Hello and good morning to you.
So I’m sure that the idea that bad customer service might lead someone to buy more sounds like a ridiculous idea. Many people cite customer service as one of the main factors in determining where they buy, bank, eat, and otherwise detach themselves from their money. Thus, it should seem completely counter-intuitive that bad customer service would get us to buy more from a store, rather than less.
And yet, that’s exactly the result found by two researchers — the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business’s Marketing Professor Darren Dahl and Assistant Professor Morgan Ward of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. The full study will be published in October 2014 Journal of Consumer Research, but here’s a link to a press release.
It’s important to note, however, that this only seems to work with luxury goods. The line of thinking starts with this theory: some of what you’re buying when you buy luxury goods is belonging to an exclusive club. Sure, it’s important that the luxury good drives well or looks good or is more comfortable, but at least a little of the price of some luxury goods is derived from the fact that your neighbor doesn’t have it in his driveway or that the flight attendant pulls back the little curtain. This same desire for exclusivity may also convince you that a salesperson is being rude because they think you can’t afford it or otherwise don’t belong to that exclusive club.
The catch is that if you’re a middling brand — the study cites GAP — then having rude customer service will turn potential buyers away.
So, I have to ask the readers of this blog: have you found this to be true in your own shopping? Has rude customer service at luxury stores ever made you buy more instead of less?