Exceeding customer expectations: an online and offline perspective

University essay from Luleå/Industriell ekonomi och samhällsvetenskap

Abstract: Today’s competitive business environment is one of the reasons why companies
have to put more effort into always having the customers in focus when
conducting business. Research has shown that it costs five times as much to
attract a new customer compared to keep a present one. In order for
companies to keep their present customers as well as attracting new ones
demands that they differentiate themselves from competitors and keep
customers satisfied. Satisfying customers can be achieved not only by
delivering to them the value they expect, but learning to exceed such
expectations. The purpose of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of
how companies handle customers, from an offline as well as online
perspective, in order to exceed their expectations. To reach the stated
purpose three research questions are stated on how companies are handling
service, complaints, and value. To be able to answer the research questions,
a qualitative approach was used with multiple case studies of the home-
appliances retail chain stores ONOFF and El-Giganten in Sweden. In order to
collect data, observations and interviews were used. Our findings show that
long waiting times is a problem for companies and an issue which creates
dissatisfaction, both offline and online. Regarding customer complaints we
found that companies often use a standardized complaint process instead of
treating every customer as an individual. Concerning the value provided to
the customers, our main conclusion is that companies do not make the most of
their websites. The Internet offers many possibilities which need to be
recognized and utilized by companies in order to differentiate against
competitors and exceed customer expectations. To summarize our findings
within all research questions we concluded that service, complaints, and
value are all connected to each other and, if handled right with the
customers’ needs and wants in focus, customer expectations can be exceeded.