Authors: Lishan Su, Sekar Raju, Russell N. Laczniak
When service providers make an effort to recover from service failures, customers may respond more favorably at certain times as compared to other times. This article attempts to explain psychological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. The results of a scenario experiment show that customer perception of successful recovery strategy can boost customer satisfaction to a higher level when customers believe the service failure outcome is due to self-behavior (i.e., have an internal locus of control) as compared to when they believe that is due to providers’ behavior. In this situation, satisfaction is developed via 1) customers’ feelings of gratitude toward the provider’s recovery efforts and 2) their guilt derived from an internal locus of control. Findings provide evidence that both gratitude and guilt can motivate customers to adopt behaviors that encourage cultivation of good relationships with businesses.
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