Employing customer experience as a differentiator of purchasing decisions in the industrial sector
Van Schalkwyk, M.S.
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Customer experience is a well-studied and applied field in B2C environments. Many organisations have reaped the benefits for their continuous focus on customer experience and the implementation thereof in their strategies. Unfortunately, for B2B environments the same cannot be stated as customer experience in B2B environments are researched in a much lesser degree. Common industries covered in B2B customer experience research are e-commerce, financing, banking and insurance, but not much for heavy industry. For vendors in heavy industry to reap the same benefits as their B2C counterparts, they need to understand their heavy industry customers’ perception of customer experience and what the consequences of these are. The aim of the study was to determine the antecedents and constructs of customer experience in heavy industry, and the degree of influence the identified constructs will have on the buying behaviour of customers in this sector. Questionnaires covering antecedents of customer experience were utilised to collect data to understand what customers in heavy industry perceive as customer experience and how it will influence their buying behaviour. Simple descriptive statistics were used to identify the constructs of customer experience in heavy industry, the perceived importance of each, and to build a new model of customer experience in heavy industry. Practical significance was used for hypotheses testing as set out in the study. Results indicated that antecedents of customer experience in heavy industry consist of constructs or sub-antecedents which indicate that customer experience, though a process followed by every customer naturally in any industry without thinking about the process, are complicated. Due to the complexity of customer experience each construct needs to be studied to understand the full impact of customer experience in heavy industry on buying behaviour. Results further indicated that there is a correlation between commitment and trust, and between commitment and service and product quality, with no correlation to satisfaction. The absence of correlation of satisfaction with any of the antecedents can be perceived by some that satisfaction is a consequence of customer experience and not an antecedent.