My 10-year-old daughter told me recently, apropos to amusement parks:
“I like rides that you don’t like until they’re over.”
The human memory is highly unreliable: Just think of the multitude of wrongful convictions based on mistaken eyewitness identifications. More to the point for service providers, it’s incomplete and selective. Rather than being able to retrieve an entire experience from memory, our customers tend to retain just a mental snapshot taken during a single moment of the experience. In my daughter’s case, that snapshot is taken after the amusement park ride ends, and brings back a sense of bravery, of getting through to the other side.
This phenomenon offers hope to customer service providers: If things go wrong for a customer initially, do a grand job of getting to the other side of that challenge and you may create a positive memory that literally supplants the initial unpleasantness.
(With thanks to @geert_martens )