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Due to the characteristics of customer participation and heterogeneity in service operations, the demands and contents of service tasks are usually with great diversity. Therefore it is usually preferred to conduct failure analysis, instead of the rigidly structured questionnaire, for the purpose of assessment and innovation in service quality. Furthermore, rather than conducting the survey to customers directly that seems to comply with the concept of customer orientation, it possesses great advantages in expertise and insights in failure analysis through service personnel surveys. In this study, service failure cases were collected using the Critical Incident Technique through the interviews to the service personnel from various chain convenience stores in Taiwan. These service failure incidents were then analyzed using the active-latent framework proposed in this study. Both active failures and latent failures from these collected incidents are categorized in hierarchical structures. These two failure categorizations were further mapped for providing empirical bases to the opportunities of quality innovation in system design and personnel training/education for this particular service domain. The interpretations and implications of the resulted failure patterns are also discussed.
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