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Title: Service failure and service recovery strategies in the context of higher education : a provincial perspective in South Africa
Authors: Msosa, Steven Kayambazinthu 
Keywords: Service failure;Service recovery;Perceived justice;SERVREC;Negative emotions
Issue Date: 2019
In recent times, service failure and service recovery have gained the attention of marketing practitioners and scholars because of their significance to the marketing philosophy. However, the focus has been in sectors that have low exit barriers or switching costs for customers and little attention has been paid to sectors with high switching costs, specifically, the higher education sector. The current study seeks to address this gap in the literature. The overall aim of this study is to explore student perception of service failure and service recovery strategies in higher education. A quantitative research approach was adopted and data were collected by means of a modified service recovery self-administered questionnaire. This research encompasses a quantitative, descriptive and cross-sectional study. A purposive sampling technique was adopted to select 430 full-time registered students across three public universities viz. University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN), Durban University of Technology (DUT) and University of Zululand (UNIZULU). Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 24.0 and Smart Partial Least Square (PLS).

Customer perception of service recovery strategies was assessed and the results show that students were satisfied with an explanation and dissatisfied with the speed, empowerment, compensation and apology of the service recovery process. Similarly, student perception of distributive and interactional justice was satisfactory, whereas the majority of the students expressed dissatisfaction with procedural justice. Furthermore, relationships between several variables were evaluated and significant findings that emerged from the correlation analysis were corroborated by previous studies. The study recommended to the management of higher education institutions to offer training to customer-facing employees to enhance their problem- solving, listening, customer service and communication skills. The results also suggest that students prefer interactional justice to achieve recovery satisfaction rather than distributive justice. The practical implication is that managers of institutions should prioritise the use of apology and explanation to foster recovery satisfaction. The study further provides a service recovery model (SERVREC) as a tool for marketing practitioners and institutional managers to address service failure. Future research should be commissioned across many public universities in other provinces or nationally using a large sample size and a longitudinal study.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy: Management Sciences: Marketing, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2019.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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