Service leadership for adaptive selling and effective customer service teams

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Companies are increasingly relying on customer service teams to deliver quality service critical for repeat business and profitability. But these teams need leadership to be effective. This study proposes that service leaders promote quality customer service by encouraging teams to develop adaptive selling capabilities. Data were collected from 113 customer service team leaders and 285 team members from a sample of consumer electronics retailing firms in Beijing, China. Data support the reasoning that by espousing service values, listening to customers, and encouraging improvements, service leaders help their teams become capable adaptive sellers. Results further suggest the contribution of team adaptive selling on customer team task performance, orientation to customers, and ability to recover from shortcomings in service. Findings extend recent research that leaders can have substantial impact by strengthening teamwork among followers by finding that service leaders develop customer service teams to be effective adaptive sellers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-131
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Early online date28 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Service leadership
  • Adaptive selling
  • Customer orientation
  • Service recovery
  • In-role performance


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