Sample Essay on Factors That Influence Customer Complaint Behavior and Their Recovery


With the aggressiveness and complication of the extant service sector, there is a mounting concern in the comprehension of the manner in which customers assess the service experience (Calin, 2012). Since every hospitality industry experiences some level of customer dissatisfaction, it is vital to study the factors that influence customer complaint behavior, and how to ensure successful recovery. Hospitality industries require the knowledge to handle customer complaints since it could lead to customer disloyalty, thus affecting the success of the industries. Customer complaints offer a chance for service recovery in addition to an opportunity of enlightening customers and reinforcing their loyalty for the success of the industry. Nevertheless, customer complaints have posed a great difficulty to hospitality industries that desire improving their customer service. Sadly, the majority of customers that are dissatisfied fail to complain following service failure but just exit. Therefore, hospitality industries should make efforts to comprehend the reactions of customers to service failure and boost their endeavors towards recovery since service failures and mistakes are inevitable even for the most excellent hospitality industries. Fortunately, service recovery provides a second opportunity as a precious marketing instrument for hospitality industries; it denotes the activities that recover the satisfaction of customers and protect the rapport between customers and hospitality industries.

Factors That Influence Customer Complaint Behavior

            In the course of the service provision, consumers demand excellent delivery. Irrespective of the endeavor by service providers to give constant, first-class service to customers, service failures could still arise due to vital service attributes of inseparability and changeability. The delivery of service is varied across service experiences because of the changeability in situational aspects and personal dissimilarities between customers and service staff. Dissatisfaction is recognized as the autonomous aspect that is vital to lead tox customer complaints. Nevertheless, many customers that are dissatisfied might fail to undertake any complaint endeavors, and the ones that complain anticipate getting fairness. For consumers that feel that fairness was not served, they are liable of feeling angry and might engage in unconstructive word of mouth or might exit. According to Komunda (2013), hospitality industries might regain customers following one failure; nevertheless, it might be hard to recuperate from numerous failures. This demands well designed communication effectualness with suitable dialogue and relations.

Satisfaction and customer complaints could be deemed reciprocally proportional to one another. Dissatisfaction has been proven to be among the greatest reasons behind customer complaints. Different aspects such as psychology, conditions, and demographics play a key role in customers’ decisions of whether to issue complaints or not. Personal attributes, demographics, convictions, and culture are some of the factors that influence customer complaint behavior. For instance, a confident and self-asserting individual is highly probable of speaking out his/her mind. Understanding and experience of customer also influences customer complaints in that previous occurrence of complaining incident or testimonies of other people greatly influence customer complaint behavior. Studies affirm that less knowledgeable and highly inexperienced consumers are less probable of complaining. For example, a customer may blame the lack of understanding for the preventing the destructive effect of service failure.

and fail to complain (even when it is faulty). The significance of the product or service to the consumer is also a vital factor in that consumers assign certain levels of significance to any service or product. The probability of complaining relies on the assigned level of significance (Knox & Van Oest, 2014).

Reconstruction of the sense of fairness also influences customer complaint behavior. In cases where the consumer has had a distasteful experience with the service provider, he/she tries to reconstruct his/her self-pride. The customer does this to show that he/she deserves being treated with reverence and decorum. For example, a distasteful occurrence at a restaurant, Game Park, or any public place could customers irritated and worked up and he/she may complain with the intention of regaining hi/her self-pride. The cost of service or product is another factor that influences customer complaint behavior in that the consumer will complain with the aim of recovering the economic loss of product or failed service following the consideration of the price of the product or service. An excellent example of this is airline ticketing amid other aspects (XiaoRan & Omar, 2014).

Identified cost of complaint and is an environment specific factor that influences customer complaint behavior where customers might select between written or spoken and informal or formal means of complaining relying on what customers identify to be the time and cost that has to be incurred. Recognized redressal structure of the hospitality industries is as well a factor that influences customer complaint behavior (Michel & Meuter, 2008). If a hospitality industry appears as one that is keen and ready to work on feedback, customers might feel more convinced that airing his/her complaints and dissatisfactions would be worthwhile. A hospitality industry’s readiness to pay attention and give a redressal or resolution may settle down or chase off an irritated consumer.

Researches concerning customer complaint behavior have particularly centered on the dissimilar alternatives existing for customers that are dissatisfied, highlighting the reality that open complaining is, generally, an option not frequently employed with disadvantages for every subject concerned. In contrast, a rise in the levels at which customers forward their complaints could profit individual customers, hospitality industry, or the community at large. Sometimes limited consideration is offered to forwarded complaints, the mechanisms entailed in them, and the reaction by the hospitality industry. Normally, the reaction by the hospitality industry to complaints appears to be very not good enough. Through studies on the reaction rates to customer complaints, it could be affirmed that the rate of reactions range from 55 percent to 80 percent and just a small fraction of the ones that receive a reaction are fulfilled (Michel, Bowen, & Johnston, 2009). Disgruntled customers that do not complain and the ones who complain but do not obtain a satisfactory redress create residual dissatisfaction and could affect the success of a hospitality industry.

In cases where dissatisfied consumers choose to complain, they are giving the hospitality industry a second chance. It is just when consumers, through presenting their complaints, acquire suitable redress, apology, or emotional benefit that it becomes possible to convert their dissatisfaction into regained satisfaction or secondary fulfillment (Komunda & Oserankhoe, 2012). Nevertheless, handling of customer complaints seems to have a double cutting edge: on one side is that excellent complaint handling offers a favorable chance to reclaim the loyalty of consumers and on the other side is the fact that poor addressing of the customer complaint could lead to lost customer loyalty. The remarkable and difficult part of the complaint handling process is that the hospitality industry could be conscious of the given response and of the future impact to the success of the industry. Nonetheless, but the way the response is discerned by a disgruntled customer, the way the discernment affects the fulfillment or displeasure and, as a result, the loyalty of the customer remain much concealed.

Service Recovery

            Justice theory and attribution theory offer significant conceptions in service recovery that assist in the comprehension of the way dissatisfied consumers assess complaint reactions. Justice theory has been applied in the provision of evidence to the consumers who consider the hospitality industry reaction to complaints just. Such consumers show great degrees of post complaint fulfillment as compared to the ones that consider the reaction unjust. Service recovery is identified as the actions executed by the service provider with the purpose of resolving the setback that led to the service failure (Lin, Wang, & Chang, 2011). Service failure is established by the components like the kind of the service experience, the reason behind the problem, and the actions of the people concerned. Service recovery is determined from the perspective of the consumers since what a hospitality industry requires recuperating from is dissatisfaction that consumers experience with respect to a service irrespective of the source. Successful service recovery has a constructive influence on post recovery word of mouth and leads to complainant fulfillment and recuperation. Nevertheless, a great number of studies have considered service recovery as a relatively disregarded factor of service promotion and one that requires more consideration.

A comprehension of the customers’ complaint after getting dissatisfied concerning the products or services received is essential. Consistent with Oh (2006), 90% of angry and dissatisfied customers fail to complain. In this regard, the hospitality industry may fail to acquire considerable information for resolving customer complaint prior to the failure shifting to different level. This could as well be worsened by the reality that the majority of hospitality industries consider customer complaints as not just a distasteful act of business existence but as well a misuse of time and finances in the investigation of such occurrences. In the occurrence that the service recovery endeavor is as well inadequate, it may serve to worsen the problem through aggravation of already low assessment rates and intensification of customer displeasure levels.

The significance of managing customer complaints and service recovery is evident, and the numerous concerns surrounding the issue shall keep being of great concern to scholars and the people that practice marketing. Customer complaints necessitates comprehension of the practices and the responses of hospitality industries with respect to service recovery endeavors, handling of the complaints, and the insinuations of customers experience result such as lost lifetime significance, dissatisfaction, and behavioral reactions. Studies have established that more than fifty percent of attempted service recovery endeavors just strengthen dissatisfaction (Thwaites & Williams, 2006). Successful management of complaints offers advantages to the hospitality industry of facilitation of optimization of customer loyalty; it is employed in action taking and assists in seeking remedial endeavor by the hospitality industry and getting response. In that regard, the channel ought to be deemed helpful and effective by customers.

According to the equity theory, customers are likely to spread a negative word of mouth when they identify an unjust reaction to service failure and customer complaints. If consumers consider that they have not been adequately compensated, for the inconvenience, they might get even more angered than they were prior to forwarding the complaint. With successful addressing of the complaints, customers will identify the hospitality industry with just treatment. When customers experience service failure or dissatisfaction, they will recognize unfairness thus attempt to re-establish fairness through complaining. Complaining consumers build up their just or fair play conceptions through assessing three aspects of the complaint addressing experience. The justice of the judgment-making process, practices and strategies employed to arrive at the ultimate result (procedural fairness), the equity of the observed tangible results (distributive fairness), and the interactional equity or way through which customer complaint handling practice is implemented. The relevance of the equity theory applies where exchange arises since it is a notion of justice; and it is conceivable that one or more parties recognize unfairness in the provision of products or services. Equity theory appears reasonably justifiable in the context of service failure since customers normally identify unfairness after service failure (Morrisson & Huppertz, 2010). If injustices occur, equity theory offers a significant structure for determining customer conceptions of fulfillment.

Successful execution of service recovery involves three major aspects. The hospitality industry recognizes the dissatisfaction of the customers, attempts to comprehend the complaint of the customer, and addresses the complaint in a manner that can convince customers to stay loyal. To achieve effective service recovery, hospitality industries have to initially be in a position of getting in touch with customers who do not forward their complaints and persuade them to give their complaints. Therefore, for the complaint handling policy of the hospitality industry to be triumphant with customers that do not forward their complaints, it has to center on the reasons behind the failure to complain. Nevertheless, it is not adequate only to comprehend the way such variables influence complaint behavior (Nikbin, Ismail, Marimuthu, & Abu-Jarad, 2011).

A number of the unconstructive attitudes that hinder customers from complaining are person-associated (that is, propensity to complain, low anticipations, dread of argument, and deterrence to mention a few) (Ndubisi & Ling, 2006). Such hindrances could be tackled through raising the understanding of customers through education programs. One method through which hospitality industries could educate the customers is through boosting customer anticipation rates by making them understand that poor service and dissatisfaction that they have faced will not be detested in the industry. Another means through which hospitality industries could educate the customers is through centering on the complaint progression with the intention of getting rid of the dread of argument and the deterrence aspect. This could be attained through stressing on the customer friendliness of the progression. At times, it could just be issues of making the customers understand the means of getting in touch with the hospitality industry. Pursuing these actions could give the hospitality industry an opportunity to raise the inclination of customers noticeably towards complaining directly to the hospitality industry rather than doing it elsewhere, particularly when the customers feel that the complaint will be excellently addressed. Programs aimed at showing the customer that the hospitality industry will care for them and resolve the problems ought to please the customers that are concerned with feeling significant (Tronvoll, 2007).

To follow through service recovery successfully, hospitality industries have to communicate successfully with customers, and employ complaint addressing and professional personnel that are proficient communicators and that can relate well with the dissatisfied customers. Since the success of the hospitality industry is based on communication with customers, if anything fails, hospitality industries have to be concerned with establishing where and in why the communication was unable to ensure the satisfaction of customers. In the contemporary world, most hospitality industries are pursuing the aforementioned means of service recovery. For instance, many hospitality industries are currently using toll free lines to enhance communication with customers. Effective service recovery endeavors leads to resolution of customer complaints and restoration of customer loyalty (Tronvoll, 2012). Service recovery policies could encompass recognition, elucidation concerning the service failure, offering an apology, redress (for instance, price reductions, coupons, free services, gifts, and total or partial refund to mention a few), and being reverential, polite, and nice in the course of recover practice. Though proof of recovery failure is inadequate, it is evident that successful recovery could redirect disgruntled customers to a situation of fulfillment and it plays a key role in preventing the destructive effect of service failure.  


Attributable to the aggressiveness and difficulty of the extant service sector, there is a mounting concern in the comprehension of the manner in which consumers appraise the service encounter (Calin, 2012). Because every hospitality industry and business experiences some degree of customer displeasure, it is fundamental to study of the features that control customer complaint behavior and the means of ensuring successful recovery. Hospitality industries necessitate the knowledge to address customer grievances since it could cause customer disloyalty thus affecting the triumph of the hospitality industry. Customer complaints extend a chance for service recovery besides an opportunity of edifying customers and reinforcing their loyalty for the achievement of the hospitality industry. Executing service recovery productively necessitates successful communication of hospitality industries with customers, and employing complaint addressing and skilled personnel that are expert communicators and that can relate excellently with the disgruntled customers. Effective service recovery policies encompass recognition, elucidation concerning the service failure, offering an apology, and redress (for instance,


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