Living in Ölmstad is great. Peaceful, close to Jönköping and an idyllic place. Travelling to work is also relatively easy. I buy a monthly bus pass and use it to work and back, twice a day. For SEK700, it provides good value for money and my time can be spent productively (like writing this blog!). I have registered my monthly pass on the JLT site (mina sidor), load additional travel periods online and, of course, swipe my card every time I travel on the bus. I support the use of public transport and relate the benefits to others. I am just the ideal passenger – a loyal customer.


So why is JLT the focus of this post? For those who have missed my previous posts, I was a passenger on the bus from Gränna that skidded (off the road) and landed in a ditch recently ( Last week an unsigned letter arrived in the post from JLT regarding this accident, one day short of a month since it happened. It contained a Euroflorist voucher (SEK250) and a bus pass loaded with SEK1000. You may think I am delighted. JLT have made contact with me, this is a lot of money and it can save time as the pass is loaded and ready for use. But I am certainly not delighted. Let me explain why.

I teach students about how important it is to take care of customers, especially loyal ones. We examine how technology can be used to increase service quality and retain customers. JLT has masses of data about me – my email address, zones, travel frequency and travel times. They would know I buy a 30 day pass every month. So why send me another card? Why send me a single trip card? The first thing I learn from this inappropriate form of compensation is that they do not mine their data and certainly don’t seem to know anything about me.

The second thing I learn is that they expect me to do all the work in regards to this accident. I had to tell them I was involved and I am expected to make contact with their insurance company. Further, I have to go to the effort of converting the money on their card to my existing card. Why is it my responsibility to do this? I am the passenger (customer) here.

And then there is the matter of the compension. It costs SEK50 per trip from Ölmstad if you pay cash, so SEK1000 is actually 20 trips (or 10 days) or a little longer, using the card discount. On a monthly basis, it is 5.5 weeks. But here comes the problem. If you transfer it to a monthly card, it can only cover 1 month (no part months). So, either I lose the SEK300 or I must pay the other SEK400 to have a full month. What does it actually cost them to give me this compensation? What is the marginal cost of giving me 5.5 weeks “free”? Probably nothing, or very little. The buses are running anyway, the routes are scheduled. What has this accident actually cost them? This leads me to the third thing I learnt from this situation, namely that the individual customer is not important. This is seen in no-one being bothered to find out about the type of bus pass I use or put in any effort to find me.

So, what happens after a failure? ( With respect to procedural justice (the way the company has handled this situation), there does not appear to be a process to deal with this situation. I would also not rate them highly on the outcome justice, and I don’t think 5.5 weeks is adequate in the light of the effort I have had to put in to sort out everything. Interactional justice – well, the letter was polite, but I have done all the work in this situation. This was not a positive service recovery experience.

The research suggests that service recovery is not always about the big things, rather it is about seeing things from the customer’s perspective and putting a smile back on their face. This comes from taking care of the small things, including their feelings as it shows care and concern.

Adele Berndt
Associate Professor
Business Administration , Jönköping International Business School


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