As employees deliver their services to customers, things can go wrong sometimes, and Service Failure occurs. Organizations that have service failure lose their customers, and in turn, lose millions of revenue dollars. That is why many managers feel the need to know about the nature of service failure: how it takes place, what the response of the customers are to these service failures, and how to recover these lost customers. This is the summary of an article by Rebekah Bennett, et al. You can get the pdf of the behavioral targeting here: Emotions and Complaining Behavior Following Service Failure
Service failure causes negative emotions among customers; they feel angry, frustated, and even enraged. These feelings affect their evaluation on the service given to them, and customer satisfaction is affected in a negative manner. As service failure occurs and attempts to recover suffice, the customer then engages in cognitive appraisal; that is, he assesses the situation and determines whether it is positive or negative. The customer will be angry when he appraises that the service employee could have done something to prevent the failure, and feels very satisfied if he appraises that there was not much the employee could do about the failure.
Propositions of Behavioral Response to Service Failure
The study creates a conceptual model to know the interplay of customer emotions and cognition for the service failure. The proposed model is based from the Affective Events Model, or AET. In this model, a negative affective event describes a service failure if it causes the costumer to have an affective response; for example, the customer will feel angry about it.
The following are the propositions of the model. First is that a service failure triggers an affective reaction immediately. After this reaction, several appraisals from the customer will occur, with the first one being the primary appraisal, then the following appraisals are called secondary appraisals. During the primary appraisal, there are both emotional and cognitive responses from the customer. Secondary appraisal is called attitude formation, and during this time, whether a positive or negative attitude will be formed towards the service error is largely related to the response that the customer had on the primary appraisal, whether it was positive or negative.
After the secondary appraisal or attitude formation, behavioral outcome, also known as complaining behavior, will occur. This will be positively related to the attitude formed by the customer towards the service failure.
During the primary appraisal, primary emotions are manifested; therefore, the basic emotions expressed during this stage are not yet interpreted via cognitive processes. But during the secondary appraisal, there is a cognitive appraisal of the person’s primary emotions, and assessment is on whether those emotional responses are appropriate, moderated by social beliefs, attitudes or values.
Driven by Emotions or Cognition
The proposal of this study is that the behavioral response can either be driven by emotions, or driven by cognition. When the customer copes, he is either focused on the emotions or focused on the problem. For example, if a customer is driven by cognition after a service failure, he might decide to boycott the store, if he were to assess it negatively. On the other hand, for emotionally driven response, the customer tries to alleviate the emotional discomfort, rather than try to solve the problem. Research has shown that over 75 percent of people who complain about different kinds of social interactions, 75 percent complain to vent their frustration and not really try to change their unwanted situation. Furthermore, this model also proposes that individual characteristics also affect the behavioral response to a service failure.
It is important that during service encounters between the customer and provider, the customer should get the feeling of satisfaction. Sometimes, this cannot be realized, because although one knows what to expect from the other, these expectations may not be met due to moments of truth that this study tries to understand using emotional and cognitive responses.