Despite substantial research on service guarantees in the literature, little study has examined how the popularity of service guarantees (SG) in a particular industry affects the effectiveness of SGs. Through four studies, the authors demonstrate an interactive effect between the market-level factor (the popularity of SGs) and the firm-level factor (firm reputation) in affecting consumer's responses to a travel agency's actions in (not) offering an SG. When offering SGs is popular in a given market, consumers perceive a loss from the absence of SGs, and a high-reputation agency will outperform a low-reputation agency in consumer service evaluation when neither agencies offer SGs. However, if both agencies provide guarantees, the SG offered by the high-reputation agency does not necessarily lead to greater service evaluation than that offered by the low-reputation agency. The results reverse when offering SGs is rare in the market, as consumers perceive a gain from the presence of SGs.
- Service guarantee
- Prospect theory
- Signaling theory
- Popularity of service guarantees
- Firm reputation