Why Companies Should Make Their Customers Happy: the Neural Correlates of Customer Loyalty

Hilke Plassmann, Caltech Neuroeconomics Lab, California Institute of Technology, USA and Marketing Center Muenster, University of Muenster, Germany
Peter Kenning, Marketing Center Muenster, University of Muenster, Germany
Dieter Ahlert, Marketing Center Muenster, University of Muenster, Germany
In this study, we attempt to expand our understanding of the basis of affective bonds customers built with companies and brands. We conducted a brain-imaging study to assess differences in neural activations between loyal and disloyal customers of a department store during fictitious purchasing decisions. Based on prior findings in the literature, we assumed that for loyal customers, the exposure to the store brand would modulate their decision via an emotion-based path. The results suggest that loyal customers as compared to disloyal customers have established affective bonds to the store, which is might be the underlying psychological driver of their repurchases.
[ to cite ]:
Hilke Plassmann, Peter Kenning, and Dieter Ahlert (2007) ,"Why Companies Should Make Their Customers Happy: the Neural Correlates of Customer Loyalty", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 735-739.