Workshop Series: Simon Bell
Customer education or the extent to which firms provide customers with the skills and abilities to utilize critical information is often a valuable augmentation of a firm's product offerings. The anecdotal evidence shows that customers value the investment firms make in their expertise. Yet many firms are hesitant to invest time and effort into educating their customers. Helping customers to better understand services and more easily navigate the market in which the firm competes is essentially equipping customers with the skills to shop around and, troublingly, switch providers. The purpose of this study is to understand when and how customer education ties customers more closely to a firm, and when it equips customers to leave. In two empirical studies, we show that the resolution to the paradox of customer education lies in the specificity of expertise that is built as a result of customer education initiatives. We consider implications for managers and suggest directions for future research.
Simon is Professor of Marketing and Director of Executive Education at the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Judge Business School at Cambridge University. Between 2002 and 2008, Simon was a member of faculty at Cambridge and Head of the Strategy & Marketing Group. He has held visiting positions at Copenhagen Business School, Imperial College London, and Católica University in Lisbon. He holds an honours degree in economics and completed his PhD in marketing at the University of Melbourne. Simon writes on a range of issues including organisational learning, service employee management, marketing strategy, and regional clusters. His research has focused on the retail and financial services industries and has been published in journals such as the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, the Journal of Retailing and the Academy of Management Review. Simon also sits on the editorial board of Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and the Journal of International Marketing, among others.