Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The Internet has changed the platform for how services are delivered. In the absence of one-to-one personal interactions between a service provider and a customer, failures unique to e-service are bound to occur. E-service failures are likely to result in unsatisfied customers. Therefore, a recovery system is important to tilt the balance of satisfaction/dissatisfaction to a more favorable condition. An e-service recovery process is an important operational process to affect this change. It is in a sense, a second chance to gain/retain loyal customers by rectifying e-service failures. Equity Theory and Exchange Theory were the theoretical bases for how customers’ perceptions transitioned from loss and unfairness to equity and satisfaction after an e-service recovery. This study investigated the relationships between e-service recovery processes attributes (compensation, respond speed, and apology) and perceived justice constructs (interactional, distributive, and procedural), and examined the relationship between perceived justice and e-service recovery satisfaction. Data from a community of students and knowledge workers in a Mid-western university was collected to analyze the effects of these constructs in service recovery processes for the purpose of designing recovery policy. The study used MANOVA and Multiple regressions for hypotheses testing. The results indicate that all service recovery process attributes had a significant main effect on all perceived justice variables. This suggests that the different levels of compensation, response speed, and apology will impact a customer’s perception of perceived justice. There is also a marginally significant interaction effect for compensation and apology. This significant interaction effect could indicate that the positive impact of an apology as part of a service recovery process could be intensified when accompanied by monetary compensation. Furthermore, the findings indicate that perceived justice (interactional justice, distributive justice, and procedural justice) are significant drivers of satisfaction in an e-service recovery. There was also a significant interaction effect with distributive justice and procedural justice in predicting e-service recovery satisfaction. The result suggests that when compensation is given, customers perceive that the e-service provider is following the rules and regulations in providing compensation in exchange for their losses.This helps transition the customer to a more equitable and satisfied state. The study also supports past research in traditional services by finding that all three perceived justice predictors were significant drivers of recovery satisfaction and that at least one interaction was significant in predicting e-service recovery satisfaction. In addition, another contribution from this study is the development of a new e-service recovery satisfaction scale. Lastly, this study contributes to the emerging stream of research on e-service recovery processes and satisfaction, and the empirical results further delineate the role of social justice in e-service recovery.
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