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Customer experience : finally a scientific scale to measure it

How to measure customer experience? This question has led many researchers on the path to developing scales to quantify something that is highly subjective by nature.

Yet most customer experience scales were until now limited to one particular domain or one particular moment of the customer experience (to get an overview of those moments please read our article on the subject). At the EMAC 2018 conference one research attempted to resolve this problem.

A definition of customer experience

In his presentation Markus Gahler defined customer experience as

“the sujective, co-created, and holistic perception of at least one experience provider (e.g., brand, personnel, other customers) and touchpoint (e.g. advertisement, online shop, store) during the pre-purchase/consumption, purchase/consumption and post-purchase/consumption stage of customer journey”

The dimensions of customer experience

In the marketing research presented the concept of customer experience was tackled, like in all studies, as a multidimensional construct spanning over the following 6 dimensions

  1. affective
  2. cognitive
  3. sensorial
  4. physical
  5. symbolic
  6. relational

In light of our recent article on yet another research presented at EMAC 2018 on sensory marketing, you’ll note that the sensorial dimension is in itself very broad and complex (5 senses). The same can be said about the relational dimension which many different subdimensions. You can therefore imagine the daunting task of summing up so many complex dimensions into “one scale to rule them all”.

The methodology of the marketing research in brief

The marketing research methodology in itself is already very interesting and innovative.
The author generated an initial set of 104 items based on several techniques: literature review, 29 written diaries, 21 in-depth interviews. This is a nice illustration of how to combine market research methods to get a better overview of a problem.
Those 104 items were then screened by experts and sorted according to the 6 dimensions above. 72 items were kept which was still too long for a quantitative instrument.
An online survey (N=1348) was used to reduce the number of items further.
Next to this long-form type of quantitative instrument, a short format was also developed that uses icons to represent the different dimensions of customer experience. The idea behind it is to enable quick surveys (for instance on mobile) and have customers evaluate their perceptions around the 6 dimensions with a slider.


This marketing research (whose results are not yet publicly available) sounds very promising. The rigourous methodology and the convergent validity obtained will hopefully result in a quantitative instrument that will service as a blueprint for academics and managers alike.


Image : shutterstock

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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