Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the underlying mechanism of customer co-creation in service recovery (co-recovery), and investigates the impact of initiation on customer post-recovery evaluations and behavioural intentions.
Design/methodology/approach – Researchers used a 3 (no co-recovery vs employee-initiated co-recovery vs customer-initiated co-recovery)×2 (male vs female)×2 (western vs eastern customers) between-subject experiential study in a hotel setting.
Findings – When a service employee initiates a co-recovery, customers perceive higher justice, greater satisfaction and a higher tendency to repurchase in the future. But if the customer initiates such a co-recovery, little improvement on these outcomes is found compared to a recovery entirely managed by the company. The effect was moderated by culture: western customers were more sensitive to initiation in the co-recovery process than eastern customers.
Research limitations/implications – Written scenarios using a hotel setting and a technical error were used, and may reduce the applicability of the findings to real life or other service categories or types of error. Subjects used may not be representative of other population groups. Further studies using real life situations, human error and a more diverse population group are recommended.
Practical implications – A positive co-recovery can be achieved by service employees taking initiatives when a problem occurs.
Originality/value – This study extends previous research on co-recovery by investigating the effect of initiation by service employees on customers’ perception of co-creation. Service companies can improve customers’ post-recovery evaluations by inviting them to co-create a feasible solution, and potentially reduce the company's compensation costs.
2014. Vol. 25, no 3, 369-387 p.