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“My bad”: investigating service failure effects in self-service and full-service settings

Sören Köcher (Department of Marketing, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund, Germany)
Stefanie Paluch (Department of Service and Technology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 8 April 2019




Companies in diverse branches offer a variety of service alternatives that typically differ in terms of the degree to which customers are actively involved in service delivery processes. The purpose of this paper is to explore potential differences in consumers’ reactions to service failures across services provided by a service employee (i.e. full-services) and services that require customers’ active involvement (i.e. self-services).


Two 2 (full-service vs self-service) × 2 (no service failure vs service failure) scenario-based experiments in technological and non-technological contexts (i.e. ticket purchase and furniture assembly) were conducted.


Study results reveal that although service failures have a similar negative impact on satisfaction across both full-services and self-services, in the self-service context, the negative effect on the willingness to use the same service delivery mode again is attenuated.

Research limitations/implications

By emphasizing the role of customers’ active involvement in the service delivery process, the study extends previous knowledge regarding customer response to service failures in different service settings.

Practical implications

By highlighting that self-service customers’ future behavioral intentions are less severely affected by service failures, the authors present an additional feature of customer involvement in service delivery processes that goes beyond the previously recognized advantages.


Despite the abundance of research on the effects of failure attributions, previous studies have predominantly examined main effects of attributions on customer responses, such that insights into potential moderating effects of failure attributions on established relationships – as investigated in this study – are still scarce.



Köcher, S. and Paluch, S. (2019), "“My bad”: investigating service failure effects in self-service and full-service settings", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 181-191.



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