Original Research

Can service firms overdo service recovery? An assessment of non-linearity in service recovery satisfaction

C. Boshoff
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 43, No 3 | a470 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v43i3.470 | © 2018 C. Boshoff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 2018 | Published: 30 September 2012

About the author(s)

C. Boshoff, Department of Business Management, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Owing to the human nature of service delivery service failures occasionally occur. Persistently poor service delivery will, however, have a harmful impact on the survival and growth prospects of service firms. Service failure thus calls for remedial action, better known as service recovery. A variety of remedies have been proposed over the years. These remedies or tactics include fixing the problem, apologising, compensation (financial compensation or other forms of redress), a timely response and offering an explanation. A general theme in the service recovery literature is that ‘more is better’. The validity of this contention has, however, not been adequately considered. In other words, in a service recovery context, is more always better? Can service recovery be over-done (known as ‘over-benefitting’)? If so, what are the consequences? Based on the results of two field-type experimental studies involving a sample of 12 800 respondents the conclusion is that over-benefitting can be counter-productive. Over-benefitting consistently produced satisfaction scores lower than service recovery that was more moderate in nature.


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