Emotional Intelligence & Service Failure

“Emotional Intelligence as a Moderator of Coping Strategies and Service Outcomes in Circumstances of Service Failure,” by Mark Gabbott of Macquarie University, Yelena Tsarenko and Wai Hoe Mok, both of Monash University, was recently published in the December 2010 issue of “Journal of Service Research.” Professor Gabbott kindly provided further information about the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The target audience is twofold, first it is directed at other academics working in the area of service recovery. The research shows quite clearly that consumers differ in their responses to service failure and we believe EI is an important construct in understanding the diversity of responses. Humans are different and wherever they interact EI will be relevant in decoding their emotional responses. The second audience is service managers, to alert them to the role of EI in optimising customer, employee contact outcomes.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

The inspiration was partly personal experience in that it was clear that when something went wrong with a service customers reacted in different ways, some shouted and carried on, while others sat down and waited quietly – what could be the explanation?

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

No surprises in the findings really, the fact that we were able to prove a role for EI was the major task.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

EI is gaining momentum in a whole range of ‘human disciplines’ of which Service Marketing is one, so the use of the scale, and the model results, will hopefully engender researchers taking EI into account in a range of contexts.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

This research fits into the research thread around customers and services in which I have been publishing for twenty years.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The paper changed dramatically during review, new data was required, a new model, additional analyses, and a rewrite of all sections to adjust the focus, amplify the practical implications and tease out some detailed analytical issues. We went through five rounds of review so the paper is very different.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

The only thing we would do differently is we wouldn’t use a single item measure for our dependent variable which reviewers don’t like. The other changes we made were all well reasoned and we learned a lot from them.

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