Many have applied the concept of congruence or fit in the context of person‐organization, person‐environment and person‐person relationships and interactions. However, despite the significance of customer‐employee interactions and relations in a services context, no research has investigated the effects of congruence between a customer's self‐concept and employee‐image on important relational outcomes such as relationship satisfaction, loyalty to employees and satisfaction towards service provider. The paper aims to fill this gap in the literature and to investigate the effects of self‐employee congruence on customer satisfaction via the mediating effects of personal interaction, relationship satisfaction and loyalty to employees. The paper also seeks to investigate the links among personal interaction, relationship satisfaction and loyalty towards employees.
The paper uses a causal modelling approach and proposes a conceptual model after an extensive review of the literature related to consumer behaviour, organizational behaviour, relationship marketing and services marketing. The paper is based on a sample of 203 customers of bank users in Nigeria who completed a self‐administered questionnaire. The paper uses confirmatory factor analysis and SEM to analyse and confirm the conceptual model proposed in this research.
The paper demonstrates that self‐employee congruence is an important antecedent of personal interaction, relationship satisfaction and loyalty to employees each of which is in turn positively linked to customer satisfaction towards the service provider.
The paper discusses implications for service marketers and for retail banking sector and highlights the significance of self‐employee congruence for service design and delivery, advertising strategies and suggests future research directions.
The paper is first of its kind to discuss the effects of perceived similarities between customers and employees on some important relational constructs such as personal interaction, relationship satisfaction, loyalty towards employees and towards customer satisfaction.
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