The Impact of Mystery Customers on Employees

Alex Douglas
Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

Jacqueline Douglas
Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

John Davies
Salford Business School, University of Salford, UK

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Publicerad: 2008-02-15


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The service encounter has quite rightly been described as the Moment of Truth (MOT). It is that moment in time when an employee of an organisation directly interacts with a customer or potential customer. That interaction provides the organisation with both an opportunity and a threat depending on how the scenario unfolds. It is an opportunity to demonstrate quality; build trust and increase loyalty. It is a threat because it can be critical in determining perceptions of quality and so if things go wrong the outcome can be a dissatisfied customer and reduced loyalty. Despite increases in remote (internet) and telephone encounters the most usual form of interaction takes place face-to-face. The challenge for any organisation’s management is to try to control; measure and improve the quality of such service encounters. The main difficulties with such a task are associated with; inter alia; the heterogeneous nature of services; their perishability; their blend of tangible and intangible elements and the fact that consumption takes place simultaneously with production (Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons; 2004). Customer satisfaction surveys; focus groups; complaints data; mystery customer programmes and peer appraisal are some of the traditional methods utilised by management to try and gauge the quality of their service delivery processes and people. Management clearly recognise that the service delivery process is important in relation to customer satisfaction (Wilson; 2000).


Stress; Ethics; Service Quality Measurement and Improvement


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