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Customer engagement with a service provider and context: an empirical examination

Max Sim (Adelaide Business School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Carolin Plewa (Adelaide Business School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Customer engagement is of critical interest to both academics and practitioners. Extant literature focusses primarily on customer engagement with a single focal object, usually brands; this study takes another view to consider customer engagement with multiple focal objects (service provider and context). In addition to testing the relationship of the individual dimensions of engagement with the service provider and engagement with the context, this research elaborates on their drivers, with a particular focus on distinct engagement platforms. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey captures customer engagement with a service provider and a context in a higher education setting, with 251 responses collected across first- and third-year marketing courses in an Australian, mid-sized university.

Findings

Engagement with the service provider can drive engagement with the context. In turn, engagement with the service provider can be stimulated through the use of engagement platforms that enable customer-to-service provider interactions. The results show limited effects of customer-to-customer engagement platforms on engagement with the context though. The results are consistent across gender and student grade levels; some differences arise between international and domestic students.

Originality/value

This unique study broadens understanding of customer engagement with various focal objects and also details the flow of effects, from engagement with a service provider to engagement with the context. This research builds on conceptual discussions of engagement platforms and empirically examines their ability to facilitate affective, cognitive and behavioural engagement.

Keywords

Citation

Sim, M. and Plewa, C. (2017), "Customer engagement with a service provider and context: an empirical examination", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 854-876. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-03-2016-0057

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited