Distinguishing between service relationships and encounters

Barbara A. Gutek, Anita D. Bhappu, Matthew A. Liao-Troth, Bennett Cherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

268 Scopus citations


In 3 separate studies, the authors developed measures of different social mechanisms used in the interaction between a customer and a service provider and examined their effects. Service relationships occur when a customer has repeated contact with the same provider. Service encounters occur when the customer interacts with a different provider each time. Service pseudorelationships are a particular kind of encounter in which a customer interacts with a different provider each time, but within a single company. The 3 studies showed consistently that customers having a service relationship with a specific provider had more service interactions and were more satisfied than those who did not have one. These results held across 7 different service areas, 3 diverse samples, and 2 different ways of measuring a service relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-233
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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