Customer sociability and the total service experience: Antecedents of positive word‐of‐mouth intentions

Ronald J. Ferguson (John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Michèle Paulin (John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Jasmin Bergeron (School of Business and Management, University of Quebec in Montreal, Montreal, Canada)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Publication date: 16 March 2010

Abstract

Purpose

The service‐dominant logic describes customer‐actualized value as being idiosyncratic, experiential, contextual, and meaning laden. Since positive word‐of‐mouth (WOM) is an expression of customer‐actualized value, the paper postulate that WOM is not only related to a holistic set of assessments of the service experience but also to the idiosyncratic nature of the individual customer. In particular, do socially oriented individuals have a greater propensity to engage in positive WOM? The purpose of this paper is to test hypotheses that socially oriented personality traits, and personal values as well as a set of dimensions of the total service experience, are antecedents of positive WOM. The context studied is a surgical operation involving considerable personal meaning and implication in the whole service process.

Design/methodology/approach

A cohort of 500 surgical patients are studied prior to, three‐days after and one‐month post‐surgery. Independent variables include the socially oriented personality traits of agreeableness and extraversion, social‐ vs self‐oriented personal values, as well as dimensions of the total service experience assessed by information adequacy, pain and discomfort, patient‐to‐patient interaction, patient‐to‐personnel interaction, and recovery outcomes. The dependent variable is the strength of positive WOM intentions.

Findings

The sociability of surgery patients as measured by both their personality traits and socially oriented values is significantly related to the strength of positive WOM intentions. Self‐oriented values are not associated with positive WOM intentions. Also, to varying degrees, all dimensions of the total service experience are associated with positive WOM intentions.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to illustrate that, in a given service context, the antecedents of customer loyalty may be complex, not only dependent on customer assessments of their interactions and experiences throughout the service process, but also relative to their dispositional characteristics such as sociability. The consistency of the results for positive WOM assessed at three‐days and one‐month post‐surgery adds to the robustness of the findings. This paper makes a significant contribution to the service‐dominant logic and the concept of value co‐creation.

Keywords

Citation

Ferguson, R.J., Paulin, M. and Bergeron, J. (2010), "Customer sociability and the total service experience: Antecedents of positive word‐of‐mouth intentions", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 25-44. https://doi.org/10.1108/09564231011025100

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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