Title: Customer satisfaction with call centre care: an explanatory empirical study of service encounters in Germany

Authors: Torsten J. Gerpott

Addresses: Mercator School of Management, University of Duisburg-Essen, Lotharstr. 65, D-47057 Duisburg, Germany

Abstract: In many business sectors interactions between existing customers and companies are mainly handled via call centres (CC). The present paper develops hypotheses on direct and indirect associations between eight features of customer interactions with CC response systems and agents on the one hand and care satisfaction of calling customers on the other. The hypotheses are tested in a sample of 108 customers of mobile communication network operators in Germany. The participants contacted their supplier's CC for advice purposes and filled in a questionnaire immediately after the encounter. PLS analysis of the survey data suggests that care satisfaction of calling customers is most closely related to the quality of the service process prior to the dialogue with a CC agent and to the request-specific expertise of the agent as perceived by the caller. In contrast, the social communication skills attributed to the agent by the customer as well as the objective duration of talk and waiting periods contributed much less toward explaining care satisfaction of CC users.

Keywords: call centre operations; customer care; customer satisfaction; Germany; partial least squares; PLS; service employee competencies; service process quality; service quality; mobile communications; mobile network operators; communication skills; call duration; waiting times.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSOM.2012.050144

International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 2012 Vol.13 No.4, pp.525 - 553

Published online: 23 Aug 2014 *

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