The service hand‐off: effects of multivendor service performance on customer satisfaction – an experimental study

Chad R. Allred (Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)
R. Bruce Money (Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Publication date: 25 May 2010

Abstract

Purpose

Simple transactions are evolving into complex service relationships that require the attention of multiple organizations. When integrated products fail, customers must determine which organization is responsible and capable of resolving the problem. If the initial firm contacted cannot resolve the problem, it is then passed on to another until resolution. The objective of this paper is to determine how customer satisfaction with one organization may be moderated by the subsequent performance of another organization following the service issue hand‐off.

Design/methodology/approach

Data otherwise unavailable from the market are collected using a unique, longitudinal internet‐based experiment, wherein customer satisfaction is monitored throughout a complex exchange experience. During the exchange, problem ownership transfers from one firm's service organization to that of another.

Findings

Results show three forms of damage resulting from a service hand‐off: a credibility loss; a dissatisfaction compounding effect; and a resolution delivery failure effect. When problem resolution requires the attention of a second service provider, customer perceptions of the initial service provider are influenced by the performance of the second provider.

Practical implications

A service provider can often avoid substantial damage to customer satisfaction by establishing, a priori, formal back‐end partnerships with other service providers.

Originality/value

Organizations typically do not monitor customer satisfaction once a service problem is abandoned or handed‐off to another organization. In this experimental study, customer satisfaction is carefully monitored as service exchange crosses organizational boundaries during a service experience simulated over the period of one week.

Keywords

Citation

Allred, C. and Money, R. (2010), "The service hand‐off: effects of multivendor service performance on customer satisfaction – an experimental study", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 184-195. https://doi.org/10.1108/08876041011040596

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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