PurposeThe authors investigate how employee social support impacts children’s perceptions of service quality of a child helpline chat service and the chatters’ immediate well-being. Specifically, the purpose of this study is to examine how action-facilitating support, nurturant support and emotional reflections influence the children and to test whether this impact varies depending upon the controllability of the issues discussed.Design/methodology/approachThe authors develop hypotheses about the influence of social support and controllability on children’s perceived service quality and well-being. Chat conversations are coded on the social support given by the employee and the controllability of the issue. Questionnaires are collected to measure children’s service quality and well-being. Using structural equation modeling, hypotheses are tested with a sample of 662 children and chat conversations of a child helpline.FindingsThe study reveals that for children chatting about controllable issues, nurturant support and negative emotional reflections negatively influence the immediate well-being of these children. Positive emotional reflections positively influence immediate well-being. For children chatting about uncontrollable issues, nurturant support and negative emotional responses positively influence the perceived service quality.Originality/valueThis study contributes to the services marketing literature by broadening the current understanding of the impact of social support on children’s service quality perceptions and well-being, and by showing how this impact is moderated by the level of controllability of the issue discussed.
Journal of Services Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 10, 2017