The influence of employee engagement on customer experience in business-to business relationships

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

A customer's overall experience of interaction with a firm can be influenced by a variety of antecedents including employee behaviour, and can affect a variety of constructs including a customer's intention to remain loyal to a firm. The study contributes to the customer experience literature by constructing and empirically testing a theoretical model that integrates the construct of employee engagement as an influencing variable on customer experience in a business-to-business environment. Employee engagement is characterised by the level of engagement an employee depicts through attributes such as vigour, dedication and absorption. The study sampled 106 employee respondents and 1,216 customer respondents of a South African mining and construction firm. The combined dataset of both employee and customer responses was empirically tested using Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling. The research finds a relationship exists between employee engagement and customer experience of employee performance. Additionally, customer experience of employee performance was significantly statistically associated with overall customer experience, a construct focusing on customer experience comparative to competitors and alternate suppliers. The enhancement of understanding of the antecedents of employee engagement and the effect of customer experience on customer loyalty may assist in the development of interventions to address the gaps in the employee-customer encounter. The principle implication emanating from this study is that customer experience, as a construct, should not be ignored, as the inclusion of a customer experience construct may enhance and complement the prediction of customer behaviour, not only in a business-to-business environment. Establishing the positive and negative levels of the required competencies of employees assists in guiding the supervisory performance discussion, subsequent training suggestions and required on-the-ground coaching.

Includes bibliographical references