What is it about?

This paper investigates the reasons why customers often cannot or do not exit a negative service encounter (lock-in) and discusses how this affects their well-being and coping responses. Four categories of factors that caused customers to endure a negative event were identified (physical lock-in, dependency on the service, social lock-in and psychological lock-in). Customers either experienced inner turmoil (if they perceived having the option to stay or leave) or felt captive; both impacted their well-being and coping strategies in different ways.

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Why is it important?

Lock-in impacts how customers respond to negative service encounters, as it causes them to endure the situation over time and enables value to be either restored or destroyed further. Negative emotions and stress accumulate over time, thus further reducing well-being. This paper contributes to an understanding of how negative service encounters develop and how they impact customers’ well-being and responses.

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This page is a summary of: Trapped in a service encounter, Journal of Service Management, December 2019, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/josm-01-2019-0013.
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