Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship

Spring 2016

Time: Friday 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 Noon
Location: 365A Melcher Hall
Open to Public: No reservation or registration required.

Note: Topics and Abstracts will be added to this page throughout the semester

Date Speaker Topic
Feb. 5 Brent McFerran
Simon Fraser
    "How Can 'I' Help 'You'? The Impact of Personal Pronoun Use in Customer-Firm Agent Interactions."
  • Click to read Abstract

    In responding to customer questions or complaints, should firm agents indeed “put the customer first”? We address this question from a linguistic perspective, focusing on firm agents’ use of personal pronouns (e.g., “I”, “you”, “we”) in customer interactions. Customer-orientation theory suggests that firms will benefit if firm agents emphasize how “you” (the customer) is served by “us” (or “we” the firm) in customer-firm interactions. Lab and field data from over 40 firms demonstrate that firm agents do show this linguistic manifestation of a customer orientation. However, we demonstrate that this recommended pronoun emphasis is not beneficial: we find null effects on customer satisfaction, purchase intentions, and actual purchase volume when firm agents increase their use of “you” and “we” pronouns. Instead, we show positive effects on these variables when firm agents increase their use of “I” pronouns. This effect is robust to multiple covariates and is mediated by customer perceptions of firm agent empathy and agency. These findings offer valuable implications for marketers and enhance our conceptual understanding of how subtle language variations impact consumers.

Feb. 12 Michael Trusov
Maryland
TBA
Feb. 26 Seshadri Tirunillai
UH
TBA
March 11 Leigh McAlister
UT Austin
TBA
March 25 Shyam Gopinath
Utah
TBA
April 15 Cait Lamberton
Pitt
TBA