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Drivers of customers' service experiences: a customer perspective on co-creation of restaurant services, focusing on interactions, processes and activities
Örebro University, School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts & Meal Science.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is essential for service companies to understand how their customer service experiences are formed. This is especially important since service experiences are highly subjective and involve customers cognitively, emotionally and behaviorally. Although customer service experiences are a well recognised research topic in both, culinary arts and service research, dynamic interactions, activities and the customers’ active involvement have so far gained little attention. As a consequence the approach in previous research paints a rather static picture of customer service experiences. By introducing the principles of service dominant logic a first person view and the understanding of drivers of customer service experiences could be facilitated. The overall aim of the thesis is to extend and deepen the understandin of drivers of favourable and unfavourable customer service experiences.The context selected is the restaurant context. The overall aim is reflected in four intermediate aims. Two separate studies were conducted. First a two-stage questionnaire based study, describing the phone reservation encounter compared to dining satisfaction; second a critical incident technique study including 195 short narratives of customers’ favourable and unfavourable service experiences at restaurants. Interview data were analysed according to constant comparative analysis principles.The main empirical contributions of this thesis are the move from static descriptions of service to examining dynamic drivers of favourable and unfavourable customers’ service experiences, and especially the analysis of social interactions as a driver of service experiences and the categorisation of drivers. Theoretically the thesis introduces the experience driver constellation, reflecting the dynamic process of co-creation in specific situations,when favourable and unfavourable customer service experiences are formed. Suggestions are made to develop the Five Aspects Meal Model and the Experience Room Framework through the addition of actors, the exterior environment and organisational routines to the models.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet , 2011. , 108 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Culinary Arts and Meal Science, ISSN 1652-2974 ; 8
Keyword [en]
customer service experience, experience driver, dynamic, restaurant, co-creation, critical incident technique, phone encounters, experience room, servicescape, social interaction
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-14826ISBN: 978-91-7668-790-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-14826DiVA: diva2:403140
Public defence
2011-05-20, Gastronomiska teatern, Campus Grythyttan, Sörälgsvägen 2, Grythyttan, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-03-11 Created: 2011-03-11 Last updated: 2011-06-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Customer experiences of phone encounters in a restaurant context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Customer experiences of phone encounters in a restaurant context
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The research presented in this paper focuses on table reservations made by phone regarded as early events in customers’ total restaurant experiences. A majority of table reservations still are made by phone and there is little research about how reservation phone encounters at restaurants are handled in practice. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe how restaurants handle customers’ reservation phone calls, as documented by customers and whether these voice-to-voice encounters influence customers’ expectations. In addition, customers’ satisfaction with the total dining experience was examined and compared with customers’ perception of the phone encounter. The study was conducted in two steps. First, 209 phone encounters were documented by restaurant customers. Second, customers’ satisfaction with their dining experience was examined using a survey and 47 observations of customers’ ratings of these two points of measurement were compared. The results indicate that organizational routines such as phone reservations and how they are treated by restaurants are an important precondition for customers’ service experiences. For restaurants, especially exclusive à la carte restaurants, there is potential to further develop how they handle phone encounters towards a more proactive approach, keeping in mind that a phone reservation is not only a formal order, but also part of a customer’s total experience.

National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Household Science; Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-15254 (URN)
Available from: 2011-04-13 Created: 2011-04-13 Last updated: 2012-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Drivers of customers’ service experiences: a study in the restaurant industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Drivers of customers’ service experiences: a study in the restaurant industry
2010 (English)In: Managing Service Quality, ISSN 0960-4529, ISSN 0960-4529, Vol. 20, no 3, 236-258 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify, portray and analyse the frequent drivers of customer service experiences as described by customers in their own words – the voice of the customer.

Design/methodology/approach – A critical incident technique study was conducted, based on 122 interviews, including 195 favourable and unfavourable narratives, about customer experiences. The data were analysed in an inductive manner and the results are presented by means of extracts from the narratives.

Findings – The findings describe the dimensions of drivers of customers' favourable and unfavourable experiences and the frequent drivers, the social interaction, the core service and the physical context.

Research limitations/implications – Customer experiences are processes and include dynamic interactions and the customer as a co-producer. The study context is limited to the restaurant setting and Swedish customers.

Practical implications – For managers the results suggest that great effort needs to be put into understanding the process of customer experiences and the various interactions involved, especially social interactions and the crucial roles of contact employees and customers involved in these interactions.

Originality/value – The paper provides a detailed description and analysis of the frequent and less frequent drivers of favourable, and unfavourable customer experiences – the constellation of drivers. The findings are illustrated by extracts from customer narratives and show how experiences occur and that experiences are processes occurring in a social and physical environment when people do things together. Furthermore, the paper introduces customer experience to service dominant logic by describing the dynamics of resource interactions in customer experience formation.

National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-12032 (URN)10.1108/09604521011041961 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-10-05 Created: 2010-10-05 Last updated: 2011-06-20Bibliographically approved
3. The physical environment as a driver of customers' service experiences at restaurants
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The physical environment as a driver of customers' service experiences at restaurants
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, ISSN 1756-669X, Vol. 4, no 2, 104-119 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to analyze and describe the drivers in the physical environment that help to form customers' service experiences at restaurants, as described by customers in their own words.

Design/methodology/approach – A critical incident study was conducted through 122 interviews resulting in a total of 195 favourable and unfavourable customer service experiences in restaurants. Data were analysed inductively in accordance with the principles of constant comparison and the results were interpreted by regarding customers as creators of their own meaning.

Findings – The physical environment has both a functional and a social dimension and it is an important driver of customer service experiences in restaurants. Customers interact with these drivers individually and create their own meanings and value expressed as feelings, thoughts, imagination and behaviour.

Research limitations/implications – The results develop the tenets of service-dominant logic by offering some insight into customers' own logic in value creation and the design of the physical restaurant environment.

Practical implications – Customers actively construct their own individual meanings from the physical environment, throughout the whole service process, indicating that the customer service experience is not controlled solely by restaurant management. As some drivers are only experienced in their absence or when they are noticeably disturbing or pleasing, it is important for managers to understand these dimensions in order to treat them appropriately. Both favourable and unfavourable service experiences need to be considered.

Originality/value – The physical environment can be described as a dynamic driver which includes a social dimension and customers are regarded as active creators of their own experience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald, 2012
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Food Science
Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-15255 (URN)10.1108/17566691211232864 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-04-13 Created: 2011-04-13 Last updated: 2012-06-13Bibliographically approved
4. Social interactions as drivers of customers' service experiences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social interactions as drivers of customers' service experiences
2010 (English)In: Marketing, strategy, economics, operations & human resources: insights on service activities / [ed] Pierre Eiglier, James Fitzsimmons, Katherine Lemon, Douglas Pugh, Aix-en-Provence: University Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III , 2010, 771-790 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Aix-en-Provence: University Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, 2010
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Culinary Arts and Meal Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-12035 (URN)
Conference
11th international research seminar in service management
Note
Conference: The LaLonde Conference in Service Management, 11th International Research Seminar in Service Management, Marketing, Strategy, Economics, Operations and Human Resources: Insights on Service Activities. LaLondes Les Maures, IAE Aix en Provence, Graduate School of Management, University Paul Cézanne, France. 2010 Proceedings: 771-790, reviewed conference paper. Available from: 2010-10-05 Created: 2010-10-05 Last updated: 2011-04-29Bibliographically approved

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