[ARTICOLO] Youssef, K. B., Viassone, M. and Kitchen, P. (2018), “Exploring the relationship between customer education and customer satisfaction”, Sinergie, 105 (Jan-Apr)

It is six to seven times more expensive to gain a new customer than retain a current one. Yet, based on the marketing concept, customer satisfaction is the lifeblood of a business.
The present research has a dual objective, first of all, it explores how to build an effective awareness/education program in terms of customer education (CE) and secondly, it verifies how this can lead to improved satisfaction and whether customers find value in the education involved in these programs.
The methodology used consists of a literature review on the role of CE, a description of two models - the ‘5Ms’ CE Model and that of Honebein and Cammarano, and adaptation/application of these to two major Italian coffee firms via qualitative research.
Findings indicate that the adapted models fit well with the coffee industry and outline CE dimensions which - if applied - could help underpin increased customer satisfaction in the B2D (business-to-distributor) sector. Despite the research contribution, this is an exploratory study that needs to be applied to a larger number of cases, and subsequent empirical testing via quantitative methods. As a matter of fact, the application of these models to the B2D sector allows the suggestion of strategies to better develop CE programs.
Thus, CE plays an important role in satisfaction, particularly in industrial markets (B2B). However, little is known about CE’s educational effect in terms of ROI related to satisfaction in the B2D sector. In addressing this, two models of consumer education are analyzed and applied to the Italian coffee B2D market.
So, the interesting of this paper come on one hand, by the academical contribution in terms of literature in CE effects on customer satisfaction in distributors, where little is known. On the other, by managerial implications, where companies should consider investing in CE and see it as a tool that, if adequately incorporated, can lead to customer satisfaction and this can result, in a second step, in increased customer loyalty.


January 2019