Employee proactivity positively affects customers’ retail shopping2023-10-06
High employee proactivity can, for example, compensate for delays in customer service situations and thereby mitigate the negative effects of waiting.
Employee proactivity has been discussed as a key factor in company success and organisational performance. Previous research on proactivity has rarely focused on the customer encounter and the few studies on retail that exist have mostly measured subjective outcomes.
In the research project “Going the extra mile, now or after a while: The Impact of employee proactivity in retail service encounters on customers’ shopping responses”, Peter Samuelsson, Senior Lecturer in Business Administration at Karlstad Business School and Service Research Center (CTF), has together with researchers from the University of Agder and Linköping University, among others, looked at the effects of employee proactivity in retail service encounters on customers’ actual purchase behaviour and satisfaction.
- We have used a combination of methods, including structured interviews with customers after visiting a store, retail field studies, controlled online experiments and data from mystery shoppers, to investigate how employee proactivity affects customer purchase behaviour and satisfaction.
What do the results of your study show?
- Our research shows that employee proactivity positively affects customers’ shopping. The results of our study also show that high employee proactivity can compensate for delays in customer service situations and thereby mitigate the negative effects of waiting. This surprised us, because it goes against our own beliefs. It indicates that proactivity can help remove negative customer experiences.
The study has resulted in new research tracks that Peter Samuelsson want to study closer together with colleagues Tobias Otterbring, Jasenko Arsenovic, Peter Samuelsson, Suresh Malodia and Amandeep Dhir.
- That employee proactivity can recreate a positive customer experience after something negative has happened is a very interesting finding. In our study, we only studied one type of negative incident - but there is a lot that can go wrong in a stressful retail setting. Perhaps proactivity can be a way to restore other negative situations.
The results highlight the financial importance of employee proactivity by showing how it affects customer purchase behaviour and satisfaction. In this way, the results give the retail industry concrete insights into how they can improve the customer experience and increase sales. Important insights for an industry facing many challenges.
How can employers encourage employee proactivity?
- The focus of the study on behavioural indicators of proactivity gives employers important tools for instructing employees to take initiative, be forward-looking and actively engage with customers. The right training, incentives and a company culture that values and rewards proactive behaviour promote employee proactivity.
The research project was conducted in collaboration with Tobias Otterbring, Jasenko Arsenovic, Suresh Malodia and Amandeep Dhir.
- Going the extra mile, now or after a while: The Impact of employee proactivity in retail service encounters on customers’ shopping responses