Service firms´ action upon negative incidents in high touch services: A narrative study

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-232-048-3
Title: Service firms´ action upon negative incidents in high touch services: A narrative study
Author: Höykinpuro, Ritva
Other contributor: Svenska handelshögskolan, institutionen för marknadsföring, marknadsföring
Hanken School of Economics, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Publisher: Svenska handelshögskolan
Date: 2009-08-18
Language: en
Belongs to series: Economics and Society - 202
ISBN: 978-952-232-048-3
ISSN: 0424-7256
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10227/386
http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-232-048-3
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Abstract: The study concerns service management, and specifically the action service firms take with regard to customer dissatisfaction, customer complaints and complaining customers in high touch services. Customer dissatisfaction, customer complaints and complaining customers are called negative incidents in the study. The study fills a research gap in service management studies by investigating negative incidents as a part of an open service system. In contrast to main stream service management studies defining service quality as how the customer as a consumer defines it, in the present study, the concept of interactive service quality is adopted. The customer is considered as a co-producer of service who thus has a role to play in service quality and productivity. Additionally, the study juxtaposes the often opposed perspectives of the manager and the customer as well as the often forgotten silent voices of service employees and supervisors. The study proposes that the service firm as an entity does not act but it is the actors at the different hierarchical layers who act. Additionally, it is acknowledged in the study that the different actors at the different hierarchical layers have different knowledge of the service system and different objectives for service encounters. Therefore, they interpret the negative incidents from different perspectives and their actions upon negative incidents are subsequently guided by their interpretations. The research question is: how do service firms act upon negative incidents in high touch services? In order to answer to the research question a narrative research approach was chosen. The actors at the different hierarchical layers acted as informants of the study and provided stories about customer dissatisfaction, customer complaining and complaint handling in high touch services. Through storytelling, access to the socially constructed reality of service firms’ action was achieved. Stemming from the literature review, analysis of empirical data and my theoretical thinking, a theory about service firms’ action upon negative incidents in high touch services was developed and the research question was answered. The study contributes to service recovery and complaint management studies as well as to studies on customer orientation and its implementation in service firms. Additionally, the study has a methodological contribution to service management studies since it reflects service firms’ action with narratives from multiple perspectives. The study is positioned in the tradition of the Nordic School of Marketing Thought and presents service firms’ action upon negative incidents in high touch services as a complex human-centered phenomenon in which the actors at the different hierarchical layers have crucial roles to play. Ritva Höykinpuro is associated with CERS, the Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management at Hanken School of Economics.
Subject: service co-production
interactive service quality
open service system
customer complaining and non-complaining action
service recovery and complaint management
multi perspective
storytelling
Rights: Publikationen är skyddad av upphovsrätten. Den får läsas och skrivas ut för personligt bruk. Användning i kommersiellt syfte är förbjuden.


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