Marketing & Communications

The New Marketing Frontier

The United States has seen a dramatic shift from a manufacturing-based economy to one centered on services, with nearly half of today's Fortune 500 companies considered service-based. In keeping with this shift, the College of Business Administration has created a specialization focused on sales and services marketing to prepare students for leadership in expanding service-based industries such as insurance, finance and professional services.

Housed within the Department of Marketing, the new specialization will be offered in fall 2013. BGSU is one of only three Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited universities in the country with an undergraduate program focused on services or services marketing, according to Dr. David Reid, a professor of marketing and interim director of the Service Marketing Institute at BGSU.

The new specialization combines faculty strengths in professional sales and in services marketing, a set of advanced courses in services marketing, and collaboration with other College of Business departments and the Service Marketing Institute.

"Together, these collaborations and support systems will mean that the new specialization will better prepare our graduates to address the unique challenges and differences faced by service-based firms and thereby provide superior employment opportunities for our students with these firms," said Dr. Bob Wu, chair of the Department of Marketing.


Dr. Dwayne Gremler

Faculty are also conducting cutting-edge research in the services marketing field. Dr. Cécile Delcourt, an assistant professor of marketing at the HEC-Management School of the University of Liege, Belgium, recently solicited the help of of BGSU's Dr. Dwayne Gremler, a professor of marketing, Fulbright Scholar and well-known expert on services marketing, to conduct a customer-focused examination of employee emotional intelligence (EEC). EEC is the ability to perceive, understand and regulate customer emotions, which is likely to play a crucial role in enhancing a customer's experience.

Based on the research results, they produced a scale that can be used to further explore the role of EEC in service contexts, thus allowing managers to identify how to improve service encounter experiences. They also co-authored an article titled "How Can Service Employees Best Deliver Bad News to Customers?"

Gremler said, "Based on a comprehensive literature review and in-depth interviews, we have developed a concise scale capturing customer-perceived EEC in terms of perceiving, understanding and regulating customer emotions. We believe service providers should be more concerned by EEC as perceived by customers than by supervisor perceptions or employee self-perceptions."

"Understanding, perceiving, and regulating customer emotions is crucial for service employees-especially for employees working in high-contact and personalized services, such as health care," said Delcourt. "For example, when employees break bad news, such as the positive results of an HIV test, customers may experience intense negative emotions. These emotions need to be appropriately managed by service employees to create and maintain an appropriate climate for service."

The Belgian scholar added, "If customers' emotional needs are not appropriately addressed by the service employee, it can create high dissatisfaction among customers and thus drive them away from the company. It is necessary to understand how to best manage the emotions in service encounters."

 (Posted March 18, 2013 )