Customer Complaints and Service Recovery on Social Media
Purpose: The services marketing literature recognises the importance of technology in improving service quality, customer satisfaction and providing efficient service recovery tactics. There is evidence on how technology affects consumer complaints and recovery strategies. However, academic research on social media, as an emerging technology platform, is rather scant. This is surprising since many businesses have extended their service provision to include social media platforms. The purpose of this paper is to extend the research on social media and provide insights into customer complaint behaviour and service recovery strategies using social media. In turn, research on outcome and process related service failures and resource-exchange theory are used to form the theoretical framework of this paper. Methodology: The context of this study is the banking industry. It serves as a valuable means by which to understand social media customer services because banks are using social media platforms as part of in their multi-delivery channels. The focus is Barclays Bank Facebook page which provides rich data for observing customer firm interactions. There were 255 customer complaints (and subsequent comments) posted in June-July 2013 that were analysed using qualitative data analysis methods. Findings: Evidence is presented on the overwhelming number of outcome-related service failures. This suggests that customers are more likely to place a complaint on firms’ Facebook pages when there is a problem with the delivery of a core service. Moreover, the data extend the applicability of resource-exchange theory to social media customer services. There was a fit between the type of service failure and recovery efforts. More customers with process-related service failure received an apology and empathetic response than customers with outcome-related service failures. Finally, there were inconsistencies among Facebook teams in terms of the way they responded to customer complaints, which we call the “social media lottery”. Depending on the people who were working, some customers received a faster and more empathetic response, and some received privileged treatment such as the Bank’s Facebook team calling the customer’s branch to book an appointment on behalf of the customer. Practical Implications: The findings demonstrate the need for frontline social media staff to receive appropriate training and empowerment that enables them to work effectively to address service failures in a consistent way. Originality / Value: This research improves understanding of social media customer services by presenting empirical data on how customer complaints are managed on Facebook. More specifically, Facebook offers a good opportunity to observe the different parties interacting. In comparison with traditional service encounters, social media encounters are more transparent involving multiple actors. In this study, there is a critical examination of how customer complaints and recovery strategies are affected in the new social media context.
Citation : Dalzeil, N. (2015) Customer Complaints and Service Recovery on Social Media. In: Greener, S. and Rospigliosi, A. (Eds.) Leading Issues in Social Media Research. Reading: ACPI.
ISBN : 9781910810224
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