We treat them like family: Dimensions of Compassionate Customer Service

Muhibul Haq, Julie Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Traditional in-store service–customer loyalty relationships have fragmented in the gig economy with growing contingent and disengaged labour and cashier-less and mobile/online retail. This study investigates the effects of face-to-face compassionate customer service (CCS) in ethnic minority small retailers (EMSRs). Our analysis of 43 semi-structured interviews in South Asian regional SMEs in England shows how shared ethnic culture and family value systems blur boundaries between commercial and social interactions. We offer a theoretical framework for future research on ethnic minority small enterprises (EMSEs) based on five dimensions: a customer-conscious approach, empathy, patience, allowing the customer to make the buying decision, and dealing with difficult situations/customers amicably. We discuss policy and practice implications for managing small businesses and customer relationships to create a potential source of sustained competitive advantage within a challenging retail environment amidst debates about the social and economic integration of immigrants and ‘the other’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Early online date1 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019
EventThe 79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Hynes Convention Center, Boston, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019
Conference number: 79


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