Understanding Customer Behavior

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Understanding Customer Behavior

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Understanding Customer Behavior

Chapter 4

HPR 322



The organization must base its service on knowledge of customer behavior as they influence decision-making

Values, motives, lifestyle, personality

Social influences – Family, Reference Group, Community

These all affect motivation and decisions to participate in leisure experiences


Labels impact relationship

Participant, Patron, Customer, Client, Member, User, Visitor, Guest, Consumer

Freedom, Dependence and Independence, Responsibility, Patterns of Communication, Privilege, Acknowledgement of expertise or value

Direct people vs. enable

Passive or helpless recipients vs. Capable of decision-making and independent judgment


Types of Labels


passively receives recommendations

Defer to expertise of programmer – Dependency

Programmer diagnoses needs and intervenes with services

Programmer exercises a discretionary risk

Typically clinical, therapeutic settings


an individual who uses services

Someone who uses goods or services to meet their needs – exchange time and/or $ for service


Consumers are free to choose – retain decision on participation

Consumerism -

Protection from unsafe, unhealthy, poorly organized services

Two-way relationship – typically used in commercial settings

Can apply in TR/RT in the form of certification/licensure



an individual who participates in a service on a regular basis

Mutually beneficial relationship – loyalty, trust, satisfaction develops

Evaluative Feedback - “Customer is always right”

Relationship based on needs of customer being central – Quality, Value, Convenience



Individual treated courteously and respectfully, given special care and attention, made to feel welcome in an environment

Disney – Guest – Positive Guest relations


– Exclusivity –

Individual has been given special privilege because they have paid dues and/or has been inducted into a group or organization (YMCA, Club, etc)


In Leisure environments – access to facilities and services unavailable to others, associate with prescribed group of people, greater individual attention, care, service

Members embrace the philosophy, values, goals of the agency


-way communication & active involvement

Members influence/control types of services



Individual actively engaging in the process

Cooperating, providing social or emotional support, teamwork, problem-solving, contribute ideas

Participation implies shared control – 2-way communication, decision-making, desire for positive outcome



– an individual who buys services on a consistent or regular basis from a leisure service organization (like a customer)

Provider wants 2-way communication and must provide high quality services that meet needs of patrons

Consistently meeting needs builds loyalty



– “person to be respected”

Patrons may support with time and money


Involvement may be long and enduring

May not consume services may serve on a Board or committee or represent agency as a proponent

User –

individuals who involve themselves actively in a program or service on a regular basis –

consistent pattern of


Relationship of need/dependence/dependability

User has needs and professional fills them



individual who visits an area or facility and participates in a program

May be invited or informal and spontaneously

Regular or infrequent visits – provider wants them to become regular customers

Similar to Guests – Valued, treated courteously, entertained, educated, enhanced

Relationship is mutual respect, positive interaction, support

Often comes to see or participate in geographic, cultural, historic activity or site


Customer Decision Making in Leisure

Different levels and complexity

75,000.00 RV for weekend and summer vacations

Changing traditional vacation spot

Purchasing same brand of golf balls

Extended/information search

Product, service or brand switching

Routine/repeat decision-making (habit) – meets their needs

See Model – Figure 4.1 on pg 105

Customers use information to seek benefits


Variables that Impact Decision-Making


– Reflects self-image, attitude, behaviors – exemplifies lifestyle – user finds relevance and interest


– Subtle differences that separate available services or products - Choice

Time Pressure

– Convenience or location


Age Factors when planning Leisure Experiences

Lifespan is longer

1900 (47.3 yrs)

Today 78 and 75 (women vs. men)

Those who reach 65 are expected to live 15 more

In 2028 more than ¼ of population will be over 65


– groups of individuals in same age range (5, 7, -10 years)

May have similar interests, values, attitudes based on their life experiences but they are individuals


Major life events – Life Change Units

Experiential differences

Individual intelligence

Temperament and Personality

Social Class

Cultural influence

Level of Education

Job and income

Racial and ethnic differences

Cohorts and Generational Events – pg 113-115

Life Change Units – Table 4.5 - pg 116


Leisure Behavior

Intrinsic and Extrinsic

Influenced by competencies and availability

Socializing Acquisitive

Associative Competitive

Testing Risk-Taking

Explorative Vicarious



Physical Expression

Creative Appreciative

Variety-Seeking Anticipatory and


Altruistic Spiritual Expression

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