Delightful or Efficient? How Service Recovery Affects Customer Experience

Asbjørn Følstad
SINTEF, Oslo, Norway

Knut Kvale
Telenor Research, Fornebu, Norway / University of Oslo, Department of Media and Communication, Oslo, Norway

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Ingår i: Service Design Geographies. Proceedings of the ServDes.2016 Conference

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 125:4, s. 40-52

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Publicerad: 2016-05-17

ISBN: 978-91-7685-738-0

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


While some researchers and practitioners argue for the benefit of services that delight customers, others argue that service providers rather should focus on efficient service delivery. We present a study on customer experience in the context of service recovery to show how these diverging perspectives may be reconciled. The study includes 312 customers who had ordered a home network connection from a broadband service provider; 167 of which had initiated service recovery by calling customer service. Contrary to what may be expected from an efficiency-perspective, customers who experienced well-executed service recovery tended to be more likely to recommend the service provider than those who did not need service recovery. These customers often reported customer service as decisive for their assessment of the service provider, the most enthusiastic describing it as "pleasant", "great", or "best". However, as may be expected from an efficiency-perspective, customers receiving less-than-optimal service recovery were less likely to recommend the service provider than customers not in need of service recovery. We conclude that, while efficient service delivery indeed is important, the positive effect of well-executed service recovery cannot be explained by efficiency alone.


Customer experience, service recovery, service design


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