The purpose of this paper is to identify how the mere presence of other customers in a service encounter influences customers' evaluations of restaurant services.
Phenomenological interviews were used to reveal the dimensions of other customers and to develop hypotheses on the moderating variables that influence the effect of other customers. A scenario‐based experiment was used to test the hypotheses.
The analysis reveals that “other customers” is a multidimensional construct consisting of number, age, gender, appearance, attire, and public behavior. Also, the importance of each dimension varies according to situational variables such as evaluation stages (pre‐ versus post‐encounter stages), the context of a visit (task‐ versus recreational‐orientations), and the quality‐related risks (high versus low).
The study provides a rationale for service providers to strategically manage their customers. It also gives guidelines of how customers should be “managed”.
The present study is meaningful in the sense that it is one of the first empirical studies which concentrated on the passive role (mere presence) of other customers in a service encounter. The dimensions of other customers and the moderating variables revealed are expected to stimulate further research in the area.
Kim, N. and Lee, M. (2012), "Other customers in a service encounter: examining the effect in a restaurant setting", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 27-40. https://doi.org/10.1108/08876041211199706Download as .RIS
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