Shedding Light on the Minds of Delighted Customers
: An Investigation Into the Effect of the Intrinsic Processing on the Magnitude and Endurance of Customer Delight in Hedonic and Utilitarian Consumption Settings Using Dual-Processing Theory 

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Customer delight is as an emotion that results from unexpectedly surprising and joyful experiences, and has been well-researched in the marketing literature. However, little is known about how customers intrinsically process delightful experiences, and how this affects customer delight and behavioural intentions. An investigation into customers’ intrinsic processing during delightful experiences may provide some indication whether triggering a certain form of processing increases the magnitude and endurance of customers’ delight and behavioural intentions, i.e. intention to revisit, engage in positive word of mouth, commit, and pay more. This thesis addresses this gap by applying dual-processing theory.
Data were collected in a two-part online experiment (n = 304 US residents). The results show that analytical processing, as opposed to affective processing, leads to stronger customer delight and, in turn, to stronger behavioural intentions in a hedonic consumption setting, but not in a utilitarian setting. There is no significant effect of processing on the endurance of customer delight or behavioural intentions. The results further suggest that the consumption setting is not a moderator.
This thesis makes several important contributions. It contributes to the customer delight literature by shedding light on how customers intrinsically process delightful experiences. Understanding this allows an insight into how processing affects the magnitude and endurance of customer delight, and how it impacts on consumers’ behavioural intentions. By finding that customer delight results from analytical processing, this thesis contributes to the extant knowledge by suggesting that customer delight may not only be an emotion, but also a judgement. This constitutes a new understanding of customer delight and how to increase its magnitude and endurance.
This thesis further contributes to the dual-processing theory literature by intertwining the theory with customer delight as a well-known marketing concept. This highlights the theory’s importance to marketing to explain how the magnitude and endurance of marketing concepts may be increased. This thesis further contributes to the extant knowledge by applying the theory in hedonic and utilitarian consumption settings, which generates insights into the form of processing to be triggered in each of these settings. This thesis also contributes to marketing practice. Practitioners are advised to trigger customers’ analytical processing during delightful experiences, in hedonic settings. This helps create stronger customer delight and behavioural intentions.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorDouglas West (Supervisor), Nikoletta Siamagka (Supervisor) & Frauke Mattison Thompson (Supervisor)

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