Customers’ emotions in real time: measuring affective responses to service and relationship quality at the reception desk
MetadataShow full item record
Purpose. The purpose of this paper is to explore customers’ emotions during a host-guest interaction at the reception desk of a hotel. Guests’ emotional responses are analysed in real time to understand their link to behavior and levels of service- and relationship-quality. Design. To achieve this aim, 225 random customers have experienced six different types of interactions (scenarios) at a staged reception desk, each representing a different mix of high/low service or relationship quality. Guests’ emotions during these interactions have been (video) recorded and analyzed with the help of SHORETM, a facial recognition software. SHORETM processes four basic emotions analysing human muscular activity during the host-guest interactions and thereby it calculates average emotional scores per scenario. Findings. Results reveal that customers respond more positively to service than to relationship quality. Informal approaches to interacting with guests are mixed: they can both excite or irritate customers. As with existing evidence in service marketing research, the results found out through this study demonstrate that a good service recovery process seems to immediately generate more satisfied customers than do constant high quality standards. Practical implications and limitations. Practical implications are directed to service designers and managers in hospitality in order to improve service design and ensure effective service recoveries. The main limitations are related to the semi-staged nature of social interactions, which might cause distortions in measuring emotions and limitations in the comparability of scenarios. Originality. This paper introduces a novel approach for assessing host-guest interactions in tourism based on a real-time emotional assessment of service and relationship quality in hospitality. Technologically advanced observation techniques enable in-depth analyses of actions and emotional responses between hosts and guests across time. New insights concerning service design and service recovery management are gained for practitioners and for future research.