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A framework for encouraging retail customer feedback

Kevin Celuch (Department of Economics and Marketing, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, Indiana, USA)
Nadine M. Robinson (Department of Business and Economics, Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie, Canada)
Anna M. Walsh (Department of Marketing, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, United States)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 13 July 2015




The purpose of this study is to examine antecedents of the under researched area of customer feedback in a retail context with feedback defined as positive and negative comments as well as suggestions for product/service improvements. A market-oriented firm listens to customers and puts their feedback into practice. Research on customer engagement, which includes customer feedback, has recently surged. The preponderance of feedback research to date has been focused on customer complaint behavior which is negatively valenced. Much less attention has been paid to customer feedback (including sharing positive information, thoughts and suggestions for new ideas, in addition to negative information) even though it has great value for companies. This research addresses this gap by integrating literature on customer orientation and engagement and relationship marketing antecedents (social benefits) and outcomes (commitment) to better understand what retailers can do to encourage customer feedback through relationships with frontline employees.


This study employs a cross-sectional, single retailer approach surveying 864 customers who have varying relationships to a coffee house.


Conditional process analysis was used to test the hypothesized mediating and moderating relationships. Results were consistent with predictions, showing that retail employee customer-oriented behavior is mediated by customer social benefit perceptions to influence feedback. Further, social benefit perceptions will interact with the level of customer continuance commitment to impact feedback. Specifically, the impact of social benefits will be stronger when commitment to the retailer is higher.


This research has academic and practical implications by increasing our understanding of an underrepresented and valuable aspect of engagement – customer feedback. Specifically, it addresses a key marketing research priority set forth in a 2010 JSR special issue, calling for more work contributing to this topic. Also, this research implies managers have the ability to influence the amount of feedback that they receive by encouraging certain employee behaviors.



Celuch, K., Robinson, N.M. and Walsh, A.M. (2015), "A framework for encouraging retail customer feedback", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 280-292.



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