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Online and offline service failure: The role of attribution for failure in the formation of remedy expectations

Опубликовано на портале: 25-12-2003
Подтип: PhD
Тематические разделы: Менеджмент, Маркетинг

While many studies in the marketing literature have examined customer satisfaction in traditional bricks and mortar settings, little work has been done within the Internet context. Much has been made in the academic community and the popular press of the electronic revolution and its predicted impact on retailing. Therefore, it is important to examine the similarities and differences between customer satisfaction levels in on- and offline service contexts. Furthermore, what happens when something goes wrong in service encounters in these two settings? Until now, all experiments addressing service failure have in common the fact that the firm is always to blame for unsatisfactory outcomes. However, as self-service technologies become more prevalent, consumers are more often in the position of being in charge of their own service outcomes. As yet, there have been no studies examining the connection between consumers' attributions for service failures and expected recovery attributes. This dissertation contributes to the field of marketing by combining attribution theory with the service failure literature to show that specific expected recovery attributes are moderated both by whom the consumer blames, and the environment (on- or offline) in which the service encounter takes place. A conceptual model of expected remedy and satisfaction is advanced, and a scenario-based experimental design is developed to measure differences in attributions, expected remedies, satisfaction, and post-purchase behaviors. The findings of this study are generally consistent with both Attribution Theory and the Service Failure literature. Consumers' expectations for service failure recovery are shaped by whether they blame themselves or the firm. The more they blame themselves, the less customers expect from the firm in the form of a remedy. The study also shows that as the level of recovery increases, positive disconfirmation also increases, regardless of service type or environment. This positive disconfirmation in turn leads to satisfaction and positive post-purchase behaviors. Finally, the study shows that while on- and offline service failures are similar in many ways, online customers tend to blame themselves more for service failures than do offline customers, regardless of the service context.