Employees At Discount Stores May Face More Rude Shoppers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Lidl Shopping Trolley” by Jeff Djevdet is licensed under CC BY 2.0Alexander P. Henkel, PhD
Business Intelligence and Smart Services (BISS) Institute / Open University, The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: As consumers, we are frequently bombarded with a myriad of marketing tactics. One tactic regularly employed by thrift-oriented brands is to highlight low prices, discounts, and sales promotions. When consumers encounter these low-price signals, they may adopt a price conscious mentality, that is, a singular focus on getting the cheapest deal. A price conscious mentality is likely beneficial for consumers, as it helps them save money. However, it is also possible that it has negative implications, particularly for how consumers perceive and interact with other human beings in the marketplace, such as customer service employees. We investigated this question in a collaboration project between the Business Intelligence and Smart Services (BISS) Institute (founded by the Open University and Maastricht University, both Netherlands) and the University of British Columbia in Canada.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings and key takeaways?

 Response: We investigated how consumers’ price conscious mentality impacts their perceptions of employees’ humanity. Results from four studies using field and experimental data from multiple service categories demonstrate that a price conscious mentality can lead consumers away from fully recognizing the human qualities of employees. The findings also suggest that this subtle form of dehumanization can result in harsher treatment of employees when they provide less than satisfactory service. This is especially worrisome for service employees, as previous research has demonstrated that such inconsiderate customer behavior can have adverse effects on employee well-being.

Managers of thrift-oriented brands need to be aware of the potential impact their positioning strategy has on their employees and identify means to offset the potential negative effects. For instance, these managers might consider supplementing their positioning with cues emphasizing the social dimension of consumption. In addition, personnel managers of thrift-oriented brands can excel by proactively equipping their employees with the tools and internal culture to cope with potentially less considerate customers. Failing to be mindful about such effects might be detrimental to organizational performance via diminished work morale, increased absenteeism, and high turnover.

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Henkel et al. Discounting Humanity: When Consumers are Price Conscious Employees Appear Less HumanJournal of Consumer Psychology, December 2017 DOI: 10.1002/jcpy.1023

Access to the full article is provided via the following link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcpy.1023/full

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.


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