Service Recovery Essay Critiques
Service recovery is acknowledged by many as an important aspect in service encounter. Service recovery is very essential in maintaining a favorable relationship between the service provider and the customers. Service quality and customer satisfaction are the main goals of service-oriented companies. Because of these goals companies continue to search for new methods and techniques in service in order to satisfy the demands and needs of the consumers. Companies continuously try different techniques and approach in order to achieve total quality in service. However, failure is inevitable. Service recovery is very vital in the occurrence of service failures. Service recovery is the action (or actions) that the company take to solve the problems of the consumers and deal with their issues. Customer complaints must not be seen as a negative occurrence but rather an opportunity for the company to turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal customer. The success of a failed service encounter depends on service recovery. In this regard, we can say that service recovery is the make or break point where a dissatisfied customer can either become a lost customer or a loyal customer. This paper presents a collection of journals and articles that discuss service recovery. The author gathered useful information from these articles and presents informative critiques of these journals.
Influence of switching barriers on service recovery evaluation
The article focuses on the effect of switching barriers to service recovery evaluation. As such the authors focus on two concepts - service recovery and switching barriers.
The authors chose to explore the effect of switching barriers on service recovery given the current condition of the business environment. There are companies that operate in a very competitive market where in customers have wide choices when it comes to service providers. By investigating the impact of switching barriers to service recovery evaluation, these companies can come up with different strategies that will strengthen their complaint handling processes.
The authors aimed to determine whether a relationship exists between switching barriers and service recovery. In order to do so, the authors first examined which industry has the highest percentage of complaints. The authors found out that specialist store industry got the highest percentage of complaints. The authors then identified three constructs which are related to service recovery evaluation - compensation, promptness and employee behavior. The authors then, performed a factor analysis of switching barriers scale items. Two factors were identified - Negative switching barriers and Positive switching barriers. From the analysis made by the authors they were able to find that there is a relationship between service recovery evaluation and positive barriers.
The authors equate service recovery to complaint handling. The authors believed that complaints must be considered by service providers as some sort of a "gift" from the customers or an opportunity for the organization to look at its weaknesses and work on them, thereby enabling them to regain the trust and loyalty of its customers. Service recovery according to the author scan be considered as an opportunity to create very satisfied customers (Valenzuela, et al. 2005, p. 241). A switching barrier has been defined as anything that will hinder the customers from changing service providers. There are different forms of switching barriers but they can be grouped into interpersonal relationship, switching cost and attractiveness of alternatives (Jones, et al. 2000, cited in Valenzuela. et al. 2005).
The authors were able to draw important conclusions from the research. First is that compensation is valued by customers in service recovery evaluation. With regards to switching barriers, the authors found out that positive switching barriers is related to service recovery.
The authors found out that compensation is the most important factor that consumers consider in service recovery. Compensation is placed on top of employee behavior and promptness in the research conducted by the authors. This finding seems to go against a wide body of literature, that points to employee behavior as the most important factor in service recovery evaluation. According to Gronfeldt and Strother (2005), 42.9% of consumers become dissatisfied with service recovery efforts because of the employees' unwillingness to help. Pugh (2001) considers the behavior of the service provider as a critical aspect of the service recovery process. According to Bitner et al. (1994), The service provider represents the company, and the behavior of the service provider will affect customer satisfaction and their perception of the quality of service.
One of the interesting things that the authors found in the research is their identification of compensation as the most important aspect for customers evaluating service recovery efforts. The author pointed out that the result of the exploratory survey revealed other things that consumers feel are important and affect their service recovery evaluation. The respondents revealed that they want to meet the person in charge of handling complaints and that they want to be informed regarding the matter.
The paper under review is interesting, in the sense that it aims to explore the relationship between switching barriers and service recovery - a topic that is according to the authors, has not been explored. The authors were able to ascertain that positive switching barriers are indeed related to service recovery. However, the degree or the nature of their relationship was not explore. The authors were also vague regarding the result of their investigation of the "Negative Switching Barriers". The authors also pointed out that there is a need to redefine the switching barriers construct so as to obtain more suitable goodness of fit.
The constructs which were included in the research by the authors were also limited. The authors could have explored other constructs as the three that were included in the research were too broad, thereby limiting the findings.
Understanding service recovery satisfaction from a service encounter perspective: a pilot study
The paper seeks to explore the role of service provider to service recovery satisfaction. More specifically, the research aims to determine the influence of the physical features and appearance of the service provider to the customer.
The author based the research on the social identity and similarity-attraction theories, which applied to services marketing, assert that customers are likely to be satisfied with the service rendered by service providers who are similar to them. The author investigated three variables - gender, race, and neatness and tried to find out whether these variables have an effect to the assessment of the consumers of their satisfaction with the service recovery.
The article is founded on two theories - social identity theory and similarity attractions theory. Social identity theory is founded on the belief that people tend to want to be associated with those that they feel have the same self-concept as them. Similarity-attraction is based on the belief that motivated by the desire for positive self-identity, people tend to have a positive evaluation of other people who they base their identity on.
The author wanted to determine whether gender, race and neatness have influence on the satisfaction of customers with service recovery. The also investigated on the possibility of two-way interactions between these three variables as well as a three-way interaction.
Gender was found to have no effect on the satisfaction of consumers with service recovery. Race was also found to have no significant effect on satisfaction as well as neatness. Gender-Race interaction was found to have limited effect on satisfaction. Gender-neatness interaction was found to have no significant effect on satisfaction, same goes with race and neatness. Three-way interaction was also found to have no effect on satisfaction.
The author found that neither gender, race, and neatness has no significant impact on service recovery satisfaction. However, it is interesting to find out that while these variables do not affect satisfaction, it has been found that receiving services from an "untidy white woman" has a slight impact on customer satisfaction during service recovery. This finding needs to be further investigated.
The implication of the author's findings is clear - physical appearance of the service providers do not affect service recovery satisfaction. Managers should therefore focus on those factors that matter - particularly, the skills and abilities of the service providers.
Choice, perceived control, and customer satisfaction: the psychology of online service recovery
The article focuses on the issue of service recovery in the field of online shopping. Service recovery is viewed as a critical process by which customer retention and loyalty can be achieved. The article studies the impact of giving the customers a choice of recovery options and increased sense of control to the overall satisfaction of customers.
The author stressed the inadequacy of existing works in tackling the different factors that affect service recovery effectiveness in online retailers. The author aimed to investigate whether providing different service recovery options to online customers can lessen their negative responses to service failures.
The author explored the issues of customer choice, sense of control and satisfaction among online customers. Control was defined in the article as the perception of a customer regarding his or her influence on the outcome of a given situation. The author wanted to ascertain whether increasing the customers' choices will increase their perception of control. The author also wanted to investigate whether perceived control will lessen the negative feelings of the consumers towards service failure. The effect of service recovery satisfaction to the overall service encounter satisfaction were also studied.
The author was able to find out that there is a positive relationship between increasing the customers' remedy choices to their perceived control. The author also found out that the more importance given by the customer to the service, the more sense of control can be induced through increased choices. Perceived control also was found to be positively related to customer satisfaction.
The research is interesting because it was applied in online shopping which is becoming more and more popular. By investigating on the issue of service recovery in online shopping, the author was able to present useful information that online service providers ca use as a guide. The findings of the author give emphasis on the need to train and educate service managers and representatives in providing service recovery. The findings point to the importance of devising various service recovery options that will fit the need and demand of consumers. There is a large body of literature that support the author's finding. For example, Hui and Bateson (1991) conducted a research regarding the impact of perceived control in service experience. They found out that perceived control increased customer satisfaction in the service experience, which in turn increased the desire of the customers to stay with their service provider. According to Rowley (2006), the more sense of control the customer feel during the service experience, the more they are likely to be satisfied with the service.
Although the article presents useful information on service recovery in online shopping environments, the author did not investigate on other factors that can affect service recovery satisfaction. The research was limited to service recovery choices and perceived control. Whether there are other factors that affect service recovery factors that affect service recovery satisfaction in online shopping, the author failed to ascertain.
Plan to do it right: and plan for recovery
The article presents different strategies to prevent service failure and to succeed in service recovery. Perspective of the Author
The author presented guidelines for companies to avoid service failures and to implement service recovery successfully. According to the author, many organizations spend considerable resources in attracting new customers. Maintaining current customers, however, is not given priority. The author argued that keeping a company's existing customers can be easier and more advantageous for the company.
The author also pointed out that there is no perfect service system, and that failures in service are bound to happen. When service failure occurs, it is important that the company regains the customer's confidence. This is where service recovery enters.
One key issues discussed in the article is service recovery paradox. According to a number of authors (Adamson, 1991; Berry & Parasumaran, 1991; Brown, 1987; Halstead & Page, 1992), customers will be retained if the company is able to effectively solve their problems and concerns. Service recovery can be an opportunity for the company to achieve higher customer satisfaction and loyalty (Michel, 2001). It has been argued in the article that the best way to deal with service failure is to avoid them happening. This entails that the company find new ways of managing customer relations. In order to avoid failures the company must identify failure points and find ways to avoiding them. Other factors that may minimize service failures are environment, employee empowerment and communication. According to the research conducted by Bitner (1990) service failures can be minimized if the service environment is organized. Customers are found to perceive that there will be few service failures if employees are empowered and effective in communicating (Sparks et al., 1997). Service recovery is considered in the article as an important factor in customer satisfaction. Complaints are not considered as a negative occurrence, rather an opportunity for both parties to resolve the issue or problem through service recovery. There are different service recovery strategies. Some of the most popular strategies are apology, assistance and compensation (Levesque & McDougall, 2000). Service recovery will impact customers' post service satisfaction. If the company employ moderate to high service recovery efforts, customer satisfaction will be achieved. On the other hand, if the company fail to employ appropriate service recovery efforts, customer dissatisfaction will also increase.
It is interesting that in service oriented businesses such as hotels, restaurants and airlines, customer complaints and service failures can be grouped into three which has "employee response" as their core. The three groups of customer complaints and service failures are employee responses of service delivery system failures, the responses of employees to the needs and requests of the customers, and employee reactions which are unsolicited. Again, the importance of frontline staff training and education is highlighted. Complaints and service failures are found to spring up from ineffective service delivery.
The article provides a wide collection of information and ideas for operations managers and service providers. The author was able to gather useful information and was able to present them in such a way that readers will gain insights that will help them in avoiding failures and making sure that service recovery efforts will become successful. The article adds to the service recovery literature and will be a useful reference for future researchers that will embark on the topic of service failure and service recovery.
Consumer responses to compensation, speed of recovery and apology after failure
The article focuses on the three dimensions of fairness and their impact on consumer perception, service recovery satisfaction and behavioral responses.
The key issue that were investigated in the article is justice theory and the components of justice and fairness in service encounters. The components of fairness analyzed were distributive, procedural and interactional. Distributive justice in service recovery can be defined as the perceived outcome of the transaction. procedural fairness refers to the procedures, processes and policies where service recovery actions are based. Interactional fairness refers to the treatment that the customer receive during the service recovery process (Smith et al, 1999).
The authors aimed to investigate whether compensation, speed and apology have impacts on service recovery satisfaction. The authors also wanted to investigate whether it is true that service recovery attributes affect service recovery satisfaction which in turn, will affect customer behavioral responses. Another issue that the authors aimed to tackle was whether compensation affects the perception of the consumers of the "controllability" of service failure. The authors also want to test their perspective that response affects customers' stability attribution.
The researchers found out that distributive, procedural and interactional factors affect customer service recovery satisfaction. Meaning, customers' service recovery satisfaction is affected by the outcomes, procedures and interactional style that they observe.
The article is able to add useful information to the service recovery literature. The findings of the researchers was able give emphasis on the dimensions of fairness that must be considered by organizations. These dimensions of fairness were found to affect service recovery satisfaction and subsequent customer behaviors and responses. The authors’ findings that compensation may not be required in some instances such as when immediate recovery is accomplished and apology is offered, is enlightening for organizations and managers and service providers who rely on compensation as a service recovery action. The findings of the researchers were also important because it stresses that immediate recovery and apology are more effective service recovery strategies rather than compensation. Again employee training and education were given particular emphasis. According to the authors front-line employees need to be trained to handle customers’ complaints and dissatisfaction on the spot.
Although the article is useful and informative there are some limitations that were found. For example the researchers made use of scenario method, which hindered the respondents to fully project themselves and to give their answers in real-life service encounters. The finding of the researchers that compensation does not have a significant effect on service recovery satisfaction still remains to be validated as the amount of compensation that was tested in the research was minimal (20 percent discount). Future researchers can conduct a research which will test higher compensation and test whether the same result will be achieved.
Service failure and recovery: evidence from the hotel industry
The article focuses on service failure and recovery in the hotel industry. The hotel industry is highly service-oriented. The hotel industry involves a high degree between the consumers and the service providers. In a service-oriented industry, where in services are rendered in every level of consumption, the rate of service failure is high. The hotel industry presents unique characteristics that can be challenging to service providers.
The authors sought to analyze the different problems that occur in hotel service, the different steps that are taken to solve these problems, and the degree of satisfaction of consumers in the service recovery process. The hotel industry according to the author presents a case wherein the level of service quality is primarily measured through the action of the frontline staff. The hotel industry is unique because production and consumption is inseparable. Hotels also operate 24 hours a day. These characteristics make it more likely for service failures to occur.
The authors investigated on the issues of service quality, service failure and service recovery actions in the hotel industry. Service failure is defined as an inevitable occurrence that happen in the service delivery process. Service recovery strategy is the action that is taken by the service provider in order to alleviate defects and failures in service.
The authors found out that the key attributes that the consumers consider important in determining the quality of service in a given hotel is clean and comfortable bedroom. This means that customers give importance to housekeeping as a key service attribute. The most cited service failures that were recorded by the author were slow service, inefficient staff and unfriendly receptionist. The most serious service failure according to the findings of the author was room not clean. The most used service recovery strategy according to the findings of the researcher were apology and correction of problems. More than half of the consumers said that they were extremely satisfied and satisfied with the service recovery actions of the hotel.
One interesting finding is among the five most cited service failure in the research, four of these are related to service delivery. This places emphasis on staff training and education. In terms of magnitude of failures, it is of significant interest that out of ten most serious failures, five were related to staffing issues. Service quality therefore, can be achieved through effective staffing processes and strategies. According to Pugh, et al. (2002) and Schneider and Bowen (1993) effective staffing, training and reward systems have a positive impact on service quality. According to Schneider and Bowen (1985) service related and human resource-related process of the organization are the source of cues by which consumers evaluate the quality of service.
Service failure recovery in China
The article focuses on service recovery in China. As hotel chains invest in China, the need to develop service failure recovery strategies that are appropriate for the Chinese market increases. There is a need to train and educate employees in service recovery.
The authors believed that western hotels must develop standard service failure training for Chinese employees in order to empower them to handle service failure recovery of Chinese consumers. Western based service recovery strategies may not be entirely applicable to the Chinese setting that is why the authors urged that western-based hotels adapt their service failure recovery training to China. The authors believed that hotel managers with Chinese properties must make sure that their service recovery training is suitable for the Chinese situation.
The authors argued that hospitality and tourism practices in China are adapted from western practices without considering the differences in culture, society and values. The authors emphasized the importance of focusing on information processing, emotional responses, instilling guest confidence, employee empowerment and correlation between employee satisfaction and service failure recovery efforts in training for service recovery.
In terms of cognitive styles, service recovery training is believed to become more successful if the differences in cognitive styles between Chinese and Westerners are taken into consideration. Emotional responses of the Chinese customer must also be considered in service recovery training. It is also important that Chinese hotel employees are trained in instilling to the guests that service failures will not happen again. This is important as customer satisfaction can be affected by the ability of the employees to assure the consumers of service quality. Chinese values must be tackled in service recovery training. The Chinese society gives importance to collectivism. Service recovery on the other hand, demands on-the-spot decision-making. Service recovery training must be designed to empower Chinese employees to make important decisions. Lastly the initiative of the employees to go the extra mile in service recovery can be affected by their assessment of organizational values.
Complaining customers, service recovery and continuous improvement
The article explores the issues of customer complaints, service recovery and continuous improvement. The articles seeks to study the factors that will aid in the development of service recovery strategies that will result to customer satisfaction and retention.
The authors believed that customers who have problems with the products and services they have received may not complain on-the-spot but are very likely to talk to other people about their problems. This according to the authors causes serious problems to operational managers such as lost of customers, negative word-of-mouth and the lost of opportunities to correct/alleviate the problems.
The authors also believed that those customers who are satisfied with the service recovery procedure of a company are more likely to repurchase and more likely to spread positive word-of-mouth about the service encounter. This can be attributed to "reciprocity", meaning, if a person received a positive gesture, he or she will be inclined to return the favor.
` The key issues that the authors discussed is the appropriate service recovery strategies for every situation. The authors discussed four situations. In the first situation, the company does not receive any complaints. In this situation, the company cannot entirely say that the customers are satisfied with the product/service. In order to gauge the loyalty of the customers, the company can collect customer commitments. In the second situation, there is no perceived product or service failure, but the consumer is not satisfied with aspects of the operation. The best strategy for this is to educate the consumers. In the third situation, there is a perceived product/service failure but the customer does not complain. This is critical as the customer may not come back again to repurchase because the failure was not dealt with. The best strategy for this is to encourage the consumer to complain. In the fourth situation, there is a perceived product/service failure and the customer complains about it. This is where service recovery is important. It is important, according to the authors, that service recovery must be rendered while the customer is still within the operation.
Considering customer loyalty in developing service recovery strategies
The article focuses on the relationship between service recovery and customer loyalty.
The authors believed that there is a relationship between service recovery and customer loyalty. Therefore, service recovery must be designed with the achievement of customer loyalty in sight.
The key issues that were explored were customer loyalty and service recovery. More specifically, the authors investigated on the impact of customer loyalty to the reaction of the consumer to service recovery.
The researches concluded that customer loyalty has a role in service recovery. Loyal customers are more likely to value service recovery in maintaining their relationship with the service provider. Loyal customers are more likely to hold on to their "relationship" with the service provider and may expect that they will be given special attention when service failure occur.
It is interesting to note that although loyal customers tend to have positive reactions of the service company, they tend to be more to have negative reactions when treated unfairly. This can be explained by the degree of their relationship with the service provider. Since they have a relational psychological contract with the service provider, they tend to expect to be specially treated.
It is important that in the service recovery process of the organization, the perceptions of fairness of customers, particularly loyal customers, must be considered. Thus, the issue of fairness and justice must be considered in rendering service and in the execution of service recovery actions. This argument can be traced to “justice theory”. Justice theory, which is widely used in the organizational setting is now being applied in service encounters. Organizational justice can be divided into two concepts – distributive justice and procedural justice. These concepts are believed to affect employees perceptions of fairness in the organization (Alexander & Ruderman, 1987; Folger & Konovsky, 1989; McFarlin & Sweeney, 1992). Distributive justice focuses on the unpleasant emotions that are felt by employees which in turn motivates them to re-establish equity by changing their behaviors and/or attitudes (Greenberg, 1990). Distributive justice focuses on the perceived fairness of outcome. Procedural justice on the other hand, focuses on the perceived fairness of the process. According to Greenberg (1990) procedural justice has two components – the presence or lack of distributive procedures such as the influence of employees in decision making and the information that employees receive regarding organizational processes. Employees according to Thibaut and Walker (1975) will perceive the organization to be fair if they are given a voice or influence in organizational processes and decision-making.
The authors did not include in the article the specific service recovery processes or strategies that loyal customers value. Since loyal customer expect special treatment, it is possible that they expect different service recovery procedures when they experience service/product failure.
The authors can also explore the level of relationship between loyal customers and frontline staff and their expectations of the frontline staff when they experience service/product failure.
A cultural models approach to service recovery
The articles focuses its attention on cultural models and their impact on service recovery expectations of consumers.
The authors argue that popular recovery initiatives fail to achieve their objectives because service providers tend to overlook consumers' cultural model. The authors also believed that consumers are not homogenous when it comes to their expectations in service recovery and their are factors (in this case, culture) that affect their evaluation of the effectiveness of service recovery actions.
The authors investigated on the different cultural models and the preferences of customers within a particular model.
The authors were able to conclude that cultural models affect service recovery preferences. The authors found out that consumers' reaction to service/products failures may be guided by their cultural models. According to the findings of the researchers, the expectations of consumers in service recovery are based on their internally held preferences. The authors also found out that cultural models have implications for service recovery because they influence peoples' reaction to service failures. The findings give emphasis on adapting service recovery to the preferences of the consumers. This seems to be in line with various works, such as those in the filed of clinical psychology. For example, Fisher, et al (1999) believe that people will benefit more from specially designed interventions. Roth and Fonagy (1996) argues that it will be more advantageous for treatment plans to be adjusted to the outlook of the client, rather than change the outlook of the client.
It is interesting that the research was able to present a new perspective in service recovery. Based on the findings of the researchers, service recovery actions must be adapted to the consumer recovery cultural models of consumers.
The researchers were unable to present a more in-depth analysis of consumer characteristics in each cultural model.
An empirical examination of service recovery design
The article focuses on different service recovery designs.
The authors aim to resolve the confounding results of previous researches ion the service recovery. The researchers focused on two issues - service recovery system design and degree of primary failure. service recovery systems were divided into two elements - psychological and tangible. Psychological elements are those service recovery actions that seek to express concern to the needs of the consumers. Tangible elements are those service recovery actions that aim to correct or complete the failed service. Degree of failure is defined as the degree of importance that the customer gives to the initial service and the degree of seriousness that the customer attach to the failure of service delivery.
The researchers found that the elements recovery design affect the success of service recovery. It has been found that the more efforts the service provider put on service recovery, the more satisfied the customer will be. A combination of psychological and tangible elements was found to be more effective. It is more effective therefore, if the service provider attempts to alleviate the failure by providing compensation while communicating with the customer. Value-added atonement was also found to increase the satisfaction of the consumers in service recovery. The degree of failure was also found to have an effect to the success of service recovery.
Through the vast research and readings that the author conducted, several important points came to light. One is the importance of service recovery in service encounter. All the articles that the author included in this paper point to the significance of service provider as an opportunity for an organization to solve service problems and failures. The aim of service recovery is to keep the organization’s customers and to turn them into loyal customers in the event of service failure.
Another important point is the importance of choosing the right service recovery action/s at the right time, the right place, for the right customers. The articles that the author reviewed point to the importance of identifying the proper service recovery actions that are applicable to the situation and the customer.
Perhaps the most important point that the author was able to identify is the roles of frontline employees in the success of service delivery and service recovery. The frontline staff are the ones that render service to the customers and they are the one also to render service recovery when service failure occurs. The articles that were reviewed by the author point to the importance of employee training, education and empowerment in order to enable them to deal with service failure and offer service recovery effectively.
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