Providing quality service is the goal of many service providers and higher education institutions are not exceptional. However, service failure may occur from time to time…
Providing quality service is the goal of many service providers and higher education institutions are not exceptional. However, service failure may occur from time to time which may eventually lead to customer dissatisfaction with the service rendered. The purpose of this paper is to examine service failure incidents in higher education.
In this study, three categories of service failure, namely, employee response to service delivery system failure, employee response to customer needs and requests, and unprompted and unsolicited employee actions were used to categorise 45 critical incidents obtained from 30 students at a university of technology.
The results showed that service delivery system failures account for the biggest number (51 per cent) of service failure incidents captured in this study.
The critical incident technique which relies on the respondents’ memory to recall service failure incidents was used to collect information. The drawback is that memory can be fallible and students may end up exaggerating service failure incidents.
This study can assist higher education institutional managers to understand the nature of service failure incidents that lead to student dissatisfaction.
This study is unique as it presents service failure incidents from the developing world and further provides the basis for creation of service recovery strategies.