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The comparative evaluation process is thought to operate whether the purchase is low or high involvement. For the low-involvement purchase (e.g., toothpaste), the process may be nearly instantaneous and equally quickly forgotten. Even so, when the consumers got the toothpaste home, if it was somehow different (e.g., the packaging looked different or the taste seemed extra minty), it would prompt them to think about the toothpaste more than they normally do. Their expectations, while normally tucked away, will come to the forefront and serve as the basis for the comparison. Marketing mix elements originating from the company include positioning claims made in advertising, suggestions of quality inferred from the price point or the frequency of sales and coupons, inferences we draw from the exclusivity (or not) of the distribution outlets in which the merchandise is available, product performance descriptions from retail salespeople, and so on. It is usually the most detailed and, in many ways, more objective than their subjective personal experiences or those of their friends. Yet consumers trust this source of information the least because they expect the company to say good things about its products. Customers evaluate companies and brands based on every data point they see. To gain a better understanding of all that entails the customer experience, marketers have suggested mapping the shopping experience as a flowchart. A flowchart allows marketers to understand the company from the eyes of the consumer and helps them understand what corporate elements must be in place to support the frontline in their attempts to provide superior service. Flowcharts have been used to generate quality measures at each stage and suggest system redesigns to streamline and make systems more efficient for both customers and employees.
- Identify the sources of customer evaluations.