Changing the servicescape The influence of music, self-disclosure and eye gaze on service encounter experience and approach-avoidance behavior
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and understand the effect of a servicescape’s ambient and social conditions on consumers’ service encounter experience and their approach/avoidance behavior in a retail context. In three papers, with a total sample of over 1600 participants (including 550 actual consumers) and seven experiments, the author investigates the effect of music (ambient stimuli), employees’ self-disclosure (verbal social stimuli) and employees’ gazing behavior (nonverbal social stimuli) on consumers’ service encounter experience and approach/avoidance behavior in a retail store.Paper I comprised two experiments, and the aim was to investigate the influence of music on emotions, approach/avoidance behavior. Paper II comprised two experiments, and the aim was to investigate the effect of frontline employees’ personal self-disclosure on consumers’ reciprocal behavior. Paper III comprised three experiments, and the aim was to investigate the influence of employee’s direct eye gaze/ averted eye gaze on consumer emotions, social impression of the frontline employee and encounter satisfaction in different purchase situations.The results in this thesis show that music affects consumers in both positive and negative ways (Paper I). Self-disclosure affects consumers negatively, in such a way that it decreases encounter satisfaction (Paper II) and, finally, eye gaze affects consumers by regulating both positively – and in some cases also negatively – consumers’ social impression of the frontline employee and their encounter satisfaction (Paper III).The conclusions of this thesis are that both ambient and social stimuli in a servicescape affect consumers’ internal responses, which in turn affect their behavior. Depending on the purchase situation, type of retail, and stimuli, the internal and behavioral responses are different.
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