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The role of servicescape and social interaction towards the experience of customers and employees in the café setting. A study in Vietnam.


Author: Tran Xuan, Quynh
Under the direction of: Nadine Tournois et Van My Dang
Université Côte d’Azur
English Language English text

Keywords: Management sciences, Vietnam, Service environment, Social interaction, Service experience, Coffee - Consumption - Vietnam, Consumers - Attitude - Satisfaction - Loyalty, Customer relations.


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Vietnam is well-known all over the world with the coffee-consuming culture every day. This nation is a fully prospective market with millions of consumers. The foreign brands and domestic brands intensely compete to share the internal market. One of the efficient competition strategies is focusing on creating a pleasant experience for customers through an outstanding atmosphere and excellent service quality. Consequently, experiential marketing has attracted much interest from researchers in this industry. Abundant studies have been published in the near period to investigate the role of service environment and social interactions to customer behaviors. Nevertheless, there are several research gaps in this field. A significant lack of empirical works investigates the impacts of servicescape on customers’ perceived social interaction as a considerable example. The importance of social interactions in service establishments has been less explored, particularly customer-to-employee interaction and customer-to-customer interaction. The relationship between service experience, customer satisfaction and loyalty has been scarcely examined. Besides, very few studies have investigated service experience in the café environment. In another field, the influences of servicescape on its users (staff, service employees, contact personnel) have almost been ignored in previous publications. Consequently, there is a considerable research gap that concentrates on understanding the impacts of servicescape attributes on both experiences of customers and employees in the café setting. In order to fill in this gap, a survey study carried out at 185 coffee outlets with 1779 customers and 608 employees in the three largest cities in Vietnam through self-administered questionnaires. The structural model and hypotheses were tested through the PLS-SEM technique by Smartpls 3.0 application. The results denoted that the positive evaluation of customers towards the café servicescape is likely to foster the social interaction quality of customers with employees and other customers as well as increase the experience quality. Also, the findings signified that customers’ perceived social interactions (employees, other customers) are a critical determinant of experience quality in the café environment. Moreover, social interactions and service experiences considerably influence the development of customer satisfaction and loyalty to coffee establishments. Additionally, the results proved that the pleasant presence of tangible conditions in the café setting is likely to make employees achieve a better job experience, induce positive emotional experiences and foster social interaction quality. This study also found that the physical workspace, social interaction and emotional experience are the important antecedents of job experience quality in the café environment. Furthermore, it has been argued that employee inner emotion and job experience substantially determine the extent of employee satisfaction towards the current job. The findings revealed that the emotional states that employees experienced in their workspace is closely associated with the perception of customers about interaction quality with employees. Moreover, this study validated the causal interrelation between job satisfaction, service satisfaction and customer loyalty. This research provides several critical contributions for theoretical applications and managerial applications in the café industry. It also identifies some limitations in the current study and suggests some research directions in the future.