The traditional critical incident technique (CIT) and variants of the same have frequently been applied in service research for several decades. The technique has often been used to capture data on and analyse both negative and positive critical incidents. While one technique displays hosts of critical incidents in benchmark‐type series (SIT), another variant describes the dynamism in one discrete critical incident and a third the dynamism of the configuration of critical incidents (SPAT). In this article the different variants are discussed in relation to psychological theory focusing on the concepts of time, history and memory. To be able to analyse the criticality from the individual customer’s perspective, we argue that one must understand the significance of critical incidents in the light of human memory mechanisms and judgement processes. The discussion forms the basis for suggesting a new, tentative framework for analysing the criticality of critical incidents. We call this criticality critical incident technique (CCIT).
International Journal of Service Industry Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2001
Keywords: Service; Service encounters; Relationship marketing; Customer behaviour; Customer loyalty
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