually within the same product category.. to trigger the action. Functional attributes are more likely to be measured objectively. 2. The external searches differ in scale (how comprehensive the search for information is). memory.
4. An important part of the pre-purchase alternative evaluation is acceptance . partially planned. or there could be no such alternatives available at that particular place. the purchasing may still not be made. Consumption . which resembles comparing non-comparables from different product and service categories. because motivations and circumstances can change. Following Johnson’s logic. Thus. brand and entire product category (Beattie 1982). The result of this step can be either satisfaction or dissatisfaction.informed customers are willing to pay more for the quality brand than were lower-knowledge customers (Cordell 1997). in which consumers start from comparing general information about product categories. (Johnson 1988). The purchase step is associated with a number of decisions that individuals have to make. It starts from concrete features of alternatives and widens the comparison to more abstract characteristics. The decision also depends on when and where to buy. the consumers have to compare service alternatives to products. the evaluation in this case will also be a bottom.utilisation of the procured option. After the product or service is bought. negatively disconfirmed when the product 17 .whether the consumer accepts and believes the information provided and trusts the sources of that information. Research distinguishes between sacred and profane consumption.different brands) – are being evaluated and on the choice of alternatives from different product categories . Furthermore. Knowledge from these studies is useful for analysing consumer acceptance of PSS. and ideal performance (Oliver 1980). The choice process between alternatives from different product categories is the opposite. so called across-category choice alternatives (Johnson 1989). new information can become available. while less informed customers rely on general information about the entire product category (Bettman and Sujan 1987) and use more subjective information and recommendations of social contacts (King and Balasubramanian 1994). studies report that well. The difference in the choice process between close substitutes and alternatives from different product categories has been shown.noncomparables. expected performance. or totally unplanned. at the purchasing stage. consumers have three levels of expectations about the product or service performance: equitable performance (what the customer has to receive in return for money and effort spent).up process. because in the PSS context. (Park and Smith 1989). Purchase .informed customers focus more on objective information and particular product attributes. The model states that individual’s expectations are either confirmed if a product performs as expected. in a period of time or could even abort the consumption process all together. Satisfaction is the result of a post-consumption evaluation if a chosen alternative met or exceeded expectations of the customer. The choice process between close substitutes is a top-down process. and/or how to pay for the purchase. based on which the alternatives are being compared (Johnson 1989).acquirement of the chosen option of product or service. consumers can use it directly. the final decision can be fully planned. According to Oliver’s expectation-disconfirmation model. The information processing capabilities about product characteristics are shown to depend on how well individuals are informed about a product. as well as impulsive consumption. 6. It is demonstrated that well. 5.assessment of whether or not and to what degree the consumption of the alternative produced satisfaction. Even if the alternative is already chosen. narrowing it down to concrete choices among brands of products (Park and Smith 1989). (Bettman 1979). Post-purchase alternative evaluation .
and other people based on four underlying reasons: utilitarian function (based on rewards and punishments). • The Standard Hierarchy or High Involvement Hierarchy perceives the consumer as a rational problem solver and suggests the following order of consumer responses: cognition. such as reuse and remarketing. and cognition (feel-do-learn). 1989. Katz’ functional theory of attitudes explains the role of attitudes in shaping social behaviour (Katz 1960). Besides “information processing perspective” presented above.concept). People form attitudes toward products. Most of the research has been focusing on final disposal and recycling. themselves. trial purchases and suggests the following order of consumer responses: cognition.performs more poorly than expected. Luzar and Cosse 1998). and structure). affect. meaning. stores. Underlying dimensions of attitude include: affect (feelings). Attitudes are usually named as the major factor in shaping consumer behaviour and a wealth of studies is available on the topic of how attitudes can be used to predict consumer behaviour (Balderjahn 1988. brands.involvement purchase situations where both motivation and risk are low e. and consumption of the product is likely to be discontinued. but recently the secondary use of a product. behaviour. Yates et al. or positively disconfirmed if a product performs better than expected. and behaviour (learn.disposal of the unconsumed product or its remnants. Divestment . which try to explain a different kind of consumer decision-making process. 7. and knowledge function (need for order. behaviour. Confirmation or positive disconfirmation results in satisfaction and the continued use of the product or service. These dimensions can be combined into three hierarchies of effects models. is gaining more and more attention. behaviour (do). ego-defensive function (serves to protect the person from internal feelings of threat). The Experiential Hierarchy highlights the importance of consumers’ emotions (impulse purchases) and situations in which consumer are highly involved with outcome and suggests the following order of consumer responses: affect. A negative disconfirmation results in dis satisfaction. advertisements. valueexpressive function (consumer’s central values or self. Inputs High involvement Outputs • • Marketing mix Matrix Environmental factors Beliefs Low involvement Beliefs Experiential Affect Affect Behaviour Behaviour Affect Attitude based on behavioural learning Behaviour Beliefs Attitude based on hedonic experience expereince Figure 4 The hierarchy of effects models 18 Sales Customer satisfaction Positive word-of-mouth Attitude based on cognitive information or knowledge . Divestment became a focus of customer research relatively recently because of growing environmental concerns. and affect (learn-do-feel). Ronis. marketing analyses buyer behaviour by employing a psychologically grounded concept of attitudes. The Low-Involvement Hierarchy applies to low.g.feel-do). and cognitions (learning and beliefs).
4. incomes. all in order to sustain the growth drive of indus try. A modern consumer theory regards consumers as full members of the market who create their utility in the context of the household. The end result could be a great variety of ways consumers can produce utility. most often. the narrow scenario of reality drawn by neoclassical economists has been heavily criticised on several grounds and a shift towards new foundations in microeconomics has taken place (Lancaster 1966). who spend time and other resources. These two models in a way provide opposite views of the consumer decision. 35. which consumers face every day. which are based on a psychologically construct of attitudes.2 Economics domain “There was once a man who lived in a Scarcity. They identify three major influencing factors that affect consumption . Theoretical frameworks dealing with beliefs are described in section 3.making process. (Lancaster 1971). This section described the step-by-step model of the customer satisfaction process stemming from the “information processing perspective” and the hierarchy of effects models. and which employ great amount of resources to discover and create urge for more and more desires. (Lancaster 1966). (Michael and Becker 1973).These models suggest that there are three ways to change attitude: via changing belief. Furthermore. or the consumption choices and lifestyles of their social contacts. As personal tastes fall outside the realm of economics. They were married and had many needs” (Baudrillard 1988). in which time and skills of the consumers are employed. The notion that needs and outcomes is really what consumers want is at the centre of this new approach. Traditional neoclassical economists posit that these desires are not affected by culture. After Galbraith. implying that consumer sovereignty is an empty concept (Galbraith 1958). social interactions. which exploit the fact that psychological needs are insatiable. The most popular theories and models in economic consumer research portray consumers as somewhat passive rational decisionmakers and assume that well-defined and insatiable desires for goods and services drive consumer behaviour in the market. and personal tastes. Taking into account the concept of bounded rationality with lack of information and cognitive limitations. After many adventures and the long voyage in the Science of Economics. Consumption plays a central role in economic theory. In response to these traditional views. institutional frameworks. these desires or preferences for certain goods are stable by nature and consumers maximise their own utility in the world of perfect information and market competition. he encountered the Society of Affluence. This vast amount of alternatives makes the consumer decision process a complex task. 3. The fundamental prerequisite of this approach is that goods and services are simply inputs to the consumption process. traditional economists restrict themselves to the role of income and prices in determining consumption choices.prices. affect or via behavioural change. Here he implies that only physiological needs have limits. The next section will explore the economic theory of consumer behaviour in the last decades. Galbraith argued that we need to realise that there are limits to desires and that expressions of these desires in specific want s are created by industrial systems. p. and their utility is being extracted by consumers. in the household. it is clear that consumers cannot be efficient in their choices and 19 . Needs ma y be fulfilled by putting market-provided goods through consumption process. He critiques the present consumer societies. Other presuppositions of economic theory of consumer demand are that desires are not diminishing as mo re of them are satisfied and that the origin of desires is in the consumers themselves.
10). Triggers for change reduce this accumulated capital (Stigler and Becker 1977). consisting of skills. a part of the ‘state’ of that person. as it were. who suggested taking into consideration the desire of people to consume certain goods in order to be accepted by a social group. Habits are formed based on changes in tastes. Examples of economic research provided here demonstrate clear links between psychological. then it will be easier to solicit more followers into it. it might be difficult to change it. according to which habits are formed in the process of continuous reinforcement of influencing factors. As a result. It reflects. This discussion is interesting from environmental point of view as well. (Becker 1996).g. It has to be distinguished also from the happiness generated by the functioning” (p. for example. until new signals and influences come that can trigger the search for better alternative. a bike)àcharacteristics (e. This discussion stems from the psychological learning theory.10). people can be trapped by the desire to adopt to the most accepted or prestigious way of living (Leibenstein 1950).g. for evaluating consumer willingness-to-pay and willingness-to-accept. This mechanism implies that if the prestigious way of living is unsustainable. Once people are satisfied with their choice and situation. information and experiences. and our preferences depend on experiences in past consumption. which are used to achieve those functionings. but at what functioning these possessions provide (Sen 1985).. The work of Sen brings us closer to the area of product-service systems in that Sen argued that in order to evaluate a person’s well-being it is not sufficient to look at one’s possessions and at the characteristics of these possessions. It has to be distinguished from the commodities. transport)àfunctioning (e. Stigler and Becker (1977) explain stability of habits with a certain capital. as nonmembers will always struggle for being accepted into the prestigious circle. (von Weizsäcker 1971).that neoclassical economics failed to provide sufficient explanation of consumption processes.making process every time we are faced with a choice. 20 . Sen defines functioning as “an achievement of a person: what he or she manages to do or to be. social and marketing research.. Economists suggested looking at individual costs as an explanation of the habitual behaviour.g. pleasure) (p. as a matter of habit. Incorporation of economic methods into customer acceptance and satisfaction techniques could greatly contribute to this line of research. moving)àutility (e. their behaviour becomes routinised and they do not tend to search for new solutions. as routines and habits often offset sustainable patterns of consumption. It is suggested instead that our lives are deeply routinised and the decisions about familiar daily situations are made automatically.g. This conceptualisation reminds very muc h the direction of the current discussion in the environmental filed about product ownership versus buying functions of products. that was acquired during consumption of a particular object or service. Another interesting reason for habit stability comes from Leibenstein (1950). It is been argued that life would be impossibly complex if we were to go through the entire decision. There is a lot to learn from economic research in terms of knowledge and methods. These ideas built the foundation for an extensive debate on economic implications of habits (Pollak 1970).. Later he summarised the conceptualisation of the processes of how utility is realised (Sen 1997): goods (e. A different approach to the consumer decision process comes from the studies by prominent economists who explored the effects of tastes and preferences on consumption choices (Scitovsky 1992).. The contrary is also true: if it is possible to make prestigious life style more sustainable.
3 Social studies domain Social institutions. family and household. and experiences. ethnic influence. Pierre Bourdieu (1984) maintains that consumption patterns develop based on taste that is specified by a certain cultural location (habitus).In the next section. and epistemic value. social value. services. There is a substantial body of literature on consumer culture that analyses cultural differences and looks into reasons for consumption in a cultural context (Featherstone 1991). Newman et al. Another line of sociological research on consumption analyses institutional influences on consumption patterns. (Cross 1993). and the education system. symbols. Engel (1995) shows the scope of individual and environmental influences and this distinction is used in this study for the narrowing down and distinguishing between the two research areas: sociology and psychology. Four different types of meanings can be distinguished: utilitarian meaning (perceived usefulness of a product in its ability to perform functional tasks). as part of the dimension of identify construction. Social studies focus on identifying and studying parameters of external environments that influence consumption patterns. Marketing segmentation is also often based on marketing products to a specific social class by using special language. Changes of values are usually explained from a life-cycle perspective (people grow older and their values change) or from a generational perspective. religion. or (Henry 2002). sacred products that are very important to people. suggesting that values of all generations are being replaced by values of the “leading” generation. emotional value. 1991). which triggers associations of a particular social class (see for example. Consumption patterns to a large degree are also affected by social class. collective behaviour. The major themes that are studied by sociologists with regard to consumption behaviour are culture. Sociology studies why people buy products and find various answers to that simple question: products provide function. Several sociologists investigated how people belonging to the same class use the construct of taste to choose particular goods. conditional value. Sociologists study the role different goods play in distinguishing between different classes and reinforcing identity within a certain class. For example. Personal influence on the consumption patterns is studied by investigating the meanings that consumers attach to the process of consumption. lifestyles. and constraints of cons umption environments enable and affect consumer behaviour. and appeal. The main institutions in focus are family. products become symbols of meaning in society (Solomon 1983). hedonic meaning (specific feelings the products evoke or facilitate). The authors propose that consumer choice is influenced by functional value. (Lury 1998). (Williams 2002). products should comply with people preferences about the form in which product function could be delivered. He analysed how consumers classify goods in accordance with their taste and how the taste indicates belonging to a certain social class (Bourdieu 1984). The importance of values is described by a theory of consumption values (Sheth. and social meanings (products and services are seen as “media for interpersonal 21 . and interests. At the heart of the sociological view is the role played by goods in marking the distinction between different social groups and classes and strengthening identity within the group. Culture affects the entire structure of consumption. because people who belong to the same class share similar values. and that people consume in order to distinguish themselves in the social arena. personal influence. and situational influences. social class. 3. the explanation and construct of consumer behaviour will be built on social and sociological studies. Consumers create themselves and are created by products.
Sociology provides several insights about that.communication” and for statements about people’s positions and statuses in social groups) (Engel. (Hodgson 1988). and behaviours mutually reinforce each other and shape the development of society.4 Psychology domain The major part of psychological research. behavioural stability is explained by social interdependence of consumption. how different stimulators influence the personal decision. we need to buy because everyone else has already bought it (Baudrillard 1998). 3.making process. Another line of research focuses on studying how various stimuli from the surrounding world affect consumer behaviour. There is an important status element in this: we want to be different. influenced and enabled by institutions (North 1981). ideologies. social groups. sociologists can directly contribute to the development of ecoefficient services and PSS with their knowledge of socio-technical frameworks and processes that shape household and individual consumption. consumers are also part of social groups.making process. money). Secondly. Behaviourists are concerned with the role surrounding conditions have on learning and the decision. but not too different from our social group. scents. Several schools of thoughts can be distinguished in psychology. Psychology is interested in learning how the urge of need is created. 1995). Equally important are accepted norms and moral principles that should go together with cha nging techno-economic framework and should provide new grounds that would shape and determine more sustainable consumer choices. Blackwell et al. can also be enriched by the sociological studies on the topic. The major question raised was how habits are formed and how they can be changed to stimulate habitualisation of more sustainable consumption patterns. It seems that the focus is given to four major topics: consumer resources (time. from which they can learn through interaction. Representatives of the operant conditioning view of consumer learning investigate the role of rewards and punishment in consumer decision. Consumers are seen as being embedded into. The discussion on the formation of habits in section 3.1. status and the desire to be accepted and treated as part of the group is an important need (see next section of Maslow’s hierarchy).making process. As it will be shown later. knowledge. The domain of psychology research on consumer behaviour focuses on identifying and studying personal human qualities that influence consumer behaviour. besides social psychology. and how the satisfaction sensation is created and confirmed. who pointed out that achieving a certain status in a social group stimulates consumption of so-called “status goods” (Veblen 1902). The next section will provide some insights into consumer behaviour from a psychological perspective. First of all. three major processes are being studied by psychologists: information processing. values. studies individual processes. and learning processes (Engel. Again. Blackwell et al. 1995). Social institutions. influencing attitudes and behaviour. and lifestyle (Figure 3). Alongside these. Behaviourists that support a classical conditioning view study how consumers respond to brand names. on the other hand. motivation. Economic instruments and technological innovation alone will not provide desired change. Status is considered as one of the constructs of conspicuous consumption and was studied among many by Torsten Veblen. marketing tells us to buy goods to be different. 22 . attitudes. personality. Baudrillard notes an interesting phenomena – on the one hand.
and perceived behavioural control. and behaviour modification constitute an integral part of marketing studies on consumer behaviour and have been outlined in section 3. The theory defines two independent determinants of intention. The emphasis of this field is on emotional bonds with our planet. Needs for social appreciation and status that were discussed before are well grounded in the psychological theory of Maslow (1954). Practices of our society are closely linked to an economic and market system based on the notion of consumption. At the individual level. (Bonnes and Bonaiuto 2001). attitudes. persuasion. and other stimuli when making purchasing decisions based on knowledge they have gained over time. Therefore. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) suggests that behaviour depends on the intention to perform the behaviour – the most important determinant of a person’s behaviour is behavioural intent. even search for an environmentally acceptable standard of mental health. Recently a new field of “psychology of sustainability” or “new ecological psychology” was launched to address theoretical and empirical studies that strive to better understand the psychological processes underlying and triggering the development of environmental awareness and concerns with sustainability issues (Jones 1996). Some needs are pre-potent and need to be satisfied before higher order needs. who postulates that human behaviour could be explained by the universal motivation to satisfy a hierarchy of needs. He argues for a development of a society. The second determinant is the so-called subjective norms. He argues that the system of needs must be protected from powerful social forces. such as unemployment for instance. subjective norms. people’s individual identity expressed in their lifestyles can be read almost entirely from the package of goods and services people surround themselves with.1. comprehension. According to him. Psychological studies analyse the influence of the emotional state of consumers on purchasing decision (see for example (Gardner 1985)).colour. It is a linear correlation between the strength of a person’s intention. In the context of sustainable consumption and lifestyles. which would encourage higher order needs and in such way create a more liberal society that allows its members to reach full potential. The first determinant is the personal factor named “attitude towards the behaviour”. “lifestyles boil down almost entirely to styles of consumption” (Bauman 1990). To conclude. memory. On the other hand. Psychological processes such as attention. through which actors express their individual identity. and cognitive and behavioural theories of learning. the behaviour is performed as a 23 . according to the theory. as higher order needs may totally disappear as a result of such forces. connecting such constructs as intentions. and the likelihood that such behaviour is actually being performed (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975). the psychology has to offer two theories that aim at explaining cognitive processes behind individual decision making. application of environmental issues to psychotherapy. it is worth looking at what kind of theories the psychology provides to aid in making the shift towards more sustainable consumption patters. These theories provide some input to the discussion held above about social relevant actors and the importance of belonging to a group. cognitive learning theorists are concerned with studying internal brain processes. which refers to the individual beliefs that there will be outcomes and evaluation of these outcomes. in Bauman’s opinion. a person’s willingness to try to act accordingly. which comprise an individual belief that relevant social actors think she should or should not perform a behaviour and an individual’s intention to comply with this behaviour (Ajzen and Fishbein 1980). and that self-realisation and social acceptance are as important as the basic needs of food and shelter (Maslow 1954). The lifestyle concept comprises a formal process of integration of social practices.
Luckily. collections. The studies are concerned with 24 . or energy-saving behaviour (Poortinga. such as cars. waste sorting behaviour. The previous chapters provided a selective overview of concepts and factors of consumer behaviour that are of interest for the following sections. The importance of the social context is also recognised and widely used by businesses in their marketing strategies. etc. The strength and range of forces that seduce and urge consumers into conspicuous consumption might appear discouraging for sustainability pursuit. Dahlstrand et al. An important line of psychological research is the formation of habits and the environmental consequences of changing everyday behaviours. However. such as family photos. (Ajzen 1991). 3. The Theory of Planned Behaviour is an extension of the Theory of Reasoned Action (Ajzen 1988). it was also shown that people attach sacred meanings to different products and objects. 1989). Some studies showed that the most valuable things for people have low economic. for example recycling behaviour (Guagnano. They apply existing knowledge to a particular case of environmental problems stemming from consumption. it was shown that current consumption behaviour is not a stable preference of consumers but rather one choice of a great number of alternatives generated by the industrial machine.5 Environmental studies Environmental studies on consumer acceptance build upon results of aforementioned disciplines in their research on consumption. (Belk. which is the person’s belief about feasibility of using the provided opportunity. The complexity of the decision-making process and a large number of influencing factors suggest that changing consumer behaviour towards more sustainable consumption is a challenging process. but high emotional value. there are also other considerations that might help to divorce happiness from commodities. (Iwata 1996)). consumption and environment revealed many psychological studies on the general environmental behaviour of people (see for example(von Borgstede and Biel 2002). The literature search on psychology. while sociologists perceive consumption as being socially grounded. flags. in which an overview of the studies about eco-efficient services and PSS and consumer attitudes towards these schemes will be provided. It then depends on the situation whether the attitude or the subjective norms takes over in shaping the intention. or on studying particular behavioural patterns and behaviours. Individual abilities and opportunities can affect control over the intended behaviour. 1995). social and ethical norms that affect it (von Borgstede. Steg et al. memorable events. Summing up the previous sections of chapter 3 Overall. the perceived behavioural control can also affect behaviour by making it impossible to perform a certain behaviour despite one’s positive intentions towards it. 2003). Further. the stronger a person’s intention is to try to perform the relevant behaviour. 1999). It includes the concept of perceived behavioural control. etc (Grafton 1993).rational decision by the individual. Economists and psychologists tend to assume and subsequently study consumer behaviour in isolation from other consumers. Stern et al. Furthermore. souvenirs. Wallendorf et al. the preceding sections showed that consumption patterns are first of all much more flexible and prone to various influences than was suggested by traditional neoclassical theory. which requires coordination at individual and societal level. The main idea is that the greater the perceived behavioural control. which is in a position to make a decision. stars.
As a result. avoid or reduce disadvantages. (Røpke 1999). Following the preliminary study. The role of raising environmental awareness of consumers and the importance of streamlining environmental communication and information provision has also been addressed by a vast number of studies (Zimmer. Schrader applied the innovation diffusion concept of Rogers to evaluate relative advantage of the services. One of the first studies that analysed acceptance of car sharing and apartment launderettes was conducted by Schrader (1999) (Schrader 1999). 1997). (Björner. However. One of the approaches for dealing with ever increasing consumption is the so-called dematerialised consumption that is based on the utilisation value of products. how they can be influenced to reduce the associated impact with economic methods. Consumer behaviour models are being developed (Hansen and Schrader 1997) and the environmental impacts of various scenarios of consumption have been modelled (Jager 2000). The research of Rens Meijkamp offers a comprehensive analysis of reasons for people to become members of car-sharing organisations.level research of environmental behaviour. technological solutions and political frameworks. (Palm and Windahl 1998). (Imkamp 2000). provided potential user profile. a comprehensive research into customer acceptance of eco-efficient services was conducted. show that this utilitaristic idea is not that simple to implement in practice. looking particularly at the level of education. Beside individual. (Palm and Windahl 1998). He used the innovation diffusion framework of Rogers (1995) for conceptualising and structuring the research and specifically for identifying the main steps of car-sharing adoption. An important part of the sustainability discourse focuses on the ways of involving various stakeholders in the process towards more sustainable lifestyles. As crucial success factors he identified: increase knowledge about the services. 2002). which resulted in comprehensive empirical work and theoretical developments (Schrader 2001). Stafford et al. the study provided insights into potential factors that can stimulate acceptance of eco-efficient services. and especially the application of life-cycle thinking to product policies (Dalhammar 2002). gender influences. problems with and solutions to environmentally damaging consumption patterns are also studied at a more aggregate level.making process towards adoption of the new service (Meijkamp 2000). 1994). (Niva.intensive consumption patterns have been analysed and suggestions for addressing over-consumption have been provided (Røpke 1998). (Brown and Cameron 2000). Consumers can extract the utilisation value during the product use and do not necessarily have to own the material product. see for example Jenkinson (1997) (Jenkinson 1997).what the environmental consequences of consumer purchasing decision could be. employment by producers and 25 . including extensive work on Integrated Product Policy. and investigated factors that stimulate decision. The purpose of the study was to test the feasibility of the eco-efficient services with regards to acceptance by customers. as consumer behaviour is a much more complex process. Material. guarantee and communicate the advantages. Heiskanen et al. studies in the area of eco-efficient service and PSS conducted so far. This field is broadly called sustainable consumption and is an interdisciplinary area that builds upon economic research. or by changing social and psychological contexts.and energy. apartment size. including consumers. and household size. Another important development step towards sustainable consumption is the recent acceleration of work on product-related environmental policies (Niva and Timonen 2001). socio-technical and socio-psychological explanations. and policy studies. Gårn Hansen et al. and address the target group of customers. He also created a portrait of potential users of these services.
it is therefore important to develop PSS models. but no direct rejection to the idea was reported either. The study revealed that consumption through renting or sharing is not a deeply rooted practice. The first step for developing PSS models that would ensure social acceptability. Two of these groups are potential customers of such services. The study revealed that fashion and comfort were important determinants of the behaviour. and what new approaches are required because of the specifics of PSS. et. studied acceptance of ski rental services and washing services with the help of a questionnaire with two major themes: extension of product use and consumption without ownership (Hirschl. but not as important as the economic factor. The author further suggests looking at the studies of collective use as opposed to commercial leasing and renting. is to learn from other domains and analyse what can be applied directly. but noted that they would prefer buying a new product if the cost of repair is as high as the price of the new product. When it comes to reasons for collective use. The majority of respondents replied that they do not replace functioning products by new ones. Comfort was seen as the amount of time spent on renting/sharing and bringing back the product. as well as social frameworks for accepting eco-efficient services in private markets. Against renting or sharing. Littig (2000) criticises the validity of the basic premise of eco-efficient services and PSS that customers need product or service utility. the majority of respondents expressed that they knew where repair facilities were. what needs to be adjusted. The mains reasons to this behaviour are the desire to own things and to have the possibility to use them anytime.al. and social acceptance of the new approaches to sustainable consumption. 2001). Konrad et al. The study classified the respondents into four different groups depending on their stances toward ownership and renting/sharing. and the strong connection to the idea of property. were concerns about improper use and revealed emotional attachments to some material objects. not as much ownership of the material object (Littig 2000). opportunities for renting or sharing were seen for seldom. All these examples show the importance of psychological and individual factors.environmental potential. These results have implications for the marketing of eco-efficient services.used produc ts and for products with high maintenance costs. He concludes the eco-efficient services have a potential to directly and in a more passive way stimulate consumer behaviour change. She stresses the symbolic and social functions of purchase and ownership. The article provides the results of a household survey that investigated why people prefer to buy a product instead of leasing it or sharing. environmental superiority. As the importance of social factors in PSS design and delivery has been realised. 26 . which have to be segment specific. which would allow and ensure economic viability. two main rationales are offered: financial reasons and the frequency of product use. The area of PSS and eco-efficient services still lacks theoretical groundings. Therefore. Hirschl. The first selective overview of the existing models and tools will be done in the following section. but loss of flexibility was perceived as even more problematic. Also. Littig calls for appropriate attention to the sociological pillar of sustainability in studies of eco-efficient services. In conclusion.
there are three types of product attributes that fulfil customer satisfaction to a different degree: 1) basic or expected attributes.4 Frameworks and tools for evaluating customer satisfaction As the previous section showed. However. maximises performances attributes. Depending on the level of their fulfilment by a product or a service these requirements can satisfy or dissatisfy consumers. there are also general tools that are employed in many disciplines. In the model. Some disciplines use techniques for evaluating market response. Each discipline also develops and uses specific methods as well. and includes as many “excitement” attributes as financially feasible. (1996) model of customer satisfaction classifies product attrib utes based on how they are perceived by customers and their effect on customer satisfaction (Kano. Customer satisfaction Very satisfied Surprise and delight attributes (unspoken) Degree of achievement Performance or spoken attributes Not at all Fully Basic or expected attributes (unspoken) Very dissatisfied Figure 5 The Kano model (Kano. the customer strives to move away from having unfulfilled requirements and being dissatisfied (Figure 5).1. different disciplines approach consumer research from different standpoints. however they are all interested in identifying how an innovation . 4. and 3) surprise and delight attributes. Seraku et al. while yet others study personal characteristics of consumers and how these affect purchasing decision of each individual consumer. Seraku et al.1 Frameworks for evaluating customer satisfaction with products Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction The Kano et al. While the presence of these attributes is not taken into account. A competitive product meets basic expected attributes. The basic or expected attributes (lower curve in the model) are basic attributes.is accepted by the consumers. 27 . others measure social influences on creating market acceptance. their absence is very dissatisfying.a new product or a service . 1996) The performance or spoken attributes (the central line of the model) are those expressed by customers when asked what they want from the product. 2) performance or spoken attributes.1 4. According to the model. which customers take for granted and they are so obvious that they are not worth mentioning. 1996).
and interpersonal communication. and according to this could be classified into innovators. The framework suggests five steps. The attitude is formed evaluating the features of innovation and a resolution on accepting or rejecting the product follows. 4. The approach is probably the only existing quality system with such strong orientation to customer satisfaction. user characteristics. or psychological criteria (Tornatsky. If they are present they excite the customer. demographic. but their absence does not dissatisfy.1. Innovators seek newness and value the time period that is passed since the product launch. manufacturing operations and specific instructions and cont rols. through which an adopter goes to the adoption of a new product or a service (Rogers 1995: 36): first knowledge of an innovation à forming an attitude toward the innovation à decision to adopt or reject à implementation of the new idea à confirmation of this decision Rogers’ model closely resembles the customer satisfaction model by Engel et al. early majority. (1995).2 Innovation framework The process of adopting new products has also been studied within innovation adoption literature. Rogers also maintained that people accept innovation differently. Implementation corresponds to the consumption and confirmation refers to the need to reaffirm the decision about the innovation adoption. (McMeekin and Tomlinson 1998). and laggards (Figure 6). their innovativeness. 1983). Eveland et al. which help translating customer requirements into engineering or design parameters. Sundqvist et al. A successful combination of expected and exciting attributes provides a company with an opportunity to achieve competitive advantage. late majority. see (Figure 3). The goal of QFD is to assure that the product development process meets and exceeds customer needs and wants and that customer requirements are propagated throughout the life cycle of the product. To make information about the identified requirements about attributes understandable and useful for designers. and in particular the Rogers’ (1995) innovation framework. specifying product features.The surprise and delight attributes (upper curve in the model) lay beyond customer’s expectations. and important service or product attributes. The first knowledge is acquired when an individual is provided with the information about the innovation. depending on their personality. a so-called Quality Function Deployment (QFD) approach is often being used. QFD allows for the minimising of errors and the maximising of product quality for customers. A large number of studies have analysed the differences between earlier and later adopters based on socio-economic. A successful company will correctly identify the requirements and attributes and use them to document raw data. (Gatignon and Robertson 1985). early adopters. 28 . The approach uses a number of matrices. cultural. 2001). Laggards seek reassurance and confirmation about product or service qualities through interpersonal communication and word-of-mouth. (Cestre and Darmon 1998). (Frank. as customers do not expect them.
Rogers also identified a range of factors affecting the rate of adoption: • Perceived attributes of the innovation • Type of innovation-decision • Relative advantage • Communication channels • Compatibility • Nature of the social system • Trialability • Extent of change agents’ promotion efforts • Complexity • Observability These factors are often used in many innovation studies as evaluation criteria. Many psychological studies even show that non-verbal behaviour by the service provider greatly affects service evaluation (Gabbott Mark 2000). Most of the services are produced “on a spot” in an interactive process. Skinner et al. In services. For example. in which customers and company employees meet.both tangible and intangible attributes of the product-service offer. Besides adopter categories.1 Frameworks for evaluating customer satisfaction with services Why measure services with different measures? Many studies suggest that there is a fundamental difference between products and services. For the laggards to join in another mechanism – the desire not to be left out of the group – can be used to speed up dissemination of more sustainable practices. (Bateson and Hoffman 1999).5 % Early adopters 34% Late majority 16 % laggards Time of adoption of innovation Figure 6 Adopter categorisation on the basis of relative time of adoption of innovations (Rogers 1995) Economists. Satisfaction with service quality depends on a large number of dimensions . 1982).2 4. The impact of intangible dimensions on consumer satisfaction is of particular interest at this point. The time period between service production and consumption is considerably shorter than for products. customers evaluate quality and attributes of material goods and services in different ways (Mathe and 29 . Even customers own involvement and participation in the service delivery affect customer satisfaction (Kelly. (Edvardsson 1997. innovators should first accept innovation and then create institutional framework that would trigger the acceptance of new practices.2. suggest that for social innovation to take place. based on which questionnaires for consumer surveys are developed.% of adopters 34% Early majority 2% innovators 13. a single employee may affect service efficiency and consequent customer satisfaction with the service (Barnard 2002). 4. the quality of interaction between customer and service provider influences customers’ perception of service quality. Grönroos 1998). namely it is the way they are produced and consumed (Grönroos 1990. Edvardsson 2000). Due to the differences in production and provision of products and services. for example.
4. Furthermore. Other studies looked at what measures are used by service companies for measuring customer satisfaction. This realisation has initiated a discussion on the need for special tools for evaluating more diverse and less tangible services (de Brentani 1989). a number of studies have been conducted that suggested methodological frameworks for measuring customer satisfaction (Markovic and Horvat 1999). the quality of a service perceived by customers will differ depending on what strategy the company chooses to deliver and promote that service. as it is perceived by the customer. However. The two most often used types of measures in service companies are the increase in the number of customers and increase in portfolio dollars. The former denotes what the customer receives as the output of a service production process and the latter how the technical quality is produced and transferred to the customer during buyer-seller interactions.2 Service Quality Model According to Grönroos (1982). Studying how financial sector measures customer satisfaction Edgett and Snow (1997) showed that even though it is mostly traditional (financial) measures that are being used by the sector.Shapiro 1993). but perceive qualitative measures as the most useful. The service quality model by Grönroos holds that the quality of a service. companies use traditional quantitative measures. they do not provide a sufficient basis for innovation in services and multidimensional approaches need to be devised. the growth of the 30 . Authors concluded that financial institutions are not satisfied that the traditional accounting-type measures are presenting the full performance picture for new products (Edgett and Snow 1997). Surprisingly. in the relationship marketing. can be divided into technical quality and functional quality dimensions (see Figure 7). the most useful types were direct personal interviews with customers and measure of customer expectations and perceptions. but the functional quality is the one that adds competitive edge” (Gummesson and Grönroos 1987).2. Responding to the growing demands for developing specific and reliable ways to measure customer satisfaction in service industries. Expected service Traditional Marketing Activities Perceived service quality Perceived service Corporate image Technical solutions Mashines Attitudes International relations Behavior Technical solutions Technical quality Computerised systems Employees’ technical ability Customer contacts Accessibility Functional quality Servicemindedness Appearance WHAT? HOW? Figure 7 The Service Quality Model (Grönroos 1982) Grönroos posits that the technical quality is the “basic condition for a positively perceived total quality.
importance of functional quality in comparison to technical quality become a strategic one (Grönroos 1993).mouth. which is the gap between expected service and perception of service actually received (Figure 9). company image. which extends product offer with services.2. it is more appropriate to talk about total perceived quality. Many studies in different service industries use the model as a basis for developing surveys to evaluate customer satisfaction. sales campaigns. Parasuraman.item scale. the total perceived quality will be low. The model defines customer satisfaction as perceived service quality. However. if the expectations are unrealistic. Expected quality Total Perceived Quality Experienced quality Image Market communication Image Word-of-mouth Customer needs Functional quality Technical quality Figure 8 The Total Perceived Quality (Grönroos 1988) The expected quality is heavily influenced by market communication (advertising. 1988. Berry et al. The distinction is also made in the model between perceived and expected service quality and it is suggested that the quality is perceived subjectively. word-of. Zeithaml. PR and direct mail). many researchers have recognised the need to develop measures of service quality. 1993. Parasuraman et al. Parasuraman. Grönroos (1988) further develops the model by positing that in the case of a company. 1990. and customers needs. 1991. While a company directly controls market communication.3 The SERVQUAL model Given the growth of services in the last decades. Berry et al. the word-of.mouth and company image are outside its immediate reach. According to him. which was the ambition of the authors. The model measures the difference between customers’ expectations about general quality of a certain group of service providers and their perceptions about the actual performance of a service provider from that group.e. i. Berry et al. 1985. Parasuraman. Grönroos conclusion is that the total perceived quality is not only defined by the level of technical and functional dimensions. One of the most often used measures is the SERVQUAL based on extensive research in generic determinants of perceived service quality (Parasuraman. It uses a set of service quality determinants (explained in Box 1) measured by a 22. 31 . but also by the gap between the expected and the experienced quality. a high perceived quality is obtained when the experienced quality meets customer expectations. even if high quality was experienced (Grönroos 1988). 1994). Berry et al. Berry et al. 4. Parasuraman. the expected quality.
e. and other features of the service.3 Toolbox for measuring customer satisfaction In spite of various standpoints and theories of consumerism. how much various service elements and offers cost. descriptive. Kalra et al. Berry et al. 1993). and the most common tools are consumer surveys/polls.• • • • • • • • • • Determinants of service quality: Access Communication Competence Courtesy Credibility Reliability Responsiveness Security Tangibles Understanding the customer Word of mouth Personal needs Past experiences Expected service Perceived service quality Perceived service Figure 9 Service Quality model (Parasuraman. Competence means possession of required skills (i. explaining what the service comprises. While being widely applied. professional and private customers) in i. Understanding the customer means taking steps to know customer better. The approaches can be exploratory. Tangibles include all physical products that are involved in service delivery. 1985) Box 1. learning their specific requirements. intervie ws and focus group discussions. 32 . and even other customers. An alternative model (SERVPERF) was later developed for these reasons. organisational and personal) and knowledge to perform the service. Reliability means that the service is performed with high accuracy and thoroughness every time. Perhaps the most often heard criticism pertains to the lack of a clear link between satisfaction and perceived service quality identified by some research (Duffy and Ketchard 1998). different disciplines generally employ similar sets of approaches and tools for studying consumer satisfaction. Security comprises physical and financial safety and confidentiality. the SERVQUAL model has also received criticism for not including prices in the assessment or for the inclusion of expectations as a variable in measuring service quality (Boulding. recognising regular customers. friendliness of the service provider personnel.e. The determinants of service quality used in the model. comparative or interpretative. based on the findings that service quality does not depend on expectations and can be directly measured by simple performance based measures of service quality (Cronin and Taylor 1994). 4. Communication means informing the customers in an understandable way and listening to them. Courtesy comprises politeness. It may imply that companies need to use different languages to talk to different customer groups (i.e. Credibility includes trustworthiness and honesty. respect. Responsiveness concerns the willingness of employees to provide the service and how fast the service is provided. • • • • • • • • • • Access means approachability and ease of contact. providing individual attention.
Interpretative methods and envisioning are used for predicting the consequences of particular consumption patterns. the number of measurement scales used in customer satisfaction surveys is growing (Devlin. or the entire on-line population to provide fast feedback on satisfaction and allow quick automatic information processing. i. which complicates 33 . They proved to be especially useful if they are used in after-sale interaction with consumers. Survey techniques and questionnaire designs are well known to research community and multiple guidance from different disciplines exist (see. (Gerson 1994).e. Dong et al. Comparative and explanatory approaches are involved in studying particular consumer behaviours. repair or service activity or warranty registration (Dickey 1998). which provides opportunity to appraise consumer opinion immediately after sampling a product. or behaviour. and public understanding of various issues.• Exploratory and descriptive approaches are usually employed for evaluating attitudes. consumer attitudes towards specific instruments or coercive measures. They are relatively cheap and can result in a considerable sample. e. These surveys also do not permit follow-up questions and do not offer the depth of a telephone survey (Dickey 1998). Return cards allow getting customer response and certain possibility for measuring customer satisfaction.1 Customer satisfaction surveys are a questionnaire based information collection tool to determine the level of satisfaction with various product or service features. Online surveys offer an economical and fast alternative form of surveying. health and environment. Customer intercepts and exit surveys are two types of in-store information collection methods.3. well formulated. 1993). Surveys • • 4. (Kessler 1996). Brierley et al. Consumer intercepts are usually employed to gain a fast or first overview of the phenomena studied. They are more effective in obtaining data than mail or e-mail questionnaires and can potentially provide a higher depth of data (Fetz 1996). and for development of predictions of specific factors that may affect values and attitudes. which in their turn may lead to cha nges in behaviour.g. (Hayes 1998). They are especially useful in probing customer in their shopping environment. Questions must be short and concise. i. which becomes problematic for the statistical reliability of the data. recycling. Developing a good questionnaire is the key to collecting good quality information. for example. These surveys aim to intercept consumers in retail places and deliver a short structured questionnaire on their satisfaction with the delivered service. Mail surveys are the least expensive approach. opinions. (Hill. preferences. Their major disadvantage is that samples may not randomly chosen leading to stratified sampling and reducing the representativeness of the results. Measurement scales in surveys Along with the development of consumer research. but they often have a low response rate (2030%). Many methods are being used for gathering survey information. i. The intercept surveys can also incorporate limited product testing.e. and facilitate unbiased responses. dematerialised lifestyles. They can be utilised with current customers. Telephone surveys are generally used to collect data from a large group of customers and to target segment markets. (Chakrapani 1998). 1999).e. easy to interpret and answer. (Reidenbach and McClung 1998)).
The problem is that these scales are hardly able to capture different nuances related to products and services. Here survey respondents are asked not only to provide an overall evaluation of their satisfaction with the product or service. graphic.3. • Opportunity to see and describe variations and distributions of variables in population. E. 3 Charles E.item measures in this case a much offer a better capture of customer satisfaction.data analysis. therefore. Some studies. is higher than when using single. G. however. The participants in 2 The Likert technique presents a set of attitude statements. may list over 40 different scales (Haddrell 1994). many studies have used simple single. 4. • Questionnaires require testing. Suci. for example. verbal.reporting and some argue that it is inconsistent with actual behaviour of people (Zelezny 1999). The single. • Amount of collected data allows use of statistical analysis for explaining and predicting certain behaviours.and multi-item scales.bad).. 34 .broad sample. University of Illinois Press. Urbana. • Time consuming and difficult to develop good questionnaire. for example. they have benefits and drawbacks.item scales.. C. Osgood developed the “semantic differential” method Osgood. and inferential scales. Thus. potency factor (strong . Personal interviews are often used when companies are creating specific “customer profiles” or “satisfaction improvement plans” (Dickey 1998).weak). • People tend to provide socially acceptable answers. Two broad types of scales. companies complement surveys with in-depth personal interviews.item scales can be presented in a number of different ways: Likert 2 . Even though the survey techniques are well developed and have a long history. The multi. semantic differential3 . and perceptions. • Possibility to gain general information about consumers’ attitudes. et al. He devised a method to plot the differences between individuals' associations with words and in that way map the psychological distance between words. The multi. Osgood's method is a development of the Likert scale in that Osgood adds in three major factors or dimensions of judgement: evaluative factor (good . but are also required to evaluate the key components or dimensions of the offer. Respondents are asked to express agreement or disagreement on a multi-point scale.2 In-depth interviews Sometimes. (1957). a total numerical value can be calculated from all the responses.item scales are simple. The reliability of the result. intentions. and activity factor (active passive). Drawbacks: • Problematic to make consumers understand and interpret questions in the same way. Some authors suggest that the semantic differentia l scale is probably most reliable (Westbrook and Oliver 1981). Such interviews can serve as a test bed for questionnaires and be an effective when the number of respondent is small. The main ones are outlined below: Benefits: • Access to many customers . but once at use corrections are difficult to make.item scales such as “very dissatisfied” to “very satisfied” responses. • Difficult to get access to needed population/sample. The Measurement of Meaning. could be distinguished: single. which reduces their reliability and the only possibility for assessment is a test-retest format (Yi 1989). • Reliance on consumer self.
3. In addition. in which the interviewer directs the interaction and inquiry in a very structured or unstructured manner. The respondents are recruited among the customers of a given shopping centre or supermarket. this method is used extensively for eliciting opinions.3. However. The danger for the ‘complete observer’ is to fail to understand the perspective of participants. discover new variables and new needs of consumers and test and correct instrument. which explain consumer behaviour in shopping centres. Group dynamics can also prevent certain issues or perceptions from being tackled. or other important characteristics. their value as a customer. A source of data in the observation is everything that goes around the setting. verbal and non-verbal communication patterns. direction of communication patterns. the conclusions need be confirmed with a broad. thus. groups are recruited based on specified and varied criteria. depending on the interview’s purpose (Denzin and Lincoln 1994). Depending on the researched area. However. which may not be always at hand. For example. The strength of in-depth interviews is that they provide possibilities to get access to consumer perceptions of the offer.4 Observations Participant observation is “research that involves social interaction between the researcher and informants in the milieu of the latter. observa tions are topically limited to a small sample of activities with the focus on only external behaviour. such as patterns of interaction. several weaknesses could be noted. frequency of interactions. The personal interviews also require certain flexibility and interpersonal communication skills. This includes the physical environment and activities as well as social environment. when interviewees are not randomly chosen.in-depth interviews are chosen based on their willingness to participate. and their ability to articulate issues (Kessler 1996). the size of a sample is rarely representative. 4. In consumer research. It is also applied to pre-test and post-test advertisements and commercials. Observations provide the possibility to observe product or service at a system level – during interaction with the user and during interaction with the environment. Conclusions have to be inferred from what can be observed 35 . observation can be conducted inconspicuously. It is also difficult to have a large number of interviews and thus the sample is rarely representative. stratified random sampling. Observations are unobtrusive and do not require direct interaction with participants. during which data are systematically and unobtrusively collected” (Taylor and Bogdan 1984). The weakness is that it is difficult to distinguish between personal and group perceptions.3 Focus group interviews Focus groups interviews is a direct questioning of a group of usually 8-12 people that provides fast feedback on service issues and customer satisfaction. 4. It is a qualitative data gathering technique. The strengths of the focus groups interviews are the possibility to assess how people themselves perceive or conceptualise issues and the possibility to test new issues or new dimensions of customer satisfaction. Focus groups may be the most cost-effective means of measuring product acceptance and may help define how the product should be adapted to a particular market or group of customers. gender. It will always have an advantage whenever it is necessary to observe behaviour in their natural context. decision-making patterns. such as age.
The method is a descriptive research method identifying the detailed characteristics of potential or existing clients. For example. Mystery shopping is. Since data is collected in a non-standardised way. Mystery shopping consists of natural observation conducted by specially trained persons sent by a company. These persons visit selected retail points to gather information and observations about staff responsiveness. and opinions about products. income. which analyses the consumer’s activities.e. it is not generally useful for statistical treatment. how long do they spend in a shop.) with the methods originating from personality psychology. or more seriously completely misunderstanding the behaviour (Hammersley and Atkinson 1995). Psychographic portraits of many customers allow customer segmentation in terms of purchase frequency. place of residence. who pretend to be customers or bus iness partners. The strength of a psychographic portrait is that by collecting information about consumption patterns and perceptions it combines both qualitative and quantitative data and thus provides 36 . the aesthetics and functionality of inspected site. and shopping experiences. information on consumption patterns. i. The development of an exhaustive and accurate customer portrait requires extensive quantitative research. researchers often find it hard to ensure that their findings are real and not merely the effects of chance. overall perception of the shopping experience. expectations and requirements regarding the quality/brand of merchandise. with a less engaged research role there is a greater risk of missing out on an important aspect. attitudes towards customers or products. a time consuming procedure and requires significant effort to find and train mystery shoppers. It allows evaluation of services from the customer side and unbiased representation of the weak point of the service. respondents’ experience of various shopping centres or service organisations. The direct involvement in the process allows a better understanding of customer and service provider behaviour and the important moments of their interaction that in the end might affect customers’ perception of the service. etc. Mystery shopping helps to raise customer service standards and identify weak points from the customer perspective. the portrait of the shopping centre’s customer will entail a description of the “lifestyle” of the surveyed population.3. interests. size of family.5 Mystery shopping This type of research is based on the information collected at points-of sale. etc. Some researchers use SERQUAL model for identifying attributes of the service to be evaluated by mystery shopping (Lowndes 2000). The typical variables included here are: type of work. Without a statistical analysis to confirm the significance of observation patterns or trends.3. interests and hobbies. staff quality and competence. services. how often.6 Psychographic portrait of customers A psychographic portrait of customers is part of psychographic research. 4. identification with cultural or behavioural patterns. It combines sociological methods of gathering consumer information (social and demographic characteristic. One of the main criticisms of observation research is that it lacks reliability. etc. as well as benchmarking against competitors. Customers’ purchasing habits would include such issues as: who do they usually go shopping with. quality of service. Hence.without any possibility of checking these interpretations against what participants say in response. their appearance (and other related behavioural attributes). 4. however. Hiring professional mystery shoppers can be also costly.
The reliability is likely to be medium as it relies on self-reporting of customers.extensive background information for market segmentation and potential customisation of products or services. An extensive experience is required to create a reliable psychographic portrait of customers. The weaknesses are that the method is time consuming and relies on very extensive information. 37 .
In case of PSS. who are used to buying and owning products. are offered a new way of consuming. much of the evaluation process occurs after service purchase and during or even after its consumption. which is the case with products (Murray and Schlacter 1990). is not always very useful when it comes to service customers.1. This issue is confirmed by a number of researchers who criticise the model for being too pragmatic and depicting customers as totally rational beings (Rassuli and Harrel 1990). It is suggested that the model should allow for non-rational 38 . it was demonstrated that when buying services customers perceive greater risks than when buying goods and. or a friend. since here customers. Therefore. 5. In these cases.3. therefore. therefore.1. This is even more likely in the case of PSS. the evoked set comprises a combination of goods and services and. Boshoff et al. These customers do not often go through the process in a linear manner and a lot of services happen after the encounter with the service organisation takes place. Thus. That is why quantitative and qualitative measures are described here section 4.1 5. 2001). Thus in this respect the model is useful for PSS context. In case of some services. the only alternative can be self-service (Zeithaml and Bitner 1996). It was shown. The basic model is often criticised for reflecting consumer decision and satisfaction as a very extensive processes when buying products. additional aid is needed at the point of service provision or sale. which involves closer relation with providers or sometimes less comfort than owning a product. However.5 Analysis of frameworks and their applicability for PSS This section analyses what concepts and methods that were described in the previous two sections can potentially be employed for evaluating consumer acceptance of product service systems. the number of alternative increases. an external stimulus is not so often the marketer. It was noted that the consumer’s evoked set of alternatives is smaller with services than with goods. but can be a family member. customer’s satisfaction with services is more influenced by moods and emotions than in case of purchasing a product. The section also discusses whether new tools are needed for evaluating PSS acceptance or what kind of adjustments of the existing techniques may be need. which was described in section 4. Services are based on the interactions of service provider employees with customers and therefore. most commonly used methods analysing consumer acceptance are evaluated and their potential is discussed here. that when evaluating service alternatives before purchase. they are usually engaged in an extensive decisionmaking process. consumers seek and rely more on information from personal sources than from non-personal sources (advertising). The important contributions from different disciplines are applied to the PSS concept. which affects consumer decision-making process. In reality people are often faced with situations when they do not have time for extensive information seeking (Erasmus. The basic model is sometimes also criticised for being built on quantitative information and more qualitative approaches are suggested as a source of deeper knowledge of processes leading to customer satisfaction (Rassuli and Harrel 1990). a neighbour.1 Usefulness of frameworks for PSS Marketing model for creating customer satisfaction The basic model for creating customer satisfaction.
consumer behaviour and to include data from qualitative studies, which focus on emotional and psychological determinants of human behaviour (Lofman 1991). To sum up, the model of the satisfaction formation process based on the decision-making flow of consumers can serve as a starting point for understanding how decisions are made for PSS options. Availability of information about weaknesses of the model provides potential possibility for its improvement and adjustment for specific features of PSS. 5.1.2 Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction
The Kano model measures product satisfaction against consumer perceptions of attribute performance. Although originally developed for product attributes, the model can be adopted for services too (see for example, (Edvardsson, Gustafsson et al. 2000)). Kano’s model is useful for understanding how PSS evaluations can be organised and it also affirms the important role of attributes in creating a satisfied customer. The combination of product and services in the PSS could also be classified into the three types of customer requirements or product-service attributes. To demonstrate the applicability of Kano model for PSS, let us take an example of a so-called “tool library” idea based on PSS concept. The tool library is a hobby tool renting service for households, which provides reliable access to professional quality tools at a moderate price. Consumer expectations about product attribute are that the rented tools should function well (product attribute) and that customers should have a possibility to rent them for various periods of time (service attribute). Both attributes are essential for the performance of such a tool library – something that customers expect. Neither of them however offers any real opportunity for product differentiation, they are part of the very basic attributes of the service, without which customers would be very dissatisfied, complain and most probably leave to another provider. The performance or spoken requirements have a linear relationship between perceptions of attribute performance and customer satisfaction, meaning that the strong position of these attributes enhances satisfaction with the product or service, while weak performance reduces it. In the case of PSS, these attributes would, for example, be the duration of the battery life of a cordless drill and extended opening hours of the tool library. Extending, improving, or adding more similar attributes to the product-service system will also raise customer satisfaction. The surprise characteristics are unexpected attributes, which, when provided, generate very high levels of customer satisfaction. Examples of these include the possibility to rent a tool for a longer period of time for the standard rate (service) or the existence of a possibility to rent multifunctional products. When these attributes are not available, this does not lead to customer dissatisfaction, because the customer does not expect them. The model can also be used as a background for identifying what data collection methods can be used for compiling data about each type of the attributes of a product or a service (Edvardsson, Gustafsson et al. 2000).
Dissatisfies • Fundamental national factors • Critical incident techniques
• Defection studies
Delighters • User groups
partnerships • Comparing the noncomparables
Core Benefits • Interviews Spoken
• Focus groups
Differentiators • Interviews
• Focus groups • Benchmarking • Surveys
Figure 10 Different data collection methods for different type of attributes (Edvardsson, Gustafsson et al. 2000).
Innovation framework of Rogers
The innovation framework is a useful construction, since it identifies factors influencing the adoption of innovation. It suggests that the perceived relative advantage of an innovation is one of the best predictors of the rate of its adoption. The perceived innovation compatibility with existing values, past experiences and needs of potential adopters is positively related to adoption (Tornatzky and Klein 1982). The perceived observability and trialability of an innovation also positively affects its adoption. The interaction between social actors can also positively affect the speed of adoption, while perceived complexity of the innovation affects it negatively (Cooper and Zmud 1990). The innovation framework proved to be useful in the study that explored success factors for car sharing in Europe (Jakobsson 2002). Adopter categories provided by Rogers were helpful when classifying customers of eco-services or PSS, especially the special characteristics or portraits of innovators, earlier adopters, and laggards. This provides hints at who potential customers might be and what strategies need to be developed to solicit them. The framework may also help identifying dimensions of PSS, based on which further development of specific tools for measuring consumer satisfaction could be based. 5.1.4 Service Quality Model
The depiction of service quality as a combination of technical and functional qualities is appealing to the PSS context, where technical quality is comprised of products, infrastructures, and the functional quality – of services and networks of service providers. The model becomes even more appealing in the context of the above example of a tool library. In this context, the technical component – products and infrastructure - can hardly become the influencing factor on the competitiveness. Instead, functional quality – the
intangibles that accompany material part of the system – gains vital importance, which confirms the suggestion of Grönroos (1993). The model has been criticised for being static, looking at quality perceptions at a given point in time (Stiernstrand 1997). However, other authors argue that the image part of the model makes it more dynamic, because it captures the relationship between corporate image and service delivery (Anselmsson 2001). An important consideration for the topic of this study is the actual relationships between satisfaction and service quality. Grönroos did not specifically distinguish between the two concepts. The current understanding is that satisfaction and service quality are two different, although very closely related concepts (Taylor and Baker 1994). It is worthwhile looking at these differences:
the dimensions underlying quality judgements are rather specific, whereas satisfaction can result from any dimension; expectations of quality are based on ideas or perceptions of excellence, while a number of non-quality issues can help form satisfaction judgements; quality perceptions do not require experience with the service or provider, but satisfaction judgements do; quality is believed to have fewer conceptual antecedents than does satisfaction (Taylor & Baker, 1994: 165).
Overall, both the Service Quality model and the Total Perceived Quality model may be of value for further research on customer satisfaction and perceived quality of PSS as they combine both tangible and intangible attributes and can be developed to represent the quality model of PSS as a first step in evaluating customer satisfaction. 5.1.5 SERQUAL model
The SERQUAL model of Parasuraman, described in section 4.2.3, was criticised for being too general and many studies that used the model adjusted it to specific requirements of a particular service sector. The same could be said about applicability of the SERQUAL model to PSS – service components in various PSSs are different and, therefore, the basic model will need to be customised for each case. The model customised for a particular PSS example could employ case-specific evaluation tools. The main focus of the SERQUAL model is on capturing the competence or behaviour of personnel (17 out of 22 items), and only 2 address products. The performance of products is not addressed, only visual and aesthetic aspects are noted. The model presents a good classification of service attribute that could be part of a PSS. As was shown before in section 4.2.3, the model needs adjustment even if applied in different service sectors. It might as well be possible to follow the logic of the model and to add product attributes. The model has already been successfully used, for example, developing questionnaires for evaluating acceptance of car-sharing services and proved to be useful after certain adjustments (Schrader 2003). 5.2 Towards a framework for evaluating customer satisfaction with PSS
The evaluation of eco-efficient services can be performed based on described frameworks and with existing approaches of consumer research that were presented in this study. The presented approaches are not perfect, and the main problems and difficulties with measuring
services. or actively participate in the consumption of the service (e. customers are usually asked to assess mainly tangible features of the product and here the delivery of the product . In the case of PSS or ecoservices. The overview of contributions from different disciplines should allow for a better understanding of the processes behind the formation of customer satisfaction. § Customers can evaluate how effectively the provider is managing suppliers and partners. infrastructures. This possibility is appreciated by the customers of tool rental companies at times of high season. customers are exposed to both dimensions: product and service. based on which the PSS can be evaluated by consumers. in the PSS context an evaluation of all four PSS components becomes relevant (Figure 11): § § § Product evaluation is conducted by assessment of products or technologies. Infrastructure can be evaluated when the customer comes into contact with enabling supporting technology. cleaning services). absence of required tools is considered unacceptable and becomes the reason for dissatisfaction.shop visit and product purchase experience is done by other actors than the producer. 5. In addition. consumers are exposed to service purchasing and service delivery processes. due to closer relations with the service provider customers can even become exposed to infrastructure and networks that support PSS delivery.g. however. when tools are being heavily used and rented. customer will know how long it takes the provider to get additional items delivered. This is a sufficient starting point for developing specific instruments to measure customer satisfaction with PSS. if additional tools are needed in a tool library. They either observe the actual service process (e. recommendations from academicians for how these tools and frameworks could be made more useful or closer to reality were provided. 42 . which has implications for customer evaluation process. In the case of evaluating customer satisfaction with a product. Person-based or other types of services (technical. These are the attrib utes.1 Identifying PSS attributes The main components of any PSS or eco-services are products. but in some cases may be evaluated when they come into contact with the customers. with which customer comes into direct contact. Using this as a starting point. Therefore. At the time of low season. is larger than in the case of a pure product or service. Also. tourism). perceptions about each dimension of this system can potentially affect customer satisfaction with the total offer.customer satisfaction were outlined. Thus. spatial layout and functionality or by evaluating signs and artefacts of the PSS. or by the evaluation of ambient conditions. Here the part of the system. some suggestions for PSS attributes that correspond to customer requirements will be provided. information and knowledge services) that are included into PSS may be evaluated. are not usually exposed to the eyes of the customer. Networks.2.g. For example. The main focus in service evaluation is on intangible dimensions. This should be taken into consideration when mapping the process of delivering the eco-service or PSS. and networks (Mont 2000). In the service context.
It depicts the process of service delivery. which they do not need to buy. independent service providers have to rely on other marketing strategies than soliciting consumers by a brand name. Zeithaml and Bitner (1996) call the consumer contact with the service system a “line of visibility or line of interaction”. roles of service employees.making process of consumers who evaluate products. A service blueprint is “a picture or map that accurately portrays the service system so that the different people involved in providing it can understand and deal with it objectively regardless of their roles or their individual points of view” (Zeithaml and Bitner 1996). such as service blueprinting or service mapping (Norling 1993). Line of interaction: customer actions Several life cycle stages of the product are evaluated by customers in a PSS. line of visibility: “on-stage” contact and employee actions. artefacts Networks Partners and suppliers of service provider Figure 11 PSS dimensions that can be exposed to customer judgement There are some tools available for mapping out the service process. roles of customers. According to them the main components of a service blueprint are: • • • • line of interaction: customer actions. Some ideas from the tool and equipme nt renting companies are provided below. In the servicing/renting/leasing phase. Thus. line of internal interaction: “backstage” contact and employee actions. knowledge.Product Products Technologies Service Person-based services technical. information services Infrastructure Support technology Ambient conditions Spatial layout Signs. support processes. Line of visibility: “onstage” contact and employee actions 43 . and visible elements of service. because the service provider ensures the function. The components of the service blueprint can identify and prioritise potential problematic areas in the service delivery process from the customer point of view. What are the differences and similarities with the purchasing situation? Is there any difference in information seeking behaviour? Could emotions affect the result to the same extent? Rental companies state that consumers express less interest in brands when choosing a product. it is important to learn the decision.
per hour/per day/included in house rent. independent entrepreneur. charged) Service conditions Convenient opening hours List of available tools with accessories handing out Minimum rental time (several hours. tenant association. independent entrepreneur. it appears to be important to provide concrete figures about life cycle cost of product ownership. Since product performance heavily depends on customers to use it. tenant association. sharing) Ownership (rental company. commune) Maintenance of products (rental company.g. members of the service. Line of internal interaction: “backstage” contact and employee actions Backstage contact with the customer is extended in case the provider manages the consumption phase of a product. use price) Moment of payment (before the use or after) Choices of payment (cash-credit card. Here. cleaned. or discounts for working days during summer) Organisation Core business (renting.The onstage contact occurs when the customer comes to the service provider. deposit fee. Here it is important to consider that blue-collar employees perform the maintenance and on-site upgrading and that the backstage employees suddenly become the front stage contact for customers. drop-by) Neat appearing employees Prompt and personal service Assistance of service provider with the choice of tools and use instructions Location How far from household is the service How customers get there Clean location Space capacity Financial issues Pricelist available at a website Cost structure (cleaning costs. discounts for 2nd and 3rd days. neighbours. 1 day) Need for reservation (yes/no) Reservation period (1 to several days in high season) Booking system (telephone. as in the case of maintenance and upgrading services. the relationship with the service employee and the first impression of the service facility are important. Table 1 Some attributes for tool library Product Significant range of tools Access to professional tools Availability of tools Ergonomic. users) Who provides the service (commercial organisation. outsourced in case of repair to a third party) Additional services Workshop with all basic tools and stationary facilities Home delivery service (on-time delivery) 44 . amortisation Tools are well ma intained (e. who is a neighbour. The relevance of information is very high in the case of PSS. who may judge the service quality and be either satisfied or dissatisfied with it. where the total costs of ownership presented to consumer is likely to strongly influence the choice of alternatives and the final decision. neighbours. members of the service. tenant association. oiled. selling) Type (renting. leasing. internet. it is important for the representative of the service provider to learn the actual process of utilising a product. With raising consumer awareness about life cycle cost of ownership. silent.
and opinions. This will allow the identification of the most important attributes 45 . Contingent valuation can offer useful perspectives into potential future situations regarding consumer willingness-to-pay. All tools presented in section 4. The next decision is more instrumental: how to translate these attributes into tools. should we decide on the most effective way of obtaining required data. measured either as a single attribute (e. Thus. 2003). and what the attributes are of the ecoservice or the PSS (some ideas were presented in section 4. This could be done in focus groups. Another study within the PSS area heavily relied on data generated during the focus group interviews (Vergragt 2000). using a single total performance evaluation question) or as summed scores across several evaluation questions ending up with a single index. which could be used for collection and analysis of data. which is then presented as a measure of overall satisfaction. The major decision to be taken is about the framework for evaluation: how the satisfaction formation process suits our context and our products. Often in consumer satisfaction research the measurement of quality/performance is done as if these concepts were uni-dimensional.g. These tools also allow the development of questionnaires for specific customer groups. Some researchers have argued for the need to distinguish the relative significance of specific product performance attributes. however. Incorporation of economic evaluation into a customer satisfaction tool could provide the possibility for correlation analysis between willingness to pay and different attributes of the system. A profiling of potential users was done in a study of eco-services (Behrendt.3 can potentially be employed in studying customer satisfaction. each tool can contribute with specific information to the overall picture about the service or a product. the most effective ways of obtaining required data can be determined. For the example of the tool library.1). have expressed concerns even with the way multi-attribute scales are being used. it is necessary that customers should evaluate the attributes and weight them (Fetz 1996). Mystery shopping can provide insights about the service or product directly from the customer place. 5. Therefore. if the demographic data are collected during the communication. The first decision should focus on what do we want to know and only after we have identified the purpose. the following attributes could be suggested in the above context (Table 1). which confirms potential usefulness of tools similar to the psychographic portrait. Observations can provide more information about natural environment. preferences.2. Questionnaires are used to directly ask customers about their experiences. With the purpose identified. The first step is to formulate what do we want to know in the consumer research. Many researchers. The combination of tools would provide a more comprehensive picture. because they have different levels of importance to customers (see Kano model). It often recommended that dimensions of service or offer should be identified by customers. Jasch et al. habits. Translating the identified PSS attributes into information collection tools is an important step. in which shopping or service encounter occurs without imposition or interference.2 What tools to use for evaluating PSS? A combination of approaches for evaluating customer satisfaction with PSS may be beneficial.Support processes Support processes would include organisation of repair and maintenance of tools and their final disposal at the end of their life. by individual in-depth interviews or by questioning customers when collecting information for the psychographic portrait.
1=“poor”) and evaluate overall satisfaction with the product or service (4=“very satisfied”. at the same time. The comparison of direct and motivational importance in the Dual Importance Grid provides a better understanding of what drives customer satisfaction with services (Figure 12). by correlating the attribute performance ratings with the measure of overall satisfaction (Pearson correlation) it is possible to measure motivational importance. which can be employed when evaluating customer satisfaction with product-service systems. Once the attributes are weighted by their importance (e. but high in motivational importance. This is relatively easy technique. but their absence does not dissatisfy.g. the customers could evaluate the performance of each attribute of a product or a service (4=“excellent”. low in direct importance.and the making of adjustments when analysing data to account for different weightings of the attributes. revealed. Their presence does not greatly improve overall satisfaction. high in both direct and motivational importance. Performance or revealed attributes. Making a thorough analysis of attributes by operationalising the Kano model is possible (Jacobs 1999). After that. “very important”=4. or expected) The expected attributes have high direct importance and low motivational importance. 46 . can both satisfy and dissatisfy customer depending on how well they are fulfilled by the product or a service. “not at all important”=1). but their absence or poor performance is very dissatisfying for the customer. These parameters could then be plotted onto the Service Attribute Dual Importance Grid and analysis could result in a typology of the analysed attributes (existing. The following steps should be undertaken. 1=“very dissatisfied”). This example illustrates how abstract models and fr ameworks could be operationalised and. used to interpret the primary data from theoretical perspective. because they are expected to be part of the service in any case. excite the customer when present. Motivational importance Surprise and delight attributes Personal assistance Service reliability Performance attributes Other attributes (low influence) Billing accuracy Basic or expected attributes Direct importance Figure 12 Service Attribute Dual Importance Grid (Jacobs 1999) Surprise attributes.
in the private consumer markets. Identified frameworks and tools were then evaluated for suitability for the PSS context. the consumer decision-making process is much more complex and intricate than just a simple decision about shifting from owning a product towards paying per its use.making process in particular.fertilisation and learning is the key to success. Cross. We saw the wealth of theories and frameworks being developed trying to solve this puzzle. what the influencing factors are and what the leverage points for best results with lowest costs are. This perspective may be unique to this discipline. which could prove valuable for understanding the consumer decision. We also found some useful tools. Throughout this study we demonstrated that products are not seen purely for their functional features. Changing system design requires understanding how consumer acceptance of more sustainable solutions is formed. To address this problem.making process in the context of ownerless consumption. either behavioural or service system design changes are needed. reinforce one’s self-esteem. influenced or changed. Some important lessons were learned from this study: • The consumer is a moody creature – swinging between rationality and emotional behaviour. Therefore. Understanding consumer perceptions and behaviour in this context is crucial. together with functionality. both in terms of economic viability and environmental impact reduction. which. and much-much more. serve as a key to a certain social class. but it proves to be an insurmountable task over a short period of time. or may share common premises with another. Instead. One of the concepts suggested as a potential solution to reduce consumption levels is the concept of product-service systems (PSS). Changing human behaviour and existing lifestyles contributes to the vision of sustainable development. User behaviour has been named as the primary reason for this situation. which can be employed for collecting information about consumers. changing the design of product-service system to reduce the behavioural pitfalls may potentially be an easier way towards sustainable development. We than looked closer at potentially most promising models. • 47 . We also provided some suggestions and examples for how some of the presented models could be operationalised in the PSS context. The concept proved to be viable in the business-to-business context. also bring status. All disciplines we looked at address consumption from some perspective. it has been less successful. Many solutions have been proposed to combat the rising levels of consumption.6 Conclusions The environmental impacts of ever increasing consumption throughout the world have been recently recognised. However. the goal of this study was to make a step toward better understanding the complexity of the phenomena we intend to change. We looked at how different disciplines perceive the consumption process in general and consumer decision. However. but rather products are complex combinations of various attributes.
The criteria we want to evaluate this system against should include attributes of each dimension. which would allow us to speak the same language with our system and understand it better. Researchers with various backgrounds need to be involved in developing ideas and methods for measuring customer satisfaction with PSS. But it is a multifaceted system and thus a combination of tools is more promising. services. infrastructures.• The challenge is not in the availability of analysis tools. “Non-social” PSS practitioners should learn methods of social sciences. and networks. We can probably employ just one tool to measure customer satisfaction with our system. but in analysis frameworks. • • • 48 . comprised of products. PSS is a multi-disciplinary area and initiating system level change will require system level effort. PSS is a system.
The development of scenarios that can be tested with real life actors and evaluated from environmental and customer acceptance perspective may provide a good illustration of expected outcomes. there is a tendency that any combination of products and services is automatically called a PSS without evaluating their environmental profile. The difference between eco-efficient services and PSS has not been distinguished in this study. Some attempts were already made to develop scenarios of more 49 . The study has shown that there is a mismatch between measures and indicators that are used and the ones companies think are useful. As the study concluded. supporting networks (actors) and infrastructure that is developed to be: competitive. satisfy customer needs and have a lower environmental impact than traditional business models. What is needed is a guideline for what techniques are better suited for collecting specific data from customers. Currently. often of those who are usually considered to be outside of the traditional product chain. which companies use for measuring customer satisfaction. This will allow evaluation of business approaches to measure consumer PSS satisfaction in B2B and B2C markets. Comparing the techniques will provide a good starting point or basis for improving specific PSS-directed customer evaluation methods. This direction needs to be further explored and tested in real case studies. it is the absence of frameworks. PSS is a system of products. the support to the pilot projects and attempt to develop new PSS is vital. the development of new market offers that would be designed as environmentally sound and tested for customer acceptance prior to market launch is needed. The overview of the existing company practices of measuring customer satisfaction can be conducted through a survey and interviews with companies. tools and data collection methods tailored for PSS.7 Suggestions for further work The identified gaps in specific tools for evaluating customer satisfaction with PSS and the existence of a vast amount of methods for evaluating customer satisfaction with products and services suggests clear direction for adjusting the present techniques to the specificity of PSS. and linking these attributes to specific data-collection techniques will greatly simplify and foster measuring customer satisfaction with PSS and eco-efficient services. a range of data collecting techniques exist dominated by surveys and questionnaires employed by both academia and businesses. The indicators. A range of services is labelled as eco-efficient without systematic evaluation of their environmental performance. based on which a PSS can be evaluated. In order to foster the development towards sustainable production and consumption systems. In order to also improve current techniques of evaluating customer satisfaction. various techniques are suitable for evaluating the spoken and unspoken attributes of products and services. Development of new offers is a time consuming matter that requires involvement of a number of actors. which is the main concern Developing a framework that would identify major attributes and elements. As the results of the study show. As was exemplified with the Kano model. Identification of methods and indicators that reduce the mismatch would allow for the improvement and streamlining of the measurements. identification of best practices in measuring customer satisfaction in both manufacturing and service companies is needed. is another important area to explore. services. Therefore. According to the IIIEE definition.
Existing PSS and eco-services can be evaluated from environmental and customer acceptance perspectives. To promote sustainable production and consumption. The IIIEE is currently conducting a project that aims to develop a PSS scenario for a socalled hobby-tool library in close cooperation with the producers. By changing societal values. the scenarios were the final outcome of the project. such as SUSHOUSE project. they are not sustainable. behaviour-changing PSS are needed. which are designed with environmental consideration and with customer requirements incorporated into the PSS. market system.political agendas. but the next step should be to analyse whether expressed customer requirements could be matched with less environmental harmful solution. but this requires a concerted effort of all layers and players in society . economic. and did not lead to new viable offers on the market. The scenarios are planned to be followed by a pilot project where a PSS will be developed.) have different time frames for implementation. this cannot be achieved by policy measures alone. should be supported by policy actions. This could potentially provide a ground for evaluating customer satisfaction with PSS. however. while still be accepted by customers. As was already stressed. etc. It is not enough to learn about existing ways of providing products and services.sustainable consumption practices. the best outcomes can be achieved. disseminating information about more sustainable ways of living and supported by economic instruments (Mont 2002). the efforts of academy and business. However. rental and housing companies. 50 . as well as households. since personal values are influenced by institutional frameworks and values in society. new. and social frameworks. Reducing environmental impact from the consumption side requires changing the behavioural patterns of people. which should be directed towards involving new actors. because as we see. Undoubtedly. Developing new solutions that are well evalua ted is the way forward. various instruments (policy.
Customer comment cards 17. Customer survey – mail 12. Increase in portfolio dollars 3. Comparison of customer attitudes with other companies 13. Increase in the number of customers 2. Customer audits 18. Customer survey – telephone 15. Complaint measurements 4. Quality circles Helpfulness of each measure 3 9 8 15 1 12 2 10 4 6 11 13 7 5 20 19 16 17 14 18 51 . Market share 5. Measure of customer expectations and perceptions 8. Focus groups 10. Refunding of service charges or fee adjustments 16. Number of new customer referrals 14. Employee attitude measures 7.8 Appendix Table 2 Customer satisfaction measures for new products in financial services (Edgett and Snow 1997) Frequency of use 1. Customer hotline tracking 20. Reasons why customers discontinue with product or service 9. Direct personal interview 6. Repeat customer rates 11. Frequency of customer interaction 19.
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