How Literacy Affects Customer Experience

As a technical communication and usability research student, I have been made aware that many research and survey projects tend to cater to “well-educated” participants, resulting in a lack of responses from less literate populations and leaving them out of the conversation.Low-literate Versus Literate Customer Experience: Dimensions, Consequences and Moderators,” an article written by customer experience researchers, Anubhav A. Mishra and Megha Verma, supports this idea, stating that “the limited knowledge of CX [customer experience] is only directed to literate customers” (Mishra & Verma, 2022, p. 134). Mishra and Verma (2022) define customer experience (CX) as “the totality of all the customers’ interactions with a firm’s various touchpoints and will lead to firm relevant outcomes (e.g., purchase intention, satisfaction, loyalty)” (p. 134). Therefore, by excluding low-literate customers (LLC) from research on customer interaction, this can lead to further bias and stigmatizing conclusions.

Mishra and Verma decided to address this research gap between LLCs’ and literate customers’ (LC) CX by conducting open-ended interviews with both groups to understand and differentiate between their lived experiences through their expressed subjective narratives. The interesting findings of their study provide a rich description of the similarities and differences between the two groups of customers throughout their customer experience journeys, which can be used to expand the existing stream of marketing knowledge.

Towards the conclusion of this article, I gained a better understanding of not just surface level CX, but of the two different consumer types that are usually catered to by CX researchers. Although technical communication and customer experience research are two different fields, they both understand that knowing your audience is vital to the success of a documentation or product. In short, understanding Mishra’s and Verma’s findings about the different customer types and their CX habits can allow technical communicators, managers, UX researchers, and CX researchers to better give low-literate customers the same consumer experience as their more educated counterparts.


Low-literate Versus Literate Customer Experience: Dimensions, Consequences and Moderators, by Anubhav A Mishra and Megha Verma

Viewpoint Written by Jeranda Dennis, Texas State University

Edited by Jennifer Tso, University of California Davis (UC Davis)

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