The impact of service failure and recovery on target and observing customers: a comparative study

Seyed Shahin Sharifi, Mauricio Palmeira, Junzhao Ma, Gerri Spassova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This research investigates how target and observing customers react to service failure and recovery. Previous research has focused on the effect of service recovery on target customers. It has been assumed that the reactions of those customers observing the recovery efforts would mirror those of target customers, or perhaps be even more favorable, given that they are not directly affected by the service failure. This research challenges this pre-conception. Through three experiments, this paper shows that often greater recovery efforts are required to improve the evaluation of observing customers than that of target customers. This research explores the reasons behind this counterintuitive finding and concludes with a discussion of its theoretical and managerial implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-910
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Hospitality Marketing and Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • observers
  • service failure
  • service recovery
  • targets

Cite this