The research comprises six studies, two of which will be conducted in each of the years 2008 to 2010.
Study 1: Customer, Employee and Expert Interviews
In-depth interviews were conducted with customers, front-line service providers, managers and consultants specialising in service problems. Critical service encounter behaviours were identified. Interviews probed participants’ perceptions of the antecedents and likely consequences of these behaviours.
Study 2: Analyses of Real Service Encounters
Audio-tapes of service encounters were analysed to identify
- types of service encounter behaviours
- the character (context, antecedents, frequency) of these behaviours
- evidence as to the effects these behaviours have on participants need fulfilment, satisfaction, strain and other outcomes.
Studies 3 and 4: Experimental Evaluations of Service Encounter Interventions
These two studies will apply knowledge of critical service encounter behaviours and processes gained from the Studies 1 and 2. Aspects of service situations will be experimentally manipulated, with participants adopting either the customer or the employee perspective in these simulated service encounter. Evidence will be gained as to the effects of different behaviours on participant stress, satisfaction and loyalty.
Studies 5 and 6: Studies of Service Encounters in the Field
In the final two studies, previous findings will be taken into the field to test multivariate models of problematic service behaviours using data from real service encounters. Study 5 - to be conducted in both Australia and Germany - will involve a sample of approximately 100 service providers and 100 customers completing a questionnaire and an event-based diary focusing on service failure-related encounters. Study 6 will involve customer-service provider dyads completing anonymous questionnaires pertaining to a service interaction in which they both participated.