When customers avail of a service, they have initial expectations of the service experience. Customer expectations become the bases of evaluating the service experience (Parasuraman et al. 1991). Several factors influence customer expectations, as shown in the rightmost portion of the figure below, which retail firms can use to influence positive expectations from customers. These include the following:
1) Word of mouth or ideas and feedback from other customers with previous experience of the service;
2) Customer needs or individual circumstances determining the importance of a service;
3) Past experience or image of the service or related services; and
4) External or market communication from the firm such as advertisements, brochures and oral promises from employees. (Parasuraman et al. 1991)
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