Drivers of Customers’ Service Experiences, a Study in the Restaurant Industry

Ute Walter, Örebro University
Bo Edvardsson, Karlstad University
Åsa Öström, Örebro University

This article identifies and describes the frequent drivers of favourable and unfavourable customer experiences as described by customers in their own words. The frequent drivers are social interactions, the core service and the physical context. Furthermore the dynamics of resource interactions in customer experiences are shown, with the customer participating as an actor involved when the service is co-created through interactions. The findings are illustrated by extracts from customer narratives and show how experiences come up and that experiences are processes occurring in a social and physical environment when people do things together. The study context is the restaurant setting.

For managers the results suggest that great effort needs to be put into understanding the process of customer experiences and the various interactions involved, especially social interactions and the crucial roles of management, contact employees and customers supporting these interactions.

 

This article is based on a Critical Incident Technique study building on favourable and unfavourable narratives about customer experiences and an inductive data analysis. The paper will appear in Managing Service Quality, Vol 20 (3, May 2010).