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How should you treat your customers? : A starting point for the social richness theory

Evertzen, M.S.J. (2018) How should you treat your customers? : A starting point for the social richness theory.

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Abstract:OBJECTIVE Businesses have typically been interested in ideal ways to approach and interact with customers. That is why this study proposes the “Social Richness Theory”. Prior research suggests increasing so-called social richness in B2C customer interactions can boost customers’ overall evaluation of the company and willingness to engage in word-of-mouth (WOM). It involves establishing rapport and displaying personalization in customer-company interactions to increase the perceived quality of these interactions. METHOD A 2x2 between subject experiment was set up by employing an online questionnaire presenting four different scenarios of an e-mail exchange involving a service failure. Outcomes were measured by asking respondents about their perceived interaction quality, their overall evaluation of the company, and their willingness to engage in WOM. RESULTS Results indicate that including rapport elements in an e-mail conversation caused people to be more inclined to engage in WOM and evaluate the company more favorably. However, personalization worked negatively. People perceived the interaction as less valuably, evaluated the company less favorably, and were less inclined to engage in WOM. One interaction effect was found. It indicated that the willingness to share a message on social media decreases when rapport and personalization are displayed together.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Inextenzo BV., Oldenzaal, Nederland
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies, 70 social sciences in general, 85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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