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Marketing research by business professor shows the reality – and rewards – of “customer delight”

Professor Donald Barnes, '01
Donald Barnes, '01, cares about the customers, and teaches the reasons why they matter.

Research by Dr. Donald Barnes, assistant professor in the School of Business, is adding to the growing material lending credence to the idea that there’s something new in the transaction of buying and selling. It’s called “customer delight,” and it’s not just a myth, Dr. Barnes said.

“We’ve been able to show that customer satisfaction and customer delight are two distinct things, that one leads to different outcomes. Neither the small business nor the megastore can afford to ignore the reality of customer delight,” he says. “Satisfied customers don’t necessarily come back to your business, whereas people who are delighted do, in fact.”

Not only that, delighted customers are willing to pay more for the service or product.

Dr. Barnes will be talking about his research on Homecoming Weekend, during a Saturday afternoon panel presentation by Fredonia faculty on their research and teaching. The 1 p.m. presentation will be held in Fenton Hall Room 105. Joining him on the panel will be Dr. Holly Lawson of the Department of Chemistry, who will give an overview of the new Science Center capital project, and Dr. Kate Mahoney of the College of Education, who will talk about restrictive language policies.

Studies by Dr. Barnes show that customer delight is a profoundly positive emotional state that comes over a customer who has been “over rewarded,” and has an experience that surpasses what he or she was expecting. “When consumers are over rewarded by service providers, they reward the service provider with increased loyalty, commitment, repatronage, and willingness to pay,” Dr. Barnes said.

Most recently, Dr. Barnes has been attempting to find out if the customer delight experience is having an impact on the employee who is often responsible for making it happen. He’s among the first to evaluate that part of the equation with some intensity. What he’s finding is that employees who provide delight to customers experience greater job satisfaction, more commitment to the organization, and are more likely to be customer-oriented in the future. “When you smile, I smile, so when employees provide delight, they end up being delighted themselves,” Dr. Barnes said.

A 2001 alumnus of SUNY Fredonia (B.S., Finance), Dr. Barnes has been studying customer delight for all parties involved in a transaction for about five years, since finishing his M.B.A. at Clemson University. He has taught the marketing research courses at SUNY Fredonia since 2009, and before that was teaching and earning his Ph.D. in marketing and statistics at Mississippi State University.



posted @ Tuesday, August 24, 2010 2:30 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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