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Customer misbehaviour in service settings

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Customer misbehaviour in service settings

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These are the educator slides that summarise a publication customer misbehaviour in access based services (like car sharing) that has been published in the the Journal of Service Research.

Abstract: Customer misbehavior in service settings is problematic for two reasons: (1) because of the direct damage it causes and (2) because of additional negative effects that arise from the contagion of such misbehavior. The authors extend existing theory of customer misbehavior by studying its contagious effect. The investigation focuses on access-based services, defined as transactions in which multiple consumers successively gain temporal, short-term access to a good, while legal ownership remains with the service provider (e.g., car sharing and fashion rentals). Due to the nature of these services, they are especially prone to indirect customer misbehavior, which is directed at the accessed product and occurs in the absence of others. Two online experiments provide the first empirical evidence for a contagiousness of misbehavior and reveal that this effect is driven by customers’ perceptions of the social norms among the customer group. Moreover, they indicate that greater strength of the accessed product’s brand as well as lower anonymity of the accessed product’s owner attenuate contagion. A field experiment shows that an increase in the communal identification among access-based service customers reverses the contagious effect, with customers more likely to remove signs of previous users’ misbehavior. The results suggest that access-based service providers should address customer misbehavior by (a) investing in the products they offer access to, (b) establishing more personal relationships with customers, and, foremost, (c) increasing communal identification among customers.

These are the educator slides that summarise a publication customer misbehaviour in access based services (like car sharing) that has been published in the the Journal of Service Research.

Abstract: Customer misbehavior in service settings is problematic for two reasons: (1) because of the direct damage it causes and (2) because of additional negative effects that arise from the contagion of such misbehavior. The authors extend existing theory of customer misbehavior by studying its contagious effect. The investigation focuses on access-based services, defined as transactions in which multiple consumers successively gain temporal, short-term access to a good, while legal ownership remains with the service provider (e.g., car sharing and fashion rentals). Due to the nature of these services, they are especially prone to indirect customer misbehavior, which is directed at the accessed product and occurs in the absence of others. Two online experiments provide the first empirical evidence for a contagiousness of misbehavior and reveal that this effect is driven by customers’ perceptions of the social norms among the customer group. Moreover, they indicate that greater strength of the accessed product’s brand as well as lower anonymity of the accessed product’s owner attenuate contagion. A field experiment shows that an increase in the communal identification among access-based service customers reverses the contagious effect, with customers more likely to remove signs of previous users’ misbehavior. The results suggest that access-based service providers should address customer misbehavior by (a) investing in the products they offer access to, (b) establishing more personal relationships with customers, and, foremost, (c) increasing communal identification among customers.

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Customer misbehaviour in service settings

  1. 1. 1 Contagious effects of customer misbehavior in Access Based Services Schaefers, T./Wittkowski, K./Benoit, S./Ferraro, R. Journal of Service Research, 19 (1), 3-21.
  2. 2. Customer misbehavior in service settings is problematic because: – Causes direct damage – Causes additional negative effects that arise from the contagion of misbehavior Types of Misbehavior – Direct misbehavior: verbal/physical abuse; cutting the queue; unwarranted complaining – Indirect misbehavior: in absence of employee or other customer, behavior directed at the service Contagiousness effects of customer misbehavior in Access-Based Services 2 Why should we care about customer misbehavior? Relevance: Customer misbehavior in service settings Source: Schaefers, T./Wittkowski, K./Benoit, S./Ferraro, R. (2016), Contagious Effects of Customer Misbehavior in Access-Based Services, Journal of Service Research, 19 (1), 3-21. Read the entire article at doi: 10.1177/1094670515595047
  3. 3. Broken Windows Theory (Kelling and Wilson 1982) – Predicts contagion of misconduct – Postulates that urban decay (vandalized urban environments) signals previous misconduct and spawns criminal activities; directly witnessing misbehavior is not required – Suggests encountering signs of previous customer’s misbehavior is contagious – Disordered environmental conditions offer a cue that exhibiting similar misbehavior is perceived to be normal (social norm) Contagiousness effects of customer misbehavior in Access-Based Services 3 Would one broken window in a street be contagious? Theoretical foundation: Broken Windows Theory Source: Schaefers, T./Wittkowski, K./Benoit, S./Ferraro, R. (2016), Contagious Effects of Customer Misbehavior in Access-Based Services, Journal of Service Research, 19 (1), 3-21. Read the entire article at doi: 10.1177/1094670515595047
  4. 4. Contagiousness effects of customer misbehavior in Access-Based Services 4 Would the Broken Windows Theory hold in customers in “normal” service settings? Studies: Customer misbehavior in Access-Based Services Online Experiment with Questionnaire 363 German respondents of an online panel, experiment tested contagious effect of misbehavior; social norms and brand strength as buffers (moderators) of misbehaviors Online Experiment with Questionnaire 352 German respondents of an online panel, experiment tested contagious effect of previous misbehavior and product’s owner anonymity as a buffers (moderator) of misbehaviors Field Experiment 41 German students, experiment tested contagious effect of previous misbehavior and communal identification among customers as a buffer of misbehavior Previous misbehavior increases misbehavior (contagiousness) Misbehavior increases when customers believe it to be a social norm, i.e. “normal” Perception that others engage in misbehavior drives misbehavior contagion Strong product brand acts as a buffer for contagiousness of prior misbehavior High communal identification reverses misbehavior contagion; low communal identification showed no contagion found (in this study) Agrees with study 1 findings; prior misbehavior increases subsequent misbehavior Stronger perception of misbehaver being the social norm, which mediates contagion. When the owner is an identified individual, previous misbehavior is almost offset Study 3 Study 1 Study 2 Source: Schaefers, T./Wittkowski, K./Benoit, S./Ferraro, R. (2016), Contagious Effects of Customer Misbehavior in Access-Based Services, Journal of Service Research, 19 (1), 3-21. Read the entire article at doi: 10.1177/1094670515595047
  5. 5. One customer who misbehaves causes other customers to engage in similar misconduct. Following three buffers allow the reduction of misbehavior to keep other customers from being affected. Contagiousness effects of customer misbehavior in Access-Based Services 5 How Can Providers Combat Misbehavior Contagion? Implications: Factors that buffer misbehavior contagion Identified Buffers to Misbehavior Contagion Invest in brand building and product maintenance Decrease service provider anonymity Enhance identification with community Suggestions On How to Correct Behavior Use strong brands to reduce contagiousness Aim for more personal customer relationship Build a sense of brand community Source: Schaefers, T./Wittkowski, K./Benoit, S./Ferraro, R. (2016), Contagious Effects of Customer Misbehavior in Access-Based Services, Journal of Service Research, 19 (1), 3-21. Read the entire article at doi: 10.1177/1094670515595047

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