How firms can create delightful customer experience? Contrasting roles of future reward uncertainty

Lili Wenli Zou, Chi Kin Bennett Yim, Wa Kimmy Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent emergence of customer experience management has sparked renewed interest in customer delight. Building upon social comparison theory and the uncertainty literature, this research examines a dual-path model (surprise and exclusivity) for creating delightful customer experience through bolstering self-enhancement and a contrasting moderating effect of future reward uncertainty in reward programs. We posit that a surprise (vs. exclusive) reward has a positive effect on customer delight through self-enhancement, but only when perceived uncertainty of receiving a similar reward in the future is high (vs. low). We verify our predictions with data from a laboratory experiment and a field survey, supplemented with multiple waves of customers’ actual behavioral loyalty data and confirm the impacts of customer delight on attitudinal (repeat and WOM intentions) and behavioral (both short- and long-term) loyalty. Our findings offer companies actionable managerial guidelines for building customer loyalty through creating delightful customer experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-490
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • Customer delight
  • Customer experience
  • Future reward uncertainty
  • Self-enhancement
  • Surprise and exclusivity


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