Optimal Structure of Experiential Services: Review and Extensions

  • Guillaume RoelsEmail author
Part of the Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy book series (SSRI)


In many consumer-intensive (B2C) services, delivering memorable customer experiences is often a source of competitive advantage. And yet, there exist few formal guidelines to design the structure of such experiences. In this chapter, we introduce a utility-based model of customer satisfaction when customers are subject to acclimation, satiation, and memory decay. We then review and extend principles for optimizing the structure of an experience to maximize customer satisfaction; specifically, we characterize the optimal sequence of activities, the optimal activity selection, and the optimal information policy about an uncertain outcome. We find that, in general, the optimal experience structure is non-monotone in service levels and makes use of breaks/intermissions to create contrasts and reset satiation levels. However, in many extreme cases, we show that a crescendo design is optimal. We then discuss the implications of our framework for quality management in services, especially as it relates to a potential gap between ex-ante expectation and ex-post satisfaction, and for monetizing customers’ utilities derived while anticipating or recalling the event.


B2C services Experiences Behavioral operations management Scheduling Social psychology 



I would like to thank Uday S. Karmarkar, Lia Patrício, and two anonymous referees for sharing their insights and suggestions for improving the quality of the chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INSEADFontainebleauFrance

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