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Service failure and recovery strategies in the Balkans: an exploratory study

Yllka Azemi (Indiana University Northwest, Gary, USA)
Wilson Ozuem (Faculty of Business, University of Cumbria, London Campus, London, UK)
Geoff Lancaster (London School of Commerce, London, UK)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 10 June 2019




Despite scholarly effort to understand customers’ recovery evaluation, little progress is evident in deciphering how customers develop online failure/recovery perception. This paper aims to address this issue.


Social constructivism was the epistemic choice for this study. This approach is holistic and offers a comprehensive understanding of each side of the phenomena. This provided social scientific descriptions of people and their cultural bases and built on, and articulated what was implicit in interpretations of their views.


Online banking customer groups were identified as: exigent customers, solutionist customers and impulsive customers. Customers’ position in each group determined failure perception, recovery expectation and evaluation, and post-recovery behaviour. Comparisons were observed and discussed in relation to Albania and Kosovo. It was suggested that banks should expand their presence in social media platforms and offer a means to manage online customer communication and spread of online WOM.

Research limitations/implications

For exigent customers, the failure/recovery responsibility is embedded within the provider. This explains their high sensitivity and criteria to define a failure.

Practical implications

Online banking customers’ request of a satisfactory recovery experience included: customer notifications, customer behaviour, customer determination, and the mediator of request. 10;Providers should examine customer failure/recovery experiences in cooperation with other banks which should lead to a higher order understanding of customer withdrawal and disengagement activities.

Social implications

Post-recovery behaviour is linked to the decline of online banking usage, switching to new providers, and the spread of negative online and off-line word-of-mouth.


This is the first empirical study on online service failure and recovery strategy to provide information on customers’ unique preferences and expectations in the recovery process. Online customers are organised into a threefold customer typology, and explanation for the providers’ role in the online customer failure-recovery perception construct is presented.


Azemi, Y., Ozuem, W. and Lancaster, G. (2019), "Service failure and recovery strategies in the Balkans: an exploratory study", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 472-496.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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