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Customer Complaints and Service Recovery on Social Media

DALZIEL, Nurdilek (2015) Customer Complaints and Service Recovery on Social Media. In: Leading Issues in Social Media Research. Academic Conferences and Publishing International Ltd, UK, pp. 57-70. ISBN 978-1-910810-22-4

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Abstract or description

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 extended their service provision to include social media. Therefore, the overall purpose of this paper is to extend the work on social media research and to provide insights into customer complaint behaviour and service recovery strategies. To this end, research on outcome- and process-related service failure and the resource-exchange theory is utilised as the theoretical framework in this paper.

Methodology: The context of this study is the banking industry. It serves as a valuable tool for understanding social media customer services since banks have started to include social media platforms in their multi-channel strategies. The focus was a high street UK bank’s Facebook page which provides rich data for observing customer-firm interactions. 255 customer complaints (and subsequent comments) posted in June-July 2013 were analysed by using both qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods.

Findings: This study presents evidence 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 core service. Moreover, our data extended 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 performance-related service failure received an apology and empathetic response than customers with outcome-related service failures. Finally, there were inconsistencies among Facebook team in terms of the way they responded to customer complaints, which we call “social media lottery”. Depending on whose shift it was, some customers received a faster and more empathetic response, and some even received privileged treatment such as the 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. Facebook offers a good opportunity to observe both parties interacting together. In comparison with traditional service encounters, social media encounters are more transparent involving multiple actors. In this pioneering study, we critically examine how customer complaints and recovery strategies are affected in this new context.

Item Type: Book Chapter, Section or Conference Proceeding
Uncontrolled Keywords: social media, service failure, service recovery, customer services, financial services, resource-exchange theory
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Business, Education and Law > Business
Depositing User: Nurdilek DALZIEL
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 12:43
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 03:48

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