|M.Sc Student||Zilberman-Ziklik Lital|
|Subject||Customer Orientation Behaviors of Telephone Service|
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Anat Rafaeli|
Quality of service is a pivotal concern for service companies. Service organizations try to control service encounters by defining rules, behaviors and scripts for customer contact employees. But the question still remains as to what these behaviors should be, and to what extent employees should retain autonomy in their responses. This study argues for the importance of employee autonomy by introducing the construct of Customer Orientation Behaviors (COB). Part I of the study documents five different types of such behaviors in telephone service interactions. The underlying core of these behaviors is employee initiative to provide customers with “additional” information or help which is not included in their job definition or service script, and which the customer did not explicitly request. The five categories of COB's include: (1) anticipating customer requests, (2) offering explanations / justifications, (3) trying to educate customers, (4) providing emotional support, and (5) offering personalized information. Part II of the study reports a deductive analysis of 166 calls in a financial service call center in which these behaviors are shown to predict customer delight with interaction with telephone representatives. Customer Orientation Behaviors were found to occur more frequently in longer calls rather than shorter calls, which may be because they tend to take up time or because longer calls require closer personal attention from employees. The concept of Customer Orientation Behaviors challenges prevailing patterns in management of telephone service where employees are required to act according to pre-established fixed scripts of behavior and where duration of calls is very closely monitored.