An Assignment on Service Failure and Service Recovery 28th August, 2011 A Service is an experience that a consumer derives at the time of its purchase. It is largely tangible and cannot be owned. Moreover, it is the outcome of being in contact (whether it is low-contact, hybrid or high-contact) with the service provider. Considering this, it is but natural that errors and failures occur. What differentiates one service provider and experience from the other is the way the error is corrected and compensated for. Service Failures bring about negative feelings and responses from customers.
Left unfixed, service failures can result in customers leaving, telling other customers about their negative experiences, and challenging the organization through consumer rights organizations or legal channels. Service Recovery refers to the actions taken by an organization in response to a service failure. An example of a Service failure and recovery experienced by me is accounted for below: The case in hand is a high-contact service as there is high customer involvement in the process of service delivery. I encountered this problem about a month back. I was in Splash, a fashion store in Hyderabad, with a few friends.
There was a sale going on (Buy 1 Get 1 Free). We decided to buy two handbags worth Rs. 1000/- each and two accessories worth Rs. 500/- each. Considering the sale that was going on we expected to be charged Rs. 1500. But to our dismay the employee at the counter charged us Rs. 2000 at the counter and swiped the credit card before we could react to the mistake. This could have happened as we were expecting to get one bag free for the other one and one accessory free for the other one but the employee chose to charge us with both the higher prices and give us the low-priced items free.
The other reason for the mistake could be the process of billing which was very chaotic as there were too many customers and very few employees at the billing counter. As soon as we realized what was happening, we questioned him and asked him to correct the mistake and re-print the bill. Initially he did not accept his mistake but after a small argument he agreed to re-bill the items and charge us with the correct amount. Moreover as he had already swiped the credit card for a higher amount, he refunded the excess amount in cash.
Prior to the above service failure, I would have rated the above service provider a 6. I would rate the perceived criticality of the service failure 5 as the service provider could have been cheating us. If a customer wouldn’t pay attention to the bill, he could get away with over charging the customer. On a scale of 1-7, I would rate my satisfaction with the service provider after the recovery efforts a 5. The service provider did correct his mistake but he shouldn’t have argued in the first place, knowing that it was his mistake.
Moreover, he should have been more empathetic and apologetic. After the incident also I continued to deal with the service provider because this was the first time I had encountered such a problem in Splash. Moreover, I was satisfied with the recovery process. I discussed the incident with family and friends so that they can be more careful when they go to any store at a time when it is so crowded. SERVICE FAILURE AND 7P’S OF MARKETING In the case mentioned above the three P’s that play a major role are: 1. Price – The service provider was over charging us for the product purchased.
Price is the main component involved in the service failure. 2. People – The other element of the service marketing mix that plays a major role is people. It wasn’t a case of a defected product; it was a mistake on the part of the service provider. It could have also been an act committed on purpose. 3. Process – Process was a minor part of the entire scenario. The reason being that the process of billing was very chaotic. Due to the sale, there were too many customers and very few employees making the entire process very unorganized.
SERVICE FAILURE AND SERVICE QUALITY GAPS There are five gaps in the service quality model (Consumer expectation – management perception gap, Management perception – service quality specification gap, Service quality specifications – service delivery gap, service delivery – external communications gap, Expected service – perceived service gap). In the case mentioned above, the following service gaps can be mapped: GAP 3: Service quality specifications – service delivery gap It is the duty of any employee to perform his service well and treat the customer correctly.
In the above case, the service provider faltered in both. Firstly he did not perform the service well and then he argued with us instead of accepting his mistake. This affected the service quality from our viewpoint. GAP 4: Service delivery – external communications gap As mentioned above, the promised service (in the promotions and advertisements) was that of one on one free for any product of the same or lesser cost. Contrary to what was promised, we were over charged and only the high priced products were billed.
This was the gap between what was promised and what was delivered. GAP 5: Expected service – perceived service gap We expected the employee to be apologetic and empathetic after having committed the mistake but instead he first argued with us and then corrected it. Had he been more empathetic and apologetic, the matter would have been solved then and there without any hard feelings. Even if he was sorry he did not express it well enough. SERVICE FAILURE AND SERVICE QUALITY DIMENSIONS The service quality dimensions involved in the service failure mentioned above are: 1.
Reliability – Reliability involves consistency of performance and dependability. The reliability dimension was involved in this case as the billing was done incorrectly by the service provider, thus proving to be inconsistent and not dependable. 2. Responsiveness – Responsiveness concerns the willingness or readiness of employees to provide service. It involves timeliness of service. In our case, the matter could have been solved much earlier had it not been for the argument of the service provider. The responsiveness of the employee was low.