COMPLAINT HANDLING AND SERVICE RECOVERY
RELIABILITY IS CRITICAL IN SERVICE BUT…
In all service contexts, service failure is inevitable.
Service failure occurs when service performance falls below a customer’s expectations in such a way that leads to customer dissatisfaction. Service recovery refers to the actions taken by a firm in response to service failure.
KEY QUESTIONS FOR MANAGERS TO ASK ABOUT CUSTOMER COMPLAINING BEHAVIOR Why do customers complain?
What proportion of unhappy customers complain?
Why don’t unhappy customers complain?
Who is most likely to complain?
Where do customers complain?
What do customers expect once they have made a complaint?
Why do customers complain?
In general, studies of consumer complaining behavior have identified four main purposes for complaining. 1. Obtain restitution or compensation. Often, consumers complain to recover some economic loss by seeking a refund, compensation, and/or have the service performed again. 2. Vent their anger. Some customers complain to rebuild self-esteem and/or to vent their anger and frustration. When service processes are bureaucratic and unreasonable, or when employees are rude, deliberately intimidating, or apparently uncaring, customers' self-esteem, self-worth, or sense of fairness can be negatively affected. They may become angry and emotional. 3. Help to improve the service. When customers are highly involved with a service , they give feedback to try and contribute toward service improvements. 4. For altruistic reasons. Finally, some customers are motivated by altruism. They want to spare other customers from experiencing the same shortcomings, and they may feel bad if they fail to draw attention to a problem that will cause difficulties for others if it remains uncorrected.
Why don’t unhappy customers complain?
In some situations, people simply don't know where to go or what to do. Also, many people feel that complaining is unpleasant . Customers may not want to take the time to write a letter, send an email, fill out a form, or make a phone call, particularly if they don't see the service as being important enough to be worth the effort. Many customers see the payoff as uncertain and believe that no one will care about their problem or be willing to resolve it. They may be afraid of confrontation, especially if the complaint involves someone whom the customer knows and may have to deal with again. Customers are less likely to voice complaints in service situations in which they perceive they have "low power" (ability to influence or control the transaction). This is particularly true when the problem involves professional service providers, such as doctors, lawyers, or architects. Social norms tend to discourage customer criticism of such individuals, because of their perceived expertise. Who is most likely to complain?
Research findings consistently show that people in higher socioeconomic circumstances are more likely to complain than those in lower levels. Their better education, higher income, and greater social involvement give them the confidence, knowledge, and motivation to speak up when they encounter problems. Further, those who complain also tend to be more knowledgeable about the service products in question. Where do customers complain?
Studies show that the majority of complaints are made at the place where the service was received. One of the authors found that an astoundingly 99 percent-plus of customer feedback was given face to face or over the phone to customer service representatives. Less than 1 percent of all complaints were submitted via email, letters, faxes, or customer feedback cards. Also, customers tend to use non interactive channels to complain (e.g., email or letters) when they mainly want to vent their anger and frustration, but resort to interactive channels such as face to face or the telephone when they want a problem to be fixed or redressed. Where do customers complain?...
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