Effects of customer education in terms of customer perceived value: the role of customer evaluation skills

Purpose of the paper: The aim of this study is to propose a theoretically grounded conceptual framework focusing on the effects of customer education process in terms of customer perceived value. In doing so, it especially highlights the role of customer evaluation skills.

Methodology: This is a conceptual paper whose analytical approach draws heavily on theoretical evidence published in service marketing and management literature. Using this analysis, nine research propositions are developed to highlight the relationships between customer education, evaluation skills and perceived value.

Findings: Customer education is a under-researched concept in the service marketing and management literature. It is a process aimed at informing and training customers in order to increase their knowledge levels (basic, general, and deep). It affects customer perceived value in terms of benefits (skill of information evaluation, satisfaction and appreciation, perceived risk, purchasing power, and protection of rights and interests), and outlays (economic commitment, product complexity, information accessibility, time employed, cognitive and behavioral effort, and resulting stress). Customer evaluation skills mediate this relationship by allowing customers to perceive value in the function of the different knowledge levels acquired.

Practical implications: Providing customers with a number of information and cognitive tools for evaluating products reduces information asymmetries between a company and its customers. Therefore, at least in principle, this can reduce the power of the company. Managers should consider this risk by both creating knowledge about service alternatives and evaluating what information can be offered to customers for increasing their knowledge levels. Managers should favour the development of initiatives aimed at strengthening customers education because it allow companies to obtain a number of advantages.

Originality of the paper: The study contributes to enriching the analyses the post-purchase evaluation phase by proposing a conceptual framework primarily considering cognitive dimension of customer education.

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