Customer Responses to Forced Channel Migration



Many firms force customers to use specific channels for transactions and after-sales services, which should provoke various consumer responses to such limits on their choice. Three experimental studies reveal that customer reactance increases in response to forced migration and that reactance fully mediates the relationship between enforcement and satisfaction. Importantly, the mere act of forcing creates reactance among users of a new channel. Beyond this important finding, we find that a reinforced migration strategy through incentives could alleviate this problem. We show that rewarding channel migration is more effective than punishing the retention of the incumbent channel. Punishing the retention of the incumbent channel almost causes the same reactance as forcing a customer to use a new channel. Forced channel migration activities affect not only customer’s attitudes but also their compliance. Finally, our results indicate few differences between high- and low-value customers.
Contact information:
Dr. S. Puntoni