When more pain is better

Role of need for uniqueness in service evaluations of observable service recovery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Service encounters may occur at public settings, providing an opportunity for other customers to observe a target customer’s experience, which, per se, may exert some social pressure on the target customer. However, this research argues that for some customers the observability of their encounters is an opportunity to satisfy their social needs. In particular, this research investigates the impact of consumer need for uniqueness on service evaluations of observable versus unobservable recovery encounters. Across three experimental studies, this research finds that following observable recovery encounters, consumer need for uniqueness enhances service evaluations. Findings also indicate that customers who appreciate uniqueness have similar reactions to an elaborate apology and high compensation. The results indicate that the observability of recovery efforts leads to lower perceived severity among customers high in need for uniqueness and thereby enhances their service evaluations. This research concludes with contributions, implications, limitations, and future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102339
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Early online date13 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Need for uniqueness
  • Observability
  • Perceived severity
  • Revisit intentions
  • Service recovery

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