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The Contextual Effect of Service Separation on Service Failure

Hean Tat Keh, Professor of Marketing, UQ Business School, The University of Queensland

15th Nov 2011  02:00 pm - 03:00 pm Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Previous research on service failure has focused on 'unseparated' service encounters in which both the production and consumption of the service occur simultaneously, usually in the presence and with the participation of the customer. However, recent research recognizes that some services are separable (i.e. the production and consumption of the service can be separated across time and/or space, and the production may take place in the absence of the customer). Accordingly, the present research examines customers' differential responses to service failures under separated versus unseparated service contexts. Results from two empirical studies indicate that service separation increases customer dissatisfaction for service failure. This is because customers' perceived deprivation of control in the separated service context exacerbates customer dissatisfaction in the event of failure. Furthermore, we find that customer participation level and length of customer-organization relationship have moderating effects on the relationship between failure in the separated service context and customer dissatisfaction.