Mei Li, Arizona State University
Thomas Choi, Arizona State University
Elliot Rabinovich, Arizona State University
Aaron Crawford, Arizona State University

Inter-customer interactions play a significant role in the management of retail service operations. Our study takes place in a retail self-service setting where the service provider is not directly involved in the service operations (i.e., self-service terminals). Our research shows that fellow customers can exert influence on a focal customer’s quality perception and repeat purchasing intentions. When negative inter-customer interaction occurs, how much a focal customer holds the service provider to be accountable leads to reduced service quality perception and reduced repeat purchasing intentions. However, this relationship does not hold when there is a positive inter-customer interaction. When positive inter-customer interaction occurs, how much a focal customer assigns responsibility to the service provider does not translate into enhanced service quality perception or repeat purchasing intention. Such counter-intuitive results give service providers specific strategies on how to actively manage their customers to be efficient technology users and encourage collaboration among customers.