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Customer response to service failures

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 4445 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Customer satisfaction not only can become known when some wronged on customers but can show that what’s wrong with the service that the company’s offer as well. Figure 1.1 shows that there are two elements to achieve better customer satisfaction

Figure 1.1 Customer satisfaction formula

Doing the job right the first time + Effective complaint handling = Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Normally, the customers will do the most common four actions to respond to the firms that made the client unhappy. First is, do nothing. Even the customers did not do anything in complaint but the particular company will give bad image to the customers. Second is, the consumers will make complaint in some form to the service firm let the firm to follow up. The third action is, some customers might take some kind of obvious action to third party. For example, launch legal action to take various compensate. The last is, would not put much confident to this firm again cum try to persuade family and friends to do so, this is much like negative word of mouth (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

Figure 1.2 How customers handle disatisfaction

Seek redress directly from business firm

Take legal action to obtain redress

Take some form of public

Take some action

Complain to business, private, or governmental agencies

Decide to stop buying product or brand or boycott service provider

Dissatisfaction occurs


Take no action

Take some form of private action

Warn friends about the product or service provider

Source: Marketing Management: The Millenium Edition, 10th ed, by Kolter, Philip, Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Complaints as market research data

There are two approaches that some responsive services firms face in complaint, which are, focus on or increase quality of improving in the aspect of implementation and services plan by use the information. Besides that, which customers is require want have solution in a chain of each of the customer problems.

In addition, the ideas will be use if the complaint can be involved in input of market research. A chance to shift customers from “somewhat satisfied” to “happiness” are always can point out through the ideas. Normally, if want to know about the better customers learning or else the disadvantages of the information that provided usually can disclose from the investigation. For instance, radio of Malaysia, roughly half of the country’s listenership with 30 stations are probable to have transaction with the challenge no matter in south or north. Anyway, because of want to recognise the key of the inner customer therefore, detain the complaints or the view of the customers from the listeners is the responsibility of the particular firms. Furthermore, take the complaint as a chance but not as threat is very encourage by the radio of Malaysia. Once to be as research input, the suggestions or the complaint have to identify or classify the point into more specific. There is several methods can entry to the point such as, the company acting on the original vendors and the suggestion or the comment cards can mailed in a unique box so that, is request a system to take a look for all those grievance and solve it (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

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Many researchers found that, sometimes is because of be deficient in of the mechanism to mark down the complaint hence, this will make to reduce percentage of the complaint. Lots of the service outlets or employees are willingness to share some information that might seem to get condemnation through their own performance. The manager can see a bit value to overtake the information if the problem can be solve logically but, even can be solve, the client might still will some backstage problem so that the problem are still cannot be highlighted to be handle or corrected (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

Currently, more and more company want to improve or reduced the complaint, give a suggestion card or toll-free phone line also are an encouraged methods to be used. This is not essentially to solve it but is can collect it as a record because is much better if the firms accept the complaint but just put it aside, it will make worse.

Moreover, in order to give resolution for the customer’s problem, the ideas of follow-up is definitely can help out to capture more details about all those grumble. Have an organization that can potentially dealing with those complaint systematically is called Malaysia Tower Life Investment. This tower will bestow respond from six days to 18 months. Normally, the feedback will always get back to the marketing department or the front line service because of the criticism is purposely identifying follow by the trends. After 18 months to pass, the customer can satisfy from the tower in the real-time (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004). For example, CIMB bank has around 10 employees to handle or resolve those complaint make by the client of the bank.

There have some valuable task to allow complaint to classify, first of all is, offer a basis for all grumble whether it can be solve or not. Second is, realise the problem early and try to explain in difference aspect or in a certain position. Turn to third is, aim to point out the issues for more details research. In market research, this valuable task can that is very useful by way of the sample of target customers, involve who and the cultural as well to instigate a grievance.

Complaining behaviour in Malaysia

Base on the quality index like punctually data cum the ratio of the complaints send it to management to consider is used by the Malaysia Airlines. However, there are add to become multilingual in this flight survey because of others countries such as Korea or another Asians are not likely to send all those written complaint than were in Singaporean, Australians to management. According to the culture of the eastern, the customers are not so willingness to make a complaint when their face some poor services. In western countries, a lot of service failures is cannot be tolerated without any happening. Take an example of Thailand, the Kreng Jai’s concept is an dissatisfaction of the customer but still want to keep to happy and this is one of the self-control in complaining behaviour. Same like the Jai Yen is present cool heart in Thailand hence, the people will not very obvious that might make western people have a stressful feel. Anyway, many younger societies in Asian nowadays when they face some certain service failures are like to use the mouth to voice out the complaint.

Customer complaint behaviour

There is no one accurate definition can be explained in consumer complaint behaviour (CCB). This consumer behaviour has a proposed to classification to study the complaint. Besides that, voice complaining more specific in seller, third-party complaining like third party agencies or the private complaining more towards to friends and family are three most usually can be accepted in scope of complaint behaviour (Goetzinger, L. M., no date). In addition, complaint behaviour can make the consumer change the buying decision when the service is failure. A company out of concern the customer by increase the bad service be given will make the customer to complaint (RN Yan et al, 2004). Furthermore, consumer complaint behaviour will have a research is when the customer have a respond to some particular product or obtain dissatisfaction. Nowadays, every business field also full of competitive, many firms are start to realised that the important of the customer satisfaction and to find out the customer complaint behaviour (Johnson, L., 2007).

The first of the respond that the customers will to consider is risk once the customer had undergo an experience of dissatisfaction service. In common, the consumer complaint behaviour can have a model to categorize the main purpose of complaining. For want to get a quantity on an economic loss, the customer will make complaint. For example, several customers normally will look for a refund of some service like car repairs if the problem havens find a solution to handle the problem (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

Some more, to re-put up self esteem also can be a reason to have connected in consumer complaint behaviour. In customer’s view, will feel that should have more respect when the staffs are treat the client not in a good way. Such as, customers are waiting at there but the staffs might chit chat with others staffs. The customer will have an obvious emotion when received such a poor service. Furthermore, service encounter is a transaction between the two parties but not say in how to affect customer view (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).This can be explains in “it violates our basic need to retain a level of self-esteem cum need for respect, this emotion will occurs when the customers are feel loss of psychological equilibrium” (Folkman, S. et. al, 1998).

This research is to find out why that the employees should be has a good training in the way to solve the customer complaint. Services failures not only can marks in the fundamental humans need like respect, belonging, or self-esteem, but in an aware of expectations of certain customer that had been met yet will making the client to make a criticism as well (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

Factors influencing complaint behaviour

Regarding to unsatisfactory experience, might have a number of issue to persuade customer’s to make complaint. In order to does a tendency to make complaint, the social involvement cum the cost of the purchase is cannot be avoid. There is several type of behaviour that can relay to complaint, which are, the costs of complaint like time involve, an access to a means of registering a complaint, the level of a un-satisfaction or the service criticality and so on.

One of the type of behaviour that mention above is costs of complaining, from that usually will discourage to a dissatisfied customer, to write a proper letter of complaining is need time to consider. When the firm face a special case like barriers in switching are little, hence the chance will become less stressful to identify to the certain service vendors. Take a travel agent as an example, if the clients are not happy with the service that the travel firm provide, the client can change to another firms next time. One more example, if the customer wan to switching their dentist might require getting all the previous record to transferred to let the new dentist easy to understand (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

According to the Goodwin and Verhage argue out that the social interaction will represent one of them form complaining. Thus, the surrounding of role perceptions will be probable to influence (Goodwin, C. et al., 1990). This can be label as to manage the transaction of the customer’s perception in their own thinking cum talent. For the employee, some customers might request some support to communicate their vision so this can such be similar to the relationships between the employees and employers. Starting from the complaint of the services provider, customers are strongly depressed in social norms. Besides that, certain professional customer services like legal firms, dentist or police will had this service falling. In additions, several consumers are not really likely to make complaint when they had a face to face to the services provider for the reason that they more like to make grumble with the who are the friendly manner or contain build up social bonds therefore, the particular kind of job will usually fall in this group such as, local travel agent or hairdressers. Form the research show that, a number of customers are dislike to make criticism when they realise that the services have a low constant contact with the workers. Hence, the services firms have to build up certain tactics to support or handle the complaint (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

The entire promise can achieved finally and this will build up the advantage of complaint for those unsatisfied customers. Actually, for a consumer, defect is easier than make a complaint for them. Normally, stand as a customer view, many of them always will just have a simply defect the services that they dislike but, in some special case like have a dealing with high-involvement, the customer will take more seriously to justify it (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

If want to reduce threaten, has an experience of complaint before can show out to the others who have the higher level of complaint experience. Besides that, want to a make complaint properly also is not an easy things to go because it will spend some like time and where and how to formulate a grievance. Recently, many firms are start to use the free phone line (1800) or in others way to let customers make complaint. For instance of Malaysia’s taxi, they have a complaint phone number stick at the seat behind there to easy for the passenger to make complaint if is not satisfy of the taxi driver services. Have research show that, many business organization set up a department is especially to handle the complaint while around more than 50% , customers is use free-call to bring out the grumble (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004).

Standards for complaints handling

Complaint handling is the necessary criteria to give guidelines for the not only service but product’s company as well. Take Standards Australia as an example guide out that, “the overriding aim of any complaints handling process is to turn dissatisfied consumers into satisfied consumers. This is best done by speedy and effective remedies at the first point of contact”(Standards Australia, 1995).

To develop the directive in Malaysia, will use the most efficient method to solve the complaint to let it more vital in becoming years for the particular company. The customers will require superior services especially at home when they are had realised the standards services in other countries.

Complaint handling and service recovery

To classify customers with the complaint after that try to concentrate on those problems and then go to customer’s satisfaction in order to keep customer retention and this is the objective of the services recovery. Research found that, customers will be more be more loyal to the firms if the firms resolved the service failure in a short time. A program like Customer loyalty program actually is a quite important component in service recovery practice (Anon, no date). Besides that, if the company want to have a commitment to the customer is based on how the company answer or handle the complaint that make by customer but not on the advertisement promises. However, still have some particular organizations will respond the complaint but is does not equivalent with what they advertise. As a customer, they will loss confident to the firms by this way and services recovery for them is mean like how the company put the wrong things into right way (Lovelock. C. et al, 2004)

Increase satisfaction & loyalty

Effective complaint handling

Do the job right the first time

+ + =

Conduct research

Monitor complaints

Develop complaints as opportunity culture

Identify services complaints

Develop effective system & training in complaints handling

Resolve complaints effectively

Conduct root cause analysis

Learn from the recovery experience


Figure 1.3 Components of an effective service recovery system

In general, the view of justice can say that care about the fairness when make any decision and also how the firms evaluate the recovery to the customers. There are three dimensions to let the customers to estimate the services recovery.

Figure 1.4 The role of justice in the complaint handling procedure

Justice considerations

Procedure Interaction Outcome

———————————–Complaint handling process——————————

Source: S. Tax and S. W. Brown, Handbook of Services Marketing and Management, 2000, Reprinted by permission of Sage Publication Inc.

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Based on the figure 1.4 above, the first dimension is procedural justice, this is use for concern about what policy that does the client want to go through, an example of issues is like ensure that the complaint is successfully solved by the firm. The second justice is interaction, is focus on the representatives of the firms by the behaviour when the complaint is in the solution process. Besides that, offer an available reason for the failure and try to something to cover back, while, honest and politeness is consider is a main criteria involve on it. Come to the third elements is called justice of outcome, this element is the clients more look to compensate when face some failures. Those compensate that the client looking at is somehow like refunds, apologies and so on (Tax, S. S. et al, 2001).

In Malaysia, currently can found out through the research show that, difference culture had received difference service recovery and this is depend to the company want to put what efforts to the customers. For instance, hotel service failure, Asian customers will be more gratify than stay at western country because of the several recovery efforts such as Asians having a pattern that is always try to avoid the confusing scenario in order to decrease the sense of ambiguous and this more towards to procedural justice. However in western country, they will always up-to-date to let the customers know what the crises are done. If the client can received an apology from the higher standard like manger or senior management, this will become more effective and meaningful rather than the normal staffs. This can perceived in higher of distributional justice in the efforts of service recovery. Besides that, when the services failure is found, explanation must be given. Social obligations is need to fulfil based on the relationship and this is the Asians cultures.

However, even the company are send the service delivery to the client but some of them still wants to complaint. When the services are on the process of the significant consequences it can let the service efforts become the important part. The tools to solve the customer problems always are the most difficult part for the employees to have an authority. The complaint should make before but not after it become fact because will much more difficult to handle it.

Guidelines for effective complaint resolution

There are some of the guidelines that may be able to let the many different type of industry to use or consider. First of all is needed to act fast. Most of the company always moving fast within 24 hours respond to the customers even is need to take longer time is really want totally solve it but, still have to respond to the service failures. The next is to apologise but not to be defensive because defensive is will give customers think that the company is hiding something. In addition, some of the company will give advantage to the customers like offer longer warranty but is not need to pay more. Furthermore, an organization can consider compensation to the customers, the firms may can pay some monetary, this can help to reduce the unsatisfied customers to take legal action. Normally, customers will loss confident to the particular company when face services failure so that, the firms should keep follow-up to gain back the reputation. According to the Nguyen, 2003, want to build up a referrals or loyalty from the customers, some extraordinary services recovery effort is need take into account.

Figure 1.5: The Integrated Gaps Model of Service Quality (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, Berry 1985)

From the figure above show that, there are contain five gaps dimensions in the service quality. Beginning at the first gaps, is want to know and identify what the needs and wants of the customers require nowadays. The marketer of the firms can use through the method of complaint or any suggestion investigation in order to more understand and can have a good communication with customers. When the firms are clear of these then just can take any legal cum logic action or decision to face customers (Zeithaml. V. A., et al, 1990).

In gaps two is to set up a correct goal and exact quality of service that is standards. This stage, the company is needed to give some training to the senior management in order to lead the other workers to provide the standard quality and make sure that the employees are fully understand and can agree to the quality cum the goal as well. In order to meet or match the customer’s expect, the firm are should to confirm gaol of the quality provide is obviously logical and realistic to suit them. After a period of time, if the workforce can achieve the goal and of cause the firms is should give any reasonable rewards or returns to motivate them to work hard (Zeithaml. V. A., et al, 1990).

Come to the gaps three is about make sure that the performance of the service are go with the standards. The organization want the staffs are realize their particular task that is want to contribute to the customer let them to satisfy on it. Some more, coach the employees to how to look and recognise about customer’s perception and what crisis are they facing right now and giving a suitable training for the workforce to do the work more effectively. For the rewards part is definitely want to allocate in uncomplicated and accurate more than ever when teamwork had occur (Zeithaml. V. A., et al, 1990).

After that, the service delivery and external communication to customers is gaps four need to concern to take a look of whether the delivery can equivalent to the promise or cannot. In the level, the operations department and marketing department is should to have a cooperation when meet the client in some certain cases. Besides that, want to let the customers know or notice that, what is possible and impossible of expectation cum give an explanation in order to avoid misunderstanding. The last gap is customer gaps also can know as gaps five. This gaps is can say that the overall or compromise between the all four gaps before and will make out the differences the expected cum perceived service to the customers (Zeithaml. V. A., et al, 1990).

Example in MAYBANK (Malaysia)

Maybank is a head or leading of banking not only the Malaysia but also in South East Asia. This banking group are extend and build in internationally and from the research show that, this bank is over 1700 branches among 14 countries cum employ about 40,000 for the bank to maintain the 18 millions of clients (Maybank Profile, no date).

Some of the others bank industries are always use the sweet smiling or a few of good look when to the customers. However, Maybank are quite difference from it because what the firm understood is want to be proactive something like to provide that the firms are very concern the customers by using the simple method such as contact the customer to gain more understanding what the customer’s expect and need. Hence, the bank can offer a correct way of solution or services to them from head to toes especially for customers (Maybank Profile, no date).

According to the founder of the Maybank, Khoo Teck Puat said that, Maybank want to put more attention on customers by giving extra smile or outstanding services to gain competitive advantage. When the Maybank was did any wrong event will admit the mistakes and solve it. The founder wants to make easy and convenient to the customers to give any complaint or feedback therefore, Maybank provide some method to them. For example, in the website of Maybank had a “Contact Us”, under there can use the toll-free line (1800-629-2265) and can e-mail to the Maybank (Maybank.com, no date).

In the mid of the 1990’s, Maybank build up a out of the ordinary relations department is especially for the staffs to solve the complaint or any help to the end user in a short period of time in order to remain the reputation and relationship with customers. The main task of this department is to listen and understandings then provide proper solution and get feedback from the customers. Character of feedback from customers is important, this is because is very useful to products and services particularly for bank industry (Malayan Banking Berhad, no date).

Currently, Maybank usually create a talk is to encourage or invite customer to share what are they dissatisfy cum misunderstanding. This is because, the bank know that, if ignore or did not do any action on it, obviously will lose customers. Hence, the bank will try to offer the right services recovery or give benefits to keep the customer’s hearts and gain more market share (Malayan Banking Berhad, no date).


When the fixation are go wrong, customer feedback is need to collect it through the complaints or suggestions in order to keep retain the customer’s heart. Although the customers will continue to keep relationship with the firms but this is not a good sign, therefore, the firms are supposed to take the complaints as a chance but not threats. Anyway, when face to the failures, have a number of selection offer to the client to consider. Such as, do nothing or no comment, give a negative word of mouth, take several legal actions, and may be give an opportunity to the firms.

Besides that, want to have an effective services recovery need to have a commitment by the higher level of management or the employees. Most of the clients received responds from the top management will much more comfortable when the top management is admit the mistakes, listen and no arguing with the customers. After give a satisfy answer to them, customers will keep to maintain the relationships to the firms and increase status or reputation as well.


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