Service failure and recovery: The impact of relationship factors on customer satisfaction

  • Ronald L. Hess
  • Shankar Ganesan
  • Noreen M. Klein


This research investigated how customers' relationships with a service organization affect their reactions to service failure and recovery. Our conceptual model proposed that customer-organizational relationships help to shape customers' attributions and expectations when service failures occur. The empirical results showed that customers with higher expectations of relationship continuity had lower service recovery expectations after a service failure and also attributed that failure to a less stable cause. Both the lower recovery expectations and the lower stability attributions were associated with greater satisfaction with the service performance after the recovery. These effects appeared to be key processes by which relationships buffer service organizations when service failures occur.


service failure attributions customer relationships 


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald L. Hess
    • 1
  • Shankar Ganesan
    • 2
  • Noreen M. Klein
    • 3
  1. 1.The College of William & MaryWilliamburgUSA
  2. 2.University of ArizonaUSA
  3. 3.Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State UniversityUSA

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