Elise Chebat, Yefim Roth, Jean Charles Chebat
January 15, 2020
This article strives to clarify the importance and the effects of cultural differences on consumer satisfaction after a service failure in an individualistic society (Canada) vs. a collectivistic society (Japan). We focus on young, educated consumers to analyze if the contrasts shown in the extant literature between these two cultures are still relevant in the case of young consumers of both cultures when confronted with a service failure and service recovery. We used 150 questionnaires from Japan and Canada, the design of which reflects our theoretical model. Respondents were asked to recall one of their own negative service experience and the service recovery that may have followed. Our statistical analysis is based on Hayes’s PROCESS that allows to test complex moderated and mediated relations. We find that Anger mediates the relation between failure severity and consumer behavioral responses (EXIT and NWOM) similarly for both Japanese and Canadian consumers. Importantly, compensation, involving procedural and distributive justice (i. e. time – speedy service recovery and money) both reduced consumer anger, more so for individualistic consumers. Surprisingly, interactional justice (e. g. courteousness, politeness, and signs of respect) had no impact on neither individualistic nor collectivistic consumers. Our findings suggest that service providers should first fix the negative emotional reactions as a result of service failure. They may reduce this emotional reaction offering monetary compensation to both Individualistic and Collectivistic consumers. Younger collectivistic consumers are not more sensitive to signs of respect and politeness than individualistic consumers, which may show that the younger generation of Japanese consumers is getting closer to the individualistic culture.