This paper reviews existing literature on the service encounter in higher education institutions. It aims to analyse and provide more insight on the term service encounter, identify dimensions, the types of service encounter and how the service encounter is evaluated. The service encounter (SE) is a critical aspect of the service delivery process. It is used to determine whether the service delivered has been satisfactory or dissatisfactory. Furthermore, the service encounter offers an opportunity for the service provider to demonstrate his or her ability to offer a remarkable experience. However, it has been proven that many service providers do not take advantage of the service encounter to create student satisfaction. As a result, many encounters have left marks of unpleasant and negative feelings on the student. In higher education institutions, the service encounter helps both students and academicians communicate and understand the needs of either party. This study adopted a systematic review of the literature using several academic databases. A plethora of studies on the service encounter were reviewed from several academic databases but only 50 articles published from 1984 to 2018 were cited in this study. A descriptive analysis was used to highlight the classification of the sources used, the number of articles cited in this study and the year when the articles were published. The study identified several definitions of the service encounter and also found that there are several dimensions and types of the service encounter. The divergent views that emanate from these findings stem from the fact that there is a growth in literature and the body of knowledge on the service encounter in different sectors of the economy. The findings of this study could assist academics and practitioners to have a deeper understanding of the service encounter. Such an understanding is very critical in addressing the needs of students and other stakeholders of higher education institutions. Moreover, it can help faculty members and institutional managers deal with moments of truths which if properly managed can facilitate the realisation of student expectations and ultimately, satisfaction. This study further provides a basis for future research using the available service encounter evaluation tools or instruments.
How to Cite
service encounter, moment of truth, higher education institutions, service evaluation, customer satisfaction, service quality
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