Can you imagine a world where a subway ride becomes the highlight of your day? Where going to the laundromat isn't such a dreary duty? A recent study published in the Journal of Service Research found that our perception of certain services can drastically change with the right adjustments, and not everyone needs Mickey Mouse and daily parades to make their experience magical.
German professors Fabian Uhrich, Jan H. Schumann, and Florian van Wangenheim conducted studies on amusement parks, public transportation, museums, and spas to evaluate the payment behaviors of consumers. The goal: to shed light on consumer spending patterns in various service industries. Their research uncovered what they call a 'flat rate bias'; customers are more likely to pay flat rates, or fixed prices, for unlimited use of a service, instead of paying per use, regardless of whether the flat rate is the cheaper option.
"This flat rate bias contradicts standard economic theory," says Uhrich. "But it's very beneficial for service providers, because consumer spending is much more constant and predictable with flat rates." While more hedonic, or fun, services (i.e. Disney World) enjoy a natural flat rate bias, other providers of more utilitarian services (i.e. laundromats) must make adjustments so that customers perceive them as more pleasurable and satisfying.
In order to do this, the researchers say companies can initiate marketing campaigns with keywords such as fun, exciting, thrilling, delightful, or enjoyable. Their study found that "hedonizing," or making services more enjoyable, doesn't have a negative effect on a consumer's willingness to pay, thereby making this a must-do for service firms. However, "Managers must ensure that the experience actually is enjoyable," cautions Urich, "because not delivering as promised can lead to serious customer dissatisfaction."
So, how can companies bring the fun back into business? Start with a smile; the researchers say you'll never reach success without one. Staff must be trained to provide friendly service—which is hardly surprising—but this must work in tandem with an evolved and enticing physical environment.
"Museums and zoos should offer services such as movie theaters with exciting and funny movies, nice coffee shops, and themed playgrounds," Uhrich explains, "Even language schools can incorporate more fun into their programs, by cooking country-specific cuisine every so often."
Some service companies and attractions in the United States have already mastered this method.
"Boston's Museum of Science is great example of a service that offers this diversified experience," says Katherine Lemon, Boston College Accenture Professor of Marketing and Journal of Service Research editor. "Making what otherwise might be an unpleasant educational experience much more exciting for families, through its Omni theatre and interactive exhibits."
Co-authors Uhrich, Schumann, and van Wangenheim point out this approach can even be applied to uninviting yet necessary entities like public transportation. For example, managers might be able to encourage public transport riders to purchase season-long passes instead of single-day tickets if they advertise with promotions that are more festive and fun, train employees to be exceptionally friendly, and add entertainment to help offset what many consider to be a headache and hassle of their daily routine.
That said, consumers should be wary of paying flat rates if they are looking to be cost conscious because pay-per-use plans can sometimes be the more affordable option. For example, purchasing a monthly subway pass makes financial sense if someone is taking the metro everyday, but less frequent riders will save money by paying for each individual ride.
Will metro stations ever be as magical as "The Happiest Place On Earth?" Probably not, but there is certainly a future in fun when it comes to businesses - even the ones we would rather not interact with.
The Journal of Service Research is edited by Katherine Lemon, Accenture Professor of Marketing at Boston College's Carroll School of Management, and published by Sage in Thousand Oaks, California.Contact: Fabian Uhrich
Sean Hennessey | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research