LSU Marketing Professor Co-authored Article on How Businesses Need to Engage with Customers in Times of Turbulence

July 13, 2020

 Judith Ann Garretson FolseJudith Anne Garretson Folse

BATON ROUGE- LSU Marketing Professor Judith Anne Garretson Folse recently co-authored an article with Texas A&M Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones, Baylor University Assistant Professor of Marketing Stephanie Mangus, and Texas A&M Professor of Marketing Shrihari Sridhar that was accepted for publication by Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.

“The Interplay Between Business and Personal Trust on Relationship Performance in Conditions of Market Turbulence” discusses how businesses need to engage with customers during times of turbulence. The focus of this article is on both business and personal trust and the value of its combination – based on firm data.

 Given these trying times, sales teams are under even more scrutiny for the tactics they use to sell and how they treat customers. If you are managing a sales team during this turbulent period in the economy, then your hands are full trying to help serve customers while keeping your firm afloat.

Though trust is critical in buyer-seller relationships, our research explores the impact that perceived market turbulence has on the effectiveness of trust to impact relationship performance outcomes. Periods of high market turbulence – times when buyers and sellers deal with changing customer and consumer preferences and increasing demands for new products and services – change the way people do business. We can all agree that the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way people do business.

Even though both personal and business trust impact performance when perceived market turbulence threatens day-to-day operations, the use of both types of trust does not necessarily result in increases in performance. In fact, using both types of trust introduces additional strain to customers already struggling with changing governmental guidelines, moving targets within their firms, and struggling supply chains. To survive these times and offer the best chance for positive relationship outcomes, salespeople should focus on the type of interpersonal trust that resonates most with the customer in order to reduce resource strain and guide customers who are battling a rapidly changing environment.

Customers that typically lean more on the personal trust in the relationship need to be reassured that their salesperson is there for them in more ways than just business. Customers that typically rely more heavily on business trust need to be approached with business issues first. Firms that have struggled to develop BOTH business and personal trust with their customers are at a distinct disadvantage right now as they have only one resource with which to serve their customers. The long-term competitive advantage of having built both personal and business trust between salespeople and customers is coming to fruition for some firms and leaving others struggling through 2020 and beyond.

The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (JAMS) is devoted to the study and improvement of marketing and serves as a vital link between scholarly research and practice by publishing research-based articles in the substantive domain of marketing. Manuscripts submitted for publication consideration in JAMS are judged on the basis of their potential contribution to the advancement of the science and/or practice of marketing. 

The full article is available online.

About the Department of Marketing

The Department of Marketing at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business prepares its students for careers in sales/management, advertising, buying, product development, retailing and market research. Our mission is to enhance and advance the reputation for excellence of the department, the college, and the University through high quality, transformative, research programs. For more information, visit the Department of Marketing website or 225-578-8684.


Bridget Conrad
E. J. Ourso College of Business