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Rapport-Building Behaviors Used by Retail Employees

Dwayne D. Gremler and Kevin P. Gwinner

Journal of Retailing, 2008, vol. 84, issue 3, 308-324

Abstract: The rapport between employees and customers represents a particularly salient issue in retail businesses characterized by significant interpersonal interactions. Although rapport relates significantly to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and word-of-mouth communication, the behaviors employees use to develop rapport receive minimal attention in marketing and management literature. Using research on rapport-building behaviors identified in other literature as a basis for investigation, this study investigates the extent to which such behaviors are relevant in commercial settings. With the critical incident technique, the authors identify rapport-building behaviors commonly used by retail employees in 388 service encounters. Analysis of 824 rapport-building behaviors described in these encounters confirms three categories suggested by previous research – uncommonly attentive, common grounding, and courteous behavior – and identifies two additional categories that have not been linked to rapport in retail settings, namely, connecting and information sharing behavior. The authors conclude with a discussion of managerial and research implications.

Keywords: Rapport-building behaviors; Commercial settings; Customer–employee interactions; Service encounters; Critical incidents (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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