The service encounter
Whether at arm’s length or face to face, interaction between customer and organization lies at the heart of service delivery. The interaction may take many forms, from a brief encounter with a directions sign to a protracted encounter with a service employee. Whatever the nature and type of contact, each represents a moment of truth for the customer. This chapter will focus on customers engaging with organizations through the medium of service personnel. How we should portray that encounter and how it should be understood will underline the discussion. Both customer and employee perspectives will be addressed together with how service organizations seek to manage the process. Several concepts/ techniques are introduced that are of fundamental importance for understanding the service encounter.