PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine when (i.e. after a shorter or longer length of time) organizations should offer an apology or a promise of non-recurrence of a failure to recover trust following a failed service recovery (a double deviation).Design/methodology/approachThis paper reports the results of a pilot study with a convenience sample and two experiments with samples from different populations, students and employees of a financial institution in one study and workers recruited through Mechanical Turk in the other.FindingsAn apology was most effective to recover trust when offered shortly after the double deviation (e.g. Study 1: after two days; Study 2: immediately and after two days), while making a promise was most effective when offered at a later time after the double deviation (e.g. Study 1: after 30 days; Study 2: after 15 days). Consumers consider an apology offered shortly after the double deviation as a sign of integrity and a promise communicated sometime after the double deviation as a sign of competence.Originality/valueThis paper complements prior research that demonstrates the effectiveness of apology and promise as trust recovery tactics. The findings show that managers should carefully consider the time at which they use these tactics to recover trust following a double deviation.
Journal of Service Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 14, 2019
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