Employee satisfaction trajectories and their effect on customer satisfaction and repatronage intentions

  • Jeremy S. WolterEmail author
  • Dora Bock
  • Jeremy Mackey
  • Pei Xu
  • Jeffery S. Smith
Original Empirical Research


Does improving employee happiness affect customer outcomes? The current study attempts to answer this question by examining the impact of employee satisfaction trajectories (i.e., systematic changes in employee satisfaction) on customer outcomes. After accounting for employees’ initial satisfaction levels, the analyses demonstrate the importance of employee satisfaction trajectories for customer satisfaction and repatronage intentions, as well as identify customer-employee contact as a necessary conduit for their effect. From a macro perspective, employee satisfaction trajectories strongly impact customer satisfaction for companies with significant employee–customer interaction, but not for companies without such interaction. From a micro perspective, employee satisfaction trajectories influence customer repatronage intentions for frequent customers, but not for infrequent customers. These effects are robust to controlling for previous customer evaluations and recent employee evaluations. Overall, these findings extend the dominant view of examining static, employee satisfaction levels and offer important implications for the management of the organizational frontline.


Employee satisfaction trajectory Customer satisfaction Latent growth curve Organizational frontline 


Supplementary material

11747_2019_655_MOESM1_ESM.docx (51 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 50 kb)


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, Department of MarketingAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, Department of ManagementAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  3. 3.Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, Department of Systems and TechnologyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  4. 4.School of Business, Department of Supply Chain and AnalyticsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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