PurposeThis research aims to investigate how backstage visibility affects intangibility and perceived risk at the pre-purchase stage and how service credence moderates the effect of backstage visibility on intangibility and perceived risk. It also focuses on the effect of backstage visibility on perceived service quality and value at the post-purchase stage and the moderating role of the service contact level.Design/methodology/approachThis research tests the causal relationships between backstage visibility and customers’ service evaluations through two experimental studies.FindingsStudy 1 shows that customers who are exposed to backstage cues perceive less pre-purchase risk in the service than those who are not exposed. Pictures plus text information are more effective than text illustrations alone for risk reduction. This risk reduction effect is stronger for high-credence than for low-credence services and is partially mediated by the perceived intangibility of the service. Study 2 reveals that customers with access to backstage cues perceive higher service quality and higher overall value from service experiences. The value increase is more significant for high-contact than for low-contact services.Research limitations/implicationsFuture research could apply different methods to different data sources to provide further insight about backstage visibility.Originality/valueThe findings of this research suggest that allowing customers to view some backstage activities before purchase helps tangibilize the service, achieve more effective communication with customers and create more positive service experiences.
International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 19, 2017
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