University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Management of customer-to-customer interaction (CCI) by the front-line employee (FLE) in the supermarket industry

Kay, Alex (2020) Management of customer-to-customer interaction (CCI) by the front-line employee (FLE) in the supermarket industry. PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

Text (PhD Thesis)
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Research examining the impact of fellow customers on the service experience is well
documented within the marketing literature. However, little attention has been paid to the
supermarket industry from the perspective of the front-line employee. This study addresses the
need for the employee perspective on customer-to-customer interactions (CCI) and identifies
the management techniques that are utilised by front-line employees in a service heavy
environment. Utilising the critical incidents technique, 49 participants were interviewed across
three different locations, 22 employees and 27 customers. The findings identified that FLEs do
possess the ability to spot and recall CCI, with the study producing typologies from both
perspectives. The findings indicated that some types of CCIs were unique to the FLE viewpoint
and not noted by customers. Additionally, the management of CCI from the FLEs perspective
is captured in a conceptual framework that showcases CCI management is a process that
requires FLEs utilising judgement rather than traditional scripting methods. FLEs identify that
many of their techniques originated from experience rather than training. For service
researchers, several recommendations are made to further develop the understanding of CCI
management including the testing of the conceptual framework in various other industries. It
is also recommended that the CCI management techniques are further explored to identify the
success or failure of the tactics from the customer perspective. For service managers and FLEs,
recommendation was made to improve the current training system and incorporate EBM into
their organisational strategy. Organisations currently utilise scripting and set techniques, which
were not deemed applicable within this study, but should focus on empowering employees to
use their judgement. The wide range of recommendations should stimulate investigation into
many new avenues for CCI from both customer and employee perspectives.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
2020. University of Worcester.
Supervisory team: Dr Richard Nicholls and Dr Catharine
A pdf file of this thesis is available to download from this WRaP record.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: marketing, supermarket industry, customer-to-customer interactions, front-line employees, management techniques
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Alex Kay
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2021 10:28
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2021 10:28

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