EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

How Concrete Language Shapes Customer Satisfaction

Grant Packard, Jonah Berger, J Jeffrey Inman and Andrew T Stephen

Journal of Consumer Research, 2021, vol. 47, issue 5, 787-806

Abstract: Consumers are often frustrated by customer service. But could a simple shift in language help improve customer satisfaction? We suggest that linguistic concreteness—the tangibility, specificity, or imaginability of words employees use when speaking to customers—can shape consumer attitudes and behaviors. Five studies, including text analysis of over 1,000 real consumer–employee interactions in two different field contexts, demonstrate that customers are more satisfied, willing to purchase, and purchase more when employees speak to them concretely. This occurs because customers infer that employees who use more concrete language are listening (i.e., attending to and understanding their needs). These findings deepen understanding of how language shapes consumer behavior, reveal a psychological mechanism by which concreteness impacts person perception, and provide a straightforward way that managers could help enhance customer satisfaction.

Keywords: language; concreteness; listening; customer service; social perception (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jcr/ucaa038 (application/pdf)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:47:y:2021:i:5:p:787-806.

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Journal of Consumer Research from Oxford University Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press ().

 
Page updated 2021-06-15
Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:47:y:2021:i:5:p:787-806.