Despite the acknowledged important of interpersonal interaction in the service encounter, there remain gaps for further investigation particularly on uncovering dimensions of service quality pertaining to behaviors during the interpersonal interaction and the resultant responses from customers. The study investigates customer responses to service encounters characterized by a high degree of service providers�� assertiveness, and the individual factors moderating the resultant responses. The first of two formal experiments examines the effects of service providers�� assertive behavior on participants�� satisfaction. The second examines the extent to which the level of product knowledge moderates the effect of such assertive behavior on customer reactions. The results suggest that, assertive behavior may be detrimental when it is unexpected. However, product knowledge constitutes an important boundary condition, in that the negative effect of over-assertive behavior on customer satisfaction is limited to customers with high product knowledge. Such individuals may react negatively to service providers�� assertiveness as a way of boosting their sense of self-reliance. The nature and findings of this study offer several recommendations for service management. Service providers can achieve to improve the service experience and satisfaction of customers by placing emphasis on the need for managing influence tactics. Staff may need to be more strategic in exerting suggestive attempts, so as to meet the needs of specific customers. Too great an increase may in fact be an obstacle to positive evaluations for customers with high product knowledge.
Hsuan-Hsuan Ku, Soochow University, Taiwan
I-Chi Chiu, Soochow University, Taiwan
Stream: Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting
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