Trigger Events: Exploring the Relationship Between Critical Events and Consumers' Evaluations, Standards, Emotions, Values and Behavior


  • Sarah Fisher Gardial University of Tennessee
  • Daniel J. Flint University of Tennessee
  • Robert B. Woodruff University of Tennessee


Over the past three decades, satisfaction research has explored the processes consumers use to arrive at various satisfaction outcomes and have begun to expland to the entire post-consumption evaluation process. However, no such research has focused specifically on the critical events, or triggers, that cause the evaluation process to occur and change. In order to thoroughly understand the dynamics behind why "satisfied" customers have some relationships and remain loyal to others, we must look for the vents that have significant impact on consumers' consumption experiences, the curves, and obstacles in the road that cause them to alter course. This paper explores the satisfaction and related literatures for clues on what these events might involve. Empirical results from depth interviews with health club customers suggest that changes in product use, changes in evaluations, and the use of comparison standards are associated with trigger events experienced by consumers. In contrast, emotion and changes in values were not found to be associated with trigger events for this group. These findings are discussed as well as potential directions for future research.




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