Improving the Customer Experience coursework

MKTG 30673 – Improving the Customer Experience: Coursework. Academic Year 2018/2019

Please respond to the following: ‘According to Accenture (2015) ‘improving the customer experience received the most number one rankings when executives were asked about their top priorities for the next 12 months’ (Lemon and Vehoef, 2016, p. 69). Critically discuss how customer experience has emerged. Is it a new concept or merely another form of marketing?

The assignment requires you to address a basic dichotomy: Is customer experience a new concept, or is it another form of marketing?

You are required to provide an evidence-based conclusion that:

 a)      Distinguishes between these two alternative approaches

b)      Is built upon an examination of the relevant academic literature, and

c)      Recognises and acknowledges key themes, concepts and ideas developed within the module.

Your first job will be to use the available literature to define principal, or explicit, concepts – what is customer experience; what are other forms of marketing? As you do this you will need to explore the possibilities of what they might be; and you may find that these can be defined in different ways and that each carries a degree of multiformity or ambiguity.  In order to explore these concepts, it is inevitable that you will also need to refer to other concepts that are covered in the module, but which are not explicitly mentioned in the particular assignment title so these might be implied or tacit, but still relevant.  Once you have identified all relevant concepts, and have determined the extent to which they can be defined, you then need to examine both sides of the suggested argument (or dichotomy) drawing,  again, on the appropriate literature to identify what has been suggested/argued by others – comparing and contrasting the various contributions; identifying similarities and differences within these contributions; and developing your own argument in such a way that you can deploy this to reach some sort of conclusion regarding the stated dichotomy. This conclusion is likely to be either:

  1. I agree with the LH side of the dichotomy
  2. I agree with the RH side of the dichotomy
  3. Both sides of the dichotomy are equally applicable
  4. Both sides of the dichotomy are applicable, but one more so than the other
  5. Either side of the dichotomy could be applicable, but this is a contingent issue

Your conclusion should be clearly stated; rational and justified; and based upon what you find from the literature rather than on arbitrary personal opinion.  The argument should be developed within the main body of your work and then summarised in your conclusion. Clearly, you will need to use your own perspectives, understandings, and beliefs in order to reach your conclusion; but the outcome should be a view that is evidence-based, rather than a result of what we call ‘armchair theorising’ (or, a ‘judgement’ rather than an ‘opinion’).

Key Requirements

  1. Word-count: 2,500.   Please identify the word-count on the title page of your assignment. There is NO +/- 10 %
  2. Abstract required, 150 words maximum (not included in word count). Do NOT include sub headings within the abstract or key words. Please see The Services Industries Journal for abstract style although note that ‘key words’ are not required.
  3. To be submitted no later than 12 pm on Friday January 25th, 2019
  4. Use journal format (see Appendix 1)
  5. Use the ‘Harvard’ system for citations and referencing (see ‘Citing References: a guide for users’, 9th edition). Note 1: Similar systems using adapted protocols will also be accepted provided these are used in a correct and consistent manner. If in doubt, though, refer to the guidance immediately above. A copy of the guide is available on the NOW content section for the module,

Note 2: Where pdf facsimiles of original articles have been accessed through, for example, eSearch, these should be considered equivalent to hard copy and not referenced as if they were internet journals i.e. do not provide internet database details.

Note 3: Word count does not include references

  • Text 1.5 line spaced in an appropriate type face/font.  Not too large and not too small – too small, and the submission is difficult to read; too large and the reader’s concentration starts to wander!  Typically, but not exclusively, Verdana 10/10.5, Ariel 11, and Times New Roman 12 are suitable, depending on your preference.

Submit only an electronic copy via the ICE module drop-box on NOW by the specified time and date (12pm Friday January 25 2019). All coursework is to be submitted electronically in NOW by using the Dropbox facility within each of your module learning rooms. There is NO requirement to submit a paper copy.

For each assignment, you will be provided with a separate folder within your learning room Dropbox that will be open for electronic submission of your coursework until midday on the day of submission. When you make a submission to a Dropbox folder, you will receive notification within NOW of your submission and an email (as in the following examples).  

Please ensure you keep these emails. Technical problems are rare but should you be prevented from submitting and miss the deadline due to such circumstances, then you should submit your coursework to the Late Submissions Folder as soon as you are able and email a description of the problem to your Subject Administrator (if possible include a screenshot of the issue).

To help you manage your submissions you can within NOW, enable a Dropbox instant notification to alert you to when the Dropbox folder end date is 48 hours away (in NOW select Preferences and tick the relevant check box as in the example below – see last line for the Dropbox notification).  For more details on electronic submission, please see your Module Handbook.  All assignments will be processed through Turnitin similarity testing software and all cases of suspected plagiarism will be investigated thoroughly.  Note that seminar tutors are alerted to the possibility of ‘commissioned’ work being submitted and relevant suspicions will similarly result in full investigation. Assignments will be viewed electronically and feedback provided according to the assessment criteria and feedback provided in this document. Coursework scripts will not be annotated. As always students wishing to discuss their coursework can meet with their seminar tutors in their office hour or other agreed times.

Assessment criteria

Please note that the assessment grade and feedback will be on line as an attached marking grid document, and will be available 21 days after submission, which is Friday February 15th 2019. In the event of tutor absence or other events outside of our control, this date may be subject to change and will be notified to students accordingly.

  1. Demonstration of a sound and critical understanding of relevant concepts and their relationships. Business concepts, and their relationships, should not be taken at face value.  Different perspectives and/or relevant ambiguities should be recognised/taken account of, and not just dismissed via careless and arbitrary application.  Conceptual rigour/precision should be sustained throughout to ensure proper understanding is demonstrated. (20%) 
    1. Answering the question appropriately and effectively.  The ability to interpret and make sense of a question is of vital importance.  The assignment title/topic is deliberately ambiguous and potentially contentious.  As a consequence it requires due thought and consideration so as to ensure relevant issues are recognised and factored in to your response.  Pertinent implications, wider issues, and conceptual associations – set within the context of a response that clearly focuses upon concerns raised within the module – should be addressed. (30%)
    1. Demonstration of the ability to organise thought, and to develop a coherent, consistent and comprehensive discussion. Response to the question should be convincing – and the tighter, and more reasoned, the arguments, the better will be the mark.  The narrative should seek to integrate, rather than list, ideas; the conclusion should both summarise and synthesise the case being made. Your ‘answer’ should arise out of evidence-based arguments and, consequently, be justified. (25%)
    1. Use of wide-ranging, appropriate sources and their attribution. Responses should use a good range (breadth and relevance) of sources, and demonstrate evidence of thorough research.  Sources should be a mix of both ‘classic’ and current, with responses a) based upon good, authoritative, underpinning theory, and b) responding to the latest published research.  All ideas/assertions should be properly attributed via technically sound citations and referencing. (15%)
    1. Presentation – structure, spelling, grammar, expression and effective use of illustration (diagrams, examples, quotes).  A good technical response will, clearly, achieve a good mark, but one that is well laid out, written in a clear and engaging style, and logically organized will make a better impression. Appropriate and well-chosen diagrams, examples and quotes will help introduce ‘colour’/variety, and can often help demonstrate understanding and will be acknowledged within the mark. (10%)


Appendix 1: Notes on ‘journal format’

The journal format is a ‘half-way house’ between an essay and a report and is how most academic journal articles are presented. It requires continuous, coherent narrative, but encourages sub-headings for structure and organisation of ideas.  Most of the journal sources that we acknowledge within the module illustrate this format, so there are plenty of examples for you to look at.  Note, though, that format doesn’t necessarily mean style (e.g. double columns).  The following are the key characteristics of journal format:

  • Figures (diagrams, tables, etc.) included within the text at a position that helps explain the point they illustrate.  Ensure, though, that these are properly labelled and acknowledged as to source.
  • An Introduction to start with and a Conclusion to finish.
  • A ‘main body’ that comprises a small number of titled sections organised so as to present your arguments in the most cohesive and coherent fashion.
  • A list of cited ‘References’*.  Thus, the ‘Reference’ list should detail those literature sources that have been cited within the text.  A separate bibliography of sources explored but not cited may also be included but is not a requirement.
  • For the purposes of this assignment you will also need to write an abstract.  Note, that an abstract is not an introduction.  An abstract is a condensed version of your written assignment, summarising key objectives, arguments and findings in 150 words. Do NOT include sub headings such as purpose/method/findings even though this style can be found in some academic articles. Please follow the abstract style of The Services Industries Journal, example below:

This paper applies the perspective of service-dominant logic, specifically value co-creation in service ecosystems to the context of sports. It builds on the notion that co-created value can only be understood as value-in-context. Therefore, a structural model is developed and tested for different contexts of spectating live broadcasts of football games during the Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup 2014. The context-specific contributions of the co-creating actors, spectators’ experience evaluations, and the resulting context-specific value perceptions from the spectators’ perspective are identified. The results highlight that the relative influence of the main co-creating actors and the relative importance of the value dimensions differ across contexts. Service providers (in sports) should identify how consumers evaluate experience and which dimensions of value are most important to them in the context under consideration. This will help them to successfully facilitate value co-creation, make meaningful value propositions, and achieve strategic benefit for themselves.

*Note: Correct attribution technique requires that you should only cite those sources you have personally accessed, and only (but comprehensively) reference those sources you have cited.  The citing and referencing of secondary or ‘embedded’** sources may lead to suspicions of plagiarism. ** Citations found in sources you have read, but which you have not accessed and read yourself.


Grade-based Assessment (GBA)
Module learning outcomes assessed: Critically evaluate the nature and relevance of, and relationships between, service, quality and value as these pertain to the service and customer experience. Critically evaluate the roles of employees, customers, the inanimate environment and technology in the context of customer experience and organisational performance.Write in a convincing manner, employing an appropriate academic style and conventionsEvaluate, select and utilise sources of evidence effectivelyDemonstrate critical awareness of competing theories and paradigms in the context of service delivery/the service experienceApply pertinent knowledge and understanding to problem resolution in contemporary service networks.
NB1: Final grade will be determined by how well the criteria have been met overall and not just the sum of the individual aspects of the work.   NB2: In the matrix below, grades awarded against each criterion indicate that the relevant aspect of the work can be more readily associated with that category than any other.  Allocation of a grade does not indicate that work exactly matches the associated description.
  Class/ Grade Assessment Criteria   Fail Mid |  Low     Marginal Fail   Third Low | Mid | High       Lower Second Low | Mid | High   Upper Second Low | Mid | High     First Low | Mid | High         First Exceptional First  
  Criterion 1 (20%) Demonstration of a sound and critical understanding of concepts   Concepts are either not relevant, or are relevant but explored in an arbitrary fashion with little understanding demonstrated Relevant concepts are recognised but both explanation and application are poor.  Understanding is cosmetic and inconsistent. Some understanding is evident, but only partial and application suggests only an acquaintance, rather with relevant concepts.  Understanding is evident, though not complete, but concepts are applied effectively and help support arguments. Conceptual reasoning serves the assignment well, and substantially contributes to the development of arguments Conceptual reasoning is excellent and insights are developed that support and re-validate the conventional wisdom Conceptual reasoning is excellent and employed in such a way as to offer a critical re-evaluation of the conventional wisdom
  Criterion 2 (30%) Answering the question appropriately and effectively   It is not clear that the student’s answer relates in any substantial way to the question posed The answer is evidently associated with the question, but fails to addresses key issue(s) The answer largely addresses the question set and covers some useful ground, but is not entirely convincing The answer is clearly focused on the question set and a useful response is provided.  This is OK, but is lacking in clarity and insight. A really useful response to the question that addresses the problem well and is largely precise and comprehensive An excellent and insightful response to the question that is precise, comprehensive and exceeds expectations  The response is exceptionally precise and comprehensive –  to the extent that it raises new and unforeseen questions
  Criterion 3 (25%) Demonstration of the ability to organise and develop a coherent, consistent and comprehensive argument       The response is poorly organised and offers little by way of coherence and consistency     Some organisation is in evidence and the submission is focused on a definable theme. There are no major problems with coherence and an argument is developed that has some consistency A good argument is developed that draws substantially on the evidence presented in a reasonably consistent and comprehensive manner An argument is presented that is largely clear, concise, consistent and comprehensive.  Synthesis is very good An exceptionally persuasive argument(s) is presented.  This is rigorously organised and expressed with conviction. Arguments are both academically rigorous and conceptually novel.
  Criterion 4 (15%) Use of wide-ranging, appropriate sources and their attribution   a) Sources are sparse and/or not relevant to the question. a) Sources are low in number and/or are lacking in relevance/ appropriateness. a)Number of sources is just adequate and these are largely relevant/appropriate a)Sources are fulsome and demonstrate good familiarity with the pertinent literature a)Sources are fulsome and demonstrate very good research/ interpretation skills a)Sources are comprehensive and demonstrate excellent research/ interpretation skills a) Sources are beyond the expected and interpretation is exceptional.
b)Referencing and/or citation techniques are largely incorrect b)Referencing and/or citation technique are inconsistent b)Citation and referencing technique have some degree of inconsistency b)Citation and referencing are largely technically correct b)Citation and referencing are technically correct b)Citation and referencing are technically correct b)Citation and referencing are technically correct
  Criterion 5 (10%) Presentation: structure, spelling, grammar, expression and use of illustration     a) Arbitrarily structured and/or expressed with careless grammar and spelling.  a) There are notable weaknesses in structure and/or expression, grammar and spelling a) Structure and/or expression, grammar and spelling are adequate. a)Structure, expression, spelling and grammar are sound and support the quality of the work a)Structure, expression, spelling and grammar are very good and enhance the work a)Structure, expression, spelling and grammar are excellent with some wit and subtlety in evidence a)Structure, expression, spelling and grammar are exceptional with wit and subtlety in abundance
b)Little or no use of relevant illustration   b)Illustration is sparse and/or inappropriate   b)Illustration is adequate and adds some value to the submission   b)A good attempt at illustration that adds value to the submission   b)Illustration is plentiful and lifts the work perceptively   b)Illustration is plentiful and lifts the work significantly b)Illustration is plentiful and lifts the work exceptionally  
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