University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Managing customer-to-customer interaction (CCI) – insights from the frontline

Nicholls, Richard and Gad Mohsen, M. (2019) Managing customer-to-customer interaction (CCI) – insights from the frontline. Journal of Services Marketing. ISSN 0887-6045 (In Press)

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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.

Item Type: Article
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© Emerald Publishing Limited

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Customer-to-customer, Qualitative research, Service encounter, Service recovery, Frontline service employees
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: Divisions (2019 onwards) > College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
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Depositing User: Richard Nicholls
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 10:22
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2019 13:15

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