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martes, 26 de noviembre de 2013

Customer orientation of service Employees

Author: Agustin Asan
Follow me: @AgusAsan
University of Malaga
Grado en Marketing e Investigacion de Mercados
Professor: Jose Luis Ruiz de Alba

Agustín Asan exposing in the class of
Services Marketing , an article on COSE
Service success through customer-oriented employees?

The employees’ level of customer orientation is considered an important leverage for service firms’ economic success.
Review of literature on customer orientation of service employees

It is well established among marketing theorists that firms which focus their activities on the needs of their customers, i.e. behave in a customer-oriented way, perform better than those companies that do not.

In the context of service quality research, it has been demonstrated that the behavior of service employees affects the customer’s perception of the service.

(Kelley, 1992). He proposes and empirically tests a conceptual framework of COSE determinants, including organizational constructs such as organizational climate and socialization, as well as personal constructs such as motivational effort and direction.

(Brown, 2002) COSE is composed of: a needs dimension, which covers the employee’s belief that he or she can fulfill customer’s wishes; and an enjoyment dimension, which represents the extent to which the employee enjoys interactions with customers.

(Donavan,2004) COSE consists of five dimensions, entitled “need to pamper”, “need to read the customer”, “need for personal relationship”, “need to deliver”, and “need to communicate”

(Hennig-Thurau and Thurau, 2003) define COSE as the employee’s behavior in person-to-person interactions and suggest a three-dimensional conceptualization of COSE. They introduce three COSE dimensions, entitled:

-          an employee’s customer oriented skills
-          his or her motivation to serve customers
-          his or her self-perceived decision-making authority

An employee can only behave in a fully customer-oriented sense if all dimensions exist.
It is important to note that the conceptualization of COSE implies that all four dimensions (employee´s technical skills, social skills, motivation, and decision-making power) are indispensable to a certain extent to enable employees to behave in a customer-oriented way.

The employee’s technical skills refer to the knowledge and those technical or motor skills which a service employee must possess.

The concept of social skills focuses on the service employee’s ability to take the customer’s perspective during interactions.
Specifically, such perspective taking can take place visually (i.e. the employee
understands what the consumer sees and perceives), cognitively (i.e. the employee understands what the consumer thinks), and emotionally (i.e. the employee understands what the consumer feels).

Regarding the motivation dimension of COSE, the employee’s motivation to servecustomers consists of three elements, namely: a positive valence of customer-oriented behavior and the consequences associated with such behavior on the part of the employee; the employee’s self-perception of being able to behave in a customer-oriented way; and his or her expectations of reaching the desired outcome through engaging in such behavior.
Motivation is essential for the employee’s transformation of social and technical skillsninto customer-oriented behavior.

Finally, the employee’s self-perceived decision-making authority corresponds to the extent to which service employees feel authorized to decide on issues that concern customer’s interests and needs. Self-perceived decision-making authority is related to the empowerment, concept intensively discussed in the services literature which, however, refers to the “objective” authority an employee has been given by the organization, whilendecision-making authority is seen as a subjective concept. As with motivation, decision-making authority is needed in order to transfer an employee’s skills and intention to treat customers in a friendly and competent way into actual behavior.

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