Open Universiteit

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1820/9800
Title: The influence of employee satisfaction on customer satisfaction - -the moderating effect of customer contact channels
Authors: Gijsbertse, R
Keywords: Customer Satisfaction
Employee Satisfaction
Customer Communication Contact Channel
Media Richness
Satisfaction Mirror
Issue Date: 9-Apr-2018
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: In response to the increasingly competitive markets and volatile market dynamics, firms nowadays should focus on service marketing strategies and tactics to differentiate themselves from their competitors. One way for firms to achieve a competitive advantage is by focussing on Customer Satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is especially important for service business because (dis)satisfaction is a prerequisite for complaint-, word-of-mouth behaviour and loyalty. A substantial body of research has been devoted to the link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction and utilizing the emotional contagion as the theoretical base. The implicit assumption is that in retail and service environments, the interaction (verbal cues, body language, and emotional displays) between customers and employees is likely to positively affect customer satisfaction. However, service organizations nowadays are increasingly utilizing advanced information and communication technologies, such as the internet to interact with customers. There is a clear movement away from face-to-face contact towards online and technology-mediated methods. Therefore, this early description of customer contact limited to physical presence needs to be updated to include virtual presence as well. Specifically, this study explores two major relationships: (H1) the direct relationship between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction; and (H2) the impact of the type of Customer Communication Channel on customer satisfaction within service companies utilizing the emotional contagion and the information richness as the theoretical base. This research is based on dyadic data, that is, data involving judgement by employees and their customers. Consequently, two survey instruments were needed to test proposed hypotheses, one to measure overall employee satisfaction and one to measure overall customer satisfaction. By applying this procedure, we received 95 usable dyadic cases, a total of 198 employees and 4114 customers produced the data which was used to test the hypotheses. Regression analysis was utilized to empirically test (H1) the proposed direct relationship between the Employee Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction. Analysis of covariance was utilized to empirically test (H2) the indirect effect of customer contact channels on the level of Customer Satisfaction. Findings suggested that Employee Satisfaction, was positively but not significantly related to Customer Satisfaction. Also, media richness theory poorly predicted an (in)direct effect of the Customer Contact Channel on the level of Customer Satisfaction. The complex interaction between employees and customers cannot completely be captured in a framework as simplistic as emotional contagion. The affect transfer alone is insufficient to account for the link between employee- and customer satisfaction. An important direction for future research is to conduct more studies of the media richness theory that more closely examine the nature of tasks in the interaction between employee and customers. Researchers argue that task-oriented activities (such as information exchange, or problem solving) can be carried out equally well using any customer contact channel but that not all customer contact channels are suitable for tasks requiring high personal involvement (such as sales).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1820/9800
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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