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Eating chips for research

Eating chips for research

Photographer:Fotograaf: Think Stock

Tricks of the Trade

For his master’s thesis, Timo Anderer (26, Germany), an International Business student specialising in Marketing Finance, set up an experiment on customer satisfaction. He concluded that social interaction in the decision-making process leads to happier customers.

“When my supervisor suggested this topic for my thesis, the decision was easy. Since the 1990s, the role of marketing has changed from simply finding a buyer to creating long-term relationships between buyers and sellers. This makes customer satisfaction very important. The underlying idea of my research was therefore to figure out whether different modes of expression result in different levels of choice satisfaction. As turns out, they do. For example, when someone in a restaurant orders food by talking to a waiter, they feel better about their choice than someone who chooses at a buffet. So social interaction is apparently quite important.”

“Most of my findings are based on combining theories from different disciplines; psychology, consumer behaviour and neuroscience. Getting a grip on the topic was challenging, especially in the beginning. The more I read, the more details I found, and the more complicated it got. But I also wanted to go beyond these theories, and experiment myself. I went to my old high school in Pforzheim, where I set up an experiment for 80 pupils. They had to choose between two bowls of chips to eat from, and were divided into groups based on making their choice either in interaction or by themselves. As in the restaurant, the pupils who talked about their choice were more content afterwards. Of course I would much rather have experimented in real-life situations, studying people who make purchasing decisions on a daily basis. The high-school respondents might in hindsight not have been the most suitable participants for my experiment. Overall though, I’m quite satisfied. Especially since this is a relatively new field in the consumer behaviour and marketing world, and could therefore serve as a good starting point for further research.”

Iris Fraikin

This is a series in which students talk about their inspiring (research) projects

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