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Customer feedback mechanisms and organisational learning in service operations

Caemmerer, B. and Wilson, A.M. (2010) Customer feedback mechanisms and organisational learning in service operations. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 30 (3). pp. 288-311. ISSN 0144-3577

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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the antecedents and consequences of the implementation of different customer feedback mechanisms with regard to their contribution to organisational learning that leads to service improvement. Design/methodology/approach - A critical case organisation is chosen to explore the link between the implementation of customer feedback mechanisms and organisational learning from a middle management and employee perspective. Method triangulation is adopted, gathering qualitative and quantitative data. Findings - Organisational learning in relation to service improvement is influenced by the interplay between the way data are gathered through customer feedback mechanisms and implemented at a branch or business unit level. The implementation depends on attitudes of middle management towards such mechanisms. Research limitations/implications - Future studies might investigate whether the findings can be replicated in other operational settings and triangulate the data with customer perceptions of service improvement. Practical implications - Customer feedback mechanisms at an organisational and business unit level need better integration. To gather customer feedback that enables more meaningful decision-making to improve services, middle management needs to have a stronger involvement in the design and implementation of customer feedback mechanisms. Central efforts have to be placed on the support of middle management in the interpretation and use of data that is gathered through organisation-wide feedback initiatives. Originality/value - This paper contributes to extant knowledge by integrating the fields of service performance management practices, in this case the implementation of customer feedback mechanisms, and organisational learning.