Customers' responses to service failures. Empirical studies on private, voice and third-party responses. Ana Belén Casado Díaz.

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2 Universitat d'alacant Universidad de Alicante j 1 LTK'í f- i i L ERSITAT D' ALAC c E D 5 P O -1 I"! i'im- Z! ~. L. - - ' 'int 1!, : a f : TESIS DOCTORAL CON MENCIÓN DE DOCTOR EUROPEO Alicante, Julio de 2005 Customers' responses to service failures Empirical studies on prívate, voice and third-party responses Ana Belén Casado Díaz Departamento de Economía Financiera, Contabilidad y Marketing Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales Directores: Francisco J. Mas Ruiz Catedrático de Comercialización e Investigación de Mercados de la Universidad de Alicante J. D.P. Kasper Professor of Services and Retail Management ofmaastricht University

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4 A mis padres

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6 Acknowledgments This is one of the most exciting moments in my life. I have dreamt many times the writing this preface (though dreaming of writing it in Spanish) but, after many years of hard work, here we are. Now, it is time to give recognition to and to thank all the people that have made this work possible. With respect to the development of this research, fírst of all, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to my co-supervisor Francisco José Mas Ruiz. He has been crucial in all the stages of this work, giving me not only wise advice but also his own time and hard work during all these years and, most importantly, personal support and encouragement in the moments I needed. I am deeply grateful to him. Second, I would like to thank Peter S.H. Leeflang for the interest he has always shown in the completion of this thesis. He introduced me to Hans Kasper who agreed to be my co-supervisor without knowing anything about me. Since then, Hans has patiently reviewed my work, giving me wise advice that has improved this dissertation. I would especially like to thank him for having made possible my stay at the Department of Marketing and Marketing Research of Maastricht University. During the three months that I spent there I met amazing people who shared their valuable knowledge and experience with me and made my stay easier, and fun. Very special thanks go to Piet Pauwels, Vera Blazevic, Lisa Deutskens and Sonja Wendel. Third, I have to mention also my colleague Ricardo Sellers Rubio, co-author of the study presented in the sixth chapter of this thesis. It has been a pleasure to work with him and his contribution has been especially valuable with respect to the implementation of the event study technique. I would also like to thank Carlos Forner Rodríguez for his help with the bootstrap estimation in this chapter. Finally, I would like to thank the Department of Financial Economics, Accounting and Marketing of the University of Alicante where I have found a

7 great place to work in. I would like to mention especially Juan Carlos Gómez Sala, Francisco José Mas Ruiz, Joaquín Marhuenda Fructuoso, and Ángel León Valle, for establishing the appropriate research orientation in the department that has brought the physical and economic resources necessary to my formation as researcher. I would like to thank also Juan I. España Valor and Cristina Girones Ansuátegui for their valuable work, kindness, friendship, and help; you can always count on them. Regarding the personal support for developing this thesis, not only have I found a great place to work; I have also found amazing people to work with at the Department. I am probably the luckiest worker of this world, loving going to work just to meet my colleagues: Juan Luis Nicolau (who has always encouraged me with kind words), Mónica Espinosa (who introduced me in the select 'morning-coffee group'), Ricardo Sellers, and so on. But especially important for me are Felipe Ruiz, Paco Poveda, Carlos Forner, and "my" María Jesús Pastor. They are my particular "sanedrín", my wise and extremely patient friends. Above all, I want to thank my roommate Felipe for being there every time I needed him, with his willingness to help/hear me and to make my life easier. Having met them is one of the best things that has happened to me; no doubt, they have made me a better person. I wish everyone friends like them! From now on, I will continué in Spanish. Me gustaría agradecer a toda mi familia su incondicional apoyo todos estos años, la paciencia que todos han tenido conmigo, lo fácil que me han hecho la vida, en resumen, el amor que siento que me tienen y que yo les tengo. Especialmente quiero mencionar a mis padres, dos personas increíbles con las que he tenido la suerte de crecer y a las que les debo todas las cosas buenas que pueda haber en mí. A ellos les dedico esta tesis. A mis hermanos, que siempre están ahí, apoyándome y escuchándome, son los mejores. A mis sobrinos, a los que no he podido dedicar todo el tiempo que me habría gustado en su primer año de vida pero que espero compensar a partir de ahora. A mis cuñados y a mis suegros, que siempre me han tratado como a una hija más. A mis tíos/as y primos/as, por el cariño que me han mostrado siempre.

8 También quiero mencionar aquí a todos mis amigos por los ánimos que me han dado durante todo este tiempo, especialmente Dominique, Javi, Natalia, Jaime, Cristina, Paloma y el resto de la troupe valenciana (supongo que respirarán aliviados cuando lean esto). Para terminar, quiero agradecer a Pepe su apoyo, su paciencia, sus ánimos, las veces que me ha hecho reír, las veces que me ha recordado las cosas que de verdad importan en esta vida, su aguante infinito durante todos estos años (sobre todo con las veces que lo he dejado solo), su sonrisa, sus abrazos,... supongo que todo. Julio de 2005

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10 Table of contents Chapter 1. Introduction SERVICE FAILURES: THE STARTING POINT RESEARCH OBJECTIVES OF THE DISSERTATION Objectives Chapter Objectives Chapter Objectives Chapter DISSERTATION OUTLINE 18 Chapter 2. Service failures: theoretical considerations INTRODUCTION /. 1 The basic characteristics ofservices Thefocus on customer satisfaction SERVICE FAILURE ENCOUNTERS: DEFINITION AND NATURE CUSTOMER (DIS)SATISFACTION IN SERVICE FAILURE ENCOUNTERS: DEFINITION AND NATURE Customer (dis)satisfaction as a response Thefocus ofthe customer (dis)satisfaction response The timing ofthe customer (dis)satisfaction response ANTECEDENTS/DETERMINANTS OF CUSTOMER (DIS)SATISFACTION IN SERVICE FAILURE ENCOUNTERS Service features Causal attributions Customer emotions Perceptions ofjustice OUTCOMES OF CUSTOMER (DIS)SATISFACTION IN SERVICE FAILURE ENCOUNTERS Prívate responses (Chapter 4 context) Voice responses (Chapter 5 context) Third-party responses (Chapter 6 context) 51 Chapter 3. Summary and description ofthe empirical applications 53

11 vi Table of contente Chapter 4. The consumer's reaction to delays in service INTRODUCTION THE MODELING OF THE SERVICE DELAY EVALUATIONS AND THE HYPOTHESES Attribution theory: attribution of control Attribution theory: attribution ofstability Perceivedwaiting time and importance qfsuccessful service performance Anger Satisfaction with service METHODOLOGY Sample and data collection Development ofmeasures RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Sample characteristics Testing the proposed model CONCLUSIONS 79 APPENDIX 4.1 MEASURES EMPLOYED IN THE STUDY 80 APPENDIX 4.2 DELAY CAUSES AND ATTRIBUTIONS 81 Chapter 5. Anger and distributive justice in a double deviation scenario: explaining (dis)satisfaction in service failure and failed recovery contexts INTRODUCTION CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND RESEARCH HYPOTHESES Service failure and failed recovery: a double deviation scenario Determinants of (dis)satisfaction in a double deviation context Direct effects and indirect effects, through cognitive and emotional antecedente, of service failure-related variables Indirect effects of service recovery-related variables through cognitive and emotional antecedente Direct and indirect effects of cognitive and emotional antecedente METHODOLOGY Sample and data collection Development ofmeasures Data analysis General data analysis procedure Analysis of the measurement models RESULTS Direct effects and indirect effects, through cognitive and emotional antecedents, of service failure-related variables Indirect effects, through cognitive and emotional antecedents, of service recovery-related variables Direct and indirect effects of cognitive and emotional antecedents DISCUSSION CONCLUSIONS 125 APPENDIX 5.1 MEASURES EMPLOYED IN THE STUDY 127 APPENDIX 5.2 FORMULATION OF MEASUREMENT AND STRUCTURAL MODELS 128

12 Table of contents vii Chapter 6. Third-party complaints and banking market valué: the moderating effects of quality corporate image and market concentration INTRODUCTION CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND RESEARCH HYPOTHESES Relationship between thefirm 's appearance in the Annual Report on Complaints andthefirm 's performance Moderating effect of quality corporate image on the relationship between thefirm 's appearance in the Annual Report on Complaints and thefirm 's performance Relationship between the number of third-party complaints andthefirm 's performance Moderating effect of market concentration on the relationship between the number of third-party complaints and thefirm 's performance METHODOLOGY Sample Analysis procedures Data collection and measurement Consumer complaint procedure RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Estimation ofreturn variation resultingfrom thefirm 's appearance in the Annual Report on Complaints Determinants ofreturn variation Moderating effect of quality corporate image and direct effect of the number of third-party complaints Moderating effect of target market concentration CONCLUSIONS 159 APPENDIX 6.1 P-VALÚES OBTAINED WITH BOOTSTRAP ESTIMATION 161 Chapter 7. Conclusión: summary, implications, limitations and future research SYNOPSIS THE CONSUMER'S REACTION TO DELAYS IN SERVICE Main results and conclusions Managerial implications Limitations and future research ANGER AND DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE IN A DOUBLE DEVIATION SCENARIO Main results and conclusions Managerial implications Limitations and future research THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINTS AND BANKING MARKET VALUÉ Main results and conclusions Managerial implications Limitations and future research FINAL CONCLUSIÓN 179 References 183 Resumen de la tesis doctoral 211

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14 Chapter 1 Introduction In this chapter, we first introduce and describe the field this dissertation is about. Next, we discuss the general research objectives as well as the specific objectives of the individual studies. Finally, we conclude with an outline of the remainder of this dissertation Service failures: the starting point The understanding of the consequences of service failures is a key factor in the strategic management of a service firm. Even the most customer-oriented culture and the strongest quality program will not entirely eliminate mistakes during service delivery (Kelley and Davis, 1994). Despite all the procedures, some things may go wrong, especially since delivering services requires human interaction. There is a popular saying: people may make or break the service. Therefore, during the last years, service firms have made numerous attempts to develop different strategies to deal with service failures (e.g., training employees, starting customer affairs departments) with a double objective: to prevent the same failure to occur again and to recover customers who complain from their initial dissatisfaction. Thus, understanding the different elements that affect (dis)satisfaction after service failure and subsequent behaviors derived from this (dis)satisfaction can be useful for service managers to reduce the impact of failures on firm performance.

15 12 «Chapter 1 While the issue of consumer dissatisfaction is of importance to marketers in general, some underlying characteristics of services make the topic especially critical for services marketers. First, services are, to a greater degree than goods, intangible, heterogeneous, and simultaneously produced/distributed and consumed (Zeithaml et al., 1993). Second, in the performance of services both customers and service personnel play a role (Solomon et al., 1985). These characteristics increase the likelihood of errors (service failures) in the service área both from an operational perspective as well as from the customer's viewpoint and, therefore, increase the need for recovery (Brown et al., 1996). Thus, service failure is defined as a customer's problem with a service (Spreng et al., 1995) and is said to occur when the service experience falls short of customer's expectations (Bell and Zemke, 1987). Traditionally, the service literature considers failures to be inevitable or as Hart et al. (1990) stated "mistakes are a critical part of every service" (p. 148). These failures in service quality lead to dissatisfaction. Existing research on customer (dis)satisfaction after a service failure occurs can be divided into three major groups: (1) studies on the main antecedents and consequences of customer (dis)satisfaction after service failure (e.g., Oliver, 1997; Westbrook, 1987), (2) studies on the main antecedents and consequences of customer (dis)satisfaction after service failure and recovery (e.g., Smith et al., 1999; Tax et al., 1998), and (3) studies on the main antecedents and consequences of customer dissatisfaction response styles (e.g., Singh, 1988). Different theories are behind the development of these studies such as the expectancy-disconfírmation paradigm (Oliver, 1981), equity theory (Clemmer and Schneider, 1996), emotion/affect theory (see Bagozzi et al., 1999, for a review), or attribution theory (Weiner, 1985). When a service failure occurs customers may respond in a variety of ways from doing nothing at all to suing the company for millions of euros. This process begins when the customer has evaluated a consumption experience and ends when the customer has completed all behavioral and/or non-behavioral responses to the experience (Day, 1980).

16 Introduction 13 Different taxonomies have been proposed to analyze the ways used to express dissatisfaction (e.g., Day, 1980; Day and Landon, 1977; Richins, 1983, 1987; Singh, 1988). In this dissertation, we center on the framework proposed by Singh (1988) which brings together the three empirical applications we have carried out in a very clear and comprehensible manner. Singh (1988) empirically proposed and tested a taxonomy in four different service categories: grocery shopping, auto repair, medical care, and fínancial services. Thus, when dissatisfaction occurs, three types of responses are likely to occur (see Figure 1.1): prívate response (e.g., repurchase intentions and/or word of mouth communication to friends and relatives), voice response (e.g., seeking redress from the seller and/or not taking any action), and third-party response (e.g., taking legal action and/or fíling a complaint with a Better Business Bureau). In these three categories, there is a progression of the amount of effort involved in complaining. For example, the prívate party objects are neither external to the consumer's social network ñor are they directly involved in the dissatisfying experience; the voice response (including no action or boycott) is primarily directed against the seller; and the third party responses are directed toward seeking redress from organizations (or courts) not directly involved in the dissatisfying experience. Each of these three responses will receive full attention in the theoretical and empirical part of this dissertation. In the next section, we specifically address the overall objectives of this dissertation and the specific objectives of the three studies we have carried out.

17 14 «Chapter 1 Figure 1.1 Dissertation contextualization adapted from Singh's (1988) taxonomy <Dissatisfaction occurs:v SER FICE FAIL URE/ PRÍVATE RESPONSES (e.g., repurchase intentions) VOICE RESPONSES (e.g., redress seeking) THIRD PARTY RESPONSES (e.g., complain to a public agency) ^ Y ^_ Y k_ "V J Specific context of Specific context of Specific context of Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Amount ofejfort involvedin complaining Research objectives of the dissertation The overall motivation behind this research is driven by the importance of service failures in daily life, for firms as well as for customers. Therefore, the aim of this dissertation is to contribute to the theoretical and empirical evolution of service failures' research toward a better understanding of their characteristics and, consequently, their implications for management. This overall objective is divided into the following three general research questions. The first two questions are examíned in the first two empirical applications (Chapters 4 and 5), whereas the last question is dealt with in the third empirical application (Chapter 6).

18 Introduction 15 Research Question 1. Which are the main variables that affect specific customers' responses after a service failure (Le., prívate and voice responses) and subsequentjudgments and/or behaviors? We use empirical data to examine the main antecedents and consequences of a dissatisfying experience following a specific service failure. In the first study (Chapter 4), our service context is the airline industry and the service failure is a flight delay. The second study (Chapter 5) is conducted in the banking industry and the service failure is a banking failure. Using literature from a variety of disciplines, such as marketing and (social) psychology, we first formúlate a conceptual framework for every study. Subsequently, the substantive relationships in these frameworks are tested. Research Question 2. Which is the role played by negative emotions (Le., anger) vs. cognitive evaluations in customers' judgments and/or behaviors following a service failure? In the first two empirical applications (Chapters 4 and 5), we outline the importance of studying the role of specific emotions in the formation of the (dis)satisfaction judgment in a service failure context and, specifically, the role of the negative emotion of anger. This focus on one specific emotion (i.e., anger) is in line with recent literature that focuses on the idiosyncratic elements of specific emotions (Bougie et al., 2003; Louro et al., 2005; Tsiros and Mittal, 2000; Zeelenberg and Pieters, 2004). Accordingly, more insight into the specific antecedents, phenomenology and consequences of different emotions (such as anger) is needed (Lings et al., 2004). However, little attention has been paid to the study of anger as the most frequent emotional reaction that arises in the service failure contexts and its influence on customer's prívate (e.g., repurchase intention) and voice (e.g., seeking redress from seller) responses. Specifically, we examine the role of anger vs. different cognitive elements in the proposed models.

19 I 16 ' Chapter 1 Research Question 3. Do customers' third-party responses affect firm performance? In the third empirical application (Chapter 6), we examine the effect of thirdparty responses to service failures on firm performance. ín this study, we focus on the investor's perspective, thus incorporating the financia! side into the traditionai marketing view. Specifically, we use literature from different disciplines, such as marketing, financial economics and signaling theory, for the formulation of a conceptual framework. Then, the substantive relationships in this framework are empirically tested. To address these overall research questions effectively, we next formúlate specific objectives for the different chapters in which we address the previous three general problem statements from different perspectives Objectives Chapter 4 In Chapter 4, we focus on the airline industry to examine the impact of a flight delay on the initial (dis)satisfaction judgment and subsequent behavioral and complaining intentions {prívate responses). The objectives of this chapter are: 1) to develop and empirically test a comprehensive conceptual framework grounded in several research flelds that identifies the antecedents and consequences of the (dis)satisfaction with the service failure (i.e., the flight delay), 2) to examine the impact ofthe specific negative emotion of anger on the previous framework, and 3) to explore the effects of different service-failure related variables on (dis)satisfaction with service and on behavioral and complaining intentions directly and indirectly through anger and (dis)satisfaction with service. As a new element, we jointly examine anger (emotional reaction) and (dis)satisfaction with service failure (cognitive and emotional evaluation). Thus, we analyze the impact of the initial negative emotion of anger on the initial (dis)satisfaction judgment and subsequent behavioral and complaining intentions.

20 lntroduction Objectives Chapter 5 In Chapter 5, we go a step further and analyze the impact of a secondary negative emotion (anger with service recovery) on secondary satisfaction judgments (satisfaction with service recovery), in the specific context of double deviation scenarios. In contrast to Chapter 4 which was centered on private responses of customers, we base this research on voice responses of customers. This means that we analyze data from customers who have complained to the fírm after the service failure (i.e., they have voiced their dissatisfaction). From these customers, we center on those who have experienced a failed recovery after the initial service failure (i.e., double deviation). The objectives of this chapter, which is focused on the banking industry, are: 1) to develop and empirically test a comprehensive conceptual framework grounded in several research flelds that identifles the antecedents of the (dis)satisfaction with service recovery in the specific context of double deviation scenarios (i.e., failed recoveries after service failures), 2) to examine the role of the secondary emotion of anger (i.e., anger with service recovery) and the distributive component ofjustice on the previous framework, and 3) to explore the direct and indirect effects of service failure and service recovery-related variables on (dis)satisfaction with service recovery judgments through the secondary emotion of anger with service recovery and through the distributive justice component. The few studies in the service failure and recovery context that include emotions in their proposals are centered on the emotions triggered by the initial service failure (e.g., Andreassen, 2000; Bougie et al., 2003; Dubé and Maute, 1996; Smith and Bolton, 2002). Thus, this is the first attempt to model the effect of specific secondary emotions on secondary (dis)satisfaction. It is also the first attempt to empirically test a model of (dis)satisfaction with service recovery in double deviation scenarios Objectives Chapter 6 In Chapter 6, we examine the impact of third-party complaints on company performance. As in Chapter 5, we focus on the banking industry. Specifically,

21 18 Chapter 1 we examine the complaints from the Bank of Spain's Complaints Service (the third party), which publishes an Annual Report on Complaints to Spanish banks. We propose that the reléase of this information about third-party complaints is economically relevant to the stock market. The objectives of this chapter are: 1) to determine the economic impact for the banks involved, in terms of variation in stock prices, of appearing on the Annual Report on Complaints ofthe Bank ofspain 's Complaint Service, and 2) to examine to what extent the variations in stock prices can be explained through the number of complaints received by the bank in the Annual Report, the quality corporate image, and the target market concentraron. Until now, the influence of customer's third-party responses has been analyzed from a customer perspective but not on the basis of its impact on firm performance. 1.3 Dissertation outline Chapter 2, Service failures: theoretical considerations, examines different theoretical issues concerning the service failures. After defíning the basic concepts, the antecedents of customer (dis)satisfaction in service failure encounters are reviewed, focusing on the ones employed in this dissertation. Finally, we present the outcomes of customer (dis)satisfaction in service failure encounters following the taxonomy proposed by Singh (1988). Chapter 3, Summary and description of the empirical applications, briefly outlines the variables employed in the three empirical applications and how they relate to the theoretical dimensions analyzed in Chapter 2. The main objective of this short chapter is to give the reader a quick but complete view of what is being studied in each ofthe empirical studies. Chapter 4, The consumer's reaction to delays in service, centers on the relationships that exist among attributions of control and stability, service features' perceptions (perceived waiting time and punctuality importance), anger emotion, (dis)satisfaction, and repurchase and complaining intentions of customers who

22 Iníroduction 19 suffer delays in flights (airline industry). Thus, the service failure in this study is a flight delay and the response examined is prívate. Chapter 5, Anger and distributive justice in a double deviation scenario: explaining (dis)satisfaction in service failure and failed recovery contexts, analyzes the underlying mechanisms which contribute to (dis)satisfaction formation in double deviation scenarios (i.e., failed recovery after service failure). Accordingly, we propose and empirically test a framework that outlines the roles of distributive justice (cognitive antecedent) and anger (emotional antecedent) in determining (dis)satisfaction with service recovery (postrecovery attitude). Additionally, we examine how specifíc service failure and service recovery-related variables influence customer (dis)satisfaction with service recovery directly and/or indirectly through the cognitive and emotional antecedents. This framework is applied to a cross-sectional sample of dissatisfied banking customers (banking industry). Therefore, the service failure in this study is a failed recovery and the response examined is the voice response. Chapter 6, Third-party complaints and banking market valué: the moderating effects of quality corporate image and market concentration, examines the impact of third-party complaints on fírm performance. Specifically, we analyze how the stock market (investors) reacts to the Annual Report on Complaints to Spanish banks published by the Bank of Spain's Complaints Service (the third-party). Additionally, we investígate the explanatory power of the number of complaints received by the bank in the Annual Report and the moderating roles played by quality corporate image and market concentration. In sum, the service failure in this study is a failed recovery and the response examined is the third-party one. Finally, in Chapter 7, Conclusions: summary, implications, limitations and future research, we provide a summary of the main theoretical and managerial contributions, limitations, and directions for future research, of the three empirical applications presented in this dissertation.

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24 Chapter 2 Service failures: theoretical considerations In this chapter, we examine the specific concepts, variables, and empirical contexts that will be applied in the three applications discussed later in this dissertation. Although each of these studies thoroughly reviews the existing literature to define the study context and the variables employed, we feel that a more general chapter will contribute to getting a broad perspective of the whole present research. 2.1 Introduction Services domínate most developed countries and, in the particular case of most countries in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), the service sector accounts for 70% or more of aggregate production and employment and continúes to grow (Wolfl, 2005). This growing importance of the service sector has contributed to the development, over the last three decades, of services marketing management (also known as services marketing and/or services management) which has embraced other disciplines such as human resources and operations (Swartz and Iacobucci, 2000). Building on previous works in services marketing literature, Kasper et al. (1999) propose the following defínitions of services: '''Services include all economic activities whose output is not a physical product or construction, is generally consumed at the time it is produced, and

25 22» Chapter 2 provides added valué in forms (such as convenience, amusement, timeliness, comfort or health) that are essentially intangible concerns ofitsfirst parchase" (P-9) "Services are originally intangible and relatively quickly perishable activities whose buying takes place in an interaction process aimed at creating customer satisfaction but during this Interactive consumption this does not always leadto materialpossession" (p. 13) Two main issues arise from the above definition: fírst, there are certain characteristics that seem to differentiate services from goods and, second, in line with authors such as Zeithaml and Bitner (2000), it seems that customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of service fírms. In the next subsections, we go deeper into both aspects: the basic characteristics of services and the focus on customer satisfaction The basic characteristics of services Regarding the distinction between services and goods, from the early works centered on the questions of 'if and 'how' services differed from goods, we carne to the classic distinction between goods and services, based on the 4 I's: intangibility, inseparability (as a degree of simultaneous production and consumption), inconsistency (as a degree of heterogeneity), and inventory (as a degree of perishability) of services compared to goods (Shostack, 1977). The intangibility feature is the most dominant one in defíning services and determines the other three characteristics (Kasper et al., 1999). However, the differentiation between goods and services in terms of this feature is not easy. Service organizations are trying to make tangible their intangible offer (and even, many services can not be provided without tangibles), while many manufacturers try to créate an (intangible) image around their goods. Due to the intangibility, in many instances, customers find it hard to evalúate services in advance. Furthermore, customers often cannot predict the outcome of a service experience. These two aspects are strongly related with the risk

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