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Article
Publication date: 7 May 2020

Xinhua Guan, Lishan Xie and Tengteng Zhu

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between customer interactivity and the value it realizes for employees and customers, that is, employee

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between customer interactivity and the value it realizes for employees and customers, that is, employee creativity and customer-perceived economic value, and to test the mediation role of knowledge exchange quality in this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional empirical study using pairing data collected from the employees and customers of a high-contact service industry is designed to test the research model. Customers and employees in 75 hotels in China are surveyed. Equation model analysis is performed with SPSS and Amos.

Findings

Customer interactivity has a positive effect on the employee creativity and customer-perceived economic value, and the quality of knowledge exchange mediates the two processes.

Practical implications

The findings provide suggestions for managers to take action to promote interactions between customers and employees and to encourage them to actively participate in the value creation process. Additionally, enterprises can establish a knowledge integration mechanism to improve the quality of knowledge exchange.

Originality/value

This study explores the value of interaction from the perspective of both sides of the interaction, enriching and expanding the theory of interaction. Few studies simultaneously consider the value of both parties in the interaction process. From a two-way perspective, this study extends the past unilateral angle to a multilateral perspective and clearly explains the mechanism behind continuous interaction. This study finds the key mediator variable – knowledge exchange quality – in how customeremployee interactions achieve value. It theoretically enriches the research on the interaction-value mechanism from the perspective of knowledge management.

Details

Journal of Contemporary Marketing Science, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2516-7480

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Mohammadali Zolfagharian, Fuad Hasan and Pramod Iyer

The purpose of this study is to explore how service employee choice and use of language to initiate and maintain conversation with second generation immigrant customers

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore how service employee choice and use of language to initiate and maintain conversation with second generation immigrant customers (SGIC) influence customer evaluation of the service encounter, and whether such employee acts may lead customers to employee switching, branch switching (i.e. switching from one to another location within the same brand) and/or brand switching (switching to another brand altogether).

Design/methodology/approach

A scenario-based between-subjects experiment of 4 (employee: match, adapt, bilingual, no adapt) × 2 (fast food, post office) × 2 (English, Spanish) was used to examine the SGIC response to service encounters in different contexts arising from employee choice and use of language. These scenarios were complemented with a series of measurement scales. The instruments, which were identical except in scenario sections, were administered on 788 second-generation Mexican American customers, resulting in 271 (fast food) and 265 (post office) effective responses.

Findings

In both service contexts, when employees initiated conversation that matched (English or Spanish) the customer expectations, the SGIC perceptions of interaction quality was higher as compared to other scenarios, leading to subsequent satisfaction and lower switching intentions (employee and branch). Similarly, interaction quality was higher for adapt scenarios as compared to bilingual or no adapt scenarios. Bilingual customers perceived higher interaction quality in bilingual/no-adapt scenarios when compared to monolingual customers. In both contexts, service quality and satisfaction were associated with employee switching and branch switching, but not with brand switching.

Research limitations/implications

By utilizing interaction adaptation theory to conceptualize the effects of employee choice and use of language, the study grounds the model and the hypotheses in theoretical bases and provides empirical corroboration of the theory. The study also contributes toward understanding the service encounters from the perspective of an overlooked group of vulnerable customers: second-generation immigrants.

Practical implications

Service research cautions service providers that a key factor in attracting and retaining customers is having detailed communication guidelines and empowering employees to follow those guidelines. The findings go a step further and underscore the critical role of communication from a managerial standpoint. It is in the interest of service organizations to develop guidelines that will govern employee choice and use of language during service encounters. So doing is commercially justified because unguided employee choice and use of language can result in customer switching and attrition.

Social implications

The juxtaposition between assigned versus asserted identities is an important one not only in social sciences but also within service research. As service encounters grow increasingly multicultural, the need to educate employees on multiculturally appropriate communication etiquette rises in importance. The findings should encourage service firms and local governments to develop formal communication guidelines that begin with multiculturalism as a central tenet permeating all aspects of employeeemployee, employeecustomer and customercustomer communications. Service providers ought to take precautionary measures to ensure customers will be empowered to assert their identities in their own terms, if they wish so.

Originality/value

The study demonstrates how employee choice and use of language during service encounters may thwart SGIC, who might view such employee behaviors as acts of identity assignment and, consequently, feel stigmatized, marginalized and offended; and links such customer experiences to switching behavior through mediatory mechanisms.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 31 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 31 March 2020

Haw-Yi Liang, Chih-Ying Chu and Jiun-Sheng Chris Lin

Keeping both employees and customers highly engaged has become a critical issue for service firms, especially for high-contact and highly customized services. Therefore…

Abstract

Purpose

Keeping both employees and customers highly engaged has become a critical issue for service firms, especially for high-contact and highly customized services. Therefore, it is essential to engage employees and customers during service interactions for better service outcomes. However, past research on employee and customer engagement has primarily focused on brands and organizations. Little research has concentrated on service interactions as the objects of engagement. To fill this research gap, this study aims to clarify and define service engagement behaviors (SEBs), identify various employee and customer SEBs and develop a model to investigate the relationships between these behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical framework was developed based on social contagion theory and service-dominant (S-D) logic to explore the effects of employee SEBs on customer SEBs through customer perceptions of relational energy and interaction cohesion. Dyadic survey data collected from 293 customer-employee pairs in various high-contact and highly customized service industries were examined through structural equation modeling.

Findings

Results show that employee SEBs (service role involvement, customer orientation behavior and customer empowerment behavior) positively influence relational energy and interaction cohesion, which in turn affect customer SEBs (service exploration behavior and service coordination behavior).

Originality/value

This study represents pioneering research to conceptualize SEBs. Different from the extant literature on engagement, SEBs capture the proactive and collaborative engagement behaviors of employees and customers in service interactions. Various employee and customer SEBs were identified and an empirical model was proposed and tested to investigate the effect of employee SEBs on customer SEBs through relational energy and interaction cohesion.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2008

Ahmad Jamal and Adegboyega Adelowore

Many have applied the concept of congruence or fit in the context of person‐organization, person‐environment and person‐person relationships and interactions. However…

Abstract

Purpose

Many have applied the concept of congruence or fit in the context of person‐organization, person‐environment and person‐person relationships and interactions. However, despite the significance of customeremployee interactions and relations in a services context, no research has investigated the effects of congruence between a customer's self‐concept and employee‐image on important relational outcomes such as relationship satisfaction, loyalty to employees and satisfaction towards service provider. The paper aims to fill this gap in the literature and to investigate the effects of self‐employee congruence on customer satisfaction via the mediating effects of personal interaction, relationship satisfaction and loyalty to employees. The paper also seeks to investigate the links among personal interaction, relationship satisfaction and loyalty towards employees.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a causal modelling approach and proposes a conceptual model after an extensive review of the literature related to consumer behaviour, organizational behaviour, relationship marketing and services marketing. The paper is based on a sample of 203 customers of bank users in Nigeria who completed a self‐administered questionnaire. The paper uses confirmatory factor analysis and SEM to analyse and confirm the conceptual model proposed in this research.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that self‐employee congruence is an important antecedent of personal interaction, relationship satisfaction and loyalty to employees each of which is in turn positively linked to customer satisfaction towards the service provider.

Research limitations/implications

The paper discusses implications for service marketers and for retail banking sector and highlights the significance of self‐employee congruence for service design and delivery, advertising strategies and suggests future research directions.

Originality/value

The paper is first of its kind to discuss the effects of perceived similarities between customers and employees on some important relational constructs such as personal interaction, relationship satisfaction, loyalty towards employees and towards customer satisfaction.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 42 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Book part
Publication date: 19 August 2016

Brian Ott

Service work is often differentiated from manufacturing by the interactive labor workers perform as they come into direct contact with customers. Service organizations are…

Abstract

Service work is often differentiated from manufacturing by the interactive labor workers perform as they come into direct contact with customers. Service organizations are particularly interested in regulating these interactions because they are a key opportunity for developing quality customer service, customer retention, and ultimately generation of sales revenue. An important stream of sociological literature focuses on managerial attempts to exert control over interactions through various techniques including routinization, standardization, and surveillance. Scripting is a common method of directing workers’ behavior, yet studies show that workers are extremely reluctant to administer scripts, judging them to be inappropriate to particular interactions or because they undermine their own sense of self. This paper examines a panoptic method of regulating service workers, embodied in undercover corporate agents who patrol employee’s adherence to scripts. How do workers required to recite scripts for customers respond to undercover control? What does it reveal about the nature of interactive labor? In-depth interviews with interactive workers in a range of retail contexts reveal that they mobilize their own interactional competence to challenge the effects of the panoptic, as they utilize strategies to identify and adapt to these “mystery shoppers,” all the while maintaining their cover. The paper shows the limits on control of interactive workers, as they maintain their own socialized sense of civility and preserve a limited realm of autonomy in their work.

Details

Research in the Sociology of Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-405-1

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Book part
Publication date: 29 July 2011

Sanjeewa Perera

This chapter investigated tactics used by customer service employees in performing emotion work during their interactions with customers and those internal to…

Abstract

This chapter investigated tactics used by customer service employees in performing emotion work during their interactions with customers and those internal to organizations. Based on a qualitative study in the hospitality industry, I discovered that customer service employees used a range of tactics that impact different phases of the emotion regulation process in order to facilitate emotion work. One group of tactics was directed towards the work context while the other was self-directed in an attempt to regulate the experience and expression of emotion. Taken together these two groups of tactics provide a holistic portrayal of the range of tactics used by customer service employees in performing emotion work.

Details

What Have We Learned? Ten Years On
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-208-1

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2011

Yvette Blount

The purpose of this paper is to provide a way of thinking about the technical and social subsystems in the context of e‐commerce adoption.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a way of thinking about the technical and social subsystems in the context of e‐commerce adoption.

Design/methodology/approach

An interpretive research approach was used to investigate the employee management issues in service industries as they implemented B2C e‐commerce. Two case studies were selected, both retail banks in Australia. One case study was a major bank, the other a smaller bank in a niche market.

Findings

Employees who interact with customers using B2C technologies require different levels of skill and capability than those required in face‐to‐face interactions. This has implications for human resource management processes such as job design, recruitment and retention, performance management and training.

Research limitations/implications

The study was small in scale and therefore limited in scope. Other service organisations and industries may have quite different information ecologies and business strategies.

Practical implications

The coactive commerce system provides a concrete way for researchers and practitioners to better align technology, customers and employees to achieve competitive advantage.

Social implications

This research shows that it is important to understand B2C e‐commerce technologies in conjunction with business practices and in their broader context. It is important to understand how a service organisation's business strategy, technology strategy, business processes and employee management work together to provide an appropriate level of service to customers and achieve sustainable competitive advantage and strategic positioning. This is a complex set of factors.

Originality/value

The coactive commerce system extends the socio‐technical framework to provide a more explicit way to analyse both the social and technical subsystems in an organisation by integrating the human resource management aspects into the theoretical mix in the electronic commerce and information systems literature. This is important because the employee interaction with the customer is the way the customer perceives the organisation.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2016

Carmen-Maria Albrecht, Stefan Hattula, Torsten Bornemann and Wayne D. Hoyer

The purpose of this paper is to examine causal attribution in interactional service experiences. The paper investigates how triggers in the environment of a customer

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine causal attribution in interactional service experiences. The paper investigates how triggers in the environment of a customer-employee interaction influence customer behavioral response to employees’ negative and positive affect. Additionally, it studies the role of sympathy and authenticity as underlying mechanisms of this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Two scenario-based experimental designs (N1=162; N2=138) were used. Videotaped scenarios served as stimulus material for the manipulation of two focal variables: the employee’s emotional display as either negative or positive and the availability of an emotion trigger in the interaction environment to convey the attribution dimension of cause uncontrollability. The emotion trigger’s visibility was varied in the two studies. Customer response was captured by buying intentions.

Findings

Customer responses are more favorable for both positive and negative interactional experiences when customers have access to information on cause uncontrollability (i.e. notice triggers in the interaction environment). Analyses reveal that these effects stem from feelings of sympathy for negative experiences and authenticity for positive experiences.

Originality/value

This research supports the relevance of causal attribution research on interactional service experiences, which have high-profit impact. Moreover, the findings underline the importance of the experience of fact in service interactions and thereby provide a more nuanced view on the discussion of whether service providers should use impression management strategies to engender customer satisfaction even when this behavior is “faked.”

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Loïc Plé

Noting that resource integration is a pivotal dimension of value co-creation in Service-Dominant logic, this paper aims to explore how service employees engaged in…

Abstract

Purpose

Noting that resource integration is a pivotal dimension of value co-creation in Service-Dominant logic, this paper aims to explore how service employees engaged in co-creation processes with customers integrate the latter’s resources.

Design/methodology/approach

To address the limitations of previous research on customer resources and their integration by service employees, this study turns to the concept of customer participation to identify the nature of customers’ resources. A conceptual framework of their integration by service employees underpins nine key propositions. This foundation leads to the development of theoretical contributions, managerial implications and avenues for research.

Findings

Customers can use 12 types of resources in value co-creation. Contrasting with earlier findings, the conceptual framework reveals that service employees may not only integrate these customers’ resources but also either misintegrate or not integrate them. Non-integration and misintegration may be intentional or accidental. Accordingly, value co-creation or co-destruction may result from interactions.

Research limitations/implications

This conceptual and exploratory text requires complementary theoretical and empirical investigations. It also does not adopt an ecosystems view of co-creation.

Practical implications

Knowing the different steps of resource integration and what influences them should increase the chances of value co-creation and limit the risks of value co-destruction.

Originality/value

Scant research has examined the nature of customer resources and how service employees integrate them. This paper also is the first to distinguish among resource integration, misintegration and non-integration.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2019

Richard Nicholls and Marwa Gad Mohsen

The purpose of this study is to explore the capacity of frontline employees (FLEs) to provide insights into customer-to-customer interaction (CCI) and its management in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the capacity of frontline employees (FLEs) to provide insights into customer-to-customer interaction (CCI) and its management in service organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study used focus groups and semi-structured in-depth interviews with FLEs to investigate their experiences and reflections in dealing with CCI in a complex service setting in the UK.

Findings

FLEs are able to recall CCI encounters, both positive (PCCI) and negative (NCCI), with ease. They are capable of conceptualising and exploring complex nuances surrounding CCI encounters. FLEs can distinguish levels of seriousness of negative CCI and variations in customer sensitivity to CCI. FLEs vary in their comfort in intervening in negative CCI situations. Whilst FLEs draw on skills imparted in an employee-customer interaction context, they would benefit from CCI-specific training. Propositions are advanced for further empirical testing.

Research limitations/implications

The authors studied FLE views on CCI in a customer-centric service organisation in the UK. Future research should further address the FLE perspective on CCI in less service-driven organisations and in other countries. A wide range of themes for further research are proposed.

Practical implications

The insights presented will assist service managers to assess the CCI context of their own organisation and develop strategies and guidelines to support FLEs in detecting, understanding and responding to CCI encounters.

Social implications

The paper highlights and discusses the complexity of intervening in negative CCI encounters in socially inclusive service environments.

Originality/value

Based on FLE-derived perceptions of CCI, the paper contributes conceptually to CCI knowledge by identifying the existence of “concealed CCI”, distinguishing between gradual and sudden CCI intervention contexts and exploring the human resource development consequences of this distinction, with original implications for service management. The study also contributes to extending the scope of research into triadic service interactions.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 33 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

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