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An Exploratory Study of Customer Service Workers Experience of Challenging Behaviour

Costello, Marian Pio (2021) An Exploratory Study of Customer Service Workers Experience of Challenging Behaviour. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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The title of this dissertation is ‘An Exploratory Study of Customer Service Workers Experience of Challenging Behaviour’. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of challenging behaviour from customers on customer service workers. It explores how challenging behaviour presents, the impact it may have on employees, and its possible effect on their self-efficacy in relation to how they carry out the functions of their role. This study also looks at the concept of resources and discusses how they may be lost or gained, and what employees may do to protect their resources. It also considers the Emotional Intelligence of customer service workers, and whether this mediates how incidents of challenging behaviour play out, and how employees cope after the incidents themselves.

The Research Design for this study was qualitative and involved conducting six semi-structured interviews. The data was analysed thematically and generated eight themes and ten sub-themes. The overarching themes centred on Communication, Experience and Learning and the Support of Colleagues and Management. The findings of the study indicate that in incidents of low-level challenging behaviour, employees were upset in the immediate aftermath, but in the long-term learned from the experience. In incidents of a more intense or volatile nature, employees were upset for a longer time and questioned themselves and their abilities. The support of colleagues and management was extremely important during the incidents themselves and afterwards.

This study proposes that in the customer service context, the effect of challenging behaviour cannot be viewed simply in the context of maintaining or driving customer service standards. It is far more complex than ‘The Customer is Always Right’. This research recommends that the feelings of employees, particularly after an incident of challenging behaviour are important to an organization. It is hoped that the findings and recommendations of this study will help contribute to future best practice in the Customer Service Context.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Customer Service
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Emotional Intelligence
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Specific Industries > Service Industry
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2021 16:45
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 16:45

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