Unformatted text preview: vement in the transaction. This classification seems to go beyond and to complete
the EVL (Exit, Voice, Loyalty,) taxonomy of Hirschman (1970).
The different types of responses to dissatisfaction are not exclusive one of the other.
Consumers may combine several responses for the same dissatisfaction. Few researchers
have integrated simultaneously various types of responses in their investigation.
Hirschman (1970) was the first to confirm, for instance, that exit is not only a substitute
for a complaint, but also its complement. Most people are found to complain to the
supplier or to family and friends before their departure. Singh and Wilkes (1996) 3 507-153-1
confirmed this hierarchical process of complaint behaviour and identified two types of
complaining: (1) hard behaviour: complaint to third parties and (2) soft behaviour:
complaints to suppliers and family.
A variety of factors influence the type of consumer response to service failure.
Individual factors (consumers’ beliefs and attitudes, consumers’ emotions), socio-cultural
factors (collectivism versus individualism, socio-demographics), and structural factors
(competitive environment, switching cost) are used to explain the behaviour of the
unsatisfied consumer There is no attempts to link them one to the other nonetheless.
2. Service recovery:
Complaint handling, complaint management and service recovery are terms used in
the literature to refer to the organisational response to service failures. Recently, in their
insightful article chronicling marketing science’s past and potential contributions to the
fast-growing service sector, Rust and Chung (2006, p. 566) assert that “Complaint
Management was one of the earliest service areas to be addressed by marketing models,
and had considerable impact on subsequent marketing research, because it introduced the
elements of interactive customer experience, continuing customer relationships, and their
long term financial impact”.
Fornell and Westbrook (1979) oppose the traditional complaint handling involved in
placating unhappy customers to complaint management that is characterized by the
dissemination of information for the purpose of finding and correcting the causes of
consumer dissatisfaction. In the last decade, “service recovery” is the term that has
gained widespread recognition. It refers to the response a provider gives to a service
failure. It consists in all actions that an organisation may take in order to rectify the
failure (Kelly and Davis 1994). Service recovery differs from complaint management in
its focus on service failure and the company’s immediate reaction to it. Since most
dissatisfied customers are reluctant to complain, (Andreasen and Best 1977, Singh and
Widing 1991) service recovery attempts to solve problems at the service encounter even
before customers complain or before they leave the service encounter.
Service recovery appears in a transactional and relational perspective of the
exchange. Indeed recovery attempts have short-term and long-term impact on consumer
behaviour. 4 507-153-1
As acting on the failure these actions restores the satisfaction of the frustrated
customer thus preventing his departure, researchers have found that recovery
disconfirmation resulting from a comparison of recovery performance to predictive
recovery expectations have a significant effect on post- recovery satisfaction (Andreassen
2000, Mc Collough, Berry and Yadav 2000).
Boshoff (1999, 2005) develops an instrument that captures the multi-dimensional
nature of satisfaction with service recovery labelled “RECOVSAT”. Accordingly, to
ensure a successful service recovery, a service firm should communicate effectively with
the aggrieved customer, provide feedback, offer an explanation of what went wrong,
empower employees to solve the customer problem, apologise for any loss, make sure the
customer is not “out of pocket” and ascertain that staff are appropriately dressed so as to
appear professional in their working environment.
Three aspects of perceived justice are found to be salient antecedents to customer
satisfaction recovery: distributive justice, procedural justice and interactional justice (Tax
et al 1998). Distributive justice is the judgement emitted by the customer on the outcome
of the firm’s recovery effort. In other words what the offending firm does specifically
offers the customer recovery from the service failure and makes the outcome (output)
offset the cost (input) of the service failure. The distributive strategies of complaint
management include the corrective aspects of the error, the compensation (discounts,
coupons, free upgrades and free ancillary service) and apologies (Blodgett et al 1997).
Procedural justice refers to whether the procedures used in decision making are
perceived as fair. It is centrally concerned with satisfaction on moral and ethical levels.
Procedural justice has been operationalized as the delay in processing the complaint
(Blodgett et al 1997) and as decision control, accessibility, timing/speed, process control
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- Spring '12
- Marketing, Customer relationship management, service recovery