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The impact of customer-to-customer interactions in a high personal contact service setting

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Purpose ‐ To empirically examine the development and influence that customer-to-customer interactions (CCI) have in a high personal contact setting. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Using responses from patrons of different hair salons, the role that salon atmospherics had on the formation of CCI was assessed. Then, the relative influence of CCI on satisfaction with the firm, loyalty to the firm and firm word-of-mouth, in a model of service outcomes, was examined. Findings ‐ Results indicate that atmospherics do influence CCI, which in turn is a strong predictor of loyalty to the firm and positive word-of-mouth. Research limitations/implications ‐ Care should be taken when generalizing these findings to other service settings. It should be noted that all female respondents were generally more educated and had higher incomes than the general population. Practical implications ‐ This study suggests that positive perceptions of atmospherics will lead to positive CCI effects. If managers determine that they would like to enhance the quality of CCI, they should incorporate changes to the physical settings that enhance the type of interactions they desire. Originality/value ‐ In terms of how to assess CCI, the authors provide a simple four-item scale which can be used by managers to assess the degree in which their customers interact and the effect that the interaction has on their experience.

Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Customer loyalty; Interpersonal relations; Services marketing; Social interaction

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-12-01

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