Model Frontline Customer Service Providers: From Their Own Perspectives
Article currently being edited. Estimated publication date in 2018
By learning to select better, well-informed candidates for the challenging frontline roles in the hospitality industry and learning to provide personal and professional, physical, emotional, and developmental support to their staffs, organizations may be able to reduce costs associated with employee turnover. The primary purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the characteristics of the archetype frontline customer service provider based on the perceptions of model employees themselves. The secondary purpose was to explore shared characteristics relating to how model frontline customer service providers maintain motivation and longevity within their professions. A better understanding of these shared characteristics could provide managers in the industry additional tools for influencing frontline customer service providers to maintain their motivation in providing consistent, long-term superior customer service. For the purpose of this qualitative case study, the model frontline customer service provider was identified by tenure (a minimum of three years in their organization) and documented evidence of strong operational and customer service skills. The focus of the present study was on hospitality organizations in the Orlando, Florida area; initial sample size included three front desk clerks, three restaurant servers, and three theme park attractions attendants. Data was collected through individual face to face interviews between the researcher and subjects. Data analysis followed the content analysis method. Social identity theory served as the theoretical framework for this study. Implications aligned with existing research: frontline customer service providers have little understanding or appreciation for their roles in the industry when they begin their careers. Future research recommendations include replicating this study with samples outside of the Orlando, Florida area or with participants not defined as model frontline customer service providers.
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