Motivating Customers to Adhere to Expert Advice in Professional Services Academic Article uri icon


  • © The Author(s) 2014. This study focuses on the mechanisms by which professional service providers effectively influence customers to adhere to their expert guidance and advice. Eliciting customer adherence is a critical concern for professional service firms since customers of these need-based (rather than want-based) services are often reluctant to adhere, and nonadherence can result in serious negative consequences to customer well-being and firm resource utilization. The study examines this scenario by developing a conceptual framework that integrates the following three theoretical areas: professional services theory, advice utilization theory, and social cognitive theory. The framework proposes associations between professional service provider actions and customer reactions, including adherence to expert advice, adherence intentions, and organizational resources needed to serve the customer (time cost and monetary cost). The study empirically tests the hypothesized relationships based on professional service provider-customer (physician-patient) interactions in a large health care organization setting using both primary survey data and objective, longitudinal customer data encompassing a 48-month period. Results indicate that advice giving frequency and focus on negative consequences impact customer outcomes and the effects are moderated by perceived customer efficacy and service provider efficacy. The findings shed light on the underlying dynamics of customer adherence to advice in professional service settings and provide guidance as to how that adherence can be effectively elicited.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Seiders, K., Flynn, A. G., Berry, L. L., & Haws, K. L.

citation count

  • 54

publication date

  • July 2014