The Role of Service Guarantees in Managing Services

Sammanfattning: Service guarantees have been argued to have many roles in managing services, for instance signal service quality, attract new customers, increase satisfaction and retention, and to differentiate the company from its competitors. Despite a growing interest from service organizations, research on service guarantees has been surprisingly scarce. The aim of this dissertation is to provide a wider understanding of the roles of service guarantees.Data is gathered from actual customers (as opposed to fictitious participants of an experiment) and/or employees regarding service guarantees in three different service contexts. The methods used to gather and analyze the data were manifold and includes personal interviews, Mystery Shopping observations, focus group interviews and a postal survey.The results represent new knowledge when it comes to the roles of service guarantees in managing services. Previous research has almost exclusively addressed pre-purchase effects of the service guarantee, but has failed to address the impact of the service guarantee after it has been used. Therefore, the most important contribution to service research of this dissertation concern the understanding of service guarantees “in action” and the post-use effects of a service guarantee in real service settings.Another contribution is the identification of the recovery paradox; that the customer is more satisfied with the service after he or she has used the service guarantee, than before he or she experienced the original service failure. This result strongly suggests that the use of a service guarantee can make a fruitful contribution in the managing of services.