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Quality in bank service encounters: Assessing the equivalence of customers’ and front-line employees’ perceptionsAlexiadou, Chrysi; Stylos, Nikolaos; Andronikidis, Andreas; Bellou, Victoria; Vassiliadis, Chris A. (Emerald, 2017-11-01)Purpose: The paper discusses the need to evaluate perception-based quality in service encounters. It sets out to diagnose potential mismatches in how customers and front-line employees perceive quality in high involvement service settings, based on the premise that any initiatives towards quality enhancement in service encounters is advisable only when employees and customers evaluate quality utilizing common perceptual structures. Design/methodology/approach: The study utilizes invariance analysis. The survey involved 165 bank branches and 1522 respondents (463 front-line employees and 1059 customers) and operationalized the same set of questions for both groups of participants. Multisample Confirmatory Factor Analysis tested a series of measurement models. Findings: Results revealed equivalence for tangibles, responsiveness, and assurance but also mismatches between customers and front-line employees perceptions of reliability and empathy. Practical implications: Findings add to current knowledge of how both groups of participants evaluate quality in service encounters and are discussed with reference to managerial consequences for perception-based quality mismatches. Originality/value: So far only a few studies have simultaneously examined front-line employees’ and customers’ perceptions of service quality in service encounters. Unlike previous research designs, this study addresses the critical aspect of potential mismatches in how customers and employees perceive service quality, and presents a methodological procedure to detect them.