Advances in Economics and Business Vol. 5(1), pp. 1 - 10
DOI: 10.13189/aeb.2017.050101
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Social and Physical Aspects of the Service Encounter: Effects on Trust and Customer Loyalty to the Service Provider

Temessek Behi Azza 1,2,*, Ben Dahmane Mouelhi Norchene 1,2
1 Institute of High Business Studies, University of Carthage, Tunisia
2 Marketing Research Laboratory (LRM), University of Sfax, Tunisia


The purpose of this research is to evaluate the influence of two strategic service encounter dimensions on consumer beliefs and service loyalty. A conceptual model was generated with the aim of seeking to reveal the contribution of the physical environment and social interactions with front line employees on customer's evaluation of the service provider and loyalty. An empirical study is conducted based on a sample of 400 customers of fitness centers. Collected data was analyzed using a structural modeling that highlight the contribution of each predictors. The results revealed that physical and social cues differently influence customer trust and loyalty to the service provider. It seems that social interactions are more effective in building customer trust. Overall, the joint effect of servicescape and social relationships positively influence customer trust and lead to service loyalty. This paper provides empirical evidence on the contribution of two service encounter cues: servicescape and social interaction on customer trust and service loyalty. The research offers a conceptual framework that can be tested in a variety of services. Managerial recommendations focus on improving relational aptitudes of frontline employees, mainly in personal services such as fitness centers.

Servicescape, Social Interactions, Front Line Employees, Trust, Loyalty, Structural Modeling

Cite this paper
Temessek Behi Azza , Ben Dahmane Mouelhi Norchene . "Social and Physical Aspects of the Service Encounter: Effects on Trust and Customer Loyalty to the Service Provider." Advances in Economics and Business 5.1 (2017) 1 - 10. doi: 10.13189/aeb.2017.050101.