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Abstract

An increasing number of organizations are now implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems to support front-line employees’ service tasks. With the belief that CRM can enhance employees’ service quality, management often mandates employees to use the implemented CRM. However, challenges emerge if/when employees are dissatisfied with using the system. To understand the role of front-line employee users’ satisfaction with their mandated use of CRM in determining their service quality, we conducted a field study in one of the largest telecommunications service organizations in China and gathered time-lagged data from self-reported employee surveys, as well as from the firm’s archival data sources. Our results suggest that employees’ overall user satisfaction (UserSat) with their mandated use of CRM has a positive impact on employee service quality (ESQ) above and beyond the expected positive impacts that job dedication (JD) and embodied service knowledge (ESK) have on ESQ. Interestingly, the positive effect of UserSat on ESQ is comparable to the positive effects of JD and ESK, respectively, on ESQ. Importantly, UserSat and ESK have a substitutive effect on ESQ, suggesting that the impact of UserSat on ESQ is stronger/weaker for employees with lower/higher levels of ESK. Finally, ESQ predicts customer satisfaction with customer service employees (CSWCSE); ESQ also fully mediates the impacts of UserSat and ESK, and partially mediates the impact of JD, on CSWCSE. The results of this study emphasize the importance of user satisfaction in determining employees’ task outcomes when use of an information system is mandated.

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