Previous research on the relationship between service environments and customer emotions and service outcomes has focused on the physical environment. Among studies exploring the social environment, the emphasis has been on service employees, ignoring the impact of other customers. Recent research has further called for the need to include displayed emotion within the social environment. Therefore, this study aims to develop and test a more comprehensive model that focuses on the relationship between the social environment (employee displayed emotion and customer climate) and the physical environment (ambient and design factors) and resulting customer emotion and service outcomes.
Based on past research, a theoretical framework was developed to propose the links between social/physical environments and customer emotion/perceptions. Extant research from various academic fields, including environmental psychology, was reviewed, deriving 11 hypotheses. Data collected from fashion apparel retailers, using both observation and customer survey methods, was examined through structural equation modeling (SEM).
Results show that both social and physical environments have a positive influence on customer emotion and satisfaction, which in turn affect behavioral intentions. The physical environment exhibited more influence on customer emotion and satisfaction than social environment.
This research explains how both social and physical environments affect customer emotion and perceptions. Future research directions are discussed, with an emphasis on incorporating customer characteristics, industry attributes, and cultural variables to better understand the influence of service environments in different service settings.
Social and physical environments influence customer emotional states within the service delivery context, which in turn affect customer service evaluations. Therefore, both social and physical service environments should be emphasized by service firms.
This research represents an early attempt to develop a more comprehensive model explaining how both social and physical environments affect customer emotion and perceptions. This study also represents the first empirical study of service environment research to include employee displayed emotion as part of the social environment.
Lin, J.C. and Liang, H. (2011), "The influence of service environments on customer emotion and service outcomes", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 350-372. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604521111146243
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