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Purpose – The success of many high‐contact services depends on customers' compliance with providers' instructions. While existing service marketing literature urges increased attention to customer compliance, there is, to date, little research investigating its role of compliance in service settings. Based on social cognitive theory, this study aims to fill this important research gap, developing and testing a model to explore the antecedents and consequences of customer compliance in high‐contact service settings. Service friendship is included as a mediator between the antecedents and compliance. Two control variables, relationship duration and contact frequency, were also included in the model. Design/methodology/approach – A research framework is proposed to suggest the antecedents and consequences of both service friendship and customer compliance. Extant research from various research streams is reviewed, deriving 11 hypotheses. Data collected from customers of high‐contact service industries are examined through structural equation modeling. Findings – Results show that the service provider's social skills, customer orientation, and expertise are positively related to service friendship and customer compliance, which in turn affect customer satisfaction and anticipated future interaction. The control variables are also both positively associated with service friendship and anticipated future interaction. Research limitations/implications – This research represents an early attempt at explaining what affects customer compliance in high‐contact service settings. Future research directions are discussed, with emphasis on incorporating customer characteristics, service interaction characteristics, and employee viewpoints to better understand service friendship and compliance in different service settings. Practical implications – Customer compliance is a vital component of high‐contact service interactions between employees and customers. Service managers should encourage the formation of customer compliance in conjunction with service friendship to achieve better service outcomes. Originality/value – This study represents the first study in the service marketing literature to establish a model that explains the mechanism of customer compliance in general service settings. The addition of two control variables representing relationship quantity also enhances the originality and contribution of this study.
Journal of Service Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 11, 2011
Keywords: High‐contact service; Customer compliance; Service friendship; Customer satisfaction; Anticipation of future interaction; Customer relations
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