ServiceFriday: Channel Your Anger to Manage Service Failures

“…customers are more satisfied with failed service encounters when they are aware the employee was reprimanded.”

This research paper by Pugh et al. proposes a new and very cost-effective approach to mediate service recovery. To be effective, however, corrective actions must be performed in a very specific way:

“One of the challenges associated with employee reprimands is that managers might appease one party while offending the other. Furthermore, if reprimanding an employee caused negative emotions, those emotions can transfer to customers via contagion. However, we show that employees are not negatively affected by reprimands that are designed to be civil, constructive, and appropriately severe and the intent is to guide the employee’s behavior in ways that are beneficial to all parties involved.”

Making a customer aware of an employee reprimand is in fact necessary in certain cases, especially when the perception on the part of the customer is that justice must be served. However, customer privacy is essential. According to the study, reprimands will have to be given in a private setting to satisfy customers and employees. “The communication of a reprimand can serve as a low-cost alternative to financial compensation.” Finally, the paper provides guidelines on to reprimand employees in a constructive manner that will improve job satisfaction and overall productivity.

To access the original paper, visit this link on the Journal of Service Research website. (Fee may apply for download.)

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