Services Marketing: Concepts, Cases and Strategies
Hoffman, Bateson, Wood & Kenyon
Chapter 16: Service Failures and Recovery Strategies
1. Discuss the reasons many customers never complain.
Customers typically do not complain for the following reasons; (1) they don't know who to complain to; (2) they don't think it will do any good; (3) many customers doubt their own subjective evaluation; (4) many accept part of the blame due to their roles as co-producers; (5) many simply want to avoid a confrontation; and (6) many feel they lack the expertise to make an accurate judgment.
2. Discuss the reasons customers complain.
Customers that do complain may do so to: (1) correct the problem; (2) provide an emotional release from frustration; (3) regain some measure of control by spreading negative w-o-m; (4) solicit sympathy; (5) test for consensus; and (6) create an impression of being more intelligent and discerning.
3. Discuss the most common forms of complaining outcomes.
4. What are the basic fundamental steps of establishing a service recovery program?
The firm should: measure the costs associated with losing a customer; actively encourage complaints, anticipate the needs for recovery; respond quickly to customer complaints; train employees in service recovery tactics; empower the front-line so that they can act quickly; and close the loop--inform customers how their complaint made a difference in how the firm will operate in the future.
5. Discuss the recommended tactics to recover effectively from a service failure.
The customer’s perception of whether the recovery strategy is just includes evaluations of the recovery process itself; the outcomes connected to the recovery strategy; and the interpersonal behaviors enacted during the recovery process. Accordingly, perceived justice consists of three components: distributive justice procedural justice, and interactional justice.
Distributive justice focuses on the specific outcome of the firm’s recovery effort. In other words, what specifically did the offending firm offer the customer to recover from the service failure, and did this outcome (output) offset the costs (inputs) of the service failure? Typical distributive outcomes include compensation (e.g., gratis, discounts, coupons, free upgrades, and free ancillary services); offers to mend or totally replace/reperform; and apologies.
The second component of perceived justice, procedural justice, examines the process that is undertaken to arrive at the final outcome. Hence, even though a customer may be satisfied with the type of recovery strategy offered, recovery evaluation may be poor due to the process endured to obtain the recovery outcome. For example, research has indicated that when implementing identical recovery strategies, those that are implemented “promptly” are much more likely to be associated with higher consumer effectiveness ratings and retention rates than their “delayed” counterparts.
Interactional justice refers to the manner in which the service recovery process is implemented and how recovery outcomes are presented. In other words, interactional justice involves the courtesy and politeness exhibited by personnel, empathy, effort observed in resolving the situation, and the firm’s willingness to provide an explanation why the situation occurred.
A limited amount of research exists that specifically examines the influence of perceived justice on recovery strategy effectiveness. However, the bottom-line is that the three components of perceived justice must be taken into consideration when formulating effective service recovery strategies.
6. Discuss the following types of complaints: instrumental, non-instrumental , ostensive, and reflective
Instrumental complaints: complaints expressed for the purpose of altering an undesirable state of affairs; Non-instrumental complaints: complaints expressed without expectation that an undesirable state will be altered; Ostensive complaints: complaints directed at someone or something outside the realm of the complainer; Reflexive complaints: complaints directed at some inner aspect of the complainer.