University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

What goes on between customers? A cross-industry study of customer-to-customer interaction

Nicholls, Richard (2020) What goes on between customers? A cross-industry study of customer-to-customer interaction. Journal of Service Theory and Practice, 30 (2). pp. 123-147. ISSN 2055-6225

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Purpose – This study aims to provide service managers and researchers with a deeper understanding of the direct on-site interactions taking place between customers.
Design/methodology/approach – Using the Critical Incident Technique (CIT), 284 incidents are analysed to develop a typology of how service customers experience direct on-site CCI.

Findings – The research reveals a wide range of CCI. A typology consisting of nine distinct categories of CCI emerged: (1) shared use space, (2) assigned space and possessions, (3) information provision, (4) assistance, (5) social conversations, (6) disrespectful attitude, (7) queuing discipline, (8) transaction efficiency, and (9) undesired customers and ‘camouflaged customers’. These categories can accommodate a multitude of customer behaviours that impact, negatively or positively, on the service experience of other customers.

Research limitations/implications – Future studies could be conducted following a more inclusive research design capable of gaining CCI insights from employees and managers.

Practical implications – Practitioners can use the typology to systematically identify the full range of specific CCI behaviours affecting their businesses. It also assists them in the analysis and understanding of individual C2C (customer-to-customer) interactions. For academics the typology makes available a comprehensive framework to guide future research into CCI.

Originality/value – The study constitutes the first systematic attempt to classify direct on-site CCI across a wide range of services. The typology, unrestricted by any single-industry bias, is robust and conceptually broad, and therefore highly portable across service industries.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

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

The Author Accepted Manuscript is deposited under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial International Licence 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0). Any reuse is allowed in accordance with the terms outlined by the licence. To reuse the AAM for commercial purposes, permission should be sought by contacting

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Customer-to-customer interaction (CCI), Customer service management; Critical Incident Technique; Typology, IRWRG
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: 06 Mar 2020 11:11
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2023 14:07

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