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Evaluating Service Encounters: The Effects of Physical Surroundings and Employee Responses

Mary Jo Bitner
Journal of Marketing
Vol. 54, No. 2 (Apr., 1990), pp. 69-82
DOI: 10.2307/1251871
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1251871
Page Count: 14
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Evaluating Service Encounters: The Effects of Physical Surroundings and Employee Responses
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Abstract

For consumers, evaluation of a service firm often depends on evaluation of the "service encounter" or the period of time when the customer interacts directly with the firm. Knowledge of the factors that influence customer evaluations in service encounters is therefore critical, particularly at a time when general perceptions of service quality are declining. The author presents a model for understanding service encounter evaluation that synthesizes consumer satisfaction, services marketing, and attribution theories. A portion of the model is tested experimentally to assess the effects of physical surroundings and employee responses (explanations and offers to compensate) on attributions and satisfaction in a service failure context.

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