Would you please accept the voucher? The effectiveness of accounts in service recovery communication within the tourism industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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When a service failure happens, companies need a suitable service recovery strategy to return to a state of customer satisfaction. One possible service recovery action is providing an account for the untoward event. By giving accounts speakers can provide more information, explain their actions, support their claims, and persuade others. Currently, the tourism industry is in crisis because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The unavoidable cancellation of tours can be considered a service failure. To survive the pandemic successfully, companies within the tourism industry offered vouchers as compensation for customer’s lost travel expenses so that they could keep the paid money by the customer in their account. Companies aim at persuading customers to accept the voucher solution as compensation while trying to maintain a favorable customer attitude towards the company and keeping the customer satisfied during the service recovery process. An experiment with a between subject design was conducted. The 207 German participants had to answer an online questionnaire to test the effectiveness of accounts in customer service communication within the tourism industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. They had to read a fictional email, in which a travel agency is cancelling a planned tour and a voucher is offered. Types of accounts were manipulated in this hypothetical scenario to explain the voucher solution. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of the account conditions: justification, excuse, or no account. It was found that there was no significant effect of accounts on the dependent variables. This could be because the costs of a vacation were too high for accounts to be effective. It is concluded that the effectiveness of accounts is limited and is depending on the type of product and crisis. In the present situation, companies cannot solely rely on using accounts in email customer service communication.
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