Considers the interaction between customer and provider in professional service encounters, where extended person‐to‐person discussions frequently take place. Describes an experiment in which subjects read and reacted to stories describing such encounters, which included three service variables – competency, outcome and courtesy. Reports on the emotional responses of the subjects, finding that courtesy was responsible for most of the variation in response. Discusses the managerial implications resulting from the study, notably the importance of courtesy in professional service encounters.
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