Customer Complaint Journey Mapping: A Qualitative Approach

Hiba Koussaifi, David Hart, Simon Lillystone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


This paper aims to extend the customer complaint behaviour (CCB) knowledge by introducing a visual technique called customer complaint journey mapping as a means of capturing and understanding multi-faceted service failures involving multiple actors.

Research participants were trained to record contemporaneous accounts of future dissatisfactory dining experiences. Minimising issues of memory recall whilst faithfully capturing complainants' raw emotions. These recordings formed the basis for follow up interviews, based on the critical incident technique.

The central finding of this paper was how other actors outside of the traditional service dyad played a dynamic role in co-creating a complainants' emotions and subsequent behaviours.

Practical implications
The resulting customer complaint maps give deep insights into the complex social dynamics involved in CCB, providing a powerful tool for both researchers and staff responsible for recovery strategies.

The mapping framework provides an innovative means of capturing the actual complaint experiences of customers and the role of other actors, utilising a multi-method approach designed to address various limitations of existing CCB research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3711-3726
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number12
Early online date19 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


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