The Forgiveness Processes of Very Dissatisfied Customers
47 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2008 Last revised: 15 Jul 2008
Date Written: July 1, 2008
In this paper, we draw on forgiveness theory to explain the long-term reactions of customers to service failures. We find that service failures trigger significant avoidance and revenge. Over time, however, these negative motivations gradually decrease. Time has complex effects. Even though avoidance and revenge decrease with time, probing the time interactions demonstrates that time has a 'hardening' effect. That is, over time, the link between a given level of avoidance and revenge and customer revenues strengthens. As a result, we demonstrate a 'forgiveness window of opportunity.' Early on, avoidant and vengeful customers will not likely be amenable to extended service recovery or winback efforts. If these negative motivations are not resolved, however, they will harden to have signficant effects on customer revenues.
Keywords: Forgiveness, Service Failure, Recovery
JEL Classification: M31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation