Many scholars and service practitioners perceive service recovery as an important means to retain customer after service failures, but in practice many service recovery efforts are unsuccessful. Studies on service recovery suggest that recovery activities are the core process of service operations and frontline teams play an important role in performing such activities. So we propose operational improvement competence (OIC) as a new approach that is highly relevant to process improvement and frontline teams for improving service recovery performance. We also draw on role stress theory and conservation of resources theory to argue that frontline teams׳ peculiar characteristic (i.e., role stress) and two types of important resources (i.e., organization inducement and psychological resilience) moderate the effectiveness of OIC in improving service recovery performance. Based on data collected from 146 frontline teams in the banking sector in China, we test our posited hypotheses. Our study advances knowledge on service operations by establishing a link between OIC and service recovery performance. Our findings also contribute to the literature by showing that the process improvement approach can enhance service recovery performance, and ascertaining the intricacies among OIC, the peculiar characteristic pertinent to frontline teams, and service recovery in service firms.