Imperial College London

Dr Omar Merlo

Business School

Assistant Professor
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 9112o.merlo

 
 
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Location

 

Business School BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

17 results found

Merlo O, Eisingerich AB, Shin H-K, Britton RAet al., 2019, Avoiding the Pitfalls of Customer Participation, MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW, Vol: 61, Pages: 10-12, ISSN: 1532-9194

Journal article

Merlo O, Eisingerich A, Shin HK, Britton RAet al., 2019, Overcoming the dark side of customer participation, Mit Sloan Management Review, ISSN: 1532-9194

Encouraged by the potential benefits of customer participation, many organizations increasingly rely on customers to provide feedback, suggestions, ratings, comments and complaints directly to the business to improve product or service quality. However, our research shows that the implementation of customer participation initiatives often comes at a hefty price: the potential loss of trust and commitment from frontline service employees (FLEs). Contrary to the popular belief that listening to the customers is always best, we find that in firms where customers are increasingly encouraged to have a say—and where that input is strongly linked to employee rewards, punishments, and incentives—the relational bond between FLEs and the organization may be compromised. The upshot is that FLEs can feel alienated, neglected and disheartened when they perceive that their organization is more concerned with customer input than with FLEs’ interest and well-being. This is the dark side of customer participation. This study explores this tension and sets out to reconcile it. We show how customer participation impacts the contract relationship that is formed between service managers and FLEs, and how it can affect customer interactions and well-being of FLEs. We found that FLEs’ cooperation with customer participation varies according to their anticipated personal consequences. We discuss implications of our findings and provide a set of practical management guidelines.

Journal article

Merlo OGL, Eisingerich A, Auh S, Levstek Jet al., 2018, The benefits and implementation of performance transparency: the why and how of letting your customers 'see through' your business, Business Horizons, Vol: 61, Pages: 73-84, ISSN: 0007-6813

While some organizations swear by the benefits of transparency and are eager to know how to implement it, many managers are still reluctant or even afraid to use it. Our research reveals that only a few innovative companies have taken steps to leverage a potentially useful form of transparency: the provision of accessible and objective information to customers (e.g., by sharing unbiased benchmark data, publishing unfiltered customer comments, or providing candid product reviews that may praise but also criticize the company’s products). Our study also shows that that many companies remain wary and view greater calls for transparency as a challenge to be managed rather than an opportunity to be traded upon. This is partly due to limited research into the performance benefits of giving customers access to objective information, and lack of practical guidelines on how to actually implement it. The current study addresses these shortcomings: first, by investigating whether performance transparency leads to customer outcomes that can be profitable for an organization; and second, by analyzing the characteristics of successful transparency initiatives in a wide range of industries. The research shows that customers exhibit more trust and are willing to pay a premium to deal with transparent businesses. Also, it uncovers seven effective approaches to implementing transparency. The key contributions of the study are therefore the provision of convincing empirical evidence about the benefits of performance transparency and ways in which management may implement it successfully.

Journal article

Dong L, Eisingerich A, Merlo O, 2018, Identity Work and Its Influence on Institutions: From Criminal to Success, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, ISSN: 2151-6561

Conference paper

Dong L, Merlo O, Eisingerich A, Tracey Pet al., 2017, Shadow Institutional Field: The Case of the Counterfeit Industry in Guangzhou China, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Publisher: Academy of Management, ISSN: 2151-6561

Conference paper

Eisingerich A, Merlo O, Heide J, Tracey Pet al., 2015, Customer Satisfaction and Purchase Behavior: The Role of Customer Input, 16th Biennial World Marketing Congress on Looking Forward, Looking Back - Drawing on the Past to Shape the Future of Marketing, Publisher: Springer, Pages: 220-220, ISSN: 2363-6173

Prior work emphasizes the role of satisfaction and positive word-of-mouth in affecting customer behavior. This research introduces customer input as an additional important mediating variable and driver of actual customer behavior. Specifically, we combine survey-based data with behavioral data to show that the impact of satisfaction on customer behavior is fully mediated by customer input, while word of mouth acts as a partial mediator in the satisfaction-customer behavior relationship. We thus reveal that the effect of customer satisfaction on actual behavior is contingent on levels of customer input. Furthermore, we demonstrate that satisfaction affects customer input, which ultimately leads to greater future customer purchase from a firm. The results of the study empirically demonstrate that customer participation plays an important role in understanding how satisfaction influences actual customer purchasing behavior.

Conference paper

Liu Y, Eisingerich AB, Auh S, Merlo O, Chun HEHet al., 2015, Service Firm Performance Transparency: How, When, and Why Does It Pay Off?, Journal of Service Research, Vol: 18, Pages: 451-467, ISSN: 1552-7379

Calls for increased transparency and reduced information asymmetry between service firms and their customers are getting louder in the marketplace. Yet, it remains unclear what exactly constitutes transparency in the eyes of customers and how, if at all, service firms benefit from it. This research contributes to extant knowledge by articulating the key properties of service firms’ performance transparency and by developing and validating a parsimonious scale to measure it. We show that through a reduction in customer uncertainty, the provision of accessible and objective information about a firm’s service offering is positively associated with customers’ intention to purchase and willingness to pay a price premium for its service. Furthermore, we find that the positive effect of performance transparency is influenced by customers’ perceptions of a firm’s ability to deliver on its service promise. An important managerial implication of the current research is that performance transparency benefits customers by lowering uncertainty, and hence service firms should proactively consider it as a critical measure that helps differentiate their services from competitive offerings, even when customer perceptions of a service firm’s ability are low.

Journal article

Merlo OG, Eisingerich A, Auh S, 2014, Why Customer Participation Matters, MIT Sloan Management Review, Pages: 1-9

These days, many businesses are focused on increasing customers’ positive word of mouth. But emphasizing customer participation may be a more important vehicle for generating valuable repeat business.

Journal article

Eisingerich AB, Merlo O, Auh S, 2013, Why Customer Participation Matters, MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol: 55, Pages: 81-88, ISSN: 1532-9194

Journal article

Eisingerich AB, Auh S, Merlo O, 2013, Acta Non Verba? The Role of Customer Participation and Word of Mouth in the Relationship between Service Firms’ Customer Satisfaction and Sales Performance, Journal of Service Research

Journal article

Merlo O, Lukas BA, Whitwell GJ, 2012, Marketing's reputation and influence in the firm, Journal of Business Research, Vol: 65, Pages: 446-452, ISSN: 0148-2963

Journal article

Merlo O, Auh S, 2011, The power of marketing within the firm: its contribution to business performance and the effect of power asymmetry, Industrial Marketing Management

Journal article

Merlo O, 2011, The influence of marketing from a power perspective, European Journal of Marketing, Vol: 45, Pages: 1152-1171, ISSN: 0309-0566

Journal article

Merlo O, Auh S, 2009, The effects of entrepreneurial orientation, market orientation, and marketing subunit influence on firm performance, Marketing Letters, Vol: 20, Pages: 295-311, ISSN: 0923-0645

Journal article

Merlo O, Lukas BA, Whitwell GJ, 2008, Heuristics revisited: implications for marketing research and practice, Marketing Theory, Vol: 8, Pages: 189-204, ISSN: 1470-5931

Journal article

Merlo O, Bell SJ, Menguc B, Whitwell GJet al., 2006, Social capital, customer service orientation and creativity in retail stores, Journal of Business Research, Vol: 59, Pages: 1214-1221, ISSN: 0148-2963

Journal article

Bell SJ, Menguc B, Merlo O, 2004, Social capital, customer orientation and creativity in retail stores, International Conference on Service Systems and Service Management, Publisher: INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC PUBLISHERS LTD, Pages: 844-849

Conference paper

This data is extracted from the Web of Science and reproduced under a licence from Thomson Reuters. You may not copy or re-distribute this data in whole or in part without the written consent of the Science business of Thomson Reuters.

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