Effective service provision in the retail car industry: enhancing customer satisfaction from a sales agent perspective

Kwakkel, Jim (2011) Effective service provision in the retail car industry: enhancing customer satisfaction from a sales agent perspective.

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Abstract:Purpose: The foremost purpose of this study is to explore service behaviors of car sales and aftersales agents when serving customers. We also graphically map and explain service encounters between customers and retail car agents and describe factors that hinder or stimulate car agents in achieving higher customer satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach: In-depth interviews were conducted with 18 car agents (nine sales, eight aftersales and one telephonist) in a retail car company in the Netherlands. We compared the interview data with the service behaviors framework of Furtmueller, Wilderom and van Dick (2011), and content-analyzed the identified service behaviors that are described as enhancing customer satisfaction. Interview data was further analyzed to identify the service encounters between car agents and customers, and to identify emerging themes regarding factors influencing customer satisfaction. Findings: The study revealed 11 service behaviors that were described by the interviewed car agents to enhance customer satisfaction during service encounters in the retail car industry. [Confidential] Originality: Little research has focused on effective service behaviors from a frontline service employee perspective in the retail car industry. Studies that address effective service behaviors from the employee’s view are predominantly found in other retail sectors (i.e. airline, hotel and restaurants) and have utilized quantitative methodologies to assess attitudes and attributes of service behaviors. Contrary, in this study we adopt a qualitative approach to explore the actual service behaviors that frontline employees associate with customer satisfaction. Moreover, we provide an in-depth narrative report of how sales and aftersales agents in the retail car industry think customer satisfaction can be enhanced. Research limitations/implications: A small sample size and the investigation of behaviors in only one retail car company limit the generalizability of our results. Nevertheless, we have gained an in-depth and rich understanding of effective service behaviors across the various service encounters in the retail car industry. We have also systematically mapped and graphically depicted the various service encounters between customers and car agents. Our results imply that there may be a set of service behaviors that hold across various retailing services. Most of our identified service behaviors could be embedded into the service behaviors framework of Furtmueller et al (2011). Practical implications: This study provides guidelines for managers in the retail car industry to strategize training, recruitment and reward programs for sales and aftersales agents. Importantly, the organizational context of these employees appears important for their success. Hence, we also offer guidelines on how to manage organizational factors that potentially stimulate or hinder frontline employees in achieving higher customer satisfaction. Keywords: service encounter, service behavior, organizational factors, retail car industry, frontline sales agent perspective
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/62559
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