Paurav Shukla on marketing management show

Paurav Shukla on marketing management

Summary: Dr. Paurav Shukla is a global researcher and management consultant in the field of marketing. Find free PPTs and PDFs of his work here in the areas of international marketing, marketing research and luxury marketing.


 Does competitive intelligence help improve the bottomline? (Part 1) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 7:47

If you want an answer to this question as to does competitive intelligence help improve bottomline in one word, it is YES. It pays off big time when you keep an eye on your competitors’ activities. How do I know this? Well, Tej Adidam at University of Nebraska at Omaha, Madhumita Banerjee – University of Warwick and I recently published a paper titled “Competitive intelligence and firm’s performance in emerging markets: an exploratory study in India” in the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing. Competitive Intelligence It seems long time ago; Tej asked an interesting question in one of our interesting exchanges about is Competitive Intelligence (CI) really helpful? Looking through the literature, we saw lots of anecdotal evidence and it seemed that most of the CI papers discussed the questions such as how is CI conducted in various parts of the world? What are the players involved in CI activities? What type of firms conduct CI activities? There were several other such questions asked and answered including the usage and dissemination of CI within firms. Let me first be clear about Competitive Intelligence. The word CI does not mean corporate espionage and such negative things. It means, a system of environmental scanning that integrates the knowledge of all organizational members and encompasses marketing, structural, strategic and other organizational elements. The concept of CI has strong underpinnings in military science and has a rich history dating back more than 5,000 years. In recent history, especially in the field of management, the concept has been studied for considerable time under different titles. For example, it has been called “environmental scanning”, which focused on how executives “scan” their organizations’ environment. Similarly, over time, other labels have been used in prior studies to describe competitive intelligence as “business intelligence”, “competitor analysis” and “market intelligence”. CI is used in tracking the activity of direct and indirect competitors including their general business activities, tactics and strategies relating to various important issues such as market penetration, product development, patent registrations and so on. Thus, if we were to compare environmental scanning and CI, we can conclude that the former is a method of gathering information. CI takes this information, and converts it into knowledge of one’s competitors or a group of competitors which is used by various departments within an organization to make strategic decisions. In other words, environmental scanning is considered as the first step in CI. As we all (i.e. Tej, Madhumita and me) had first-hand experience of working in the corporate environment of India, we decided to use India as a context for our study. Interestingly enough, there were no earlier studies we could find which focused on CI practices in India. So, it was like treading uncharted waters, and it was quite exciting too and it turned out to be fruitful in the end. We tried to answer the following questions: Do Competitive Intelligence (CI) activities have an impact on the market performance of Indian firms? If so, what are the macro and micro environmental drivers of CI for Indian firms? How are CI activities organized within Indian firms? How is the usage and dissemination of CI taking place within Indian firms? We used a stratified sample developed from a variety of mailing lists focusing on Indian firms. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was also quite helpful for this study. You can read more about the methodology in the paper. As this post is getting too long, I will only tackle Question 1 we asked above in this part and will tackle the other 3 parts in the next post. Do Competitive Intelligence activities have an impact on the market performance of Indian firms? [adsense] As I stated earlier, historically, analysts and researchers agree that better CI will improve firm’s [...]

 What makes a good luxury brand great? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 03:44

Listen to this post as a PODCAST Most luxury brands aspire to become great, however, the great luxury brands differ from me-too luxury (mostly available in accessible luxury domain) on the value they provide. There are several differences between good and great luxury brands. From my perspective following are the big differences. (a) Great luxury brands have a very clear idea about what target segment do they serve for each of their product category and sub-category and (b) Great luxury brands deliver value on more than one dimension. In one of our recent studies, we identified four major value aspects luxury brands should serve including social, personal, functional and financial value. Social dimension refers to the pride relating to acquisition and display of the product. Personal dimension reflects the individualistic attitude of materialism and pleasure seeking. The financial and functional dimensions refer to the price and quality match and the uniqueness. What differentiates great luxury brands from good brands is that good brands focus mostly on creating uniqueness rather than usefulness at most times. Most good brands are uni-dimensional. What differentiates great luxury brands? Luxury Brands: Good to Great Great luxury brands deliver to their desired target segment all these above mentioned values in far better way than their competitors. For example, Hermes understands that its customer mostly belongs to patrician category who prefer privacy of consumption rather than ostentation. These customers are also interested in subtle signals and therefore from design to marketing Hermes focuses on subtlety. On the other hand, brands such as LVMH or Gucci have large number of customer base from middle to higher middle class and many of these customers intend to show off their acquisition. They are interested in loud signals and that is what these brands provide. This is done through (a) brand prominence in terms of logo placement on the product and (b) marketing campaign which continuously affirms the purchase decision made by the consumer. So, from a marketing perspective, great brands differ on their comprehensive understanding of the target market and the segments they serve and their overall value proposition. Like I stated above, great brands are multi-dimensional. The advantage they garner over other competing brands is through their superior understanding of market and consumers and their overall value proposition. In this regards, the greatness aspect is repeatable and replicable. If an upcoming luxury brand is ready to understand the market and consumers and match its value delivery to what the consumers desire on the four dimensions of social, personal, functional and financial values a good brand can certainly become a great brand over a period of time. However, it has to be understood that this value delivery has to happen continuously for a long period of time for a luxury brand to achieve greatness.

 The compromise effect in our decision making | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 03:45

Listen to this post as a PODCAST Most consumers in developed and emerging markets are now facing an interesting choice making dilemma. It’s the dilemma of plenitude. This relates to most purchase decisions which includes a wide spectrum of products and services from buying corn flakes (a fairly low ticket item) to a car (a fairly big ticket item) and even the car insurance as well as accessories. The plethora of choice creates two major psychological conditions in consumer minds: 1.    Consumer confusion: I have dealt with this in some of my earlier posts focusing on antecedents and consequences of consumer confusion. 2.    Consumer compromise: This post focuses on the compromise effect in our decision making. The compromise effect academically has been given another interesting name ‘perceived sacrifice’. Let’s take an example of how it happens. Imagine that you are planning to buy a new phone. There are several major considerations when you are thinking of buying a mobile phone: 1.    Service provider 2.    Type of contract 3.    Brand of phone 4.    Type of OS 5.    Size of Applications market 6.    Features of the phone and so on… Let’s say you want a sleek phone which is very quick (for example, HTC LEO) however, you don’t want to be stuck with the old OS which is as such going to be replaced soon (i.e. WinMo 6.5). Then you read about the holding issue relating to iPhone 4 and now look at Symbian based phones. However, you want WinMo type of connectivity and freedom. And we are back to square 1. As there is no perfect phone we try to compromise (or sacrifice) several benefits to the cost of the product or service. Researchers have observed that buying behaviour may change depending on how the perceived compromise balances with the cost. Perceived compromise consists of monetary aspects such as price and non- monetary aspects such as time, search costs and physical efforts. Most of the research has identified monetary aspects as the major contributor to perceived sacrifice. However, I believe with the extending features based battle in the marketplace and price points remaining fairly constant across brands, non-monetary aspects are becoming ever so prominent in consumer decision making. This increases the compromise effects. Such compromise effect can have a direct effect on consumer choice goals (anticipated regret, evaluative costs, choice confidence and justification) and perceived value of the product or service. This is because buyers’ perception of value is based on trade- off between the product compromise they perceived in comparison to the sacrifice they perceived in monetary terms. So, the higher the compromise: a)     the higher the anticipated regret b)     the higher the evaluative costs c)    the lower the choice confidence and justification. Therefore, compromises can have a significant impact on value and future behavioural intentions of consumers. This is a really ripe of area for research and the compromise effect needs much further empirical attention. Experimentation as a technique can greatly help us understand the impact of consumer compromises on final decision making. Most consumers in developed and emerging markets are now facing an interesting choice making dilemma. It’s the dilemma of plenitude. This relates to most purchase decisions which includes a wide spectrum of products and services from buying corn flakes (a fairly low ticket item) to a car (a fairly big ticket item) and even the car insurance as well as accessories. The plethora of choice creates two major psychological conditions in consumer minds: 1. Consumer confusion: I have dealt with this in some of my earlier posts focusing on antecedents and consequences of consumer confusion. 2. Consumer compromise: This post focuses on the compromise effect in our decision making. The compromise effect academically has been [...]

 The local dimension of luxury | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Listen to this post as a PODCAST Recently, I was re-reading the book ‘luxury brand management’ wherein the authors – Chevalier and Mazzalovo – suggest three criteria to classify a luxury item: (a) strong artistic content; (b) unique craftsmanship and (c) international reputation. While I agree that the artistic content and craftsmanship is what differentiates most luxury product and brands from non-luxury, I somehow struggled with the idea of ‘internationalization’. The authors argue using an interesting point that a significant part of luxury brand’s business relies on consumers who are far from home country. This means that the other consumers in different markets must also realise the brand to be a luxury. This classification point of Patola from Patan internationalization misses on two fronts I guess. One, it creates the problem of massification (I have dealt with this issue in two of my earlier posts ‘Massification of Luxury: the Chinese Invasion’ and ‘If most people can have it, is it Luxury’. Secondly, it omits completely the local dimension of luxury. In this post, I wish to focus on the ‘local dimension of luxury’. To put simply, I define ‘local luxury’ as a luxury product and/or brand which is not internationalised at all however, has a significantly strong association with luxury in its local (regional) catchment area. Examples of such luxuries can be found throughout the world wherein generations of craftsman have been producing luxury.  One striking example is such in an emerging market like India would be the Patola (a kind of a sari wore by woman across the Indian sub-continent) from Patan ( Among Gujaratis (i.e. people from the state of Gujarat in the Western Zone of India with a population of approximately 50 million or more) patola is something legendary. The popularity of it in the luxury local circles is such that the order book has got a seriously lengthy weighting list. The amazing quality of the Bandhani (the finished textile product) has its origins in a very complex and tricky technique of ‘tie dyeing’ or ‘knot dyeing’ known as “Bandhani Process” on the warp & weft separately before weaving. There is only one family in the city of Patan (in the North Gujarat) which has been producing this quality product for the last ‘seven centuries’. It is hardly international but it’s clearly a luxury. Every patola is unique in its design (none two are similar) and to do that for 700 years itself is mind-blowing. Moreover, the artistic content and unique craftsmanship is remarkable.  A patola costs probably 100 times or more in comparison to a normal sari. Similarly, the chocolaterie in Brighton, UK called Choccywoccydoodah ( for the last 3 generations, has been producing amazingly creative chocolate one-off sculptured fantasies, bespoke wedding cakes and other items from chocolate. While it being a food item, one can imagine it will have a strong local dimension but there is nothing stopping it from becoming ‘international’. Paul from France has been international for quite long while. I believe, the generic criteria of internationalization in this sense would hardly be able to capture such amazingly beautiful and exceptional artistry and craftsmanship. I am sure such unique examples would be present across the world wherein the luxury brand has got such a strong local dimension and hardly any international presence. The major point I wish to make here is that in continuously focusing on the ‘international brands’ in our luxury debate, we are mostly missing out on some other substantial dimensions of luxury. I would really like to learn from you all readers about your own experiences of such unique luxury brands which are hardly international but have got a very strong local dimension. Please share.

 Massification of Luxury: the Chinese Invasion | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 4:25

Listen to this post as a PODCAST Analysts world over have been writing about luxury consumption among the Chinese consumers. Few have also discussed the issues of Chinese luxury brands aimed at global consumers including ‘Shanghai Tang’ and ‘LaVie’. However, there is little discussion on how slowly but steadily Chinese entrepreneurs are acquiring or taking over Western luxury brands. This post is an attempt to highlight that. Chinese luxury For the last three or four centuries the Europeans have led the luxury market. The production and marketing of luxury goods were strongly guarded. This led to the emergence of cities across Europe which became global hubs of fashion and luxury including London, Paris, Milan, Rome and others. After the World War II, a new segment of luxury consumers emerged. This included successful business people, industrialists, artists and those who found new riches in various markets across the world. This nouveau riche had little idea on how to spend their new-found wealth and how to become fashionable. A new service industry emerged due to this: the fashion stylist who helped this nouveau riche look and feel fashionable. One of the major impacts of this new luxury consumer was that they created a second rung of aspiring leaders, managers and carrier go-getters at large. These middle-class consumers also wanted to consume luxury however didn’t have the means to purchase such goods. To get out of this market luxury companies came up with a completely new set of products which later on were defined as accessible luxury. It included handbags, scarves, wallets and purses, belts and such other low-price goods. While the new market was lucrative, most luxury companies realised that the production costs didn’t provide enough margins when produced in the European factories. To improve their financial bottom-line many luxury companies then looked for markets where these goods can be produced for a cheaper cost. China was one of the most obvious choices, however it was a difficult market to build relationships with local manufacturers. Many Hong Kong based traders took advantage of the situation and started opening factories in China which produced luxury goods for many well known firms. Luxury gown from China As they gained knowledge and expertise in producing quality high-priced luxury goods many of his Hong Kong traders and their Chinese counterparts realised that the biggest profit margin lies in the ownership of a luxury firm. In the early part of the new millennium the Chinese invasion in the luxury market started. The Hong Kong manufacturer Kenneth Fang bought Pringle in 2000. The YGM trading company of Hong Kong purchased a French couture house Guy Laroche in 2004. Moreover, the Taiwanese media mogul Shaw-Lan Wang now owns the couture house Lanvin and the Singaporean businessman Cheng Wai Kung owns that more than two century-old Savile Row tailor Gieves and Hawkes. One of the most successful stories among these is the Chinese entrepreneurs Silas Chou, the President and CEO of Novel Enterprises Limited, one of the world’s leading vertically-integrated textile and apparel manufacturer. In 1984, he actively helped his family in establishing Dragonair, the award-winning airline from Hong Kong. In 1989, he acquired Tommy Hilfiger Corporation silently. He served as chairman and then a call chairman from 1989 to 2002. Within eight years honest in your as a chairman he turned the company from a US$25 million US based apparel firm to a multinational US$2 billion brand. He also brought Pepe jeans London Corporation in 1991. In 2003, he purchased a majority interest in Michael Kors Corporation at which he still serves as a co-chairman. The above gives us a little idea of how the Chinese entrepreneurs are now stepping up in the luxury business which was predominantly European few decades ago. As the market presence of Chinese consumers grow in [...]

 Status (luxury) consumption in cross-national context: Managerial implications | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 05:15

Listen to this post as a PODCAST In my earlier post ‘Status (luxury) consumption among British and Indian customers’, I discussed the theoretical implications relating to one of my recently published study in the International Marketing Review. In this post, I am going to focus on the managerial implications. Image by minxlj via Flickr To briefly summarise the study, it focused on three antecedents to status consumption namely: (a) socio-psychological antecedents; (b) brand antecedents and (c) situational antecedents. Customers buy and use status products/brands to assist them in achieving a particular goal and project a message about their self. The findings of the study show how and why customers engage with status products in different countries and cultures. The findings also demonstrate that several factors which were important predictors of status among the British customers were not significant predictors for the Indians, and vice versa. These findings have noteworthy implications for brand managers in developing a pertinent strategic action plan to engage customers with their brands in both developing markets and developed markets. The findings suggest that creating an entirely standardized marketing strategy for status products/brands will prove ineffective due to the significant differences among customers between developed and developing markets. There is certainly a prospect to standardize some features of the marketing strategy across countries for status products/brands. However, the differences in consumption and the overall engagement also suggest the need for adaptation. For example, ostentation provides an opportunity to standardization strategic message across markets. However, adaptation is required when associating social gains, esteem indication, brand related features and the choice of situation for the strategic action plan. Marketing status brands to British customers For the British market, managers should focus on building a strategic campaign which demonstrates the brand as a way to ‘gain popularity’ and be ‘noticed by others’. Associating the brand with relevant celebrities who are seen as successful and high achievers could be of great help in the British market too. The brand should also focus strongly on developing a symbolism which is familiar and positively in congruence with the customers. To generate positive feelings towards the status brands, managers will have to be very creative in the British markets as the consumers are exposed to such brands for long and so are quite aware of their symbolic meaning. Several extrinsic cues in this regard can play an important role. For example, country of origin can play a substantial role in this regard. In their communication mix many status brands employ occasion specific consumption for the British market.  However, the results of this study suggest that such campaigns will have little effect in the British market. Therefore, managers should look for aforementioned suggestions to improve their standing in the market. Marketing status brands to Indian customers To market their status brands to Indian consumers, managers should position their brand solely on ostentation. Moreover, the strategic campaign should also focus on the occasion (situation) specificity. If managers can develop a brand message around occasions and ostentatious behaviour, they will have a higher chance of getting success in the Indian market. The branding efforts will not yield as effective a response in the Indian market in comparison to the British market. Therefore, managers will have to find ingenious ways to engage the Indian customers. For example, in the alcoholic beverage market, major international players such as Absolut and Brown-Forman are associating with vibrant art and music scene. On the other hand, big players like Diageo and United Breweries are focusing on the upwardly mobile population [...]

 Status (luxury) consumption among British and Indian consumers | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Listen to this post as a PODCAST Recently one of my research papers got published in the ‘International Marketing Review’. It focused on comparing the status consumption tendencies of British and Indian consumers. In this post, I shall focus on the findings of this study. Firstly, let me define what status consumption is and how it affects our behaviour? Researchers define status consumption as the consumers’ behaviour of seeking to purchase goods and services for the status they confer, regardless of consumer’s objective income or social class. Status consumption generally involved high-end expensive luxury products. They are not consumed by most people regularly but only at the social events of importance. Many consumers use such products to satisfy material needs but also the social needs. In simple words, using status consumption many consumers try to impress the significant others who may include their superiors, social connections, or possibly a future spouse. Status consumption is suggested to be increasing the brand value of the consumer too. While the importance of status consumption is known historically world-over, earlier studies in the domain of status consumption have looked at a single nation and industry context with regard to status consumption. For example, earlier studies have looked at status consumption from the context of clothing in Australia, woman’s cosmetics in the US, automobiles in the US and the UK. However, status consumption does not have such national boundaries and is found to be prevalent across the globe. Therefore, to observe the similarities and differences relating to status consumption, I conducted a study focusing on the status consumption practices among the British and Indian consumers. The countries were chosen for their historic association, product category association with status consumption and commonalities of brands available. For example, India was a British colony for a long time (more than 3 centuries) and Indians are one the largest ethnic minorities in the present day Britain. Similarly, India happens to have the second largest English speaking population across the world. While both countries share great economic and cultural ties, they are significantly different from each other on many macro and micro parameters. The study focused on three important antecedents of status consumption: (a) socio-psychological antecedents; (b) brand antecedents and (c) situational antecedents. The socio-psychological antecedents were further broken into three different categories namely: (a1) social gains; (a2) esteem indication and (a3) ostentation. The brand antecedents were also broken into two categories namely: (b1) management controlled brand features and (b2) market controlled brand features. The figure below represents the model. Status consumption model Instead of discussing the methodology and scale equivalence and such other statistical issues, I will now focus on the status consumption tendencies among the British and Indian consumers. If you wish to read more about it, you can surely visit the source provided below or get in touch with me for further details. It was observed that British consumers utilized status consumption to achieve social gains, indicate esteem and ostentation behaviour. However, in the Indian context consumers engaged in status consumption with mostly ostentation in mind. This demonstrates the differences between Western and Eastern consumers and the impact of culture and markets in their consumption practices. The British consumers, who belong to  individualistic  culture,  focus  on  their  actual  self-concept  (how  the  consumer  views him/herself). However, in comparison with the Indian consumers, from a collectivist culture, focus  on  others  self-concept  (how  a  consumer  thinks  others  see  him/her)  as  they  wish  to signal ostentatious behaviour via [...]

 Consequences of consumer confusion | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 08:00

Listen to this post as a PODCAST As stated in my earlier post ‘antecedents to consumer confusion‘, I shall focus on consequences of consumer confusion in this post. The earlier post focused on three important antecedents to consumer confusion namely; expectations, attribute confusion and information confusion in the context of financial services industry (i.e. banks, insurance. credit card, mortgage and other such investment firms). In this post I will focus on three consequences of consumer confusion: (1) attribute satisfaction; (b) information satisfaction and (c) overall satisfaction. consumer confusion Using quantitative methodology and established scales in the fields of psychology and consumer behaviour, we empirically tested the antecedents and consequences of consumer confusion. The findings suggest that expectations, attribute confusion and information confusion significantly affect overall confusion. Furthermore, we also found that attribute confusion significantly affects attribute and information satisfaction however expectations do not. It was observed that information confusion significantly affected information satisfaction but did not affect attribute satisfaction. We also found the significant impact of overall confusion; attribute satisfaction and information satisfaction on purchase decision. Our results concur with the earlier research, that consumer confusion is a multi-dimensional phenomenon with significant impact on behavioural intentions. There are several theoretical and managerial implications from the above findings. Increasing understanding of consumers and decreasing confusion is one of the major aims of any organization. Moreover, in markets like financial services, where many similarities of expectations, attributes and information exist within consumer minds, reduction in consumer confusion can become a source of competitive advantage. The framework for this study provides managers first hand idea of where and how consumer confusion is caused. This will assist managers in optimizing their organizational resources to manage the multi-faceted phenomenon of consumer confusion. Managers treating consumer confusion as a single tier construct may receive undesirable results. For example, just improving the product or service feature may reduce attribute confusion. However, poor communication and highly raised expectations may still elevate the overall confusion. Similarly, a good communication campaign with a less differentiated product or service may also elevate confusion in consumers’ minds. The findings indicate that information confusion has an impact on information satisfaction and which in turn, has a strong influence on purchase decision. In the context of financial services industry, this issue merits consideration particularly where consumers are faced with wide ranging technical and complex information on the financial products which can create implications for purchase decision. Managers can also use the study instrument in developing competitive intelligence by comparing the confusion caused by theirs as well as competitors’ products or services. This, we believe will yield rich managerial insights for firms and develop a better and unique campaign in comparison to competitors. The findings highlight the importance of prior expectations in causing confusion. This means that if the company communicates itself via advertisements and other means as a single entity and does not act like one in real-life, there are increased chances that it will make the consumers feel confused. The companies will have to simplify their offer to attract consumers. This is also reflected in the phenomena of attribute and information confusion. To avoid attribute and information confusion, managers will have to differentiate their product and simplify their communication to the consumers. While this might not be easy especially because of [...]

 Podcast: Antecedents to consumer confusion | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Listen to the podcast on the ‘antecedents to consumer confusion’. The original article can be found here: Antecedents to consumer confusion in financial services industry This being my first podcast I would really appreciate any feedback on this. Listen to this post as a PODCAST

 Antecedents to consumer confusion in financial services industry | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

It is only the later part of the 20th century financial services institutions (FSIs) started morphing into a different shape altogether. Previously, a bank provided only banking services (i.e. mostly a place where you can deposit and withdraw money or similar assets). However, banks changed their role in a short span of time from consumer banking to multiple financial service providers (i.e. banking, mortgages, insurance, credit cards, capital and bond market services, internet banking, phone banking, investment finance, etc.). This new management of consumer credit and consumer debt had interesting implications for their marketing financial services. Image via Wikipedia First, in trying to cover every corner of the envisaged legal problems, banks already had lengthy contract papers. However, with multiple services consumers were now subjected to a combination of plentiful and conflicting information, an excessive number of brands, and product replications. Second, this one-stop service philosophy was brought about to create ease in transactions. However, as the number of services increased, the complexity did too. However, on the other hand, it created false confidence within the consumers regarding their financial judgment. Each of the above mentioned financial services require different set of skills to manage them however, a single provide and one-stop-shopping made consumers think that capital and bond markets investments were as easy as banking. Researchers suggest that product variety can have a significantly positive effect on consumer decision making however, results from empirical studies found that over-choice and overload of information deters customers from engaging with a service provider due to confusion over a product’s value. The multiplicity of financial services, which created the false confidence, may have similar results relating to consumer confusion and service value judgments as observed in other industries where product proliferations occurred. However, prior studies have not looked at consumer confusion in financial service industries. In a recent paper, published in the association for consumer research conference, my co-authors and I, attempted to conceptualize and empirically test a model of consumer confusion in financial services industry. I am going to address the first research question in this post focusing on ‘what are the causes of consumer confusion in financial services industry?’ Looking at prior studies we believe that confusion is fuelled by consumers’ general expectations, attribute similarity between products or services (i.e. attribute confusion), and overload, conflict or ambiguity of information (i.e. information confusion). Expectations Most researchers share a similar opinion that consumer expectations, prior to a service encounter, impact on customers’ evaluation of service performance. In the service literature the expectations construct has been divided into two parts namely, predictive expectations and evaluative expectations. The predictive expectations construct is associated with the level of performance and evaluative expectations construct is associated with an estimation of performance. For example, a consumer holding all his financial transactions including banking, mortgage, credit cards, and personal loans among others with a single FSI (approximately 40.5% of all FSI customers in the UK belong to this category) calls the customer services department for an emergency situation such as stolen cards or identity fraud. At this juncture, the consumer expects the call to be answered in reasonable time (predictive expectations) and also expects that whoever answers the call is in the right frame of mind and possesses knowledge related to the problem (evaluative expectations). In most of the FSIs, all the service departments operate separately and therefore the consumers will be asked to call each of them separately leaving the consumer angry, [...]


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