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Chapter 13 Service failures as triggers of superior brand evaluations

DOI: 10.23912/9781911396673-4117

ISBN: 9781911396673

Published: July 2019

Component type: chapter

Published in: Reputation and Image Recovery for the Tourism Industry

Parent DOI: 10.23912/9781911396673-3803



In pursuit of better purchasing decisions (e.g., choosing the right restaurant or hotel), prospective customers increasingly turn to social media, such as Facebook, to source information about new products, services and brands. On Facebook, a brand’s former, current and potential customers are not only exposed to marketer-created brand postings, but also to other customers’ subjective evaluations, personal thoughts and feelings regarding their consumption experiences (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010). Research has shown that consumers strive for multifaceted goals when sharing consumption-related postings online. For instance, some satisfied customers want to help the company by posting favorable statements about a positive brand experiences, known as positive electronic word of mouth or PeWOM (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2004), while others want to help their fellow shoppers by giving a neutral description of a regular brand experience (ReWOM). However, many dissatisfied customers also use Facebook brand-pages as a public platform to express their unfavorable thoughts and negative emotions (e.g., anger) after a service failure by means of an online complaint or negative electronic word of mouth (NeWOM; Ward & Ostrom, 2006; Weitzl et al., 2018).
Consumers that are directly affected by the service failure and involved in the recovery process are referred to as complainants. The reasons why customers spread NeWOM are diverse. They range from venting (i.e., lessening his/her frustration and reduce anger), via revenge (i.e., intentionally sabotaging and harming the company; Grégoire et al., 2009), warning others (Willemsen et al., 2011), to advice seeking (to acquire new skills/information to better use and/or repair the product; Willemsen et al, 2013). Earlier research demonstrates that online complaints can have strong and diverse detrimental effects, particularly on a brand’s potential customers (so-called online complaint bystanders), including unfavorable attitudes and an increased willingness to criticize the involved brand to others (e.g., Chevalier & Mayzlin, 2006; Sen & Lerman, 2007). However, evidence also exists that ‘webcare’, which is company’s online complaint handling response to a public complaint can repair negative reactions of these bystanders to some extent (e.g., Weitzl & Hutzinger, 2017). It remains, nevertheless, unclear how far such positive reactions can be stimulated with webcare among NeWOM bystanders.

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  • Clemens Hutzinger, Department of Management Seeburg Castle University, Seeburgstrasse 8, A-5201 Seekirchen am Wallersee, Austria. (Author)
  • Wolfgang Weitzl, Department of Communication, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. (Author)

For the source title:

  • Gabby Walters, Tourism Discipline, School of Business, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD (Editor)
  • Judith Mair, Associate Professor, UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Australia (Editor)

Cite as

Hutzinger & Weitzl, 2019

Hutzinger, C. & Weitzl, W. (2019) "Chapter 13 Service failures as triggers of superior brand evaluations" In: Walters, G. & Mair, J. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/9781911396673-4117


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Published in Reputation and Image Recovery for the Tourism Industry

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