press release
Published: 31 March 2023

A 'power boost' for customers is key to enhancing engagement and wellbeing

Customers who feel powerless in their relationship with a company are likely to disengage from the company and experience negative effects on their overall wellbeing, suggests new research from the University of Surrey.

The study, conducted by Liliane Abboud (University of Surrey), Helen L. Bruce (Lancaster University) and Jamie Burton (The University of Manchester), recommends that firms consider monitoring and engaging in "power management" to better balance their relationship with customers and improve customers’ quality of life.

Dr. Liliane Abboud, lead author of the study and Lecturer in Marketing at Surrey Business School, said: 

"We explored customer views and opinions about firms in the retail, hospitality, and financial sectors, and our interviews showed that there are clear drivers of low customer power. Unsurprisingly, slow and impersonal customer service interactions and companies that are dominant within an industry – such as train operators that control a particular route – were top of the list of low power drivers.” 

"Ignoring customer power would be a risky strategy for companies to employ, as we found that perceptions of low power led to customer complaints, disengagement, and negative word-of-mouth." 

The researchers have proposed a framework to help companies quickly identify low-power drivers and behaviours that could lead to customers disengaging directly or indirectly from a company. 

The research has been published by the European Journal of Marketing. 



Notes to editors  

  • Dr. Liliane Abboud is available for an interview upon request.  

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