To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Empowerment, attribution and apologising as dimensions of service recovery: An experimental study

Christo Boshoff (Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Jason Leong (Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

International Journal of Service Industry Management

ISSN: 0956-4233

Article publication date: 1 March 1998

Abstract

The production of most services depends heavily on human involvement which, by definition, implies variability. The difficulty of standardising human behaviour during service delivery at a level expected by customers is exacerbated by the simultaneity of production and consumption. When service failures occur, the presence of customers leaves little scope for corrective action without the customer being aware of the mishap. The difficulty in avoiding visible service failures does not have to result in dissatisfied customers, however. Service firms can go a long way towards turning dissatisfied customers who have had a negative service experience into ones who are likely to remain loyal to the firm. That, however, requires an effective service recovery programme. This study pursued two objectives. The empirical results show that attribution (the firm accepting blame) is, relatively speaking, the dimension most important to customers in their assessment of the service recovery effort, followed by empowerment and apology. Once a service failure has occurred, customers prefer to deal with staff who are empowered to solve their problem quickly and they do not want to hear that someone else is to blame. An apology in person or, alternatively, by telephone is preferable. Surprisingly, pre‐service failure perceptions do not influence the customer’s satisfaction with the recovery effort, suggesting that service recovery is situation‐specific.

Keywords

Citation

Boshoff, C. and Leong, J. (1998), "Empowerment, attribution and apologising as dimensions of service recovery: An experimental study", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 24-47. https://doi.org/10.1108/09564239810199932

Publisher

:

MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited