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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, 33 (7). pp. 798-814. ISSN 0887-6045

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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

© Emerald Publishing Limited

Staff and students at the University of Worcester can access the full-text of the online published article via the UW online library search. External users should check availability with their local library or Interlibrary Requests Service.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Customer-to-customer, Qualitative research, Service encounter, Service recovery, Frontline service employees
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Richard Nicholls
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 10:22
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:33
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/8876

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