Alina is doing her Master of Science in Business Administration at the University of Muenster in Germany. Before that, she graduated from Berlin School of Economics and Law by completing her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.
Currently, she is writing her master thesis at the Department of Marketing and Media Research, supervised by Prof. Dr. Hennig-Thurau. In her thesis, she is empirically investigating the best mix of after sales instruments from a marketing perspective.
In doing so, Alina addresses a research gap in the field of after sales services because literature on this topic is sparse, often written from an operations management perspective, and mostly targeted at managers. In addition, most research findings were deduced from case studies about companies from the B2B sector. Thus, there is a need in generating more recent research findings about after sales services from a customer perspective, in particular for B2C products.
By making use of choice-based conjoint analysis, Alina wants to uncover respondents’ preferences for the most common after sales instruments for consumer electronics. She believes that a choice scenario is more realistic to reveal the importance of after sales instruments to consumers compared to traditional surveys dealing with attitudes and satisfaction levels because consumers have to choose between alternative options in case of product failure and related events to solve their problem.
Furthermore, Alina intends to define customer segments based on their unique preference structure with regard to after sales services. Such a segmentation approach might help companies to address the needs of their customers in a more customised and profitable way.
According to the results of the CBC study about after sales services for smartphones, conjoint study participants appreciated service encounters where interactions with human service providers were possible, implying lower levels of technology infusion in after sales services. Moreover, participants preferred fast after sales service delivery most.
Consequently, the best mix of after sales instruments for smartphones consisted of a free basic warranty for two years, a local repair shop as repair service location, and talking to a call centre agent on the phone to receive remote customer support. These findings apply to participants the majority of whom were female, aged between 18 and 35 years, iPhone users, and university students whose willingness to pay for a new smartphone was rather low.
Based on these observations, the customer satisfaction levels of this sample could be increased by offering fast and interactive after sales services for smartphones where service provision contains a human element in terms of human customer service agents, enhanced by technology.