Hotel Online  Special Report

Two Professors at Michigan State University's School of Hospitality
Business Identify Seven Dimensions of a Consumer Experience
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Two professors at Michigan State University and Publicom Inc., a services marketing consultancy, partnered in a landmark study about the customer experience. Study results identified the seven important dimensions of a consumer experience that can be used as an effective management tool for business.

“It’s a universally recognized truth that you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” said Bonnie J. Knutson, Ph.D., one of the study’s researchers and professor at The School of Hospitality Business in the Broad College of Business.MSU. “Now businesses will have the measurement tools to identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to manage their customers’ buying experience and help increase sales.”

The seven dimensions of the consumer’s buying experience identified in the study are:

  • Driving benefit – understanding how to use a product or service, as well as its consistency, benefit and value
  • Accessibility – product or service must be readily available or easy to acquire
  • Convenience – the entire shopping process should be fast; products or services easy to locate
  • Incentives – offering incentives increase the chance of buying the featured product or service
  • Utility – practicality is important; there should be no surprises surrounding a product or service; safety is a major concern 
  • Brand trust – satisfaction with a store or product or service is critical
  • Sales environment – surroundings should be entertaining, stimulating, educational  
“For the first time,” said Jim Wardlaw, Publicom president, “businesses of all types will be able to understand the dimensions of a customer experience. Now they will be able to measure and correct any deficiencies in their service delivery and improve their sales and repeat business.”

The study came about as the result of collaboration between the researchers at MSU and the Publicom management team. Expounding on arguments from Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore’s bestseller The Experience Economy, the collaborators were intrigued by the authors’ indications of movement out of the service economy toward what they called the experience economy. In summer 2005, the researchers at MSU and Publicom took the first step to identify and measure the components of an experience. 

“Although indicators pointed in the ‘experience’ direction,“ said Jeffrey A. Beck, Ph.D., one of the study’s researchers and Assistant Professor at The School of Hospitality Business MSU, “an experience, while a distinct economic offering, had gone largely unrecognized, unstudied and unmeasured. Our study is significant because it’s the first step in identifying and measuring the underlying dimensions that are important in a customer experience.”  

Publicom Inc. is a services marketing consultancy specializing in brand development and on-brand behavior for service companies.


Bonnie Knutson

Jeffrey Beck


Also See: Creating Customer Loyalty: Beyond Food and Bed, A Good Relationship Is Your Best Marketing / Richard K. Hendrie / March 2005
Winning Brand Loyalty; Discerning Your Guest’s Tribal Loyalties / Richard K. Hendrie / April 2005

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