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Benoit Aubert

DBA Graduate - 2006

Thesis title

customer education : definition, measures and effects on customer satisfaction

Supervisor(s)

David Gotteland

Areas of expertise

  • E-Learning
  • Consumer Education
  • Customer/Client Satisfaction
Benoit AUBERT has been Marketing and Development Director at Grenoble Ecole de Management since January 2013. He was previously Associate Dean and Director of the Doctoral School in charge of the development and organisation of the doctoral programs. He is also a senior marketing professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management, where he teaches courses on CRM, customer education, consumer behaviour, quantitative marketing and principles of marketing. His main research interest in marketing is customer education. His DBA thesis examined the effects of customer education on customer behaviour and satisfaction. He is involved in the Institut du Capital Client (customer care research institute) and has written several papers on customer education, customer satisfaction and CRM.
Despite companies’growing interest in customer education (e.g., Nikon, Orange, Sony) and the evident awareness of this concept in some recent literature, research on customer education has remained relatively scarce. This thesis therefore contributes to the development of knowledge on customer education by endeavoring to clarify the concept of customer education and understand and measure its outcomes for customer satisfaction, a key indicator of corporate performance. To achieve this goal, the thesis begins with a literature review that provides an original conceptualization of customer education and its outcomes. A reliable and valid scale to measure customer education was developed. Finally, the study undertakes an experimental procedure, based on hypothetic-deductive methodology. The proposed structural model, which depicts the effects of customer education on customer satisfaction, tests a set of hypotheses that address both mediating and moderating effects. The tests of the hypotheses also rely on structural equation modeling. The experimental fieldwork, conducted in partnership with the digital camera manufacturer Nikon France, includes a sample of 321 customers. The results of this research are twofold. First, it offers a five-item original scale to measure customer education. The psychometric qualities of this scale are strong, according to well-established criteria. Second, this study proposes and validates a model of the relationships between customer education and customer satisfaction. This thesis thereby unveils two mediating variables: product usage and product usage–related knowledge and skills. The moderating role of customer expertise with a product category is also substantiated.