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A typology of customer service encounters
Despite the plethora of research that examines the characteristics and dimensionality of customer service, a classification of the categories of customer service encounters has yet to be developed. This research addressed this gap in the literature by developing a proposed typology for future testing. Five benefits of this typology are identified for theory and practice. The aim of this research was thus: ‘To formulate a proposed classification model of customer service encounter categories in a consumer situation.’ The research is exploratory in nature due to the absence of any previous typology, and used traditional taxonomic methods to identify single dissimilarities between many customer service encounter scenarios. A reflective thinking technique was employed to analyse observable constructs. The result is a proposed non-hierarchical structure of 15 categories, with 40 identified states and a theoretical number of 884,736 different of customer service encounter situations. The typology can be used as a basis for a more detailed study to further identify and define categories and states of customer service encounters. Such a typology will provide practitioners with a list of environmental considerations that need to be addressed when ‘designing’ customer encounters.