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Service failures engender formidable
consequences to businesses, such as considerable
financial loss and negative word of mouth (WOM).
U.S. companies lost $1.6 trillion in 2016 from
customer switching caused by poor service, and
44% of unsatisfied customers vented their
frustrations on social channels.
In redressing most service failures, service
providers should consider appreciating (saying
“thank you for the wait”), rather than apologizing
to (saying “sorry for the wait), their customers.
You, Yang, Wang, and Deng
(2020)
The
Importance
of Service
Recovery
From:
 Symbolic recovery (providing non-financial,
social and psychological compensations) has
been found to be sufficient to redress service
failures when financial loss is not involved.
 However, service providers need to decide
what to communicate to consumers in their
initial recovery efforts after a service failure.
Service Recovery Efforts
You, Yang, Wang, and Deng
(2020)
• Apology
• Self-focused
• Emphasizes one’s own shortcomings
• Acknowledges service providers’ mistakes and
responsibility
• Appreciation
• Other-focused
• Places consumers in the benefactor position
• Highlights consumers’ merits and contributions
• Increase consumer self-esteem
Apology or Appreciation?
You, Yang, Wang, and Deng
(2020)
• Participants were compensated for study
participation with a gift.
• Participants were later informed that the gift was of
lower quality than they expected.
• Appreciation: “Thank you for your understanding.
We appreciated it!”
• Apology: “Sorry about this situation. We apologize!”
• Control: Participants received no recovery message.
Inferior Gift Field Study
2.00
2.50
3.00
3.50
4.00
4.50
5.00
5.50
6.00
6.50
7.00
PostrecoverySatisfaction
Control Condition
Apology Condition
Appreciation Condition
You, Yang, Wang, and Deng
(2020)
• The plumber showed up an hour after
the scheduled time.
• Appreciation: “Thank you for your
patience. I appreciate it!”
• Apology: “Sorry for keeping you
waiting. I apologize!”
• Control: Participants received no
recovery message.
Plumber Study
2.00
2.50
3.00
3.50
4.00
4.50
5.00
5.50
Postrecovery
Satisfaction
Self-Esteem
Control Condition
Apology Condition
Appreciation Condition
You, Yang, Wang, and Deng
(2020)
• What should service providers say in redressing service
failures?
• Appreciation is often a better communication strategy than
apology in redressing most service failures
Takeaways
You, Yang, Wang, and Deng
(2020)

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When and Why Saying “Thank You” Is Better Than Saying “Sorry” in Redressing Service Failures: The Role of Self-Esteem

  • 1. Service failures engender formidable consequences to businesses, such as considerable financial loss and negative word of mouth (WOM). U.S. companies lost $1.6 trillion in 2016 from customer switching caused by poor service, and 44% of unsatisfied customers vented their frustrations on social channels. In redressing most service failures, service providers should consider appreciating (saying “thank you for the wait”), rather than apologizing to (saying “sorry for the wait), their customers. You, Yang, Wang, and Deng (2020) The Importance of Service Recovery
  • 2. From:  Symbolic recovery (providing non-financial, social and psychological compensations) has been found to be sufficient to redress service failures when financial loss is not involved.  However, service providers need to decide what to communicate to consumers in their initial recovery efforts after a service failure. Service Recovery Efforts You, Yang, Wang, and Deng (2020)
  • 3. • Apology • Self-focused • Emphasizes one’s own shortcomings • Acknowledges service providers’ mistakes and responsibility • Appreciation • Other-focused • Places consumers in the benefactor position • Highlights consumers’ merits and contributions • Increase consumer self-esteem Apology or Appreciation? You, Yang, Wang, and Deng (2020)
  • 4. • Participants were compensated for study participation with a gift. • Participants were later informed that the gift was of lower quality than they expected. • Appreciation: “Thank you for your understanding. We appreciated it!” • Apology: “Sorry about this situation. We apologize!” • Control: Participants received no recovery message. Inferior Gift Field Study 2.00 2.50 3.00 3.50 4.00 4.50 5.00 5.50 6.00 6.50 7.00 PostrecoverySatisfaction Control Condition Apology Condition Appreciation Condition You, Yang, Wang, and Deng (2020)
  • 5. • The plumber showed up an hour after the scheduled time. • Appreciation: “Thank you for your patience. I appreciate it!” • Apology: “Sorry for keeping you waiting. I apologize!” • Control: Participants received no recovery message. Plumber Study 2.00 2.50 3.00 3.50 4.00 4.50 5.00 5.50 Postrecovery Satisfaction Self-Esteem Control Condition Apology Condition Appreciation Condition You, Yang, Wang, and Deng (2020)
  • 6. • What should service providers say in redressing service failures? • Appreciation is often a better communication strategy than apology in redressing most service failures Takeaways You, Yang, Wang, and Deng (2020)