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The interplay between physical and social servicescape: investigating negative CCI

Olivier Furrer (Department of Management, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland)
Mikèle Landry (Department of Management, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland)
Chloé Baillod (Department of Management, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland)
Jie Yu Kerguignas (EHL Hospitality Business School, HES-SO, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Delémont, Switzerland)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 16 May 2023

Issue publication date: 21 June 2023

477

Abstract

Purpose

Negative customer-to-customer interactions (NCCI) occurring in physical service encounters can have a detrimental effect on a focal customer’s experience. This paper aims to explore how the interplay between the physical servicescape and the presence and behavior of other customers can lead to NCCI. Moreover, through an examination of customers’ responsibility attribution, the paper underlines the need for service organizations to manage this interplay.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors rely on a mixed approach with two studies grounded in the Stimulus–Organism–Response paradigm. In a preliminary quantitative study, the authors test a model of the effects of NCCI on customers’ attribution and behavioral outcomes using partial least squares structural equation modeling. Next, in a qualitative study, they collect and explore NCCI incidents in eight service industries relying on the critical incident technique (CIT).

Findings

When experiencing NCCI, customers attribute at least partial responsibility for their negative experience to the service provider. The findings of the CIT study reveal three interplay mechanisms leading to NCCI: when other customers’ behavior is triggered by the physical servicescape; when other customers’ behavior is incongruent with the behavioral norms set by the physical servicescape; and when the physical servicescape is altered by other customers’ misbehavior.

Originality/value

This paper provides a comprehensive, empirically grounded, understanding of the interplay between the physical and social servicescape, focusing on the presence and behavior of the other customers and its effect on the customer experience.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the students from the University of Fribourg, the research assistants at EHL Hospitality Business School and Mr. Antoine Bielmann for their precious help with data collection, as well as Mr. Etienne Rudaz for his valuable participation in data analysis.

Citation

Furrer, O., Landry, M., Baillod, C. and Yu Kerguignas, J. (2023), "The interplay between physical and social servicescape: investigating negative CCI", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 732-745. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-04-2022-0148

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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