I Can’t Always Get What I Want: Low Power, Service Customer (Dis)Engagement and Wellbeing

Liliane Abboud, Helen Bruce, Jamie Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose – This research examines experiences of low customer power in service interactions and the impact of those experiences on customers’ engagement and disengagement towards a firm. It subsequently identifies how such experiences may affect customers’ wellbeing.
Design/methodology/approach – We conducted visual elicitation interviews with 30 customers of a range of services. Data were analysed thematically using abductive reasoning.
Findings – Low customer power is influenced by several factors perceived by customers as associated with the firm and/or the context of the customer-firm relationship. Results show that low power drives negative customer engagement and may result in behavioural disengagement. Low customer power, negative engagement and disengagement can have negative implications for customers’ eudaimonic (physical and financial) and hedonic wellbeing.
Research limitations/implications – Future studies might explore specific service contexts and power dynamics across service ecosystems and should further analyse the implications of these relationships on firms’ strategic organisational responses.
Practical implications – Firms should monitor customer power and explore means of enhancing the wellbeing of their customers through strategies designed to increase customer power, thus reducing negative customer engagement, and avoiding detrimental impact on customer wellbeing.
Originality – This study reframes discussions on low customer power in relation to firms and its impact on firms and customers. It identifies low customer power as a key variable in the study of customer engagement, disengagement, and wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Early online date25 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2023


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