Service provider‐customer similarities and disparities: A German study

Ugur Yavas (Department of Management and Marketing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA)
Martin Benkenstein (Department of Marketing, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany)
Michael Holtz (CRM GP‐CC GmbH, Satow, Germany)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Publication date: 30 July 2008



The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent of congruence between service providers’ perceptions of customer satisfaction and customer‐reported satisfaction in the context of optometric services.


Data were collected via mail surveys from a sample of German optometrists and their customers. Usable responses were obtained from 388 optometrists and 2,237 customers.


Results show that the underlying configurations of satisfaction attributes decompose into eight factors in the case of optometrists and five factors in the case of customers. The extent of congruence between the two groups is weak.

Research limitations/implications

Replications among other optometrist and customer samples are needed to validate the current findings. Also to gain more pointed insights into the similarities and disparities between service providers’ perceptions of their customers’ satisfaction and customer‐reported satisfaction, extension of research to other service sectors would be fruitful.

Practical implications

The overall inconsistencies between the optometrists and customers underscore the need for accurate assessment of customer perceptions for business success. For stronger business performance, service providers should be trained to look at satisfaction from the perspective of customers by using customers’ definitions.


The study used a dyadic approach in collecting the data. The factor congruency technique was employed to determine the extent of similarities and disparities between the two groups. A general lack of customer knowledge has implications for service providers.



Yavas, U., Benkenstein, M. and Holtz, M. (2008), "Service provider‐customer similarities and disparities: A German study", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 275-284.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.