Virtual Technology & the Customer Experience: A Breast Augmentation Context

Virtual Technology & the Customer Experience

Project dates: 20/02/2018 - 07/11/2019

This honours research aimed to explore the breast augmentation service through a customer experience lens, with specific consideration given to the role of 3D imaging software. Through the exploration of the holistic patient experience, the research aims to better understand how patients expect to receive a breast augmentation service, and the role of 3D imaging technology in potentially shaping expected outcomes and post-operative perceptions.

This research reports the findings of qualitative longitudinal interviews with 14 patients of a metropolitan breast surgery clinic. The interviews were conducted both before and six weeks after surgery (28 interviews), with half the sample electing to undergo 3D breast imaging and half receiving the standard service (no imaging).

The data revealed that a patient’s imagined customer experience is guided by external information sources, evolves across the customer journey, and that patients engage in a reappraisal of emotions to focus on the cognitive dimension of the imagined customer experience. Through analysis of both the first and second interview data, the role of 3D imaging was investigated. The findings were that 3D imaging is part of an informed search strategy, that the software provides peace-of-mind to patients in the actual customer experience, that imaginal responses dominate the 3D imaging service, and that 3D imaging is part of a package of touchpoints that facilitate positive evaluations.

Key contributions:

  • Theoretical
    • The imagined customer experience is shaped by external information sources
    • The customer experience is dynamic and evolves
    • 3D imaging is part of an informed search strategy
    • 3D imaging leverages imaginal responses to create peace-of-mind
  • Managerial/Practical
    • Practitioners should develop comprehensive resources to reduce information asymmetry
    • Practitioners should tailor the service to the evolution of customer experience
    • Practitioners should incorporate 3D imaging into the core service
    • Practitioners should implement a second ‘sizing’ consultation to the customer experience (including 3D imaging)

Overall, the research provided potential approaches for practitioners to leverage the findings and improve the customer experience through a number of strategies including the introduction and development of informational resources, and a restructuring of the consultation process to align with the unique customer journey. The research in this thesis stimulates further exploration of the customer experience for breast augmentation patients, and the role of 3D imaging in shaping this experience.

Participant Summary: Virtual Technology & the Customer Experience

Thesis Summary & Findings Presentation (BEST Conference 2020) 

Chief Investigators

Image Source: Getty Images