Purpose - In the last ten years, businesses taking advantage of market deregulation, call-centre, intranet and internet technology have broken traditional marketing norms and path-dependent customer management practices. These businesses offer substantially lower prices and good customer service. In spite of anecdotal evidence of the high level of service complaints in the press, these businesses are expanding rapidly by growing the market and by taking share from traditional suppliers. Service failure recovery and complaint management are two areas which are extensively re-designed by such businesses. This paper aims to identify and examine such new practices. The authors suggest that the traditional "customer-centricity" model is being replaced by a "customer-compliance business model" (CCBM) of service provision. This new model and its propositions defy conventional thinking in the areas of service recovery and complaint management.
Design/methodology/approach - Available data and research are reviewed, in an attempt to understand CCBM. Differences with the customer-centricity model are discussed.
Findings - CCBM cannot be explained adequately by current assumptions in marketing. It breaks commonplace marketing expectations about service failure and recovery.
Research limitations/implications - The emphasis is on explaining innovations in service recovery and complaint management.
Practical implications - Companies which operate the CCBM model are of growing importance to developed, service-oriented economies. The paper builds on evidence to show how CCBM businesses have abandoned or minimised costly customer centricity and have broken past norms and conventional marketing thinking and practice.
Originality/value - The scarcity of research in this area is explained by the recent, rapid evolution of these new model businesses. The study reveals and makes sense of important trends in service provision, distinct from and incompatible with normative arguments in some academic writings that advocate service recovery excellence.
- customer satisfaction
- service failures