Journal of Service Research vol:15 issue:3 pages:262-279
Complaint management should not be restricted to a firm’s efforts to fix the problem and restore customer satisfaction after a service failure (i.e., customer recovery). Rather, firms should learn from customer complaints and improve their processes to prevent similar failures (i.e., process recovery). Process recovery communication, or the feedback to customers that describes how an organization has executed complaint-based process improvements, thus may be critical. Four studies investigate the impact of process recovery communication on customer outcomes for customers (1) who experienced a failure, complained, and received satisfactory customer recovery; (2) who experienced a failure, complained, and received unsatisfactory customer recovery; (3) who experienced a failure but did not complain; and (4) who did not experience a failure. Process recovery communication positively affects customers’ overall satisfaction, repurchase intentions, and word-of-mouth intentions through higher perceptions of the firm’s relationship investment and overall justice. In addition, such communication is most effective for the second and third types of customers; the effects for the first and fourth types are less pronounced. Managers who want to maximize the return on their complaint-handling efforts should communicate process recoveries to customers.