Research on service encounters receives funding
The Role of the Employee in the Service Encounter: Challenges and Change Management for Retail Employees
The future physical store is much debated in the area of retail. In recent years, digitalization and multichannel retailing have changed the situation for physical stores; resulting in more knowledgeable customers and new consumer behaviours in the store. We already know that the role of employees is paramount for the customers' experience, for good or for bad. But we need more insight on what challenges employees will meet in the encounter with the customers of today.
In this research project, focus is put on the role of employees in service encounters in the physical store: What are the demands from today's customers and how are they expressed in the store? What resources are available for employees – and what resources do they need – to meet new customer demands and new customer behaviour? These are the questions that will be investigated in the project, by studying five large Swedish retail companies in different industries. The study will include data collection in the store, as well as on a central level of the organisation – in order to gain knowledge of those aspects of the organisation which are relevant for the employees' ability to handle today's service encounters.
The study will begin in Spring 2018 and is expected to close at the end of 2020. Results from the study will be published regularily, starting from late Autumn 2018.
Kristina Bäckström, Ph.D., The Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Campus Helsingborg, will lead the project. Participating researchers are Professor Ulf Johansson at The Center for Retail Research in Lund, and Jens Nordfält, E.D., Stockholm School of Economics.
The project has received funding from The Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council for two years.