Rich Oliver headshot (Vanderbilt Photo/Steve Green)

Rich Oliver

I am sorry to report the recent death of Rich Oliver (see the message below from Vanderbilt Dean Eric Johnson).  Rich was a brilliant theoretician, and in my view the world’s foremost expert on customer satisfaction.  He was also a key figure in the Frontiers in Service Conference in its early years.  I learned a lot from Rich, and had the pleasure of co-authoring many papers and co-editing a book with him.  And as Eric mentions, who can forget Rich riding his Harley to the Frontiers Conference in Nashville! 

Roland Rust

It saddens me to report that Emeritus Professor Richard L. Oliver died this week at his home in Nashville.  A distinguished researcher in the field of consumer psychology, Rich joined the Owen faculty in 1990, after more than a decade of teaching at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate School of Business Administration at Washington University. Within the field of consumer psychology, Professor Oliver focused on customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and post-purchase processes generally. He held the position of Fellow of the American Psychological Association for his extensive writings on the psychology of the satisfaction response.  Prof. Oliver retired in 2009 as Professor Emeritus.

 One of my strongest memories of Rich was his love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  Of course, Rich enjoyed using the company and its famous customer culture as examples in his marketing electives.  But he enjoyed riding them more than talking about them.  Those of you who were around Owen in the 90s will remember Rich driving his bike into the courtyard, gunning the engine and rattling the building.

Eric Johnson

Vanderbilt University | Owen Graduate School of Management

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