Role of Consumer Face Restoration in Communicative Efforts by Service Firms to Obtain Consumer Forgiveness, Consumer Trust and Consumer Reconciliation
Service providers covet consumer forgiveness to restore consumer trust and obtain consumer reconciliation post-service failure. While consumer forgiveness is known to depend upon the quality of the forgiveness-seeking communication employed by service providers, there is no quantitative empirical research that investigates the role of consumer face restoration in a service provider’s communicative efforts to obtain consumer forgiveness. This study aims to fill this gap in the literature by applying the framework of the face negotiation theory to investigate the impact of three types of forgiveness-seeking communicative behaviors of service providers, viz., offer of compensation, expression of empathy and explicit acknowledgement on consumer face restoration and consumer forgiveness, and thereof the effects of consumer forgiveness on consumer trust and reconciliation. The study uses structural equation modelling on data collected from 400 respondents in North-West India using retrospective experience sampling. The results demonstrate that while expression of empathy and explicit acknowledgement are substantial predictors of consumer forgiveness; offer of compensation does not have a significant direct impact on consumer forgiveness. Consumer face restoration is revealed to be a mediator between forgiveness-seeking behaviors and consumer forgiveness and as expected, consumer forgiveness has a significant positive effect on consumer trust and reconciliation.
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