ArticlePDF Available

Perceived Service Quality and Customer Trust: Does Enhancing Customers' Service Knowledge Matter?

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

The authors show that investments in enhancing cus- tomers' service knowledge strengthen customer trust in an organization and thus can act as an important service dif- ferentiator. Customer education initiatives, however, also affect the impact of perceived service quality on customer trust. Successful marketers should be aware of the dynamic relationships between customer education, exper- tise, and service quality in managing customers' attitudes toward firms. Using data collected from customers of a global financial services firm, this study modeled the mul- tifaceted impact of customer education initiatives on the relationship between service quality and trust. The find- ings suggest that customer education affects the relative importance of technical and functional service quality for building customer trust in a firm. Research implications point to new business opportunities for service differentia- tion and relationship marketing.
Content may be subject to copyright.
http://jsr.sagepub.com
Journal of Service Research
DOI: 10.1177/1094670507310769
2008; 10; 256 originally published online Dec 27, 2007; Journal of Service Research
Andreas B. Eisingerich and Simon J. Bell
Matter?
Perceived Service Quality and Customer Trust: Does Enhancing Customers' Service Knowledge
http://jsr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/10/3/256
The online version of this article can be found at:
Published by:
http://www.sagepublications.com
On behalf of: Center for Excellence in Service, University of Maryland
can be found at:Journal of Service Research Additional services and information for
http://jsr.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts:
http://jsr.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions:
http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.navReprints:
http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.navPermissions:
http://jsr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/10/3/256 Citations
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
The authors show that investments in enhancing cus-
tomers’ service knowledge strengthen customer trust in an
organization and thus can act as an important service dif-
ferentiator. Customer education initiatives, however, also
affect the impact of perceived service quality on customer
trust. Successful marketers should be aware of the
dynamic relationships between customer education, exper-
tise, and service quality in managing customers’ attitudes
toward firms. Using data collected from customers of a
global financial services firm, this study modeled the mul-
tifaceted impact of customer education initiatives on the
relationship between service quality and trust. The find-
ings suggest that customer education affects the relative
importance of technical and functional service quality for
building customer trust in a firm. Research implications
point to new business opportunities for service differentia-
tion and relationship marketing.
Keywords: customer trust; perceived service quality;
customer education; service marketing;
relationship marketing
The trust that customers have in service organizations
is a key concern for marketers and customer relationship
managers. Existing research has underscored the impor-
tance of trust and its implications for driving profitable,
long-lasting customer relationships (Garbarino and
Johnson 1999; Morgan and Hunt 1999). In an effort to
explore ways in which firms can differentiate themselves
from competitors and build stable and trusting relation-
ships with customers, practitioners and researchers have
frequently emphasized the importance of service quality
(Grönroos 1983; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry
1988; Rust, Moorman, and Dickson 2002; Rust and
Oliver 1994; Zeithaml, Berry, and Parasuraman 1996).
Indeed, in mature markets characterized by parity prod-
ucts, it is often service quality which sets one firm apart
from its rivals (Heskett et al. 1994).
Service quality is often considered in terms of its
processes and outcomes (Grönroos 1983; Kelley,
Donnelly, and Skinner 1990; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and
Berry 1988), whereby the quality of service outputs (i.e.,
technical quality) and the nature of the interaction
between service providers and customers (i.e., functional
We would like to thank Colin McLeod and Gloria Cafra for their thoughts on this article and for assisting with the collection of
data. We would also like to thank A. Parasuraman and three anonymous reviewers for their input and advice.
Journal of Service Research, Volume 10, No. 3, February 2008 256-268
DOI: 10.1177/1094670507310769
© 2008 Sage Publications
Perceived Service Quality and
Customer Trust
Does Enhancing Customers’ Service
Knowledge Matter?
Andreas B. Eisingerich
Imperial College London
Simon J. Bell
University of Cambridge
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
quality) are key contributors to customers’ evaluations of
the overall service offering. Intuitively, managers would
expect that favorable customer perceptions of both tech-
nical and functional service dimensions would be posi-
tively associated with customers’trust in service firms. In
high-involvement service contexts (e.g., professional
services), however, these relationships may not be so
straightforward; many customers have difficulty assess-
ing technical outcomes confidently (even after purchase)
because of the highly complex and intangible nature of
these services (Crosby, Kenneth, and Cowles 1990;
Darby and Karni 1973). Of course there will also be cus-
tomers who, because of extensive experience in the
service category, have higher levels of expertise that
enable them to confidently assess technical service ele-
ments in making their overall assessments of service
quality (Bettman and Park 1980; Brucks 1985).
Professional service firms have the ability to increase
customer expertise and competence by investing in ini-
tiatives to enhance customers’ service knowledge.
Customer education is the extent to which service
employees inform customers about service-related con-
cepts and explain the pros and cons of service products
they recommend to their customers (Sharma and
Patterson 1999). Such efforts will be costly and may
require changes to the service process; it may not be
completely clear whether they will pay off for a firm.
Furthermore, efforts by an organization to educate its
customers are likely to be seen differently by customers
on the basis of their existing levels of expertise. Will edu-
cation initiatives be seen as a meaningful attempt to
involve customers in the service process or as oppor-
tunistic sales ploys? Our purpose in this article is to
untangle some of these potentially complicated relation-
ships and provide an answer to the question of whether
educating customers matter in building long-term, trust-
ing relationships.
Our analysis is organized as follows. In the next sec-
tion, we provide a conceptual background to our hypothe-
sized model in which we outline seven formal hypotheses.
This is followed by a description of the financial services
context of this study, the research design and method, and
a discussion of the results. The final section discusses
managerial implications from the findings, addresses
the limitations of the study, and offers suggestions for
future research.
CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND
The literature in customer education is sparse, and
there remains some doubt about its value to service orga-
nizations. Many view customer education as a valuable
augmentation to the service process through which firms
may increase perceived value and ultimately achieve
deeper, more trusting relationships with their customers.
In the context of professional, high-credence services in
particular, customers face uncertainty in terms of both the
quality and consistency of service quality (Bowen and
Jones 1986). A firm’s efforts in providing customers with
critical information and explaining important service con-
cepts to them can reduce this uncertainty. Past research
acknowledges the potential advantages of customer edu-
cation for organizations (for a review, see Burton 2002).
Despite the apparent advantages, firms are often reluc-
tant to embrace customer education, believing that its
added value to the service offering is only in the short
run, because it ultimately equips customers with the
know-how and expertise to leave firms for competitors,
blame firms when things go wrong, or, worst of all, use
that knowledge to compete against them (Nayyar 1990).
According to such thinking, sharing valuable information
with customers equips them with the tools and skills to
“shop around” for competitive offerings (Heilman,
Bowman, and Wright 2000). A logical conclusion, it
would seem, is for service firms to prevent customers
from learning the tricks of the trade. In this article, we
show that providers of professional, high-credence
services are likely to benefit from greater levels of trust
in their organizations when they inform customers about
product offerings and help them use critical information.
There are, however, likely to be a number of impli-
cations of increasing the level of customer education.
In addition to its direct influence on trust, we suggest
that customer education will likely affect the way in
which service quality is perceived and its subsequent
impact on trust. In other words, as customers become
savvier as a result of education initiatives, the rela-
tionships between service quality elements (i.e., tech-
nical and functional service quality) and trust are
likely to change in importance. To the extent that edu-
cation enables customers to process information in
greater depth, the relative importance of technical and
service quality dimensions in building trust is likely to
change. This expectation is based on theories of infor-
mation search (e.g., Heilman, Bowman, and Wright
2000) and decision-making heuristics (e.g., Park and
Lessig 1981) that predict that decision-making
processes and choice evaluation will change as cus-
tomer expertise changes.
Any educational initiatives undertaken by a service
organization will be in the context of an installed cus-
tomer base with varying levels of expertise.
Accordingly, we allow for a further possible interaction
between service quality and trust, customer education,
and customer expertise. Customer education efforts are
Eisingerich, Bell / CUSTOMERS’ SERVICE KNOWLEDGE 257
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
likely to mean different things to customers with differ-
ent starting levels of expertise. For expert customers,
the education initiatives of service employees and the
openness that they entail lead to more productive dia-
logues and working relationships sooner. The literature
on customer-firm coproduction provides strong support
for this expectation (e.g., Bendapudi and Leone 2003;
Prahalad and Ramaswamy 2000). Less expert cus-
tomers, in contrast, will take longer to arrive at this level
of intimacy, perceiving customer education programs as
yet another sales tool.
Model Development and Hypotheses
The conceptual model guiding this research is
depicted in Figure 1. Our analysis begins by conceptual-
izing customer trust to be a function of both technical
and functional perceived service quality elements.
Specifically, we argue that technical and functional service
quality would be positively associated with customer
trust. We also expect customer education to have a direct
and positive effect on trust. We then explore the moder-
ating effects of increases in customer education on the
relationships between functional service quality, techni-
cal service quality and customer trust. Finally, we explore
the potential for a three-way interaction between per-
ceived service quality, customer education, and customer
expertise.
Service Quality, Customer Education, and Trust
We define trust as customers’ confidence in a service
seller’s reliability and integrity (Morgan and Hunt 1994)
and the expectation that it can be relied upon to deliver its
promises (Sirdeshmukh, Singh, and Sabol 2002). We
define technical service quality as the quality of the
service output (Sharma and Patterson 1999). In the con-
text of this study, this would apply to the performance
and security of a customer’s investment portfolio.
Functional service quality is the extent to which an
advisor provides courteous and attentive service and
empathizes with a customer’s circumstances (Hartline
and Ferrell 1996).
It is now widely accepted that both technical and func-
tional service quality elements will have a positive effect
on customer evaluations of an organization (Bloemer, de
Ruyter, and Wetzels 1999; Zeithaml, Berry, and Parasuraman
1996), and recent evidence suggests a positive relation-
ship between service quality and trust (Chiou and Droge
2006; Sharma and Patterson 1999). A firm that consis-
tently meets or exceeds the technical or core performance
expectations of customers will cultivate more trusting
relationships with its customers.
Customers, however, also seek effective relationships
with professionals who care, listen, and relate to their
ideas, feelings, and concerns (Sheth and Sobel 2002;
Weisinger 1998). The manner in which an advisor delivers
service outcomes can provide insight into the character of
the organization and help, in the absence of other informa-
tion, set initial levels of trust. The courteous, caring, and
responsive employee behaviors that are characteristic of
functional service quality will inspire confidence in cus-
tomers, particularly in high-involvement professional
services contexts (Weisinger 1998). Accordingly, we
hypothesized as follows:
Hypothesis 1: The higher the technical service quality,
the stronger is customer trust in an organization.
Hypothesis 2: The higher the functional service quality,
the stronger is customer trust in an organization.
We define customer education as the extent to which
service employees (a) inform customers about service-
related concepts and (b) explain the pros and cons of
service products they recommend to their customers
(Sharma and Patterson 1999). For customers to be able to
use critical information, they must first have the relevant
information and, second, have the tools with which this
information can be understood (i.e., concepts are
explained to them).
We argue that customer education is likely to indicate
to customers that a service provider is trustworthy for a
number of reasons. First, the lack of tangibility and the
complexity involved in professional services means that
trust is difficult to build; the opacity of many professional
service organizations makes it difficult to evaluate the
nature of the service offering, leading to uncertainty and
258 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / February 2008
FIGURE 1
Hypothesized Model
H1(+)H2(+)
H (-)
6
Customer
Trust
Customer
Expertise
Technical Service
lity (TSQ)Qua
unctional Service
Quality (FSQ)
H7(+)
4)
H3(+)
H(-
H5(+)
Customer
Education
F
NOTE: H = hypothesis.
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
potential distrust. By informing customers and explaining
service-related concepts, service firms can directly
address customers’ fear of opportunistic behavior (Dwyer,
Schurr, and Oh 1987). Customer education, by definition,
requires that service employees demystify the service
process, which introduces a level of clarity and certainty
that is the basis for building a trusting relationship.
Second, the effort of customer education signals a
firm’s commitment to a relationship with customers.
Because investments in one client are impossible to rede-
ploy to other customer relationships, education initiatives
are customer-specific investments that are likely to be
reciprocated. Urban (2004), for instance, suggested that
customers reciprocate with their trust as companies pro-
vide clear and comprehensive information. Furthermore,
customer education signals that firms are taking a long-
term view of the relationship by showing a willingness to
make up-front investments.
Finally, customer education ensures that customers
understand what a company is offering in terms of prod-
ucts and services. Education efforts require increased
dialogue between service providers and customers,
which enables a better understanding of customers’ needs
and expectations. Attention to customers’ needs and
interpersonal care has been shown to enhance affect-
based trust (Bendapudi and Berry 1997; Morgan and
Hunt 1994). Furthermore, customers who have a better
understanding of a firm will be better able to express
their needs in the context of the firm’s capabilities.
Service firms will be more likely to match customers’
requirements with the right service products. Efforts to
personalize marketing offerings are likely to generate
highly favorable responses from customers (Day 2003; Rust
and Verhoef 2005). Therefore, we hypothesized as follows:
Hypothesis 3: The higher the level of customer education,
the stronger is customer trust in an organization.
The Moderating Effect of Customer Education
Past research suggests that knowledge is likely to
influence information valuation and choice (Alba and
Hutchinson 1987; Rao and Monroe 1988). Educated cus-
tomers have the tools to verify a company’s claims and
map the performance level of their investments relative to
other customers and competitor organizations. More
knowledgeable customers tend to be more efficient in
their selection and assessment of market information
(Brucks 1985). Also, education reveals to customers the
inner workings of a service firm, which, in many indus-
tries, are likely to look somewhat standardized. A given
level of technical performance, therefore, is likely to look
less remarkable to a better informed customer and hence
less likely to drive trust. Furthermore, as customers gain
greater confidence in their own ability to evaluate techni-
cal outcomes, they may generally demand higher levels
of technical outcomes and display a growing distrust of
business if expected outcomes are not achieved.
Moreover, in the financial services industry, very
often, service providers have only limited ability to influ-
ence and guarantee technical performance.1As education
contributes to customers’ knowledge and understanding
of service concepts, customers are likely to discover the
extent to which a firm controls technical service quality.
When service firms have only marginal control over tech-
nical service quality, we suggest that the positive impact
of technical service quality on customer trust will be
weaker at higher levels of customer education.
Accordingly, we hypothesized as follows:
Hypothesis 4: The positive impact of technical service
quality on customer trust will be weaker at higher
levels of customer education.
In a professional services context, customers may not
feel comfortable asking questions regarding service con-
cepts because of the complex nature of service products.
The more customers know about financial products and
services, the more comfortable customers are likely to be
with asking questions, and the easier it will become for
them to see the value of timely information that is diffi-
cult and costly to obtain (Dawar and Vandenbosch 2004).
In other words, customers are likely to value more the
process by which services are delivered.
As previously argued, education helps customers use
critical information. The more comfortable customers are
with evaluating service concepts, the more questions they
may have regarding current service offerings and alterna-
tives (Ouschan, Sweeney, and Johnson 2006).
Accordingly, customer education may lead to more fre-
quent interaction between customers and service
providers and thereby increase the importance of service
employees’ attentiveness in handling customer concerns.
Consequently, we hypothesized as follows:
Hypothesis 5: The positive impact of functional service
quality on customer trust will be stronger at higher
levels of customer education.
Three-Way Interaction Between Service Quality,
Customer Expertise, and Customer Education
Customer expertise measures the level of a customer’s
extant product knowledge and ability to assess product
performance. In contrast, customer education involves
the levels of information and explanation service firms
Eisingerich, Bell / CUSTOMERS’ SERVICE KNOWLEDGE 259
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
provide to their customers. Customer expertise is likely to
play a significant role in a financial services context, given
the technical nature of many investment products and the
uncertainty about performance of an investment portfolio.
In addition to the influence of customer education on
the relationship between service quality and trust, there is
potential for a three-way interaction between service
quality, customer education, and customer expertise. The
possibility of a three-way interaction between these vari-
ables arises from the fact that customers may have differ-
ent levels of expertise when firms invest in customer
education. Accordingly, we suggest that for customers
with high levels of expertise, the moderating effect of
customer education on the relationships between techni-
cal and functional service quality and trust will be differ-
ent from customers with low levels of expertise.
We expect that expertise will reduce the negative
moderating effect of education on the relationship
between technical service quality and trust. We previ-
ously argued that, all things being equal, education
efforts reveal to customers the homogeneity of technical
service offerings across competing firms and the rela-
tive lack of control financial services firms have over
the technical outcome. High-expertise customers, how-
ever, will already have a good sense of the competitive
landscape and the technical proficiency of a firm.
Education efforts, we suggest, will be seen by these cus-
tomers as a means to draw them closer into the service
delivery process. Ouschan, Sweeney, and Johnson
(2006) found that physician support for patients (e.g.,
helping patients achieve skills and overcome barriers
through education) resulted in more committed and
trusting relationships. Expert customers in a financial
services context are likely to see education as an effort
to do something about the generic nature of technical
aspects of the service. These customers are better able
to make meaningful contributions to the technical out-
comes of the service and are likely to appreciate the
increased control they perceive (Bateson 1985).
Customers with high levels of expertise are also more
likely to value a service provider’s courtesy, empathy, and
personal attention. Because experienced customers may
feel more comfortable asking questions when service con-
texts are complex (Miyake and Norman 1979), they are
more likely to value service providers’ willingness to pro-
vide additional information. Furthermore, expertise is (by
definition) accrued over time and is also likely to be the
result of an investment of significant personal time and
energy. Those who have achieved a “mastery” of the
service context, therefore, are likely to accord more value
to service employees who are more respectful of their
achievements and responsive to their needs. Accordingly,
we hypothesized as follows:
Hypothesis 6: The negative moderating effect of cus-
tomer education on the relationship between tech-
nical service quality and trust will be weaker as
customer expertise increases.
Hypothesis 7: The positive moderating effect of cus-
tomer education on the relationship between func-
tional service quality and trust will be stronger as
customer expertise increases.
RESEARCH METHOD
Background
We selected the financial planning services context for
this study. According to the services literature, effective
relationship selling will be most critical when (a) the
service is complex, customized, and delivered over a con-
tinuous stream of transactions; (b) many buyers are rela-
tively unsophisticated about the service (Crosby,
Kenneth, and Cowles 1990); and (c) customers face
uncertainty regarding technical outcomes (Zeithaml
1981). The service context selected for this study pos-
sesses all these characteristics and thus was considered
ideal for examining the effects of customer education and
expertise on the relationships between perceived service
quality and customer trust.
Financial planning services are both highly complex
and highly intangible. They are intrinsically difficult
for customers to evaluate with confidence, even after
purchase. Furthermore, one of the primary functions per-
formed by financial service employees is product cus-
tomization; advisors are specialized and trained in
conducting detailed needs assessments and presenting
personalized proposals to customers. Finally, interactions
between service providers and customers tend to be
ongoing rather than single encounters because the core
service tends to unfold over time. Accordingly, both tech-
nical and functional elements of service quality are likely
to play an important part in determining customers’ trust
in the organization.
Sample and Data Collection
We secured the cooperation of a global financial
services organization that was willing to provide contact
details of customers for the administration of a survey
questionnaire. The firm generates over $40 billion in
annual revenues, operates offices in more than 20 coun-
tries, and offers a full suite of financial services.
Traditionally, the firm had focused primarily on stock-
broking services, although, like many of its competitors, it
had broadened its service offerings over recent years to
include, among other things, financial advice and planning,
260 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / February 2008
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
tax advice, insurance, property trusts, and funds manage-
ment. However, the firm did not provide traditional bank-
ing services (e.g., home loans, credit and checking
accounts).
We obtained a list of 4,244 clients, randomly chosen
from the population of customers classified as “high
value” by the firm in one country. Responses of high-
value customers were of great interest to the firm because
of the breadth (i.e., number of service products) and
depth (i.e., amount of money) of their investments with
the firm. We received 1,268 usable questionnaires, for a
response rate of 30%. The final sample was representa-
tive of the total population on the basis of demographic
criteria such as age, gender, and relationship length with
the firm. Most customers were men (84%), had been with
the firm for more than 5 years (66%), and were 46 to 65
years of age (50%).
Measures
The measures used in this study were adapted from
previous research. Where appropriate, we adapted the
wording of the measures to suit the context of our study.
All scales used a 7-point, Likert-type scale with anchors
of strongly disagree (1) and strongly agree (7).
Technical service quality involves the outcome-related
aspects of a service (e.g., providing a high return on
investments, the quality and accuracy of advice). We
adopted a four-item scale from Sharma and Patterson
(1999) because it was developed specifically to measure
technical service quality in the financial service industry.
Scale items measured the extent to which the organiza-
tion provided a quality service outcome in terms of both
security of investments and financial portfolio perfor-
mance.
Functional service quality is concerned with process-
related elements of service delivery. In this study, we
used a five-item scale adapted from the process dimen-
sions of Hartline and Ferrell’s (1996) scale measuring
perceived service quality. We used this scale because of
its focus on employee-related aspects of service quality,
which were particularly appropriate to this study. More
specifically, scale items captured advisors’ empathy with
the customers’ circumstances and the extent to which
advisors provided courteous and attentive service.
Customer education involves the extent to which
service employees provide customers with the abilities
and techniques to use critical information (Burton 2002).
Providing customers with the skills and abilities to use
critical information requires customers to have both
appropriate information and the tools with which this
information can be understood. Accordingly, we adapted
a four-item scale (Sharma and Patterson 1999) intended
to capture the extent to which advisors informed cus-
tomers and explained financial concepts to them.
We define customer expertise as the extent of a cus-
tomer’s product knowledge and ability to assess product
performance. For the purpose of this study, we used a
measure of customers’ market-related investment exper-
tise rather than expertise with a particular financial
service provider per se. We adapted two items of a four-
item scale developed by Sharma and Patterson (2000) to
capture customer expertise. The two selected items
specifically measure customer understanding and knowl-
edge and are conceptually similar to established defini-
tions of expertise (Brucks 1985).
The measure of trust included four items adapted from
the scales of Morgan and Hunt (1994). Trust is defined as
confidence in an exchange partner’s reliability and
integrity. A full list of scale items and their measurement
properties is provided in the Appendix.
Control Variables
We included customer age, gender, and relationship
length as control variables. As argued by previous
research, information processing styles (Meyers-Levy
and Sternthal 1999) and risk aversion may differ by
gender (Holbrook 1986; Wallach and Kogan 1959),
which may potentially have an impact on the way trust-
ing relationships are formed. Age and gender have been
shown to moderate the relationship between satisfaction
and loyalty (Mittal and Kamakura 2001). We controlled
for relationship length to account for the fact that trust
tends to be built over time (i.e., firms have more oppor-
tunity to demonstrate reliability). Questionnaire respon-
dents indicated their gender as male (1) or female (2).
Age was indicated by the following five categories: 18 to
30, 31 to 45, 46 to 65, 66 to 80, and 81 years or older, and
relationship length was measured by asking customers
how long (in years) they had held accounts with the firm.
Measure Assessment
We estimated our measurement models using
exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses in AMOS 6.0
(Arbuckle 2005). Following Anderson and Gerbing’s
(1988) suggested approach, we first examined whether
observable indicators loaded significantly on their intended
factors (>.40) and checked cross loadings. On the basis of
this analysis, we dropped one item from the initial func-
tional service quality scale from the original pool of items.
Remaining item loadings were significant, and all the esti-
mates for the average variance extracted were higher than
.50, supporting the convergent validity of each scale
(Bagozzi and Yi 1988). We assessed discriminant validity
Eisingerich, Bell / CUSTOMERS’ SERVICE KNOWLEDGE 261
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
262 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / February 2008
following Fornell and Larcker’s (1981) suggested proce-
dures to account for the possibility that measurement error
can vary in magnitude across items. More specifically, we
calculated the average variance extracted for all pairs of
constructs and compared this value with the squared corre-
lation between the two constructs of interest. The squared
correlation between any pair of constructs was less than the
respective average variance extracted for each of the con-
structs in the pair, indicating discriminant validity.
Cronbach’s αvalues were high, ranging from .86 to .97 (for
customer expertise and technical service quality, respec-
tively). Moreover, composite reliabilities and average vari-
ance extracted exceeded the recommended threshold values
for reliable estimates (Table 1). Confirmatory factor analy-
ses produced the following results: χ2= 1,637.4, df = 215,
p< .01, Tucker-Lewis index = .98, comparative fit index =
.99, normed fit index = .99, incremental fit index = .99, and
root mean square error of approximation = .074 (90% con-
fidence interval = .071 to .078).
RESULTS
Table 2 summarizes the results of the regressions of cus-
tomer trust on the control, main, and interaction effects. As
hypothesized, perceived technical and functional service
quality had a significant and positive impact on trust, pro-
viding support for Hypotheses 1 and 2. Consistent with
Hypothesis 3, customer education had a significant,
direct, and positive effect on consumer trust.
In accord with Hypothesis 4, customer education
weakened the positive impact of technical service quality
on trust (Figure 2). Regarding Hypothesis 5, the positive
and significant interaction term between customer educa-
tion and functional service quality indicates that the
effect of functional service quality on customer trust was
stronger when customer education was high (Figure 3).
In support of Hypothesis 6, the negative interaction
between technical service quality and customer education
was indeed weakened as customer expertise increased
(Figure 4). Finally, the results showed that the positive
moderating effect of customer education on the relation-
ship between functional service quality and trust was
strengthened as customer expertise increased, supporting
Hypothesis 7 (Figure 5). Given that the standardized
coefficients on our interaction terms were small, we
checked for their robustness by randomly splitting our
sample into four subsamples. We found that all our
hypothesized effects remained significant in individual
subsamples.
DISCUSSION
The finding of positive and significant relationships
between technical and functional service quality and cus-
tomer trust is consistent with expectations and previous
research (Chiou and Droge 2006; Sharma and Patterson
1999). While both outcome and process elements of
services had an impact on customers’ trust in the finan-
cial service organization, the main effect of functional
service quality on trust was stronger than technical
service quality. This suggests that the functional elements
of service delivery (e.g., courteousness of staff, personal-
ized attention) are perhaps easier to interpret and there-
fore more relevant than the technical elements (e.g.,
investment portfolio risk and performance) in forming
attitudes toward the service organization.
The results indicate that customer education has a sig-
nificant, direct, and positive effect on customer trust. In
addition to helping customers use critical information,
investments in customer education are likely to build fur-
ther credibility with customers about the sincerity of an
organization’s efforts. The effort to help customers to
TABLE 1
Correlations, Reliabilities, and Descriptive Statistics
12345
1. Customer trust 1.00
2. Technical service quality .59 1.00
3. Customer education .58 .77 1.00
4. Functional service quality .58 .70 .78 1.00
5. Customer expertise .24 .28 .32 .32 1.00
Cronbach’s α.96 .97 .91 .86 .86
Average variance extracted .86 .89 .72 .62 .62
Composite reliability .96 .97 .91 .87 .75
M5.67 4.83 5.44 5.96 5.55
SD 1.25 1.54 1.22 0.98 0.99
NOTE: Correlations are significant at the .01 level.
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Eisingerich, Bell / CUSTOMERS’ SERVICE KNOWLEDGE 263
TABLE 2
Regression Results (dependent variable: customer trust)
Variable Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4
Control variables
Age .46*** .22*** .22*** .214***
Gender .14 –.04 –.03 –.03
Relationship length (years) .01** .01** .01** .01**
Main effects
TSQ .22*** .23*** .23***
FSQ .29*** .29*** .29***
Customer education .18*** .15*** .16***
Customer expertise .03 .03 .05
Interaction effects
Two way
Customer Education ×TSQ –.05*** –.06***
Customer Education ×FSQ .07** .08***
Customer Education ×Customer Expertise .02 –.02
Investment Expertise ×TSQ .07*** .07**
Investment Expertise ×FSQ –.15*** –.08*
Three way
TSQ ×Customer Education ×Customer Expertise –.05**
FSQ ×Customer Education ×Customer Expertise .06**
R2.091 .436 .446 .449
Change in R2.345*** .010*** .003*
F37.7 124.3 75.2 65.1
Change in F172.1*** 4.12*** 2.91*
NOTE: TSQ = technical service quality; FSQ = functional service quality.
*p< .10; **p< .05; ***p< .01 (two-tailed ttest).
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
Low Technical Service
Quality
High Technical Service
Quali ty
Customer Trust
High Customer Education
Low Customer Education
FIGURE 2
Two-Way Moderating Effect of Customer
Education on the Relationship Between
Technical Service Quality and Trust
FIGURE 3
Two-Way Moderating Effect of Customer
Education on the Relationship Between
Functional Service Quality and Trust
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
Low Functional Service
Quality
High Functional Service
Quality
Customer Trust
High Customer Education
Low Customer Education
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
become more financially literate may address customers’
need for control so that the “trusted” do not behave
opportunistically (Shapiro 1987); education reduces
information asymmetries between relationship partners.
Faced with highly complex and intangible service prod-
ucts, customers perceive an organization’s effort to pro-
vide essential information as an important and valuable
service augmentation. The finding is consistent with the
notion of partnership building. As customers are pro-
vided with the tools to use critical information, they may
feel more comfortable to ask questions and engage with
a firm. Past research has shown that frequent and strong
linkages among exchange partners are likely to enhance
trust and levels of commitment (Crosby, Kenneth, and
Cowles 1990; Doney and Cannon 1997; Palmatier et al.
2006; Solomon et al. 1985; Uzzi 1996).
Our results also highlight the differential effect of cus-
tomer education on the relationship between service
quality and trust. We found that the positive impact of
technical service quality dimensions on trust decreased
as customer education increased. On the other hand,
functional service quality had an even stronger positive
effect on trust as customer education increased. The more
customers know about financial products and services,
the easier it will become for them to see the value of
timely information that is difficult and costly to obtain
(Dawar and Vandenbosch 2004). Furthermore, through
education, customers may be in a better position to assess
the subtleties of services they receive (Söderlund 2002),
and the more customers know about services and prod-
ucts and how to use them, the easier it becomes for them
to see the value of advisors’ personal attention. Miyake
and Norman (1979), for example, showed that knowl-
edge is positively associated with the number of ques-
tions asked when the context requires specific domain
knowledge and is relatively complex. In sum, better edu-
cated customers are more likely to appreciate financial
advisors’ personal attention, and this has a positive
impact on their willingness to trust the organization.
Technical service, by contrast, is less important for
building trust as customers become more knowledgeable
about the services context. We suggested that this might
be due to the standardized nature of financial services
associated with changes in the financial industry envi-
ronment (e.g. deregulation, increased competition, stan-
dardized nature financial services practices across the
industry). Efforts to educate customers reveal the diffi-
culty in providing genuine differentiation along the tech-
nical aspects of the service. This is consistent with Bell
and Eisingerich (2007), who found that market-specific
education can have a negative effect on loyalty.
Education also reveals the relative lack of control
that financial services institutions have over the technical
264 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / February 2008
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
Low Technical Service
Quality
High Technical Service
Quality
Customer Trust
(1) High Education, High
Expertise
(2) High Education, Low
Expertise
(3) Low Education, High
Expertise
(4) Low Educa tio n, Low
Expertise
FIGURE 4
Three-Way Moderating Effect of Customer
Education and Customer Expertise on
the Relationship Between Technical
Service Quality and Trust
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
Low Functional
Service Quality
High Functional
Service Quality
Customer Trust
(1) High Education, High
Expertise
(2) High Education, Low
Expertise
(3) Low Education, High
Expertise
(4) Low Education, Low
Expertise
FIGURE 5
Three-Way Moderating Effect of Customer
Education and Customer Expertise on the
Relationship Between Functional Service
Quality and Trust
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
outcomes of the service.2Consequently, the positive
effect of technical service quality is reduced as customer
education increases.
The findings of the proposed three-way moderating
effects of customer education and investment experience
suggest that functional service quality dimensions play
an even more important role in building customer trust as
both expertise and customer education increase. It is
entirely possible that the courtesy and friendliness of
service employees can sometimes make customers with
limited expertise uncomfortable or suspicious, whereas
customers with high levels of expertise are more likely to
value this additional personal attention. Because experts
possess a richer knowledge and experience base, they are
also more likely to recognize and value service employ-
ees’ availability and efforts to offer additional informa-
tion. To the extent that customers with high levels of
expertise feel more confident assessing technical out-
comes, they are likely to perceive a service provider’s
courtesy, empathy, and personal attention as sincere.
The results also suggest that the negative moderating
effect of customer education on the positive relationship
between technical service quality and trust is reduced for
customers with higher expertise. Customers with high
expertise are likely to assess new facts in relation to their
prior knowledge (Moorthy, Ratchford, and Talukdar
1997; Park and Lessig 1981) and thus may already know
what technical outcomes to expect realistically. Inevitable
ups and downs of varying investment performance in the
short term, therefore, are less likely to have an impact on
customers’ trust in an organization. To the extent that
expert customers assess technical outcomes more confi-
dently and evaluate new information in relation to their
prior knowledge, the negative moderating effect of cus-
tomer education on the relationship between service
quality and trust is likely to be low when levels of cus-
tomer expertise are high.
Managerial Implications: Creating Value
Through Interactive Customer Relationships
The results of this study have important implications
for managers. Professional service firms need to be aware
of the changing nature of customer perceptions as educa-
tion contributes to customer expertise over time. In addi-
tion to their focus on selling superior service products,
firms need to be increasingly oriented toward the users of
those products and the fulfillment of customer needs
(Rust, Lemon, and Zeithaml 2004; Rust, Moorman, and
Dickson 2002; Shah et al. 2006).
Efforts to provide customers with the skills and abili-
ties to use critical information can help firms differentiate
their service offerings and provide a foundation on which
to build trusting relations with customers. Although cus-
tomer education creates the potential for rents, these may
only be unlocked if firms are equipped with sufficient
coordination and problem solving skills. As Shah et al.
(2006) pointed out, “customer centricity” remains a chal-
lenging goal for many organizations. Our results show
that service firms should become more transparent to
customers and supply them with comprehensive and
open information. This will allow service providers to
trade on their levels of functional service quality and
develop and nurture trust-based relationships. One possi-
ble way of facilitating closer, more empathetic relation-
ships with customers is to offer single points of contact
for customers (Day 2003). There are few substitutes for
the intimacy of ongoing, personal relationships between
service employees and customers.
To facilitate customer education, service firms might
provide employees with additional autonomy or behav-
ioral latitude to explain concepts to customers. This is
likely to help customers better articulate their needs and
expectations, which in turn will help the firms customize
their service offerings and differentiate themselves from
competitors. Past research shows that the personalization
of marketing efforts is more profitable than other forms
of customer segmentation (Day 1999; Rust and Verhoef
2005). All too often, constrictive job designs and sim-
plistic reward structures hinder the pursuit of developing
deeper relationships with customers. An important step,
therefore, is for service firms to design incentive schemes
and rewards (e.g., rewards based on customer satisfaction
and retention rather than sales) that encourage greater
customer intimacy and responsiveness.
Interactions with customers are costly in terms of
effort and time invested by service providers. As firms
pursue opportunities for customer education, the distribu-
tion of knowledge within organizations and their ability to
transfer this knowledge internally will become increas-
ingly important. Firms need to identify cost-effective
means, such as online databases and portals that can assist
service employees in their efforts to educate customers.
Our findings that technical and functional service qual-
ity attributes change in relative importance as customer
education increases suggest that firms need to view
customer relationships as dynamic. Much vaunted cus-
tomer relationship management systems still, in our opin-
ion, take a static view of customers. These systems need
to reflect the reality that customers will grow with firms
over time, continually developing their skills and compe-
tencies in the product category. While sellers of customer
relationship management systems would argue that they
are capable of measuring customer competence, we sug-
gest that there is no substitute for socializing, training, and
Eisingerich, Bell / CUSTOMERS’ SERVICE KNOWLEDGE 265
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
266 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / February 2008
empowering service employees to sense these develop-
ments in customers and respond accordingly.
Relationships deepen as firms and customers continu-
ously interact and share information (Doney and Cannon
1997; Solomon et al. 1985). Service-selling strategies,
therefore, have to adapt to customers’ expertise and
achieve the right “tone” to prompt favorable evaluations
by novices and experts alike. Service employees have a
particularly important role to play in professional services
organizations (e.g., financial planning, legal, medical), for
which one-on-one customer relationships are the norm.
Limitations and Directions for Future Research
The limitations of our study are as follows. First, we
were not able to capture longitudinal data to test our
hypotheses. Potentially, the rates of customer learning
and thus the impact of customer education will be non-
linear. An intriguing avenue for future research would be
the investigation of customer education’s longitudinal
impact on purchase behavior. Second, the parsimony of
our proposed model suggests that some additional vari-
ables might help explain key variables and moderate the
strength relationships within the model. For example,
customers’ availability of time, perceived cost of acquir-
ing investment techniques, and knowledge of available
alternatives might also influence the impact of customer
education initiatives. We should also note that while all
hypothesized moderating effects were significant, inter-
action effects contribute limited additional explanatory
power. Accordingly, the inclusion of additional variables
in our model might render some of our moderating
effects insignificant. Third, the current construct of cus-
tomer education may not capture all aspects of educating
customers, which may go beyond informing customers
and explaining service-related concepts. We encourage
future research to examine the effects of these factors and
to further the development of the customer education con-
struct. Finally, for the purpose of this study, we chose a sin-
gle-industry approach in order to minimize systematic and
random noise attributable to industry differences (McKee,
Varadarajan, and Pride 1989; Voss and Voss 2000); results,
however, may differ for companies with varying degrees of
control over technical service quality. Replication in dif-
ferent service contexts can provide greater confidence in
the generalizability of the current results.
CONCLUSION
Our findings underscore the value of customer education
for financial services firms as a means for building deeper,
more trusting relationships. We have also shown that
educating customers has implications for how service qual-
ity is evaluated. Finally, we have seen that education initia-
tives will be perceived differently on the basis of the starting
levels of expertise of individual customers. Our findings
underscore the importance of treating relationships as
dynamic and evolving over time. While this presents an
added level of complexity for customer relationship man-
agement, firms that reflect this in their service management
will be able to leverage an important source of competitive
advantage.
NOTES
1. We thank an anonymous reviewer for this suggestion.
2. Indeed, proponents of the efficient-markets hypothesis would
argue that financial advisors and financial services in general actually
have no control over the performance of an investment portfolio.
REFERENCES
Alba, Joseph W. and Wesley J. Hutchinson (1987), “Dimensions of
Consumer Expertise,” Journal of Consumer Research, 13 (March),
411-454.
Anderson, James C. and David W. Gerbing (1988), “Structural
Equation Modeling in Practice: A Review and Recommended Two-
Step Approach,” Psychological Bulletin, 103 (May), 411-423.
Arbuckle, James L. (2005), Amos 6.0 User’s Guide. Chicago: SPSS, Inc.
Bagozzi, Richard P. and Youjae Yi (1988), “On the Evaluation of
Structural Equation Models,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing
Science, 16 (Spring), 74-94.
Bateson, J. E. G. (1985), “Self-Service Consumer: An Exploratory
Study,Journal of Retailing, 61 (Fall), 49-76.
Bell, Simon J. and Andreas B. Eisingerich (2007), “Work With Me,”
Harvard Business Review, 85 (6), 32.
Bendapudi, Neeli and Robert P. Leone (2003), “Psychological
Implications of Customer Participation in Co-Production,” Journal
of Marketing, 67 (January), 14-28.
——— and Leonard L. Berry (1997), “Customers’ Motivations for
Maintaining Relationships With Service Providers,Journal of
Retailing, 73 (Spring), 15-37.
Bettman, James R. and C. W. Park (1980), “Effects of Prior Knowledge,
Exposure, and Phase of the Choice Process on Consumer Decision
Processes: A Protocol Analysis,” Journal of Consumer Research,7,
234-248.
Bloemer, Josee, Ko de Ruyter, and Martin Wetzels (1999), “Linking
Perceived Service Quality and Service Loyalty: A Multi-
Dimensional Perspective,European Journal of Marketing,33
(January), 1082-1106.
Bowen, David E. and Jones, R. Gareth (1986), “Transaction Cost
Analysis of Service Organization-Customer Exchange,” Academy
of Management Review, 23 (April), 428-441.
Brucks, Merrie (1985), “The Effects of Product Class Knowledge on
Information Search Behavior,Journal of Consumer Research,12
(June), 1-16.
Burton, Dawn (2002), “Consumer Education and Service Quality:
Conceptual Issues and Practical Implications,” Journal of Services
Marketing, 16 (2), 125-142.
Chiou, Jyh-Shen and Cornelia Droge (2006), “Service Quality, Trust,
Specific Asset Investment, and Expertise: Direct and Indirect
Effects in a Satisfaction-Loyalty Framework,Journal of the
Academy of Marketing Science, 34 (4), 613-627.
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Eisingerich, Bell / CUSTOMERS’ SERVICE KNOWLEDGE 267
Crosby, Lawrence A., Kenneth A. Evans, and Deborah Cowles (1990),
“Relationship Quality in Services Selling: An Interpersonal
Influence Perspective,Journal of Marketing, 54 (July), 68-81.
Darby, Michael R. and Edi Karni (1973), “Free Competition and the Optimal
Amount of Fraud,” Journal of Law & Economics, 16 (1), 67-88.
Dawar, Niraj and Mark Vandenbosch (2004), “The Seller’s Hidden
Advantage,MIT Sloan Management Review, 45 (Winter), 83-88.
Day, George D. (2003), “Creating a Superior Customer-Relating
Capability,MIT Sloan Management Review, 44 (3), 77-82.
——— (1999), “Creating a Market-Driven Organization,MIT Sloan
Management Review, 41 (1), 11-22.
Doney, Patricia M. and Joseph P. Cannon (1997), “An Examination of
the Nature of Trust in Buyer-Seller Relationships,Journal of
Marketing, 61 (April), 35-51.
Dwyer, Robert F., Paul H. Schurr, and Oh Sejo (1987), “Developing
Buyer-Seller Relationships,” Journal of Marketing, 51 (April),
11-27.
Fornell, Claes and David F. Larker (1981), “Evaluating Structural
Equation Models With Unobservable Variables and Measurement
Error,Journal of Marketing Research, 18 (February), 39-50.
Garbarino, Ellen and Mark S. Johnson (1999), “The Different Roles of
Satisfaction, Trust, and Commitment in Customer Relationships,
Journal of Marketing, 63 (April), 70-87.
Grönroos, Christian (1983), Strategic Management and Marketing in
the Service Sector. London: Chartwell-Bratt.
Hartline, Michael D. and O. C. Ferrell (1996), “The Management of
Customer-Contact Service Employees: An Empirical Investigation,”
Journal of Marketing, 60 (October), 52-70.
Heilman, Carrie M., Douglas Bowman, and Gordon P. Wright (2000),
“The Evolution of Brand Preferences and Choice Behaviors of
Consumers New to a Market,Journal of Marketing Research,37
(May), 139-155.
Heskett, James L., Thomas O. Jones, Gary W. Loveman, W. Earl Sasser
Jr., and Leonard A. Schlesinger (1994), “Putting the Service-Profit
Chain to Work,” Harvard Business Review, 72 (March-April),
164-174.
Holbrook, Morris B. (1986), “Aims, Concepts and Methods for the
Representation of Individual Differences in Esthetic Responses to
Design Features,” Journal of Consumer Research, 13 (December),
337-347.
Kelley Scott W., James H. Donnelly Jr., and Steven J. Skinner (1990),
“Customer Participation in Service Production and Delivery,”
Journal of Retailing, 66 (Fall), 315-335.
McKee, Daryl O., Rajan P. Varadarajan, and William M. Pride (1989),
“Strategic Adaptability and Firm Performance: A Market-
Contingent Perspective,Journal of Marketing, 53 (July), 21-35.
Meyers-Levy, Joan and Brian Sternthal (1991), “Gender Differences in
the Use of Message Cues and Judgements,” Journal of Marketing
Research, 28 (February), 84-96.
Mittal, Vikas and Wagner A. Kamakura (2001), “Satisfaction,
Repurchase Intent, and Repurchase Behavior: Investigating the
Moderating Effects of Customer Characteristics,Journal of
Marketing Research, 38 (February), 131-142.
Miyake, Naomi and Donald A. Norman (1979), “To Ask a Question,
One Must Know Enough to Know What Is Not Known,” Journal of
Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18 (June), 357-364.
Moorthy, Sridhar, Brian T. Ratchford, and Debabrata Talukdar (1997),
“Consumer Information Search Revisited: Theory and Empirical
Analysis,” Journal of Consumer Research, 23 (March), 263-277.
Morgan, Robert M., and Shelby D. Hunt (1999), “Relationship-Based
Competitive Advantage: The Role of Relationship Marketing in
Marketing Strategy,Journal of Business Research, 46, 281-290.
——— and ——— (1994), “The Commitment-Trust Theory of
Relationship Marketing,” Journal of Marketing, 58 (July), 20-38.
Nayyar, Praveen R. (1990), “Information Asymmetries: A Source of
Competitive Advantage for Diversified Service Firms,” Strategic
Management Journal, 11 (November), 513-519.
Ouschan, Robyn, Jillian Sweeney, and Lester Johnson (2006),
“Customer Empowerment and Relationship Outcomes in
Healthcare Consultations,” European Journal of Marketing,40
(9/10), 1068-1086.
Palmatier, Robert W., Rajiv P. Dant, Dhruv Grewal, and Evans R.
Kenneth (2006), “Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of
Relationship Marketing: A Meta-Analysis,Journal of Marketing,
70 (October), 136-153.
Parasuraman, A., Valarie A. Zeithaml, and Leonard L. Berry (1988),
“SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer
Perception of Service Quality,Journal of Retailing, 64 (Spring), 12-40.
Park, C. W. and Parker V. Lessig (1981), “Familiarity and Its Impact on
Consumer Decision Biases and Heuristics,” Journal of Consumer
Research, 8 (September), 223-230.
Prahalad, C. K. and Venkatram Ramaswamy (2000), “Co-Opting
Customer Competence,” Harvard Business Review,78
(January/February), 79-87.
Rao, Akshay R. and Kent B. Monroe (1988), “The Moderating Effect of
Prior Knowledge on Cue Utilization in Product Evaluations,
Journal of Consumer Research, 15 (September), 253-264.
Rust, Roland T. and Peter C. Verhoef (2005), “Optimizing the Marketing
Intervention Mix in Intermediate-Term CRM,Marketing Science,
24 (Summer), 477-489.
———, Katherine N. Lemon, and Valarie A. Zeithaml (2004), “Return
on Marketing: Using Customer Equity to Focus Marketing
Strategy,Journal of Marketing, 68 (January), 109-127.
———, Christine Moorman, and Peter R. Dickson (2002), “Getting
Return on Quality: Revenue Expansion, Cost Reduction, or Both?”
Journal of Marketing, 66 (October), 7-24.
——— and L. Oliver, (1994), “Service Quality Insights and Managerial
Implications From the Frontier,” in Service Quality: New
Dimensions in Theory and Practice, T. Roland Rust and L. Oliver,
eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1-9.
Shah, Denish, Rust T. Roland, A. Parasuraman, Staelin Richard, and
George S. Day (2006), “The Path to Customer Centricity,” Journal
of Service Research, 9 (November), 113-124.
Shapiro, S. (1987), “The Social Control of Impersonal Trust,American
Journal of Sociology, 93 (3), 623-658.
Sharma, Neeru and Paul G. Patterson (2000), “Switching Costs, Alternative
Attractiveness and Experience as Moderators of Relationship
Commitment in Professional, Consumer Services,” International
Journal of Service Industry Management, 11 (5), 470-490.
——— and ——— (1999), “The Impact of Communication
Effectiveness and Service Quality on Relationship Commitment in
Consumer, Professional Services,Journal of Services Marketing,
13 (2/3), 151-170.
Sheth, N. Jagdish and Andrew Sobel (2002), Clients for Life: Evolving
From an Expert-for-Hire to an Extraordinary Adviser. New York:
Fireside.
Sirdeshmukh, Deepak, Jagdip Singh, and Barry Sabol (2002),
“Consumer Trust, Value, and Loyalty in Relational Exchanges,
Journal of Marketing, 66 (January), 15-37.
Söderlund, Magnus (2002), “Customer Familiarity and Its Effects on
Satisfaction and Behavioral Intentions,Psychology & Marketing,
19 (October), 861-880.
Solomon, Michael R., Carol Surprenant, John A. Czepiel, and Evelyn
G. Gutman (1985), “A Role Theory Perspective on Dyadic
Interactions: The Service Encounter,Journal of Marketing,49
(Winter), 99-111.
Urban, Glen L. (2004), “The Emerging Era of Customer Advocacy,”
MIT Sloan Management Review, 45 (Winter), 77-88.
Uzzi, Brian (1996), “The Sources and Consequences of Embeddedness
for the Economic Performance of Organizations: The Network
Effect,American Sociological Review, 61 (August), 674-698.
Voss, Glenn B. and Zannie Giraud Voss (2000), “Strategic Orientation
and Firm Performance in an Artistic Environment,” Journal of
Marketing, 64 (January), 67-83.
Wallach, Michael A. and Nathan Kogan (1959), “Sex Differences and
Judgement Processes,” Journal of Personality, 27, 555-564.
Weisinger, Hendrie (1998), Emotional Intelligence at Work. San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
268 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / February 2008
Zeithaml, Valarie A., Leonard L. Berry, and A. Parasuraman (1996),
“The Behavioral Consequences of Service Quality,Journal of
Marketing, 60 (April), 31-46.
——— (1981), “How Consumers’ Evaluation Processes Differ
Between Goods and Services,” in Marketing of Services, J. H.
Donnelly and W. R. George, eds. Chicago: American Marketing
Association, 186-190.
Andreas B. Eisingerich is an assistant professor of marketing in
the Tanaka Business School at Imperial College, London. His
research focuses on strategic customer management in profes-
sional service contexts, brand management, and marketing strat-
egy. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and
is a research fellow at the Center for Global Innovation,
Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California.
Simon J. Bell is an associate professor of marketing in the Judge
Business School at the University of Cambridge. His research
interests are in services and customer relationship marketing,
organizational learning, and new product development. He
received his PhD from the University of Melbourne. Prior
to joining the Judge Business School, he was an associate
professor on the Faculty of Economics and Commerce at the
University of Melbourne.
Construct Factor Loading tValue
Technical service quality
1. My advisor has assisted me to achieve my financial goals. .91 60.22
2. My advisor has performed well in providing the best return on my investments. .96 76.61
3. My advisor has helped me to protect my current position by recommending the best investing options. .95 72.13
4. My advisor has performed well in investing my money in appropriate investment options. .95a
Functional service quality
1. My advisor’s behaviour instils confidence in me.b
2. My advisor is courteous. .66 25.19
3. My advisor gives me personal attention. .81 34.38
4. My advisor has my best interests at heart. .87a
5. I can share my thoughts with my advisor. .81 34.36
Customer expertise
1. I can understand almost all the aspects of the services I purchase from my advisor. .95 8.25
2. I possess good knowledge of financial planning services and products. .58a
Customer education
1. My advisor keeps me very well informed about what is going on with my investments. .83 34.98
2. My advisor explains financial concepts and recommendations in a meaningful way. .87 37.79
3. My advisor always offers me as much information as I need. .86 36.70
4. My advisor always explains to me the pros and cons of the investment he/she recommends to me. .84a
Customer trust
1. [Business name] is an organization that can be trusted at all times. .94a
2. [Business name] is an organization that is honest and truthful. .93 60.51
3. [Business name] is an organization that can be counted on to do what is right. .93 61.86
4. I have confidence in [business name] as an organization. .90 55.10
a. Fixed item to set the scale.
b. Deleted item.
APPENDIX
Results of Confirmatory Factor Analysis
at CAPES on May 18, 2009 http://jsr.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... Customers in making investment decisions have different views and mindsets on the concept of sharia microfinance institutions. The low level of financial literacy will affect the choice of customers to invest in BMT (Effendi, et., al., 2020). One of the theories that can explain customers' investment decisions in using BMT services is the theory of reasoned action proposed by Ajzen and Fishbein (1975). ...
... The issues raised in this study are related to investment decisions in BMT Latansa Gontor Ponorogo. According to Effendi et al. (2020), the factors that influence investment decisions are the sharia system, product knowledge, promotions, services, attitudes, subjective norms, and the intention to use the services of Sharia BPR. His research shows that the shari'ah system, promotions, services, attitudes, subjective norms, and intentions significantly affect the use of Sharia BPR services. ...
... iefs, behavior, and intentions (Janah et al., 2020). Research shows that many factors influence investment decisions in Islamic banks, including the sharia system, product knowledge, promotions, services, attitudes, subjective norms, intentions, perceived quality, perceived risk, perceived value, community influence, religiosity, image, and trust. (Effendi et. al., 2020;Hati et. al., 2020;Janah et. al., 2020;Hassan and Abbas, 2020). The religiosity factor is one of the essential factors for making investment decisions. Islamic principles prohibit usury (interest), maisir (gambling), and gharar (speculative) in the concept of transactions in Islamic banks (Effendi et al., 2020). Effendi et al. (2020) exa ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to examine customer decisions in investing in BMT. The theory used to predict customer decisions in investing is the theory of reasoned action. The research method used is quantitative research with data analysis techniques Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). The results showed that the sharia system, product knowledge, religiosity, attitudes, risk perception, image, and investment intentions affected investment decisions.
... Relationship Between Live Streaming E-Commerce Quality and Perceived Trust Gefen (2002) and Eisingerich and Bell (2008) demonstrated through research that SEQ, which is described at the service level, affects consumer trust. Al-Debei et al. (2015) found that the quality of Internet shopping, that is, fashion products, IQ, SQ, and SEQ significantly impact the satisfaction, commitment, and trust of online shoppers. ...
Article
Full-text available
The live streaming e-commerce market continues to grow with the rapid increase in contactless communication due to COVID-19. Live streaming e-commerce goes beyond the confines of traditional e-commerce of simply selling goods or services. It supplies information and allows synchronous information exchange between the online viewer (consumer) and the Internet celebrity, who influences the consumers information behavior and ultimately contributes to the long-term profit generation of the company. From online commerce to new retail and live streaming, China has been at the forefront of innovation in online commerce worldwide. Therefore, this study focuses on investigating the influences of live streaming e-commerce quality, such as service quality (SEQ), information quality (IQ), and system quality (SQ), on consumer purchase intention in China by applying the extended model of technology acceptance. Furthermore, this study analyzes the paths through which the live streaming e-commerce quality affects the consumer purchase intention, based on paths of perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEU), perceived trust (PT), and perceived value (PV). To analyze this study, the data were collected from 231 customers who had used live streaming e-commerce apps in China (e.g., TikTok, Taobao, and Jingdong) and empirical analysis was applied. The results were summarized as follows: SQ is positively related to PU and PT. Similarly, IQ is positively related to PEU and PT. In addition, SEQ is also positively related to PU and PEU. Moreover, SQ affected the PV through PU and PT significantly and ultimately influenced consumer PI. Also, the path in which SEQ affects PU, which in turn affects PV, and ultimately PI, was found. This study found out the paths of how the live streaming E-commerce quality affects the consumer purchasing intention and contributes to the research field of e-commerce and consumer behaviors. Additionally, the results of this study give useful marketing suggestions for relevant financial institutions and enterprises.
... He & Li (2010) cho rằng chất lượng mạng là động lực tích cực tạo nên giá trị KH trong lĩnh vực dịch vụ điện thoại di động ở Đài Loan. Ngoài ra, một NCCDV có hiệu suất cốt lõi đáp ứng hoặc vượt quá sự mong đợi của khách hàng có khả năng phát triển mối quan hệ tin cậy hơn với KH (Eisingerich & Bell, 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
Ngày nhận: Ngày hoàn thành biên tập: Ngày duyệt đăng: 29/01/2021 Tóm tắt: Gần đây, thị trường viễn thông di động (VTDĐ) tại Việt Nam cho thấy sự phát triển rất nóng và tồn tại nhiều yếu tố không ổn định, đặc biệt là ảnh hưởng của sự phát triển công nghệ và thay đổi chính sách liên quan. Bài viết này xem xét ảnh hưởng của các yếu tố đến giá trị cảm nhận, sự hài lòng và sự gắn kết của khách hàng (KH) trong lĩnh vực VTDĐ tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (TP. HCM). Nghiên cứu sử dụng phương pháp phân tích mô hình cấu trúc tuyến tính (PLS-SEM) đối với số liệu được thu thập từ 273 KH đang sử dụng dịch vụ mạng viễn thông di động (DVMVTDĐ) của các nhà cung cấp dịch vụ (NCCDV) hiện nay. Kết quả phân tích dữ liệu chỉ ra rằng các giả thuyết đề xuất đều được ủng hộ; giá trị cảm nhận và sự hài lòng đóng vai trò trung gian giữa chất lượng hệ thống, chất lượng mạng, hình ảnh thương hiệu, chi phí sử dụng và sự gắn kết của KH với NCCDV. Hơn nữa, sự hài lòng có tác động mạnh hơn đến sự gắn kết so với giá trị cảm nhận của KH. Từ khóa: Giá trị cảm nhận, Sự hài lòng, Sự gắn kết, Mạng viễn thông di động DETERMINANTS OF CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT IN MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATION NETWORKS IN HO CHI MINH CITY Abstract: In recent years, the mobile telecommunication market in Vietnam has been growing rapidly and there exist a number of unstable factors a ecting it. Among these factors, technology innovation and changes in policies have signi cant impacts. This study examines factors a ecting Perceived Value, Customer Satisfaction, and Customer Engagement in the mobile telecommunication market in Ho Chi Minh City. The study uses the Partial Least Square method (PLS) to analyze a sample of 273 customers who are using mobile telecommunications. The results show that all proposed hypotheses are supported. Perceived Value and Customer Satisfaction play a mediation role in determing System Quality, Network Quality, Brand Image, Using Cost, and Customer Engagement. In addition, Customer Satisfaction has a strong e ect on customers' Perceived Value. Tác giả liên hệ,
... We can not only improve employees' competence, resilience, and welfare through training, but also contribute to enhancing the productivity and sustainability of the organization (Alola et al., 2018). Most researchers have agreed on the importance of employee training which helps employees as well as organization (Eisingerich and Bell, 2008;Bowers and Martin, 2007). In line with this, mentoring activities can be a good option to help employees' psychological states. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Workplace incivility is a common deviant behavior happening in organizational contexts, and it can have serious negative consequences such as decreasing employees’ organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and increasing their turnover intentions. The present study tested the argument that emotional exhaustion and acceptability of workplace incivility can act as mediators in this relationship between incivility and OCB and turnover intentions. Moreover, the assumption that employees’ political skill can act as a buffer on job strain caused by incivility displayed by both coworkers and supervisors was tested. Design/methodology/approach: 703 South Korean employees recruited online completed a self-assessment on their political skill first and then they were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions: either recalled a co-worker or a supervisor who had previously displayed uncivil behaviors towards them. Findings: The stronger the employees’ experience of incivility, the lower their OCB-O and the higher their turnover intentions. These relationships were mediated by acceptability of incivility and emotional exhaustions. Interestingly, results also supported the moderating role of political skill on the relationship between incivility and turnover intentions mediated by acceptability, with higher politically skilled employees to be more likely to accept incivility when compared to lower politically skilled employees. Originality/value: Using a between-subjects design, the findings expand the current knowledge regarding the negative impacts of workplace incivility. Specifically, they showed that acceptability is an important mechanism to understand the impact of workplace incivility on OCB and turnover intention.
Article
Purpose This study explored the antecedents and mediators of word-of-mouth (WOM) behavior in the life insurance industry and investigated how to increase policyholders' positive WOM communication. Design/methodology/approach A sample of life insurance policyholders in Taiwan is surveyed. These respondents were chosen using purposive sampling. The author sent out 650 questionnaires to customers of the top six life insurance firms in Taiwan in proportion to each firm's market share as follows: Cathay (200), Fubon (150), Nan Shan (120), Shin Kong (80), China (60), and Taiwan (40). A total of 338 usable questionnaires were returned. Structural equation modeling was performed to estimate the influence of the identified antecedents of WOM communication. Findings The results support the proposed model and hypotheses, indicating that customers' positive evaluations of functional quality and technical quality help drive positive WOM communication. Corporate image and trust also play partial mediating roles. Practical implications Decision-makers should note that functional quality, technical quality, corporate image, and trust are antecedents of WOM communication. Functional quality and technical quality are the main factors influencing policyholders' perceptions. Therefore, life insurance firms must understand policyholders' quality expectations. Managers should also pay increased attention to promoting favorable WOM communication through strengthening corporate image and trust. Originality/value This was the first study to examine WOM communication in Taiwan's life insurance industry. Few studies have investigated the mediating effects of corporate image and trust in the relationships of functional and technical quality with WOM. The findings reveal the importance of WOM to the marketing of life insurance, providing new information for life insurance practice and theory.
Article
The modern sales role has been described as that of a knowledge broker who shares salient information, beyond what the customer already knows, to influence sales outcomes. However, the literature is mostly silent on actual customer learning (i.e., if customers learn from a salesperson's knowledge brokerage attempts). This research explores customer learning within the lens of the ADDIE instructional process, which we adapt from a classroom setting to the more dynamic world of B2B sales. As educators, we propose that salespeople utilize a variety of influence tactics to transfer knowledge that drives customer learning. We investigate how different influence tactics play a role in the development of both basic and advanced customer learning outcomes. Specifically, using both dyadic survey data and objective sales outcomes, we find that influence tactics have diverging effects on both customer learning types and ultimately profitability. We identify that in the absence of formal tests or assignments used in the classroom to assess learning, salesperson perceptions of customer learning can be misaligned with customer assessments of learning. Our research highlights the importance of basic and reflective customer learning as drivers of sales performance outcomes.
Article
Full-text available
This quantitative research aims to investigate the perceptions of bank service quality among Malaysian customers, and to determine which dimensions of perceived service quality make the greatest contribution to overall customer satisfaction. Positivism paradigm was adopted in this study since it is the most suitable for studies where hypotheses are statistically tested. Explanatory research was utilised since the topic chosen is an entirely new area. Quantitative method was utilised via survey questionnaire. Numerical data were collected via the use of Likert scale. The scale is 1 to 5 where 1=strongly disagree; 2=Disagree; 3=Neutral; 4=Agree; 5=strongly agree. Primary data collection method was used since the researcher had to personally distribute questionnaire to 300 bank customer across Malaysia. Questionnaire was divided into three sections-the demographics questions, the independent variables and the dependent variables. Data collected were analyzed and interpreted using SPSS software where several tests including the reliability, sample adequacy, normality, descriptive statistics, and correlation and regression analyses were conducted. Results and findings were compared with past and present studies. The findings using the bivariate multiple regression analysis showed that three dimensions of service quality namely reliability and security, empathy and assurance have positive significant relationship with customer satisfaction evidence from Malaysia. The hypothesis related to the dimension of tangibility was rejected. SERVQUAL model has other dimensions which can still be explored. Further research should utilize bigger sample size which may lead to a situation where all the dimensions of service quality are positively significantly related to customer satisfaction.
Article
Purpose Customers often want to learn about a product/service, and companies can benefit from such a learning desire. While prior research has shed light on firm-beneficial outcomes of customer learning and explored the motivational factors of business partners’ learning behavior, less is known about the critical antecedents of individual customers’ learning behavior. This study aims to explore the key drivers of individual customers’ learning desires and identified customers with a stronger learning desire. Design/methodology/approach This research used both a lab experiment (Study 1, N = 148) and surveys (Study 2, N = 553; Study 3, N = 703) across different participant populations and product contexts. Findings This study indicated that both involvement and knowledge-sharing intention drove customer learning desire. Customer expertise further strengthened these main effects. Moreover, a stronger learning desire led to greater customer satisfaction. Research limitations/implications This study identified key factors involved in customer learning desire and its potential benefits for companies. Additional research to investigate customer learning in specific environments and forms and regarding specific brands is warranted. Practical implications This study emphasizes the importance of supporting customer learning and encourages businesses to manage customer learning proactively. It also provides suggestions for effective learning support for targeted customer groups. Originality/value This study contributes to the customer learning literature by exploring key influencing factors of individual customers’ learning desires, based on self-determination theory. It also identified the role of customer expertise in shaping customers’ learning processes. Moreover, this study examined customer learning as a novel way to enhance customer satisfaction.
Article
Purpose Demand for long-term care services increases with population aging. This study aims to develop a conceptual model of elderly customers’ health-care experiences to explore the antecedents, mechanisms and outcomes of social participation in long-term care service organizations. Design/methodology/approach Using a two-phase data collection approach, this study collects data from 238 elderly customers in a long-term care service organization. The final data are analyzed through structural equation modeling. Findings The results show that care management efforts (i.e. customer education, perceived organization support, role modeling, perceived other customer support and diversity of activity) influence elderly customers’ psychological states (i.e. self-efficacy and sense of community), leading to increased social participation. In addition, high levels of social participation evoke positive service satisfaction and quality of life, both of which alleviate switching intention. Originality/value This study is one of the first conclusive service studies focused on the role of elderly customers’ social participation in their long-term care experience. The findings contribute to health-care service marketing and transformative service research, and expand understanding of elderly customers’ health-care experience, especially in long-term care service settings.
Article
Visualization, whereby brands encourage consumers to mentally picture interacting with products, is a common advertising technique. Existing research, mostly conducted in the U.S. and Western Europe, demonstrates the effectiveness of future-oriented product visualizations. However, in East Asian countries (e.g., China), consumers are past-oriented. We argue that such temporal orientation has a vital impact on the effectiveness of visualization. We conducted two experiments, which reveal a significant influence of temporal-framed visualization on new product evaluation among Chinese consumers. Retrospective (past-oriented) visualization leads to higher new product evaluation than anticipatory (future-oriented) visualization, with processing fluency identified as the underlying mechanism. Further, spokesperson type moderates the effect of temporal-framed visualization. Retrospective visualization is more beneficial when adopting a human spokesperson, whereas anticipatory visualization is more effective when adopting a cartoon spokesperson. We recommend marketers in past-oriented cultures use temporal-framed visualizations, but also, be cognizant of the type of spokesperson employed.
Article
Full-text available
This article proposes that the dyadic interaction between a service provider and a customer is an important determinant of the customer's global satisfaction with the service. Based on role theory, a theoretical framework is presented which abstracts some of the critical components of service encounters across industries.
Article
Sellers, unlike their customers, can see the forest for the trees in an industry. Drawing on examples from Hilti, Algorithmics, McCain Foods and others, the authors describe three strategies for putting that unique view to use and discuss how these strategies can be implemented.
Article
As companies aspire to become market-driven, they exhort employees to get closer to customers, stay ahead of competitors, and make decisions based on their markets. Yet, even the best-intentioned senior managers find it difficult to translate those aspirations into action. Failed or flawed change programs have many symptoms, most of which are traceable to a lack of commitment to the deep-seated changes needed. The organization hasn't fully grasped what it means to be market-driven — or why it matters — and lacks a clear path to that end.1 Further problems occur if the change program is unsuited to the task of orienting the business to its present and prospective markets.
Article
The authors integrate theory developed in several disciplines to determine five cognitive processes through which industrial buyers can develop trust of a supplier firm and its salesperson. These processes provide a theoretical framework used to identify antecedents of trust. The authors also examine the impact of supplier firm and salesperson trust on a buying firm's current supplier choice and future purchase intentions. The theoretical model is tested on data collected from more than 200 purchasing managers. The authors find that several variables influence the development of supplier firm and salesperson trust. Trust of the supplier firm and trust of the salesperson (operating indirectly through supplier firm trust) influence a buyer's anticipated future interaction with the supplier. However, after controlling for previous experience and supplier performance, neither trust of the selling firm nor its salesperson influence the current supplier selection decision.
Article
As consumers become more informed, companies must go beyond relationship marketing and help customers find the best products for their needs - even if those offerings are from competitors. The author discusses General Motors, General Electric, Qwest and others to illustrate the trend.
Article
The authors test the proposition that the effectiveness of a particular strategic orientation-reactor, defender, analyzer, and prospector-is contingent upon the dynamics of the market. In mildly volatile markets, analyzer organizations are found to outperform other organization strategy types. However, in more volatile markets, the strategy-performance alignment is less clearly determined by the market environment.
Article
The authors develop and test a model of service employee management that examines constructs simultaneously across three interfaces of the service delivery process: manager-employee, employee-role, and employee-customer. The authors examine the attitudinal and behavioral responses of customer-contact employees that can influence customers' perceptions of service quality, the relationships among these responses, and three formal managerial control mechanisms (empowerment, behavior-based employee evaluation, and management commitment to service quality). The findings indicate that managers who are committed to service quality are more likely to empower their employees and use behavior-based evaluation. However, the use of empowerment has both positive and negative consequences in the management of contact employees. Some of the negative consequences are mitigated by the positive effects of behavior-based employee evaluation. To increase customers' perceptions of service quality, managers must increase employees' self-efficacy and job satisfaction, and reduce employees' role conflict and ambiguity. Implications for the management of customer-contact service employees and directions for further research are discussed.