Details on individual Assignment (complaint handling):
To provide students with a creative opportunity to observe the complaint handling situation and supply feedback to a service firm, as well as help them understand and evaluate the customer service and “recovery” strategies of a specific firm.
You should place yourself into shoes of customers and write a complaint letter to a chosen service firm. The complaint letter written to the chosen service firm should request a response from the organization and should provide appropriate contact information including a mailing address, e-mail address, phone number (if appropriate), and any other relevant information, to give the service firms a chance to respond within a period of two weeks. The complaint scenario could be your past or present experience or an experience related to you by your family or friends. Care should be taken to include all pertinent information (dates of service, names, etc.) as well as a description of the poor experience and, if appropriate, a suggested course of action the company could take to appropriately “recover” in this situation. That is, the resolution being sought from the company should be clear (the complaint letter should not exceed one-and-half pages and it come in the Appendix section of the assignment paper).

As a next step, you should place yourself into the role of the given service provider and write a formal response to the complaint letter. This reply letter should address an apology to the customer first, followed by the steps taken by the firm to resolve the particular grievance/s if appropriate, and the care that would be taken in future to avoid such situations. The resolutions offered by the service firm could also include surprise gifts, benefits, bonus, coupons etc., to the grievant customer (this letter should not exceed one-and-half pages and it comes in the appendix section of the assignment).

Next, underlying roots and factors that played a role in poor performance of the service provider should be analysed through cause and effect analysis. The results of the analysis should be shown through a fishbone diagram (see page 427 for information on cause and effect analysis) and should be discussed and elaborated in depth in an essay. The length of the essay should be between 1500-2000 words. The information on how to write the essay as follows:

1. Introduction: Provide an overview of the service provider by highlighting its core and supplementary services; and explaining who their competitors are and what types of customers they target.

2. Cause and effect analysis: A summary of the issues that the imaginary customer complained about should be provided first. Then the underlying roots and factors which led to a poor performance of the service provider and a service failure should be discussed and analysed in detail. Fishbone diagram should be placed within the text and each of the aspects outlined in the diagram should be elaborated in detail by relying on the literature in the area of services marketing. The literature can be related to service quality dimensions, customer expectations, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, service profit chain, employee empowerment, cycles of failure and mediocrity, service personnel, servicescape, self-service technologies, service processes, lack of communication or miscommunication, service environment, theory of stress and coping, etc.

3. Analysing the firm’s response: Relying on Justice Theory the resolutions sought to handle the complaint should be explained and justified. More specifically, the essay should explain how the response letter considered procedural, interactional and distributive justice (see page 417 for information on Justice Theory). To elaborate on your thoughts and justify your comments you need to provide evidence and support from the literature related to service recovery tactics and complaint handling (see chapter 14 for more information).

4. Conclusions: Clearly and briefly summarise the causes of service failure and the firm’s response. Then, provide some recommendations on how service providers in general, should perform to reduce service failure in the first place , and how they can see a complaint as an opportunity to improve their services in future.

In an Appendix, you should also include:
a. a copy of your letter addressed to the firm
b. a copy of the response letter from the firm and any other correspondence (e.g., gift certificate, post card, or e-mail message) if there is any, and
d. reference list
Also, please ensure the following:
– You are required to use a minimum of 15 references from various sources, out of which 8 references should be peer reviewed journal articles.
– The material should be professionally presented and typed
-The complaint letter and response letter should be 1.5 pages each and should be brought in the appendices.
– Students are expected to use (and clearly label) concepts related to services marketing throughout their discussion to demonstrate an understanding of these concepts, as this is the primary purpose of this assignment. The grading criteria used for evaluating your paper include your ability to relate material from readings and lectures to your paper, your ability to diagnose probable causes of problems and match them with appropriate solutions, depth and substance of your observations, persuasiveness of your discussion, and quality of writing. Concise, clear writing in your letter, brief summary paper, and presentation is expected. As such, you will not receive extra credit for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., but will receive a poor evaluation of the assignment if these areas are found to be lacking.
Caution: Students are advised not to post their complaint letter to any organisation/s; this is only a hypothetical assignment!

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