Evaluating the impact of other customers on service experiences - A replication and extension


Diploma Thesis, 2008

160 Pages, Grade: sehr gut


Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Background to the Research
2.1. Services as the Focus of the Present Research
2.2. Conceptual Background
2.2.1. The Service Encounter
2.2.2. The Service Experience

3. Literature Review
3.1. The Impact of Other Customers on Service Experiences
3.1.1. The Passive Role of Other Customers in the Service Encounter: Customers as Part of the Environment
3.1.2. The Active Role of Other Customers in the Service Encounter: Customer-to- Customer Interactions (CCI)
3.2. Grove and Fisk’s (1997) Study
3.3. Justifications for Replicating and Extending Grove and Fisk’s (1997) Study .
3.3.1. Limitations and Criticism of Grove and Fisk’s (1997) Study
3.3.2. Recent Relevant Advances in Theory and Empirical Evidence
3.3.3. General Arguments for Replication Studies
3.3.4. The Research Gap
3.4. The Research Objectives

4. Methodology
4.1. The Critical Incident Technique (CIT)
4.1.1. Presenting the Critical Incident Technique
4.1.2. Evaluating the Suitability of the Critical Incident Technique
4.2. Research Design
4.2.1. Implementing the CIT
4.2.2. Survey Method
4.2.3. Questionnaire Development
4.2.4. Sampling
4.3. Data Collection
4.4. Data Analysis
4.4.1. Classification of Incidents
4.4.2. Further Data Analysis

5. Results
5.1. Critical Incident Sort – Primary Categories
5.2. Critical Incident Sort – Secondary Categories
5.3. Insight into Research Questions
5.4. The Role of Other Control Variables

6. Discussion

7. Managerial Implications

8. Limitations

9. Directions for Further Research

10. Conclusion

References

Appendices

List of Tables

TABLE 1: Numeric Tallies of Other Customer Critical Incidents

TABLE 2: Group 1 - Verbal Incidents: Examples of Satisfying and Dissatisfying Critical Incidents

TABLE 3: Group 2 - Physical Incidents: Examples of Satisfying and Dissatisfying Critical Incidents

TABLE 4: Group 3 - Ambience Incidents: Examples of Satisfying and Dissatisfying Critical Incidents

TABLE 5: Frequency Distribution of the Effect of Other Customer-Yes vs. No

TABLE 6: Frequency Distribution of Incidents in the Major Sectors

TABLE 7: Frequency Distribution of Satisfying and Dissatisfying Critical Incidents.. 59 TABLE 8: Satisfaction/ Dissatisfaction –The Impact of Major Sectors

TABLE 9: Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction – The Impact of Primary Groups

TABLE 10: Satisfactory Primary Incidents – The Impact of Income

TABLE 11: Satisfactory Verbal Incidents – The Impact of Gender

TABLE 12: Satisfactory Verbal Incidents – The Impact of Children

TABLE 13: Satisfactory Verbal Incidents – The Impact of Income

TABLE 14: Satisfactory Verbal Incidents – The Impact of Age

TABLE 15: Dissatisfactory Primary Incidents – The Impact of Age

TABLE 16: Dissatisfactory Physical Incidents – The Impact of Age

TABLE 17: Physical Incidents – The Impact of Children

TABLE 18: Physical Incidents – The Impact of Age

TABLE 19: Reporting or Not Reporting a Critical Incident – The Impact of Income .. 71 TABLE 20: Emotions Experienced by Respondents who Reported Satisfying Critical Incidents

TABLE 21: Emotions Experienced by Respondents who Reported Dissatisfying Critical Incidents

Figure 1: Categories of Other Customers’ Influence

Figure 2: Graphical Representation of the Frequency of the Effect of Other Customers – Yes vs. No

Figure 3: Graphical Representation of the Frequency of Critical Incidents in the Major Sectors

Figure 4: Graphical Representation of the Frequency of Satisfying and Dissatisfying Critical Incidents

Appendix 1: Bitner’s Servicescape Model, Bitner (1992)

Appendix 2: Satisfying and Dissatisfying Behavior Identified by Martin and Pranter (1989)

Appendix 3: Factors Identified in Principle Component Analysis by Martin (1996)

Appendix 4: Types of Stranger Influences in a Retail Context by McGrath and Otnes (1995)

Appendix 5: Consequences of Customer-to-Customer Interactions, Parker and Ward (2000)

Appendix 6: Critical Incidents by Other Customer, Grove and Fisk (1997)

Appendix 7: Numeric Tallies of Other Customer Critical Incidents, Grove and Fisk (1997)

Appendix 8: The Impact of Other Customers on Service Experiences - Studies

Appendix 9: Initial Version of the Questionnaire

Appendix 10: Final Version of the Questionnaire

Appendix 11: Sample Composition - Gender

Appendix 12: Sample Composition – Family

Appendix 13: Sample Composition – Children

Appendix 14: Sample Composition – Nationality

Appendix 15: Sample Composition – Age

Appendix 16: Sample Composition - Gross Monthly Income

Appendix 17: Sample Composition - Level of Education

Appendix 18: Interjudge Agreement

Appendix 19: Detailed List of Sectors Mentioned

Appendix 20: Frequency of Occurrence of Primary Incidents

Appendix 21: Graphical Representation of the Frequency of Occurrence of Primary Incidents

Appendix 22: Primary Groups Without Ambience Incidents - The Impact of Sectors 122 Appendix 23: Frequency of Occurrence of the Subgroups of Verbal Incidents

Appendix 24: Graphical Representation of the Frequency of Occurrence of the Subgroups of Verbal Incidents

Appendix 25: Frequency of Occurrence of the Subgroups of Physical Incidents

Appendix 26: Graphical Representation of the Frequency of Occurrence of the Subgroups of Physical Incidents

Appendix 27: Frequency of Occurrence of the Subgroups of Ambience Incidents

Appendix 28: Graphical Representation of the Frequency of Occurrence of the Subgroups of Ambience Incidents

Appendix 29: Frequency of Occurrence of Verbal Subgroups Across Sectors

Appendix 30: Frequency of Occurrence of Dissatisfactory Verbal Subgroups Across Sectors

Appendix 31: Frequency of Occurrence of Satisfactory Verbal Subgroups Across Sectors

Appendix 32: Frequency of Occurrence of Physical Subgroups Across Sectors

Appendix 33: Frequency of Occurrence of Satisfactory Physical Subgroups Across Sectors

Appendix 34: Frequency of Occurrence of Dissatisfactory Physical Subgroups Across Sectors

Appendix 35: Frequency of Occurrence of Ambience Subgroups Across Sectors

Appendix 36: Frequency of Occurrence of Satisfactory Ambience Subgroups Across Sectors

Appendix 37: Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction – The Impact of Verbal Subcategories

Appendix 38: Satisfactory Primary Groups Without Ambience Incidents – The Impact of Age

Appendix 39: Satisfactory Primary Groups Without Ambience Incidents – The Impact of Income

Appendix 40: Satisfactory Primary Groups Without Ambience Incidents – The Impact of Children

Appendix 41: Dissatisfactory Primary Groups Without Ambience Incidents – The Impact of Children

Appendix 42: Dissatisfactory Primary Groups Without Ambience Incidents – The Impact of Age

Appendix 43: Dissatisfactory Primary Groups Without Ambience Incidents – The Impact of Income

Appendix 44: Dissatisfactory Primary Groups Without Ambience Incidents – The Impact of Purchase Occasion

Appendix 45: Frequencies – Did Other Factors Also Have An Impact Upon Service Experiences?

Appendix 46: Frequencies - Could the Service Provider Have Prevented Negative Incidents?

Appendix 47: Curriculum Vitae

Appendix 48: Deutsche Zusammenfassung

1. Introduction

The service encounter is one of the most central concepts in services marketing research. When thinking of the service encounter, it is easy to picture encounters which take place in the presence of several other customers: Visiting a restaurant, the hairdresser’s or a shopping mall are all examples of encounters involving the presence of other patrons. In the same way, using public means of transportation such as buses and planes frequently involves sharing time and space with other passengers. It is this observation which constitutes the framework for the present investigation.

The aim of the present research project is to evaluate the impact of other customers on service experiences . To this end, a research project conducted by Grove and Fisk (1997) will be replicated and extended to include different service sectors, customers’ emotions as well as the potential impact of the purchase occasion. Furthermore, additional information on whether customers believe that the service organization could have prevented dissatisfying incidents as well as on other possible influences on service experiences (service environment, service employees, etc.) will be gathered.

Given the lack of research in this area as well as some scarce indications pointing to the potential impact of other customers on the customer’s satisfaction with the service encounter, it appears of paramount importance to investigate this issue. Doing so will provide both practitioners and service marketing scholars with insights into the question of which sectors may be subject to the impact of other customers. In addition, uncovering potential sources of customer influence is an important precondition for developing means for controlling these influences - a task that customers might consider a firm’s duty.

The present report consists of ten major chapters. Following the introduction, in Chapter 2, the most important concepts are briefly defined and discussed. The terms “service encounter” and “service experience” are elaborated on and the elements influencing service encounter evaluations are discussed. This chapter is followed by Chapter 3 which provides a literature review outlining the major pieces of research on the impact of other customers on service experiences and discusses Grove and Fisk’s (1997) study, which is the basis of the current investigation. Subsequently, arguments for replicating and extending Grove and Fisk’s (1997) research project as well as the research objectives are presented. Chapter 4 discusses the research method employed, the Critical Incident Technique (CIT). In Chapter 5, the research findings are presented. Chapter 6 discusses the research findings. In Chapter 7, managerial implications are provided. Chapter 8 discusses the limitations of the present investigation. Next, in Chapter 9, directions for further research are presented. Finally, in Chapter 10, conclusions are provided.

2. Background to the Research

2.1. Services as the Focus of the Present Research

Prior to defining and elaborating on the concepts that will be used in this thesis, it is vital to explain why “services”, as opposed to “goods” were chosen as the focus of the present work. This is particularly important given the debate on the legitimacy of “services marketing literature” in the 1970s. For a long time, there was no consensus on the question of whether “services marketing” is significantly different from “goods marketing” to justify an own marketing discipline.

In line with Shostack (1977) and Berry (1980), I consider “services marketing” to be different from “goods marketing”. This is due to the fact that the focus of services marketing is specifically on offerings in which tangible elements either play a minor role or are absent.

Researchers have suggested that in the absence of tangible products, interpersonal influences tend to increase in importance (Berry 1980, 1981; Lovelock 1979). Therefore, “services marketing” seems to be an appropriate context for studying the impact of other customers on service experiences.

2.2. Conceptual Background

In marketing literature, the word “service” is used extensively and with great ambiguity. The concept of “services” is employed to describe industries as well as outcomes and processes (Johns 1999). Thus, when writing about services marketing, it is vital to specify the way in which the term “service” is going to be used. Services are frequently described as “intangible” and their output is regarded as an “activity” (Johns 1999). However, it is clear that this definition is an ambiguous one, since a service output frequently contains a “tangible” component. Therefore, in this paper, Gremler’s (2004) clarification of the term “services” will be utilized. According to him, services can be defined as offerings where “the primary or core product offering is intangible” (Gremler 2004, p.71).

2.2.1. The Service Encounter

Prior to elaborating on the concept of “service experience”, it is vital to define the term “service encounter”.

The “service encounter” is one of the most central and controversial concepts in the services marketing literature and is of paramount importance to the topic of the present investigation.

Various definitions of the term “service encounter” have been proposed by researchers. While Surprenant and Solomon (1987, p.87) describe the “service encounter” as “the dyadic interaction between a customer and a service provider”, Shostack (1985) defines the “service encounter” as “a period of time during which the customer directly interacts with a service” (Shostack 1985, p.243).

Clearly, Shostack’s (1985) definition is much more comprehensive than Surprenant and Solomon’s (1987). While Surprenant and Solomon (1987) focus on the person-to- person interaction between the buyer and the seller - or client and provider – Shostack (1985) does not limit her definition to the interpersonal interaction between the customer and the service provider. In fact, her definition encompasses “all aspects of the service firm with which the consumer may interact, including its personnel, its physical facilities, and other visible elements” (Bitner, Booms and Tetreault 1990, p.72).

Thus, following Shostack’s (1985) definition, the customers may not only interact with the service provider and the physical environment, but also with other visible elements. One of these visible elements may be other customers present during the service encounter. Thus, the service encounter is a concept of central importance to the topic of the present investigation.

2.2.2. The Service Experience

2.2.2.1. Definition

Another related but different concept that needs to be clearly defined is the term “service experience”.

For the purpose of this paper, and consistent with Grove and Fisk’s (1997), I will focus my investigation on customers’ evaluations of “service experiences”, as manifested by their level of (dis)satisfaction with the service encounter1.

Furthermore, while it is recognized that the “service experience” may be formed based on the evaluation of a sequence of encounters or a single service encounter (Lovelock, Vandermerwe and Lewis 1999), in the present investigation, the term “service experience” will be restricted to the customer’s satisfaction with a single service encounter.

Another issue that merits closer investigation when elaborating upon the term “service experience” is the topic of emotions.

Previous research has shown that emotions experienced by the customer during the service encounter may play a significant role in the formation of service encounter satisfaction (Jayanti 1996; Oliver 1997). Therefore, it shall be recognized that the evaluation of service experiences may not only involve a cognitive, but also an “emotional” dimension.

This is also consistent with Price, Arnould and Deibler (1995, p.35), who have pointed out that “research suggests that understanding satisfaction can be enhanced by examining the emotional content of the consumer’s experience”. Oliver (1997) supports this notion by arguing that the more customers experience positive emotions during the service encounter, the higher will be their level of satisfaction.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Therefore, in this thesis, the expression “service experience” will also explicitly take the “consumer’s emotional feelings during the service encounter“ (Hui and Bateson 1991, p.174) into account.

2.2.2.2. The Importance of Service Encounter Evaluations in Services Marketing Research

An examination of the impact of other customers on service encounter satisfaction has to start with a comprehensive understanding of the importance of a customer’s (un)favorable evaluation of the service encounter.

Research has shown that the extent to which the service encounter is perceived to be satisfying or dissatisfying may have an impact on the patron’s holistic evaluation of the business (Lovelock 1991; Zeithaml 1981), word-of-mouth (Haywood 1989) and repeat patronage (Martin and Pranter 1989).

In addition, according to Solomon et al. (1985, p.99), the recognition of the importance of the customer’s evaluation of the service encounter is particularly critical in situations where “the service component of the total offering is a major element of that offering”. This is due to the fact that in this case, the role of tangible items exchanged may be negligible, which makes quality evaluations of the service situation difficult. Therefore, customers may regard the service encounter as a surrogate for tangible objects and may evaluate the service exclusively in terms of the quality of the service encounter.

Due to the important consequences of the customers’ evaluations of the service encounter mentioned above, as well as Solomon et al.’s (1985) statement, services marketing researchers have focused on identifying those components of the service encounter the evaluation of which has an impact on service experiences.

As a result, several streams of research, each examining different components of the service encounter, have evolved. One of these elements is the interaction between the customer and the service environment (e.g. Kotler 1973; Bitner 1992; Wakefield and Blodgett 1994) Another stream of research focuses on the interaction between the customer and the service contact personnel (e.g. Bitner, Booms and Tetreault 1990;

Bitner 1990; Baker, Levy and Grewal 1992) Finally, other customers present in the service encounter are also believed to influence the customer’s service experience (e.g. Grove and Fisk 1997; Martin and Pranter 1989; McGrath and Otnes 1995).

It is the latter stream of research which is of particular interest to the topic of the present investigation.

For the purpose of this paper, “other customers” will be defined as “strangers”, i.e. “unacquainted other customers”. What follows from this definition is that existing relationships between customers in a service encounter will, although marginally interesting, not be the main focus of this work.

2.2.2.3. Elements Influencing Service Experiences

It is important to note that although the present investigation will exclusively focus on the impact of other customers on service experiences (i.e. satisfaction with the service encounter), the potential influence of other elements of the service encounter on service experiences must not be neglected. It may well be possible that customers do not evaluate the elements of the service encounter separately but that all dimensions combine to affect the customer’s evaluation of the service encounter. Grove, Fisk and Dorsch (1998, p.116) advocate this holistic approach by arguing that the aspects of the service encounter are “theatrical in nature” and blend together to create the customer’s overall service experience.

Therefore, it is vital to place the subject of the current investigation in the broader context it is set in and to briefly discuss the elements believed to influence the customers’ satisfaction with the service encounter. As a consequence, in the following three sections, an overview of the literature on each of the three streams of research mentioned above will be provided and the implications of these pieces of research for the topic of the present investigation will be discussed.

2.2.2.3.1. The Impact of the Service Environment on Service Experiences

The influence of the physical environment on consumers has been recognized in marketing, retailing and organizational contexts (Bitner 1992). Already in the 1960s, psychologists began exploring the impact of the physical setting on behavior.

In 1973, Kotler was among the first to suggest that the place where a product is consumed may have an influence on consumers’ buying decisions (Kotler 1973). He introduced the term “atmospherics” to describe “the conscious designing of space to create certain effects in buyers” (Kotler 1973, p.50). Despite these early attempts to capture the effects of the physical environment, in service settings, empirical research as well as theoretical frameworks on the influence of the environment on the evaluation of the service encounter remained rare.

To address this dearth, in 1992, Bitner published the “servicescape” framework, which integrated empirical findings and theory and became one of the most widely recognized concepts in service environment research. Bitner (1992) justified her work by suggesting that the physical environment is of particularly high importance in service businesses since the service is “produced and consumed simultaneously” (Bitner 1992, p.57). Thus, the consumer is “in the factory” (Bitner 1992, p.57), which cannot be hidden and which may substantially influence the customer’s service experience.

In her seminal article, Bitner (1992) elaborates on Kotler’s (1973) definition of “atmospherics”. She introduces the term “servicescape” to refer to the “manmade, physical surroundings as opposed to the natural or social environment” (Bitner 1992, p.58), thus explicitly excluding other customers present.

Bitner (1992) conceptualizes the servicescape in terms of ambient conditions, which parallel Kotler’s (1973) “atmospheric” factors, spatial layout and functionality and signs, symbols and artifacts. She puts forward the idea that the elements of the servicescape might cause internal responses, such as cognitive, physiological and emotional reactions. According to her model, these responses may in turn lead to certain behaviors such as approach and avoidance and may have an impact on social interactions (see Appendix 1). The latter concept is based on research by Mehrabian and

Russell (1974), who showed that feelings of pleasure cause people to spend more time and money in certain environments whereas environments that cause arousal and unpleasantness lead to avoidance behavior.

After having briefly described Bitner’s (1992) servicescape model, it is vital to explain in what way her concept could be valuable when evaluating the impact of other customers on service experiences.

The first point valuable to the topic of this thesis is Bitner’s (1992) suggestion that the elements of the servicescape may influence the customer’s satisfaction with the service. This idea is noteworthy because when investigating the impact of other customers on service experiences it is important not to lose sight of other potential influences which might ultimately turn out to be even more important.

Interestingly, there is empirical evidence of the link between the elements of the servicescape and customer satisfaction with the service encounter. As an example, in his study of office atmospherics, Andrus (1986) showed that variables such as the waiting room, furniture and exam room equipment had affected dental patients’ satisfaction. In addition, although they did not attempt to directly measure satisfaction, in their study of hedonic service consumption, Hightower, Brady and Baker (2002) showed that the servicescape relates to the quality of sports experience perceptions as well as involvement with the sports experience. Since there is evidence that consumers’ perceptions of the quality of the service rendered can be regarded as a determinant of service satisfaction (Wakefield and Blodgett 1994), this finding is also highly interesting.

Another proposition made by Bitner (1992) valuable to the topic of this investigation is her suggestion that customers respond to the servicescape cognitively, emotionally and physiologically as well as with approach and avoidance behavior. The implications of this idea will be explained in Section 3.1.1.

Finally, Bitner’s (1992) idea that the servicescape may influence interactions among customers is also highly interesting to the topic of the present investigation as it suggests that one can use the physical environment to control customer interactions.

Empirical studies have confirmed the assumption that the physical setting has an influence upon social interactions (e.g. Holahan 1982; Sundstrom and Sundstrom 1986, Part III).

2.2.2.3.2. The Impact of Service Contact Employees on Service Experiences

Another element believed to influence the customer’s satisfaction with the service encounter is the impact of employees. This suggestion seems reasonable, given the fact that in many services, employees play a major role in the provision of the service. In fact, as Zeithaml and Bitner (1996, p.304) point out, “in many cases, the contact employee is the service - there is nothing elseThe offering is the employee”.

As an example, in haircutting, the interpersonal element, such as the conversation with the hairdressers’, may be equally important as, or even outweigh, the outcome of the service, i.e. the haircut itself. Other frequently named services with a significant interpersonal component between employees and customers include child care, cleaning/maintenance, legal services and counseling.

Researchers have suggested a wide range of employee behaviors and characteristics which might influence the customer’s service experience. Examples include the employees’ manners (Berry, Zeithaml and Parasuraman 1985), commitment (Bitner, Booms and Tetreault 1990), appearance (Bitner 1990) and oral contributions (Baron, Harris and Davies 1996) made in the service encounter.

Again, it is vital to explain why the fact that employees may be a major determinant of customer satisfaction is relevant to the topic of this paper.

First, as already mentioned, when evaluating the impact of other customers on service experiences, one also needs to take into account other potential influences.

Secondly, if an impact of employees’ behaviors and/or expression of emotions or appearance on the customer’s satisfaction with the service encounter were found, one could assume that other interpersonal interactions, such as customer-to-customer interactions (CCI), might also have an impact on the customer’s service experience.

Thus, it is of paramount importance to present empirical evidence of an impact of employees on the customer’s satisfaction with the service encounter.

In 1990, Bitner, Booms and Tetreault examined the impact of employees’ behaviors on the customer’s service experience and uncovered several categories of contact employee behavior that could influence customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Baker, Levy and Grewal (1992), on the other hand, focused on the number of employees present in a retail store environment and found that the more employees present, the higher the customer’s arousal. In addition, Bitner (1990) found that employees wearing unprofessional attire could negatively influence customer satisfaction in the event of service failure.

The studies outlined above can be regarded as highly interesting as they show that the number of employees present in the service environment as well as employees’ behaviors and dress can potentially influence the customers’ emotions as well as satisfaction with the service encounter. Thus, it may well be possible that other customers present in the service encounter affect customer satisfaction in a similar way.

2.2.2.3.3. The Impact of Other Customers on Service Experiences

Although the impact of the environment (e.g. Bitner 1992; Baker, Levy and Grewal 1992) as well as that of service employees on service experiences (e.g. Bitner, Booms and Tetreault 1990; Bitner, Booms and Mohr 1994) have been extensively studied, another element of the service encounter has received much less attention: The impact of other customers present in the service encounter on the service experience.

The following chapter is dedicated to giving an overview of the literature on the impact of other customers on service experiences

3. Literature Review

3.1. The Impact of Other Customers on Service Experiences

When examining the literature investigating other customers as an element of the service encounter, two broad categories can be identified. The first, and older, stream of literature regards other customers as merely constituting part of the environment (e.g. Belk 1975; Baker 1987). The second stream of research, in contrast, is dedicated to examining “customer-to-customer interactions” (CCI), which Martin (1996, p.149) defines as “specific interpersonal encounters”. However, this definition does not imply that customers actually need to have direct contact with one another.

In this paper, the term “passive role of other customers” will be used to denote the first stream of research, whereas the term “active role of other customers” will be used to refer to “customer-to-customer interactions” (CCI).

3.1.1. The Passive Role of Other Customers in the Service Encounter: Customers as Part of the Environment

Early services marketing research regarded other customers as part of the environment. Thus, in the beginning, the “customer B” (i.e. the other customer(s) present in the service encounter, see above) was frequently merely given summary mention in conceptual papers (Tombs and McCollKennedy 2003). As an example, Belk (1975) viewed other customers as part of the “social surroundings” of the service environment and described them as a “situational characteristic”. Similarly, Baker (1987) acknowledged other customers by describing them as the social aspect of the service environment.

Gradually, however, more attention was paid to other customers. As a consequence, a stream of research began examining the density of other customers in the service encounter or, more specifically, the phenomenon of crowding in the service setting. It is necessary to distinguish the term “consumer density” from the term “crowding”. While density refers to the “number of consumers that are present in a service setting” (Hui and Bateson 1991, p.174), crowding is described as “an unpleasant feeling that is experienced by an individual” (Hui and Bateson 1991, p.175).

In 1990, in a retail context, Eroglu and Machleit showed that high density results in more intense feelings of crowding. They also showed that crowding has a negative impact on customer satisfaction. Similarly, Hui and Bateson (1991) demonstrated that crowded retail environments can reduce feelings of pleasure. However, other researchers came to the opposite conclusion and showed that high social density may lead to positive affect (Baker, Levy and Grewal 1992; Belk 1975). The latter findings are interesting since emotions may, as suggested above, act as an antecedent in the formation of satisfaction.

Research by Lehtinen and Lehtinen (1991) has shown that the appearance of other customers present in the service encounter may influence the customers’ perceptions of the service quality. Lehtinen and Lehtinen (1991) proposed that interactions among customers constitute the “interactive” dimension of the quality of the service encounter. Their empirical observations of dancers in a disco showed that the dancers paid attention to the “quality” of other guests by visually inspecting their age and dress (Lehtinen and Lehtinen 1991, p.294).

What characterizes the research projects outlined above is the fact that other customers are, implicitly or explicitly, regarded as an element of the service environment. A disadvantage of this view is that it is a very static one. Customers present in the service environment are treated like other aspects of the setting, such as music or smell instead of being regarded as “active” participants.

Recognizing this, another stream of research proposing that other customers might play more active roles in service encounters has evolved.

However, prior to outlining this type of research in further detail, a paper published by Tombs and McCollKennedy in 2003 shall be discussed. This contribution considers both “active” and “passive” influences of other customers present in the service encounter. In their paper titled “Social-servicescape conceptual model”, the authors argue that Bitner’s (1992) servicescape model is not complete as it explicitly excludes other customers. They suggest that other customers are “social aspects” of the service environment which “act to facilitate or hinder the customer’s enjoyment of the service experience…” (Tombs and McCollKennedy 2003, p.449). Tombs and McCollKennedy (2003) propose that the “social aspects” of the environment can be conceptualized in terms of expressed emotions and social density of other customers. They suggest that the “purchase occasion” (i.e. the contextual component of the environment) will dictate the accepted level of social density as well as of others’ expressed emotions which will in turn influence the customer’s affective (e.g. moods and emotions) and cognitive (e.g. interactions with others) reactions. Thus, although Tombs and McCollKennedy (2003) regard other customers as an element of the servicescape (i.e., the social servicescape), they propose that customers can play both a “passive” (density) and an active (expression of emotions) role in the service encounter.

In spite of being purely theoretical, Tombs and McCollKennedy’s (2003) model can be regarded as valuable to the topic of the present investigation. First, it suggests that other patrons may influence customers’ emotions. This aspect is important since, as pointed out above, emotions might play a role in the formation of satisfaction. Second, Tombs and McCollKennedy (2003) suggest that other patrons present might affect other customers by the transmission of emotions or, as they name it “emotional contagion”. Finally, their suggestions that the purchase occasion might have an influence on desired social density will play a role in the current investigation.

It is important to note that Tombs and McCollKennedy’s (2003) model is not only valuable in itself. In fact, the author of the present thesis assumes that if one combined the idea that other customers form part of the servicescape with Bitner’s (1992) servicescape model, one could form further hypotheses concerning the impact of other customers on service experiences.

Bitner (1992) suggests that customers react to the servicescape physiologically, emotionally and cognitively as well as with certain types of behavior. She also suggests that the servicescape can directly influence satisfaction.

Thus, if Tombs and McCollKennedy’s (2003) assumption that other customers form part of the servicescape proved correct, patrons might react to other customers in the same way as to the purely physical environment. As an example, not only the physical setting of the servicescape might cause customers to form certain beliefs about the service organization, but also other customers present. This may not only happen via expressed emotions and social density, as Tombs and McCollKennedy (2003) suggest, but also via, for example, the visual inspection of other guests’ appearance.

Similarly, not only physical aspects such as music may cause customers to react with physical discomfort, but also other patrons present. As an example, crowding may make it difficult for customers to breathe or may cause them to start perspiring.

Finally, as Tombs and McCollKennedy (2003) have also pointed out, other customers may affect patrons’ emotions.

It may well be that each of these reactions may not only act as an antecedent to behavior, as Bitner (1992) suggests, but may also cause satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the service encounter.1

Thus, Tombs and McCollKennedy’s (2003) proposition that other customers form part of the servicescape can serve as a good starting point for further hypotheses about both the causes and results of other customers’ influence.

Having outlined the literature regarding other customers as “passive” elements of the environment, in the following chapter, an overview of research regarding other customers as playing a more “active” role in the service encounter will be provided.

3.1.2. The Active Role of Other Customers in the Service Encounter: Customer-to-Customer Interactions (CCI)

While it is obvious that phenomena like crowding exist, little is known about the existence of customer-to-customer interactions. Do customers actively interact with each other in the service encounter? If so, in what way and how frequently do they interact? Thus, before examining the impact of customer-to-customer interactions on the service experience, it is necessary to find evidence of customer-to-customer interactions. As a consequence, this section will be divided into two sections. First, an overview of literature on the existence, type and frequency of customer-to-customer interactions will to be given. Secondly, literature on the impact of customer-to-customer interactions on the service experience will be presented.

3.1.2.1. Literature on the Existence, Frequency and Type of Customer-to- Customer Interactions

Within the stream of research investigating the existence and type of customer-to- customer interactions, the bulk of work has focused on oral interactions, or “observable oral participation” between strangers (OOP2), as Harris, Baron and Ratcliffe (1995) call them. An example of this research is a study conducted by Bloch, Ridgeway and Dawson (1994). In this study, the researchers found out that 20 percent of their respondents in a mall said they had engaged in conversations with other people they met.

In a similar way, Harris, Baron and Ratcliffe (1995) conducted a study on observable oral participation in a retail setting in northern England. They found that 48% of customers had communicated verbally with the service personnel and 12% had spoken to other customers present in the service encounter. It is interesting to note that Harris, Baron and Ratcliffe (1995) found that the majority of those customers who had engaged in conversations with other customers were females over the age of 35.

Another study conducted by Davies, Baron and Harris . (1999) confirmed the frequency of occurrence of OOP2 in the retail context. Davies and his colleagues administered questionnaires to university students in the UK and Australia to find out whether they recalled engaging in OOP2. It was found that 78% of the UK and 84% of Australian students recalled oral interactions with other customers.

3.1.2.2. Literature on the Impact of Customer-to-Customer Interactions on Service Experiences

While some researchers focused exclusively on the identification of customer-to- customer interactions in the service encounter, others went one step further and tried to find evidence of a possible impact of these interactions on the customer’s satisfaction with the service experience. As Moore, Moore and Capella (2005, p.483) state, “a small but growing stream of research has begun to examine the effects of the social behaviour of individuals within the service process and how it contributes to the overall experience.”

One of the first and most remarkable pieces of work examining this relationship was a study conducted by Martin and Pranter in 1989. Martin and Pranter (1989) acted on the assumption that customers present in the service environment may, positively or negatively, influence the satisfaction of other customers. They drew attention to the fact that this possible influence had long been ignored in the services marketing literature and, in their article, attempted to close the gap they had identified. Specifically, the aim of their work was to “develop a more comprehensive understanding of customer compatibility in service environments….” (Martin and Pranter 1989, p.9).

Martin and Pranter (1989) found that in many service environments, customer satisfaction was positively or negatively influenced by other customers and that dissatisfaction was usually the result of customer incompatibility, which was often caused by customer heterogeneity. Customer heterogeneity, in turn, frequently arose as a result of customers having heterogeneous goals or preferences, holding stereotypical beliefs about other customers or having different physical characteristics.

In addition to identifying sources of customer heterogeneity, Martin and Pranter (1989) uncovered a number of specific behaviors which gave rise to satisfaction or dissatisfaction. As an example, unruly children, rudeness and poor manners were frequently cited as behavior giving rise to dissatisfaction. Among the most frequently named behaviors causing satisfaction were friendly, relaxed demeanor and good manners (for a more detailed list, see Appendix 2).

However, the authors also observed that many behaviors were seen as appropriate in some situations, yet regarded as inappropriate in others. Thus, the appropriateness of behaviors may be situation-specific. In addition, they found that it is highly probable that these behaviors are individual-specific, i.e. some customers may regard certain behaviors as intolerable whereas others may not be disturbed by them.

To sum up, Martin and Pranter’s (1989) study provides some valuable insights into the possible influences other customers may have upon one’s satisfaction. They found that other customers’ behaviors as well as appearance and crowding and/or empty environments, i.e. “passive” influences, may play a role in determining customer satisfaction. In addition, they suggest that satisfaction could potentially influence a customer’s repatronage decision.

However, a drawback of this landmark study by Martin and Pranter (1989) is that the researchers do not clearly state to which service environments, and to which countries, their findings apply.

Furthermore, Martin and Pranter (1989) do not refer to the customers’ satisfaction with the service experience but to their satisfaction with other patrons’ public behavior.

Building on the findings by Martin and Pranter (1989), in 1996, Martin attempted to gain further insights into the impact of other customers on satisfaction. In his study, Martin (1996) investigated customers’ satisfaction with 32 behaviors in which customers may engage in public. These behaviors had been generated in focus groups conducted prior to the questionnaire development phase. Subsequently, questionnaires asking respondents to rate their degree of satisfaction with each of these behaviors were sent to 1,731 participants of an international bowling tournament. In order to find out whether behaviors may be perceived differently in different situations, two versions of the questionnaire were developed. One version of the questionnaire asked respondents to rate their satisfaction with other customers’ behavior in a “restaurant” setting, whereas the second version was set in a “bowling center” environment.

Martin’s (1996) research showed that other patrons’ public behavior does influence customers’ satisfaction. In addition, Martin (1996) was able to provide evidence of differences between the two service environments. Some behaviors were regarded as more satisfying in bowling centers than in restaurants. However, the findings also indicated that most behaviors are probably perceived in a similar way in both settings.

Furthermore, in a principle components analysis, Martin (1996) identified seven factors which may be used to describe the behaviors shown by fellow customers (see Appendix 3).

Finally, t-tests and one-way ANOVAs were used to find whether ratings of respondents differed among demographic and other classifications. It was found that age and gender were the most discriminating variables. Thus, customer segments seemed to vary in their tolerance of other customers’ public behavior, which may be regarded as a confirmation of Martin and Pranter’s (1989) assumption that satisfaction with other customers’ behaviors may be individual-specific.

In conclusion, Martin’s (1996) study is another valuable contribution to evaluating the impact of other customers on satisfaction with the service encounter.

McGrath and Otnes (1995) undertook research which can be regarded as being conceptually similar to Martin’s (1996). In their study, conducted in a retail environment, McGrath and Otnes (1995) attempted to reveal interpersonal influences between “unacquainted influencers”. To this end, they used both observations of shoppers in retail settings and interviews with female participants. In addition, to receive more immediate information, the authors accompanied several informants on shopping trips.

McGrath and Otnes (1995) were able to identify 11 types of behaviors resulting from customer-to-customer interactions in the retail setting. They observed 6 “overt” influences, i.e. influences that involve “face-to-face encounters and interactions between strangers” (McGrath and Otnes 1995, p.263). Examples of these include help-seekers, who ask other shoppers for information, proactive helpers, who helped others without being asked to, and reactive helpers, who respond to requests for help.

In addition, “covert” interpersonal influences, i.e. influences that “do not involve actual face-to-face encounters” were identified (McGrath and Otnes 1995, p.267). In this case, only one of the two people involved was aware of the influence that was being exerted. As an example, the follower would follow others to see what they buy and thus reduce the risk of making a wrong product choice (see Appendix 4 for a complete list of influences).

Another interesting observation made by McGrath and Otnes (1995) was that most encounters among strangers involved oral interactions. Thus, McGrath and Otnes (1995) were able to provide a typology of customer-to-customer interactions in the retail setting.

Nevertheless, what is even more interesting is that they observed emotional reactions among those involved in the interactions. These reactions included amusement, gratitude and enjoyment as well as disgust, avoidance and annoyance (McGrath and Otnes 1995, p.268).

It is particularly the latter observation which makes the contributions by McGrath and Otnes (1995) highly relevant to the topic of this work since emotions may play a role in the formation of satisfaction.

Although the study by McGrath and Otnes (1995) includes examples of oral interactions among strangers, the main goal of the study was to provide a general typology of behaviors of fellow consumers in the servicescape. In contrast, other researchers have investigated the impact of oral interactions on satisfaction.

An interesting study investigating the impact of conversations on satisfaction in a retail context was published by Harris, Davies and Baron (1997). In their experimentally controlled research on oral interactions in a ladies’ clothing retailing context, Harris, Davies and Baron (1997) found that conversations with a patron led to significantly higher levels of perceived satisfaction than conversations with the shop assistant, thus confirming a positive impact of oral interactions on satisfaction.

Similarly, Davies, Baron and Harris (1999) found that positive customer-to-customer interactions experienced while waiting in line may enhance the service experience.

Another article worth mentioning is a paper published by Parker and Ward (2000). The aim of their work was to gain further knowledge of the roles played by customers in the service encounter. While their work is similar to McGrath and Otnes’ (1995), in this case, there was a clear focus on oral interactions.

In order to gain insight into the frequency of oral interactions as well as into the roles adopted during customer-to-customer interactions, Parker and Ward (2000) adopted a two-step methodology. In the first stage, they tried to establish the frequency and content of oral interactions by administering questionnaires to customers in a garden center in the UK. The second stage consisted of conducting in-depth telephone interviews with 10 of the respondents identified in stage one.

The results from stage one indicated that over half of the respondents had sometimes, or more frequently, spoken to others during visits in the garden center. In addition, the roles of other customers cited by respondents included help seekers, reactive helpers and proactive helpers, thus paralleling McGrath and Otnes’ (1995) findings.

In stage two, apart from elaborating on the findings of stage one, insights into the consequences of customer-to-customer interactions were gained. 30 different responses on consequences were obtained which were subsequently categorized into 5 groups (see Appendix 5).

It is highly interesting to note that of these 30 consequences mentioned by respondents, only three were negative (Parker and Ward 2000, p.351). Parker and Ward (2000, p.351) comment these findings as follows: “This highlights the positive role these interactions can play in terms of improving the quality of service experience and, in many cases, life in general”.

Thus, whereas Martin and Pranter (1989) and Martin (1996), in their studies of the behaviors of other customers mainly observed a negative impact on satisfaction, Davies, Baron and Harris (1999) and Parker and Ward (2000), who focused on oral interactions, found evidence of positive consequences.

Another noteworthy study was published by Harris and Baron (2004). In their investigation of railway passengers in the UK, they found that oral interactions can act as diffusers to dissatisfaction through increasing the threshold of tolerance in case of service inadequacies, and thus have a stabilizing effect.

The stabilizing effect was found to consist of 3 components. First, oral interactions were found to reduce consumer risk/anxiety. An example of this effect would be rail travelers asking others for information. The advice of other passengers could be of particularly high importance when the service provider did not provide enough information. The roles adopted in this case parallel McGrath and Otnes’ (1995) help seekers.

The second component of the stabilizing effect was that of customers adopting the roles of “partial employees”. In this case, passengers offered others advice without being asked for it. Thus, this role is equivalent to McGrath and Otnes’ (1995) proactive helper.

Finally, conversations between strangers were found to act as a “supply of social interaction” (Harris and Baron 2004, p.295). As an example, passengers would start conversations to fight the boredom on rail journeys.

Another interesting finding of this study was the observation that those conversations among customers that had a stabilizing effect were frequently product or service-related. As an example, passengers demonstrated an understanding of the problems facing railway companies or shared their frustration with other travelers, which improved their service experience.

Thus, Harris and Baron’s (2004) 9-month study did not only show that the behaviors identified by McGrath and Otnes (1995) might occur in several service settings, but also that several of these behaviors might have a stabilizing effect on customer dissatisfaction.

While the researchers mentioned above all take the effects of customer-to-customer interactions on satisfaction into account, little research has been conducted specifically on the link between customer-to-customer interactions and service outcomes. An exception to this is a research project undertaken by Moore, Moore and Capella (2005). The aim of their research, conducted in hair salons in the USA, was to find out whether atmospherics influence customer-to-customer interactions (CCI) and to subsequently assess the impact of customer-to-customer interactions on loyalty to the firm, firm word-of-mouth and, more importantly, satisfaction with the firm.

Moore, Moore and Capella (2005) assumed that positive CCI would positively influence each of these dependent variables. In addition, they expected higher levels of perceived service atmospherics to have a positive impact on CCI effects.

The results of their survey were surprising. While it was confirmed that salon atmospherics are a significant predictor of CCI and that more positive CCI increase loyalty to the firm as well as word-of-mouth, no evidence of increased satisfaction could be found. Moore, Moore and Capella (2005) suggest that the reason for the missing link between CCI and satisfaction may be that satisfaction with the hair salon is based on outcomes rather than CCI.

When interpreting the results of Moore, Moore and Capella’s (2005) study, one should not neglect the fact that their definition of “customer-to-customer interactions” deviates from the ones used by the researchers mentioned above. Thus, following the suggestions of other researchers, such as Arnould and Price (1993), who mainly undertook research in the field of relationship marketing, they used the following manifestations of CCI to develop the items of their questionnaire: “the formation of interpersonal bonds such as friendship”, “enjoyment of time spent in the service environment with other customers” and “encountering friends in the service environment” (Moore, Moore and Capella 2005, p.486).

Consequently, many items of their questionnaire refer to friendships, or at least ongoing relationships, with other customers. Therefore, Moore, Moore and Capella’s (2005) definition of CCI clearly shows a strong similarity to the concepts used in relationship marketing, whereas most other researchers mentioned above tend to focus on interactions between strangers when writing about CCI.

Another study conceptually similar to Moore, Moore and Capella’s is Guenzi and Pelloni’s (2004) research on the impact of interpersonal relationships among customers on customer satisfaction and loyalty to the service provider. In contrast to Moore, Moore and Capella (2005), Guenzi and Pelloni (2004) explicitly state that “interpersonal relationships”, or, more precisely “friendship relationships”, are the core of their work. The research was undertaken in a medium-size fitness centre in Northern Italy.

Again, the findings were surprising: No relationship could be found between interpersonal relationships between customers and customer satisfaction or loyalty to the firm, thus paralleling Moore, Moore and Capella’s (2005) findings.

Guenzi and Pelloni (2004) explain these results by the fact that they did not distinguish between friendships created during the service delivery and those existing before becoming a member of the fitness centre. In addition, they assume that the customers may not perceive relationships as a component of the offering of the firm.

Again, although in this thesis, “relationships among customers” rather than customer interactions among strangers were the focus of research, it is nevertheless interesting to note that obviously, ongoing relationships did not have any impact on satisfaction with the service provider. This may indicate that the need for further research about interactions among strangers is more pronounced than the need for information on friendships among customers in the servicescape.

3.2. Grove and Fisk’s (1997) Study

Grove and Fisk (1997) were the first to realize that none of the studies available by 1997 focused on identifying all the specific sources of influence on service experiences posed by other customers present in the service encounter. Instead, they each investigated certain phenomena, such as crowding (e.g. Hui and Bateson 1991) or oral interactions (e.g. Harris, Baron and Ratcliffe 1995), without, however, trying to capture all possible sources of other customers’ influence on customer satisfaction.

In order to address this dearth, Grove and Fisk (1997) conducted research which aimed at clarifying the following questions: Do other customers affect one’s service experience? Specifically, in what way do other customers affect one’s service experience? And finally, does the effect of other customers upon one’s service experience vary across individuals?

The data collection was carried out among tourists visiting attractions in Central Florida, such as amusement parks, museums, etc. Local residents and respondents below 18 years were not eligible as respondents. In order to gain in-depth knowledge on an under-researched topic, the “Critical Incident Technique” was used by the researchers, which will be presented in greater detail in Chapter 4.

The results showed that 56.8% of the respondents reported that other customers sharing the servicescape with them had significantly affected their service experience. The service experience was defined as the customers’ satisfaction with the tourist attraction. Therefore, one can assume that others do affect one’s service experience. However, it is worth noting that 43.2% of the respondents indicated that others present in the servicescape had not significantly affected their satisfaction with the service.

In general, Grove and Fisk (1997) found that respondents who were older and more educated or with a higher income and from the USA were more likely to report critical incidents caused by other customers sharing the servicescape.

In order to answer the second research question, the critical incidents gathered were grouped into different categories (see Appendices 6 and 7). Two primary categories were established: Protocol incidents and sociability incidents. Protocol incidents were those, where other customers present ignored, or respected, explicitly or implicitly stated rules. Sociability incidents, on the other hand, referred to “customers’ perceptions of their fellow patrons’ sociability” (Grove and Fisk 1997, p.71). These two primary categories were further broken down into 6 secondary categories.

Among incidents identified as protocol incidents, 4 secondary categories were discovered: Physical incidents in line, verbal incidents in line, other incidents in line and other protocol incidents. Negative physical incidents in line frequently included, for example, other patrons cutting in line. On the other hand, positive physical incidents often included people being very polite in line. Positive verbal incidents frequently involved pleasant conversations among customers whereas negative verbal incidents often referred to others talking loudly or cursing. Other incidents in line included helping behavior, smoking or passing gas. Finally, other protocol incidents included those incidents not linked to waiting in line. These involved, among others, returning dropped wallets but also offensive behavior such as infant wailing and spitting on another’s foot (Grove and Fisk 1997).

Concerning sociability incidents, two secondary categories were found. These involved friendly and unfriendly incidents, on the one, and ambience incidents on the other hand. The first category included others being amiable as well as distant or rude. The second category, in contrast, referred to how “the mere presence of others in the servicescape made one feel” (Grove and Fisk 1997, p.74). These included crowding, as negative incidents, as well as expressions of one’s satisfaction with others showing excitement or enthusiasm, as positive critical incidents. In addition, Grove and Fisk (1997) noted that in general, respondents’ sociability incidents were more positive (56.5%), whereas protocol incidents tended to be more negative (57.4%). In general, it was found that 48.8% of all incidents reported were positive and 51.2% were negative.

Concerning the question of whether the effect of other customers upon one’s service experience varies across individuals, it was found that none of the demographic variables, such as country of origin, age, education, marital status, presence of children, income and gender, was statistically significant as far as its likelihood for reporting a satisfying incident is concerned. However, concerning negative critical incidents, it was found that marital status and the presence of children were related to the likelihood of reporting dissatisfying events.

Closer inspections of these results showed that married participants were more likely to report protocol incidents (64.8%) than sociability incidents (35.2%). On the other hand, singles tended to be more concerned about sociability incidents (55.7%) than about protocol incidents (44.3%).

Furthermore, it was found that “twice as many respondents with children reported dissatisfactory physical events than respondents without children” (Grove and Fisk 1997, p.76).

The results of the study caused Grove and Fisk (1997) to come to many interesting conclusions. As an example, although they found that many people recalled positive critical incidents caused by other customers, the majority of incidents were dissatisfying. In terms of absolute numbers, one fourth of all respondents asked indicated that other customers present in the servicescape had reduced their satisfaction with the service. Thus, Grove and Fisk (1997) suggest that it may be necessary to manage customer lines in order to reduce the likelihood of dissatisfying service experiences linked to other customers.

Furthermore, Grove and Fisk (1997) observed that significant differences in people’s evaluations of other customers’ behaviors were all linked to characteristics that can easily be observed such as age, nationality, etc. As an example, many customers complained about “foreigners”. In addition, younger customers would frequently note that older patrons were aggressive whereas older customers would complain about the rudeness of younger people present in the servicescape. Grove and Fisk (1997) note that “…the very fact that these customer characteristics are easily recognized makes it more likely that service managers and employees could anticipate and prevent problems” (Grove and Fisk 1997, p.79).

In addition, Grove and Fisk (1997) conclude that it may be very difficult to simultaneously satisfy all customers in the servicescape. They assume that educating customers “as to the type of behavior expected from them” (Grove and Fisk 1997, p.78) could be a promising measures to reduce dissatisfaction caused by other customers’ behavior.

Finally, Grove and Fisk (1997) found that people tend to behave differently when they are “out of town”. As a result, many respondents indicated that they felt distressed by groups of loud “foreigners”. Therefore, Grove and Fisk (1997) suggest that management should be prepared to reduce possible tension between “foreigners” and “locals”.

In conclusion, Grove and Fisk’s (1997) study can be regarded as a highly valuable contribution to the body of knowledge. The researchers showed that other customers can significantly influence one’s satisfaction with a service and uncovered several categories of positive and negative influences of other patrons. Finally, they indicated that actively managing the behavior of other customers could lead to increased satisfaction with a service.

3.3. Justifications for Replicating and Extending Grove and Fisk’s (1997) Study

The following sections will outline why a replication and extension of Grove and Fisk’s (1997) appears necessary. First of all, the shortcomings of Grove and Fisk’s (1997) study will be presented. Second, the research findings and conceptual models published after Grove and Fisk’s (1997) study will be outlined. Third, general arguments in favor of replication studies will be given. Fourth, the research gap will be presented. Finally, the benefits of replicating and extending Grove and Fisk’s (1997) study will be discussed.

[...]


1 Other evaluation outcomes discussed in the services marketing literature are, for example, perceptions of service quality and long-term loyalty to the service organization (Fisk, Brown and Bitner 1993; Solomon et al . 1985).

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Title
Evaluating the impact of other customers on service experiences - A replication and extension
College
University of Vienna
Grade
sehr gut
Author
Year
2008
Pages
160
Catalog Number
V112581
ISBN (eBook)
9783640108572
ISBN (Book)
9783640110094
File size
1482 KB
Language
English
Keywords
Evaluating
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Mag. Julia Grillmair (Author), 2008, Evaluating the impact of other customers on service experiences - A replication and extension, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/112581

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