Professor Sabine Benoit
In February 2016 Professor Sabine Benoit (nee Moeller) joined the University of Surrey as a Professor of Marketing. She is a member of the Department of Retail and Marketing at Surrey Business School.
Her main research fields are Service- and Retail-Marketing. Her work has been published in leading international Journals e.g. the Journal of Service Research, Journal of Operations Management and Psychology & Marketing. She is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Service Research (JSR), Journal of Service Management (JoSM), Journal of Services Marketing (JSM), Journal of Service Theory and Practice (JSTP) and Journal of Business Research (JBR). From JoSM she received the best reviewer award in 2013. She has taught and teaches courses in Marketing, Services & Retail Marketing and Research Methods on Bachelor, Master, MBA and Ph.D. Level.
From 2013 to 2016 Sabine was Professor of Marketing at Roehampton Business School, Roehampton University, London, UK. She became Director of Research at Roehampton Business School in 2014. Before and starting in 2008 she was holder of the Lekkerland Endowed Chair for Convenience & Marketing at the EBS Business School, Wiesbaden, Germany. At EBS she was manager of the Competence Center for Convenience, Academic Director of the EBS Summer Schools and Chairmen of the doctoral committee. From 2003 to 2008 Sabine Benoit was Assistant Professor at the Chair of Marketing and Commerce at the WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany, where she finished her Habilitation (post-doctoral degree) in 2008. Before this she was research assistant and doctoral candidate at the Douglas Endowed Chair of Service Management at the University of Hagen, Germany. She earned her doctoral degree in February 2004.
University roles and responsibilities
- Business and Engagement Officer
- Service Marketing, in particular
- customer participation
- access based services
- Customer perception
- Supply chain liability
- Food consumption
- on-the-go consumption
- health orientation
Customer misbehavior in service settings is problematic for two reasons: (1) because of the direct damage it causes and (2) because of additional negative effects that arise from the contagion of such misbehavior. The authors extend existing theory of customer misbehavior by studying its contagious effect. The investigation focuses on access-based services, defined as transactions in which multiple consumers successively gain temporal, short-term access to a good, while legal ownership remains with the service provider (e.g., car sharing and fashion rentals). Due to the nature of these services, they are especially prone to indirect customer misbehaviour, which is directed at the accessed product and occurs in the absence of others. Two online experiments provide the first empirical evidence for a contagiousness of misbehavior and reveal that this effect is driven by customers’ perceptions of the social norms among the customer group. Moreover, they indicate that greater strength of the accessed product’s brand as well as lower anonymity of the accessed product’s owner attenuate contagion. A field experiment shows that an increase in the communal identification among access-based service customers reverses the contagious effect, with customers more likely to remove signs of previous users’ misbehavior. The results suggest that access-based service providers should address customer misbehavior by (a) investing in the products they offer access to, (b) establishing more personal relationships with customers, and, foremost, (c) increasing communal identification among customers.
Carsharing is often promoted as a potentially environmental-friendly alternative to individual car ownership. However, various carsharing programs have displayed limited success in the past. An initial field study of a new carsharing service is such a story of failure: The introduction of this new service at a medium-sized German university generated unexpectedly low adoption rates so that the service was eventually scaled-down and then suspended. Quantitative field study results as well as additional qualitative focus groups reveal that missing compatibility is a key barrier to adoption. Drawing on extant conceptual frameworks of user participation in sharing business models, a factorial survey identifies the importance of different dimensions of carsharing business models for their acceptance. The results reveal that a set of convenience and lifestyle dimensions influences usage intentions, including mode of drive, pick-up and drop-off mode, service level, price model, availability, and type of market mediation. In contrast, vehicle fleet does not appear to influence carsharing models’ acceptance. These findings contribute to research on business model configuration as well as the attitude-behavior gap in the sharing economy by determining relevant dimensions of a carsharing business model which can bridge the gap between basically positive attitudes and usage resistance. Thereby they also serve for concrete managerial recommendations.
Collaborative consumption (CC) is an increasingly prevalent form of exchange. CC occurs within a triangle of actors: a platform provider (e.g., Uber), a peer service provider (e.g., an Uber driver) and a customer. The platform provider's main role is matchmaking, so that a customer can access assets of a peer service provider. This paper has three objectives. First, this article identifies three criteria to delineate CC from related constructs such as access-based consumption, sharing or renting. Second, it introduces a literature-based framework explicating the roles of the actors in the CC triangle along three dimensions: motives, activities and resources and capabilities. Third, it highlights areas for further research, such as the dynamics of CC, context-dependent motives and the emergence of professional (peer) service providers.
Derived from previous research on social influence on food consumption and social comparison theory, this article examines the effect of service employees’ appearance on consumers’ food choice using an experimental study, involving a video manipulation and eye-tracking technique. The video shows a menu being proffered by a waitress whose degree of apparent healthiness varies (healthy, overweight, unhealthy lifestyle). The menu contains both healthy and unhealthy meal alternatives. The analysis of participants’ eye movements demonstrated that exposure to the overweight employee did not stimulate greater (i.e., earlier or longer) attention to unhealthy meal alternatives, whereas exposure to the employee who displayed an unhealthy lifestyle did. These findings have social and managerial implications: The postulated stigma according to which the presence of overweight others encourages unhealthy eating appears questionable. Service providers that might secretly hire according to body weight have no grounds to do so. In contrast, employees signaling an unhealthy lifestyle through their style choices prompt patrons to pay more attention to unhealthy meal alternatives. Food service providers might want to take this factor into consideration and actively manage the aspects that can be altered by simple measures.
We present a “service-centered” model of retail buyer–vendor relationships, in which retail buyers’ perceptions of a vendor’s economic and social resources affect their assessments of relationship value and relationship outcomes. Economic resources offered at the organizational level of the vendor include brand equity and customer support activities (e.g., merchandising support and margin maintenance). Social resources offered at the individual level of the salesperson include special treatment and customer advocacy. Relationship outcomes include the buyer’ intention to grow the business, and in the event of business termination, maintain the interpersonal relationship with the sales representative. Survey data from 532 retail buyers were collected and analyzed using structural equation modeling. The results show that relationship value mediates the effects of economic and social resources on relationship outcomes. However, the process by which this occurs varies.
Purpose - The needs of CMOs to utilize a firm’s data productively in order to support decision making combined with the reported benefits of Enterprise Feedback Management solutions has resulted in a rapid rise in usage and valuation of EFM providers. The explicit promise of EFM providers is improved financial performance, whereas there is no scientific research investigating this link. To investigate the link between EFM usage and financial performance is core of this research. Design/methodology/approach – To gain insight into this link survey data from 127 USbased firms on their usage of EFM platforms was linked to their stock market performance over several years. Findings – This research did not find any significant positive relationships between different aspects of EFM usage investigated and stock returns. It is important to note that these results should not be taken as validation that EFM systems do not result in positive financial outcomes for firms. It may be that superior market performance as measured through stock returns is difficult to observe through a cross-sectional analysis. Instead these results indicate that superior market performance as measured through stock market performance is not an obvious, generalizable outcome for firms that have adopted EFM systems. Originality – Enterprise Feedback Management has rapidly grown across many consumer facing industries, with EFM platform providers receiving very high market valuations on relatively small revenue streams. This is one of the first scientific papers to study the usage and impact of these EFM systems.
Purpose: Demand for service convenience, defined as a consumer’s perception of minimized time and effort spent to obtain a service, has increased in conjunction with certain sociocultural and demographic changes. Prior research notes the significance of service convenience, but the importance of different dimensions of service convenience as well as the role of key moderators affecting the link between convenience and satisfaction (like customer psychographic and sociodemographic characteristics) remain unaddressed. Design/methodology/approach: Two models are developed and tested: 1) a multidimensional model of service convenience with a formative measure of five service convenience dimensions: decision, access, search, transaction, and after-sales convenience; and 2) a moderator model hypothesizing different customer psychographic and sociodemographic characteristics (time pressure, shopping enjoyment, age, household size, income) that affect the link between service convenience and satisfaction. Findings: This study reveals that search convenience, followed by transaction and decision convenience, exerts the greatest influence on the perception of overall service convenience. In addition, those who value service convenience most are high-income, time-pressed consumers in smaller households who experience low shopping enjoyment. Originality/value: Providers have limited budgets for enhancing their services. Thus it is important to identify which dimension has the greatest influence on the perception of service convenience as well as the customer segments for which service convenience is most critical.
Access-based services (ABS) provide an opportunity for brands to promote their new products by enabling (unintended) trials. However, the mechanisms and impact of consumer exposure to products in ABS and the subsequent potential spillover effects on both the brand and the product perception are largely unknown. Our hypotheses are derived from information integration theory (IIT) and subsequently tested. Study 1 is a field study investigating an unintended trial moderated by involvement and positive experience. The results indicate positive effects from the unintended trial on product and brand attitudes, brand purchase intention, and word of mouth. In line with IIT, these effects are more pronounced for positive trial experience, although in contrast to IIT, they are less pronounced for high involvement consumers. While the results of Study 2, an online experiment, show substantial effects of both trials compared to non-trials, they also reveal that intended and unintended trials have a similar impact on attitude, but ABS experiences have a stronger positive impact on brand purchase intention. We thus recommend that brand managers promote not only new products but also their brands in unintended trials. This research fills a gap in current discussions about the trial effect(s) of ABS.
When it becomes publicly known that products are associated with suppliers that engage in unsustainable behaviors, consumers protest, as Nestlé, Zara, and Kimberly Clark, among others, have learned. The phenomenon by which consumers hold firms responsible for the unsustainable behavior of their upstream partners suggests the notion of “chain liability.” This study aims to generate insights into the antecedents and consequences of such consumer responsibility attributions. Using data from four vignette-based survey experiments, the authors find that the chain liability effect increases if an environmental degradation incident (1) results from supplier behavior rather than force majeure, (2) results from a company decision rather than the decision of an individual employee, and (3) is more severe. Responsibility attributions do not differ with varying organizational distance from the supplier, firm size, strategic importance of the supplied product, or the existence of environmental management systems. The chain liability effect also creates strong risks for the focal firm; higher responsibility attributions increase consumers’ anger and propensity to boycott. Therefore, firms should work to ensure sustainable behavior throughout the supply chain, to protect them from chain liability.
Consumers patronize different store formats to purchase products. Prior literature describes store and format choices for big, multi-item shopping baskets, but limited insights determine consumers’ unique shopping routines when they seek to buy just one or a few items while on the go. Such shopping situations might affect consumers’ format selections for both search and experience goods. This study uses multi-attribute utility theory to develop a framework, tested with a scenario-based experiment. For search goods, a format’s economic utility (price level, speed) is more important; its functional utility (quality, variety) and psychological utility (atmosphere, service) become less important considerations. Furthermore, the tolerable range of formats is larger for search goods. The level of on-the-go purchase and consumption frequency moderates these effects. Therefore, this research helps to clarify what drives consumers’ format selections in on-the-go shopping situations, with useful managerial insights for how retailers can compete in the growing on-the-go market.
Research on value creation traditionally has focused on value created by the company, though customers increasingly serve as active partners, able to create value with firms in a collaborative manner. Despite interest by both scholars and managers, existing research has not yet clarified the interdependencies of service offerings and customer role patterns. This article explores value creation rooted in three generic offerings (configuration, solution, and network) and identifies differences in their prerequisites, customer activities, challenges, abilities, ability enhancers, and perceived benefits that arise in collaborative value creation (CVC). Data from 105 collaborations, collected through in-depth interviews, support the qualitative and quantitative analyses that reveal distinct patterns in customers’ value creation for each service offering. A categorical principal components analysis, combined with cluster analysis, identifies five customer roles: bargain-hunting independent, comprehensive help seeker, engaged problem solver, technology-savvy networker, and self-reliant customizer. Our theoretical contribution includes the identification of customer roles across generic offerings and empirical evidence that customers perform multiple roles when engaging in CVC processes. Our findings provide managers engaged in CVC with recommendations on criteria for segmenting customer groups, on the role of the service provider in various value creation processes, and on tailored communication strategies to attract customers.
Purpose:Organizations (data gatherers in our context) drown in data while at the same time seeking managerially relevant insights. Academics (data hunters) have to deal with decreasing respondent participation and escalating costs of data collection while at the same time seeking to increase the managerial relevance of their research. We provide a framework on which managers and academics can collaborate better to leverage each other’s resources. Design/methodology/approachThis research synthesizes the academic and managerial literature on the realities and priorities of practitioners and academics with regard to data. Based on the literature, reflections from the world’s leading service research centers, and the authors’ own experiences, we develop recommendations on how to collaborate in research. FindingsFour dimensions of different data realities and priorities were identified: research problem, research resources, research process, and research outcome. In total, 26 recommendations are presented that aim to equip academics to leverage the potential of corporate data for research purposes and to help managers to leverage research results for their business. Research limitations/implications:This article argues that both practitioners and academics have a lot to gain from collaborating by exchanging corporate data for scientific approaches and insights. However, the gap between different realities and priorities needs to be bridged when doing so. The article first identifies data realities and priorities and then develops recommendations on how to best collaborate given these differences. Practical implicationsThis research has the potential to contribute to managerial practice by informing academics on how to better collaborate with the managerial world and thereby facilitate collaboration and the dissemination of academic research for the benefit of both parties. Originality/value:Whereas previous literature has primarily examined practitioner–academic collaboration in general, this study is the first to focus specifically on the aspects related to sharing corporate data and to elaborate on academic and corporate objectives with regard to data and insights.
Independent store managers—who constitute a substantial portion of the retailing sector—often have limited resources with which to practice the formalized, data-driven pricing processes prescribed in the literature. On that basis, this article addresses how independent convenience store managers arrive at prices and whether their practices are effective. To begin with, 33 interviews with independent convenience store managers identified six common beliefs and ten practices underlying managers’ intuitive decision making. Based on point-of-sale survey data from 1,504 customers of two convenience store chains at petrol stations, a second study compared market-oriented managerial beliefs with actual customer price perceptions and buying behaviors. The combined insights from these studies reveal that managers base their pricing decisions on beliefs that are only partially accurate and suggests how managers might benefit by altering their price-setting practices.
Purpose The collaborative economy (CE), and within it, collaborative consumption (CC) has become a central element of the global economy and has substantially disrupted service markets (e.g., accommodation and individual transportation). The purpose of this paper is to explore the trends and develop future scenarios for market structures in the CE. This allows service providers and public policy makers to better prepare for potential future disruption. Design/methodology/approach Thought experiments – theoretically grounded in Population Ecology (PE) – are used to extrapolate future scenarios beyond the boundaries of existing observations. Findings The patterns suggested by population ecology forecast developmental trajectories of CE leading to one of the following three future scenarios of market structures: the centrally orchestrated CE, the social bubbles CE and the decentralized autonomous CE. Research limitations The purpose of this research was to create CE future scenarios in 2050 to stretch one’s consideration of possible futures. What unfolds in the next decade and beyond could be similar, a variation of, or entirely different than those described. Social implications Public policy makers need to consider how regulations – often designed for a time when existing technologies were inconceivable – can remain relevant for the developing collaborative economy. This research reveals challenges including distribution of power, insularity and social compensation mechanisms that need consideration across states and national borders. Originality This research tests the robustness of assumptions used today for significant, plausible market changes in the future. It provides considerable value in exploring challenges for public policy given the broad societal, economic, and political implications of the present market predictions.
Purpose Organizations (data gatherers in the context) drown in data while at the same time seeking managerially relevant insights. Academics (data hunters) have to deal with decreasing respondent participation and escalating costs of data collection while at the same time seeking to increase the managerial relevance of their research. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework on how, managers and academics can collaborate better to leverage each other’s resources. Design/methodology/approach This research synthesizes the academic and the managerial literature on the realities and priorities of practitioners and academics with regard to data. Based on the literature, reflections from the world’s leading service research centers, and the authors’ own experiences, the authors develop recommendations on how to collaborate in research. Findings Four dimensions of different data realities and priorities were identified: research problem, research resources, research process and research outcome. In total, 26 recommendations are presented that aim to equip academics to leverage the potential of corporate data for research purposes and to help managers to leverage research results for their business. Research limitations/implications This paper argues that both practitioners and academics have a lot to gain from collaborating by exchanging corporate data for scientific approaches and insights. However, the gap between different realities and priorities needs to be bridged when doing so. The paper first identifies data realities and priorities and then develops recommendations on how to best collaborate given these differences. Practical implications This research has the potential to contribute to managerial practice by informing academics on how to better collaborate with the managerial world and thereby facilitate collaboration and the dissemination of academic research for the benefit of both parties. Originality/value Whereas the previous literature has primarily examined practitioner–academic collaboration in general, this study is the first to focus specifically on the aspects related to sharing corporate data and to elaborate on academic and corporate objectives with regard to data and insights.
Purpose of the paper: This study aims to make two main contributions: (1) showcase the diversity of service research in terms of the variety of used theories and methods and (2) explain (post publication) success of articles operationalized as interest in an article (downloads), usage (citations), and awards (best paper nomination). From there, three sub-contributions are derived: (1) stimulate a dialogue about existing norms and practices in the service field, (2) enable and encourage openness amongst service scholars, and (3) motivate scholars to join the field. Method: A mixed method approach is used in combining quantitative and qualitative research methods while analyzing 158 Journal of Service Management articles on several criteria such as their theory, methodology, and main descriptive elements (e.g., number of authors or references) and then using automated text analysis (e.g. investigating the readability of articles, etc.). Findings: The results show that the Journal of Service Management publishes a large variety of articles with regards to theories, methods of data collection, and types of data analysis. For example, JOSM has published a mixture of qualitative and quantitative articles and papers containing firm-level and customer-level data. Further, the results show that even though conceptual articles create the same amount of interest (downloads), they are used more (citations). Limitations: This article presents many descriptive results which do not allow for making inferences toward the entire service research discipline. Further, it is only based on one service research journal (Journal of Service Management) through a 5 year span of publication. Implications: The results have a number of implications for the discipline that are presented and discussed. Amongst them are that: (1) the discipline should be more open towards conceptual articles, (2) service research shows an imbalance towards theory testing, (3) there is more potential to work with transactional data, and (4) writing style should be more accessible (i.e. readable). Originality: This article is the first to conduct an in-depth analysis of service research articles to stimulate dialogue about common publishing practices in the Journal of Service Management and to increase the openness of the field.
The phrase the “customer is always right” assumes that customers provide universal benefits for firms. However, in recent years, customer deviance is on the rise and the academic literature has provided little insight into the drivers of deviance, the actual behaviors, and strategies for how managers can better manage a customer base that cannot be classified as universally benign. This article addresses customer deviance ranging from classic examples like shoplifting to engaging in hostile to anti-brand behaviors on social media or even breaking established norms such as trespassing in stores after closing hours. In an effort to spur new research into customer deviance, we propose a customer deviance framework encompassing the triggers, behaviors, and consequences of customer deviance with attention given to differentiating firms, employees, and other customers as the possible targets of deviant behaviors. We outline prevention strategies that comprise social, design, and technological-oriented factors, which in turn can help firms better manage deviant behavior. In doing so, we identify gaps in the literature and close with an actionable agenda for future research that can help firms curtail these negative customer behaviors.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide platforms for members to exchange information by information-based online communities (IBOCs, like LinkedIn or Facebook). Because member participation is vital for IBOCs, this research aims to identify and validate factors that drive member participation. Design/methodology/approach – With reference to social exchange theory the authors developed a model of antecedents of participation in IBOCs that was tested with survey data using PLS. Because some of the results contradicted the theory, the authors examined those results in a mainly qualitative study with online community providers. These experts offered explanations that inform the discussion and managerial implications. Findings – Role clarity, provider’s responsiveness, and enjoyment all influence member participation. Contrary to theory, the cooperation of other members affects member participation negatively while a member’s ability shows no effect. Practical implications – This research has several implications for IBOC providers. Because ability does not affect participation directly, providers do not need to worry about lacking ability and can effectively target all potential members. The importance of provider responsiveness signals that IBOC providers should proactively monitor members’ compliance with social norms to lower the social risk for members. The impact of community-specific knowledge and enjoyment on participation puts emphasis on careful community design and the thoughtful implementation of new features that might enhance enjoyment, but reduce role clarity. Originality/value – Whereas most of the participation literature focusses on a dyadic relationship, the research investigates the triadic relationship in which the provider is only an enabler of exchange. Furthermore, the authors bring together two streams of the literature: the participation literature, which tends to focus on offline participation; and the online community literature, which has not yet investigated participation. This is also the first paper to investigate nonlinear effects on participation. Keywords World wide web, Social exchange theory, Information exchange, Customer participation, Customer integration, Online community
Purpose This research aims to better understand customer experience, as it relates to customer commitment and provides a framework for future research into the intersection of these emerging streams of research. Design/methodology/approach This research contributes to theoretical and practical perspectives on customer experience and its measurement by integrating extant literature with customer commitment and customer satisfaction literature. Findings The breadth of the domains that encompass customer experience – cognitive, emotional, physical, sensorial and social – makes simplistic metrics impossible for gauging the entirety of customers’ experiences. These findings provide strong support of the need for new research into customer experience and customer commitment. Practical implications Given the complexity of customer experience, managers are unlikely to track and manage all relevant elements of the concept. This research provides a framework identifying empirically the most salient attributes of customer experience with particular emphasis on those elements that enhance commitment. This offers insight into service design to correspond with specific commitment and experience dimensions. Originality/value This research is the first to examine the customer experience as it relates to customer commitment – a key factor in customer loyalty, positive word of mouth and other desired outcomes for managers and marketers. This paper provides a framework for future research into these emerging topics.
Although the amount of food and beverages consumed on-the-go has been increasing, existing research has not sufficiently examined this behavior. This study uses a mixed methods design with a qualitative study to identify four determinants of on-the-go consumption: time pressure, price consciousness, health orientation, and enjoyment. Combining the qualitative results with Behavioral Decision Theory, eight hypotheses are derived about the influence of the four determinants as well as their interrelations. Hypotheses testing and predictive validity assessment are based on two large-scale consumer samples, one main study and one validation study. The results confirm a significant influence of utilitarian de- terminants (time pressure and price consciousness), though they are less important than the hedonic determinant. Implications for retail managers are presented, as these results challenge conventional practices. Moreover, existing theory is extended beyond a distinction between utilitarian and hedonic motives by regarding health orientation as a hybrid determinant of on-the-go consumption.
Trading communities provide non-commercial members with an online platform on which to exchange goods. Its success depends on member participation; however, little is known about its drivers. Based on literature we identify five drivers. To capture their impact over time, we test a latent growth curve model with longitudinal data, comparing the effects at an initial point of time with their impact on the growth of member participation over three subsequent periods. The results show that providers’ responsiveness and community identification have a positive effect on the initial level, but not on growth. Members’ enjoyment has no level effect, but a growth effect. Only role clarity has an impact on level and growth. Interestingly, co-members’ cooperation weakens member participation, which leads us to conclude that too much cooperation - which appears as professionalism in a trading community - ‘kills’ member participation. We conclude with theoretical and managerial implications.