Using frontline service employees for recovery service improvement.

G.A.H. Heijden, van der, J.J.L. Schepers, E.J. Nijssen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic


Purpose - Building on role theory, this study examines how frontline service employees (FSEs) generate ideas for task improvement during recovery service and how these ideas benefit recovery speed and product reliability. Methodology -We gathered data from 134 FSEs of a firm in the document management industry; both subjective survey data and objective performance data from the company's database were available. Findings - PlS analyses reveal that FSEs may engage in knowledge sourcing behaviors (i.e., deliberately exchanging informaltion with customers during service encounters These behaviors have a direct negative effect on recovery speed, but an indirect positive effect through ideas for task improvement. Also product reliability increases as more ideas for task improvement are developed. We also find that managers can enhance the idea generation process through optimizing an idividuaI's product and customer portfuHo. Practical/ research implications - Our results challenge the way many manufacturers manage recovery services and add innovation perspective to service recovery literature. Value - For manufacturers of complex and customized B2B goods, providing aftersales services are of key importance. Prompt recovery of problem's by FSEs is a key driver of customer satisfaction and can be very profitable, if performed rost-effectively. Nonwithstanding the importance of efficient recovery procedures, recent research suggests that frontline employees' frequent customer contact puts them in an exellent position to access rich cuIstomer information and generate ideas that can improve service speed and the overaIl quality of a firm's products. However a existing recovery research has predominantly focused on satisfactin-related outcomes, it is unknown whether FSEs can combine effiicient service delivery with innovation-related activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the SERVSIG international Service Research Conference (AMA SERVSIG 2012) June 7-9 2012, Helsinki, Finland
EditorsK. Heinonen
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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