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

Guilt no longer a sin: the effect of guilt in the service recovery paradox

Yin-Hui Cheng (Department of International Business, National Taichung University of Education, Taichung, Taiwan)
Chia-Jung Chang (Undergraduate Program of Business Administration, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan)
Shih-Chieh Chuang (Department of Business Administration, National Chung Cheng University, Chia-Yi, Taiwan)
Ya-Wei Liao (Department of Business Administration, National Chung Cheng University, Chia-Yi, Taiwan)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 9 November 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Research on the service recovery paradox (SRP) effect has indicated that after recovery from failures in customer service, customers will commonly rate their satisfaction higher than prior to the service failure. However, thus far there has been little research on the cause of this phenomenon. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to explore the effect of “guilt” emotions in the context of consumer service.

Design/methodology/approach

Three experiments were conducted to test the hypotheses. Data were collected from 532 undergraduate, graduate students and the general people.

Findings

The results of the experiments demonstrate that if customers are compensated for service failures by receiving better than anticipated service, they will commonly experience feelings of “guilt.” In an attempt to alleviate this guilt, customers will project their feelings in evaluating a company, and will rate their customer satisfaction more highly. In doing so, the customer feels relief in reciprocating the kindness of the firm; in this way, the firm wins over the customer’s heart.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to discuss the effect of guilt in the SRP effect. This research shows that relying on the emotion of “guilt” for receiving exceptional service helps companies to overcome service failures and successfully rebuild their relationships with customers.

Keywords

Citation

Cheng, Y.-H., Chang, C.-J., Chuang, S.-C. and Liao, Y.-W. (2015), "Guilt no longer a sin: the effect of guilt in the service recovery paradox", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 836-853. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-12-2013-0296

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited