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A theatrical perspective on service performance evaluation: The customer-critic approach

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In this article, the customer-critic approach is presented as a complementary approach to existing service performance evaluation. It is based on methods, derived originally by Patrice Pavis, that have a distinguished pedigree in the evaluation of theatrical performances. An adaptation of Pavis's evaluation framework is illustrated in the context of a restaurant service performance. A focus on the work of Pavis directs attention to the mise-en-scene or metatext of a performance as a vehicle for consumer analysis, and explicitly acknowledges the value of nurturing and enhancing the critical capacity of an audience. Although an audience should be made aware of the main components of a performance, most importantly they should be encouraged to take a holistic, rather than fragmented, view of what is being presented. In addition, unlike other research approaches, the customer-critic process involves customers before, during, and after the performance, and builds in the opportunity for both reporting and reconstruction. It is an approach to data collection and analysis more closely aligned to the Service-Dominant Logic of marketing than methods currently adopted by service managers, recognising consumers as operant resources and the 'value in use' of the performance from a consumer experience perspective.
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Keywords: Service-Dominant Logic; aesthetics; critical discourse; service performance; theatre

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Lincoln Business School, UK 2: Aquinas Sixth Form College, UK 3: University of Liverpool Management School, UK

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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