Unraveling customer experiences in a new servicescape: an ethnographic schema elicitation technique (ESET)

Susan Stead*, Gaby Odekerken-Schröder, Dominik Mahr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
This article investigates the role of schemas in shaping customer experiences in new servicescapes, across the customer journey. The authors take a customer perspective that reveals how schematic information processing takes place at four pyramidal levels—event, touchpoint, encounter and concrete activities—that in turn lead to customer responses.

Design/methodology/approach
The study introduces a novel ethnographic schema elicitation technique (ESET), which enables unraveling schemas at the touchpoint level across the customer journey of a European grocery store that recently launched a new SST innovation. This tailored approach provides fine-grained insights into customer experiences at the moment they occur.

Findings
The conceptual framework unravels schematic information processing, as illustrated with an empirical study. The activation of different schemas and their modification is highlighted in rich qualitative data.

Research limitations/implications
Innovative service offerings require customers to adapt their existing behaviors. Understanding this highly individual process, which requires schema modification, could be furthered by longitudinal in-depth research.

Practical implications
By understanding schematic information processing, managers and policymakers can develop better strategies for activating sustainability or health-conscious schemas that guide customer behavior in positive directions.

Originality/value
By applying ESET to new self-service technology, the authors provide valuable insights for service managers and retailers. They show the particular need for prudence in changing schemas in ways that avoid negative cognitive, emotional or behavioral responses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Service Management
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Nov 2020

JEL classifications

  • m00 - "Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting: General"

Keywords

  • customer experience
  • customer journey
  • ethnographic research
  • schema
  • servicescape
  • Servicescape
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • Schema
  • Customer journey
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • ATMOSPHERICS
  • Customer experience
  • CULTURE
  • SENSEMAKING
  • Ethnographic research
  • IMPACT
  • MEMORY
  • TECHNOLOGY
  • CONSUMPTION
  • CUES

Cite this