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The impact of backstage cues on service evaluation

Yi-Fen Liu (Department of Logistics Management, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Yingzi Xu (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
I-Ling Ling (Center for General Education, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 19 June 2017




This research aims to investigate how backstage visibility affects intangibility and perceived risk at the pre-purchase stage and how service credence moderates the effect of backstage visibility on intangibility and perceived risk. It also focuses on the effect of backstage visibility on perceived service quality and value at the post-purchase stage and the moderating role of the service contact level.


This research tests the causal relationships between backstage visibility and customers’ service evaluations through two experimental studies.


Study 1 shows that customers who are exposed to backstage cues perceive less pre-purchase risk in the service than those who are not exposed. Pictures plus text information are more effective than text illustrations alone for risk reduction. This risk reduction effect is stronger for high-credence than for low-credence services and is partially mediated by the perceived intangibility of the service. Study 2 reveals that customers with access to backstage cues perceive higher service quality and higher overall value from service experiences. The value increase is more significant for high-contact than for low-contact services.

Research limitations/implications

Future research could apply different methods to different data sources to provide further insight about backstage visibility.


The findings of this research suggest that allowing customers to view some backstage activities before purchase helps tangibilize the service, achieve more effective communication with customers and create more positive service experiences.



Liu, Y.-F., Xu, Y. and Ling, I.-L. (2017), "The impact of backstage cues on service evaluation", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 165-183.



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