Understanding the Effects of Post-Service Experience Surveys on Delay and Acceleration of Customer Purchasing Behavior: Evidence from the Automotive Services Industry
54 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 9, 2010
Using two field studies and a laboratory experiment, we test the proposition that participating in a firm-sponsored post-service experience survey can lead customers to make broader inferences than just increasing accessibility of survey responses, and influence their subsequent buying behavior in a complex manner. Data from a large U.S. automotive services provider shows that post-survey, participants delay their very next service visit for quick lube preventive maintenance even when expressing high satisfaction, but accelerate later service visits when compared to non-participants, and are more likely to redeem coupons on all post-survey service visits. Results of a laboratory experiment further show that post-service experience survey participants report: (1) recalling more specific service elements of a quick lube visit, and (2) perceptions of greater service thoroughness, when compared to non-participants. A third field experiment reveals that the greater inferences of service thoroughness persist up through the next service visit, but diminish thereafter. The findings have practical relevance because they demonstrate that firm-sponsored post-service experience surveys can influence subsequent customer behaviors for up to nine months following the survey. They also point to the importance of understanding the inferences their customers might make from participating in surveys, which could have either favorable or unfavorable effects on subsequent buying behavior.
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