Conventional wisdom as well as marketing practice suggest that companies benefit from helping customers find them. Yet, sometimes customers find service venues on their own. We suggest that a sense of own discovery can benefit businesses because customers tend to bond more with what they have discovered for themselves. Situated in the hospitality industry, a field study with customers of a café, a survey with a representative sample of café-goers, an online experiment with a discovery of a bar, and a lab experiment with a discovery of a restaurant confirmed that a sense of own discovery strengthens customer bonds (self-connection, emotional attachment, psychological ownership) with service venues, and in turn predicts actual behavior and behavioral intentions that benefit the venue (i.e., actual consumption, patronage intentions). These findings advance insights into customer relationships and highlight the importance of boosting perceptions of own discovery as a way to build stronger customer bonds.
Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)
- 501006 Experimental psychology
- 501021 Social psychology
- 502019 Marketing