Purpose – The purpose of the study is to explore and compare customer perceptions of service encounter behavior in the USA and the Republic of Korea and to identify the relationship of the underlying behavioral dimensions to customer satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire was designed to collect data in the USA and Korea. Exploratory factor analysis was employed to extract the most distinct set of behavioral dimensions underlying each culture. Predictive validity was examined using correlations and regression analysis. Findings – Key differences were found between US and Korean restaurant customers' perceptions of wait‐staff behavior and their impact on performance. While personalization was a significant predictor of satisfaction in the US sample, concern was a significant predictor for the Koreans. Courtesy and civility were important to both samples. Practical implications – Customer satisfaction is strongly influenced by employee behavior. To ensure success in international markets, service providers should recognize and understand the differences that potentially exist based on nationality and culture. Resources allocation decisions pertaining to training and service provision should be designed to effectively respond to local customer needs. Originality/value – Previous research seeking to explain customer satisfaction has for the most part overlooked the interaction between the customer and the service provider. This research extends previous work by examining cross‐cultural differences and intends to provide a better understanding of restaurant customers in the USA and Korea, as well as to enable restaurant operators and managers to better service their clientele in the global marketplace.
Managing Service Quality – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 22, 2007
Keywords: Cross‐cultural management; Customer satisfaction; Service levels; Employee behaviour; Food service; Restaurants
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