Inconsistent performance during the service encounter: What's a good start worth?

David E. Hansen, Peter J. Danaher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This article deals with the effects of inconsistent performance during the service encounter on judgments of service quality and purchase intentions. The service management literature has emphasized strong starts and consistent performance throughout the encounter, asserting, for example, that the service bookends should be performed at the same level of quality. In this study, the authors found that an improvement in performance during the encounter produced more favorable evaluations than when there was a decline in performance or when there was consistent but average performance. The results here also indicate that overall judgments of quality and purchase intentions are driven more by the performance of the final event in the encounter than by the initial event regardless of the trend in performance. The managerial implication is that the beginning of the encounter might not be as important as previously thought and that a buildup to a strong ending results in higher perceived service quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

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