Emotions in customer experience: Systematic review on theoretical approaches and conceptualizations

Tiina-Kaisa Kuuru, Leena Aarikka-Stenroos, Lauri Litovuo, Nina Helander

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


    Customers' interaction with a company and its product, service, brand, advertisement or personnel is always affecting individual in many ways, also emotionally. Recent literature has distinguished the importance of emotions affecting customer experience (CX) but holistic perception is still missing. The purpose of this paper is to build up comprehensive view on the role of emotions in CX research.
    The study identified, gathered and analyzed emotional aspects of customer experience found in extant literature. Research procedure for systematic literature review was followed to generate comprehensive classifications. Through comprehensive and systematic literature review from Scopus and Web of Science databases altogether 55 journal articles addressing emotions in customer experience were identified and structurally analyzed. Analysis revealed, that research around emotions in customer experience is still fragmented and there is lack of uniform concepts, terminology, definitions and dimensions. On the basis an extensive literature review and content analysis of articles linking customer experience and emotions this study offers a conceptual synthesis on emotional aspects of customer experience.
    The study revealed, that in extant literature authors use multiple different definitions and terms (emotions, moods, feelings, affective experiences) without any further clarifications. This analysis aimed to systemize the terms used around emotions. The study identified divergent approaches to emotions and customer experience and gathered extant knowledge around the subject from multidisciplinary literature of management, marketing, service, retail, technology, innovation and other relevant disciplines. In addition the analysis showed that emotions in customer experience are studied in several contexts, retailing being clearly the most common context. Some of the studies also focused to describe how the online environment influences to customer experience. Four different theoretical frameworks were found in reviewed articles used as the main theoretical background for studies. Eight major types about how emotions are conceptualized were found from extant literature. Emotions can be reflecting to customer experience for example as a dimension, bond or driver. Most of the types have a customer perspective to emotions but also the importance of managers’ and employees’ ability to manage and interpret emotions was noted. Both positive and negative emotions were distinguished in the literature but comprehensive view on the emphasis and nuances of emotions stays fragmented.
    There are several directions for future research. This study calls for meta-analysis and research, which has stronger managerial implications related to customer experience and emotions. As the study is theoretical, empirical studies are needed in order to test the proposed conceptualization in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe proceedings of 24th Nordic Academy of Management conference (NFF)
    Subtitle of host publication23-25 August 2017, Bodo, Norway
    PublisherNordic Academy of Management
    Number of pages23
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2017
    Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
    EventNordic Academy of Management Conference -
    Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …


    ConferenceNordic Academy of Management Conference
    Period1/01/00 → …


    • experience
    • emotion


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