Service sabotage: The dark side of service dynamics
Harris, Lloyd C.
While many aspects of services research assume that employees are largely compliant to management prescribed service standards, a number of recent studies have highlighted the deliberate sabotage by service workers as a key issue. We contend that service sabotage is important not simply because of the pervasiveness of such behaviors, but also because of the impact that such acts can have on firm growth and profitability. Consequently, we seek to achieve three inter-linked objectives in this article. First, we highlight how service saboteurs harm customers' service experiences and negatively affect the performance of the firm. Second, in order to assist managers in recognizing these behaviors, we identify the most common types of service saboteurs and forms of sabotage. Specifically, we classify and describe four main types of service saboteurs: Thrill Seekers, Apathetics, Customer Revengers, and Money Grabbers. Finally, and most importantly, we provide a series of suggestions regarding how managers might effectively address service sabotage in their firms. These include gathering information and exploiting existing data to establish the extent and nature of sabotage, recruiting the right quality of service staff, training and rewarding employees, enriching and empowering employees, developing a service culture, and initiating better monitoring systems and procedures.
Service sabotage Customer service Frontline employees Customer-contact employees
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