Customer orientation in highly relational services: antecedents and consequences

Morales Mediano, Javier (2018) Customer orientation in highly relational services: antecedents and consequences. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the role and implications of the customer orientation of service employees (COSE) in highly relational services (HRS) and its front-line employees. Customer orientation (CO) is considered a key pillar in the development of relationship marketing (RM). However, there are not COSE studies trying to fully exploit its potential by the use of highly relational settings and the introduction of new consequences from the original COSE model aligned with those of RM goals. Accordingly, the COSE model was adequately framed under the relationship marketing (RM) theory, compared with other different CO models and then assessed via a qualitative study. For this study, private banking (PB) was chosen as HRS due to its particular characteristics, namely; a dyadic relationship between customers and employees (private bankers), a high customisation of the service, a needed judgement of the employee, and a particular way of delivery. The qualitative study was comprised of 25 semi-structured interviews to PB practitioners in order to address different research questions regarding the importance and applicability of the COSE model. Additionally, this research questioned what changes to the COSE model should be introduced for it to be adapted to HRS. Furthermore, new potential outcomes of COSE were examined together with the current situation related to the application of measurements of COSE in practice. This analysis confirmed the validity of the construct. COSE was proved to be notably important in PB, as in any HRS. Regrettably, no PB firm has a standardised process for measuring COSE. Moreover, the four dimensions that make up COSE received different grades of importance. Social skills were agreed to be more important than technical skills. Motivation was also considered as less important than social skills. Likewise, decision-making authority generated some disagreement as it can eventually result in a worse performance of the service delivery. There is a risk of the private banker to lose his or the focus on the service delivery due to the close relationship with the customer. Therefore, the interests of the three parties (company, employee and customer) have to be calibrated and aligned. Regarding the different COSE outcomes, new consequences were elicited; trust, loyalty, word of mouth, and customer-oriented deviance, from which some of the consequences were confirmed to be outcomes of RM too. Finally, an improved and extended COSE model has been proposed, including the potential effect of some characteristics of the firm and the employee. This is as well as a questionnaire to use in a future quantitative study that is adapted to the reality of the PB service. Numerous academic and managerial implications have also been extracted; (1) an innovative application of a qualitative methodology to an area where quantitative studies are the norm, (2) the application of the COSE model to a HRS setting like PB, whose academic classification and characterisation was also provided, (3) the identification and validation of new consequences of COSE, and (4) the adaptation and improvement of the COSE model that was provided by the proposition of a new conceptual model and a new questionnaire.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Business and finance
Depositing User: Kevin Sanders
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 09:28
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2019 08:58
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/5498

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