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The effects of empathy and listening of salespeople on relationship quality in the retail banking industry: The moderating role of felt stress

Omar S. Itani (Department of Marketing, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA AND Department of Hospitality and Marketing, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon)
Aniefre Eddie Inyang (Department of Marketing, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 7 September 2015

2986

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relations between salespeople’s empathy and listening behaviour and the relationship quality (RQ) customers have with their banks, taking into consideration the moderating effect of felt stress (FS) experienced by salespeople. The paper examines specific effects of FS on factors related to a salesperson’s performance.

Design/methodology/approach

To examine the proposed model, responses from 150 customers were collected and matched with responses from 25 salespeople working at a major ba ' nk in Chile. The paper analysed the dyadic data gathered using two analysis techniques. Structural equation modelling was employed to test the relationships proposed at the customer level. Moreover, hierarchical linear modelling was used to test the moderating effect of FS, measured at the salesperson level, on the proposed relationships.

Findings

The results show that customers’ perceptions of salespeople’s listening behaviour mediate the relationship between customers’ perception of salespeople’s empathy and RQ with the bank. Moreover, the positive relationship between salespeople’s empathy and salespeople’s listening behaviour, and the positive relationship between salesperson’s listening and customer’s RQ with bank are attenuated by the salesperson’s FS.

Originality/value

This paper examined the effects of the salesperson’s empathy and listening behaviour on the quality of customer relationships with the bank. Moreover, dyadic data show that such effects are influenced by variables related to the bank’s salespeople, such as FS. The findings show that under high FS conditions, salespeople with high listening skills will have negative effects on their customers’ RQ with the bank.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors contributed equally to this paper.

Citation

Itani, O.S. and Inyang, A.E. (2015), "The effects of empathy and listening of salespeople on relationship quality in the retail banking industry: The moderating role of felt stress", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 692-716. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBM-06-2014-0076

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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