Purdue University

Project Description

Importance of Customers Perceived Empathy towards a Quality Customer � Salesperson relationship

Project Abstract

Today�s highly changing and competitive consumer markets are forcing salespeople to seek more creative and flexible means for meeting competition. Many salespeople have responded to these challenges by building a collaborative relationship with customers (Dertouzos, Lester, and Solow, 1989). In order to build such collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships, it is important that salespeople and customers have a good understanding of each other.
Considering the concept of personal selling, selling is a process where success depends on the salesperson�s ability in identifying and satisfying the needs of the customer. In order to identify customer needs, it is important that salespeople have empathy towards customers.
Looking at previous sales research, much research in personal selling is focused on uncovering variables related to the salesperson�s performance. This study tries to examine the importance of customer�s perceived empathy towards a salesperson and how that would influence a collaborative relationship between a salesperson and customer.
Salespeople place a great emphasis on building long-term relationships and empathy has taken a center role in academic sales research which focuses on long term relationship building. Sales research on empathy primarily focuses on the salesperson�s cognitive and effective empathy.
Most of the previous research on empathy has been focused on psychotherapy and counseling. Limited research on sales empathy has shed light on the importance of salesperson�s empathy towards customers.

Purpose of the Research:
The purpose of this quantitative analysis is to find out how salesperson�s empathetic understanding of customer needs and the salesperson-customer trust affects customer commitment to the salesperson. To conduct this study, we will be designing a 2 x 2 factorial design.
This research will consist of two parts. The first part will examine the customer�s perceived cognitive empathy towards the salesperson and the influence of trust in customer commitment to the salesperson. The second part will examine customer�s perceived affective empathy and the influence of trust in customer commitment to the salesperson.
This study is meant to shed some light on the importance of understanding customers� perceived cognitive and affective empathy and how that would impact the success and effectiveness of the salesperson. Since most of the previous researches have emphasized the importance of salespersons� empathy towards a customer, this study would provide insights from a customer's point of view.

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