Overcoming vulnerability: Channel design strategies to alleviate vulnerability perceptions in customer journeys

Jens Hogreve, Nancy V. Wünderlich, Ilma Nur Chowdhury, Hannes Fleischer, Sahar Mousavi, Julia Rötzmeier-keuper, Rui Sousa

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Abstract

Research has shown that any individual consumer, regardless of membership in any particular class, may experience vulnerability in the marketplace. While studies have identified core determinants of customer vulnerability states and perceptions and outlined their impact on consumers and firms, there is little research on how channel design, as part of service design strategies, can be employed to alleviate or prevent states and perceptions of vulnerability. This study extends the current literature on customer vulnerability by developing a framework that delineates determinants and consequences of vulnerability that manifest in problems of accessing or processing resources. We outline three relevant channel design strategies that service providers might employ to alleviate vulnerability: (1) flexibility through multiple multichannel paths, (2) guidance through constrained channel paths and (3) proactive initiation of interactions. Additionally, we propose a future research agenda and offer recommendations for managerial practice regarding how to identify customer vulnerability and employ countermeasures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date30 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Channel management
  • Channel design
  • Customer vulnerability
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Transformative service research

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