Business and Management INK

Can Sharing Dissatisfaction With Strangers Lead to Happy Customers?

June 30, 2014 747

shout-let-it-all-out-1327383-mAccording to Staples, allowing a customer to vent will calm them 90% of the time and allow for retention opportunities. This can be a blessing considering that United States’ firms lose an average of half their customers every five years. An article recently published in Journal of Service Research entitled “When Sharing Consumption Emotions With Strangers Is More Satisfying Than Sharing Them With Friends” studied this very idea to see how it has held up in our increasingly technological world.

The abstract:

Consumers often share their service experiences with others and, in doing so, may change their evaluation of the experience. In three studies, we analyze the influence of social sharing of consumption-related emotions on the sharer’s satisfaction with the consumption02JSR13_Covers.indd experience and related outcomes. Study 1 demonstrates that the sharing of negative emotions amplifies the sharer’s dissatisfaction. Study 2 shows that the specific nature of the negative emotion (anger vs. regret) and that of the recipient (friend vs. stranger) moderate this negative effect. Study 3 finds that the effects of sharing further depend on whether the recipient is viewed as a prospective customer or not. From a theoretical perspective, the findings contradict the claim that cathartic venting contributes to a person’s relief and well-being. In addition, the assertion that strong ties are better than weak ties does not always hold. The benefits of sharing depend on the specific emotion involved and the recipient’s interests. From a managerial perspective, the findings should help companies devise programs to compensate the negative consequences of service failures. For example, by offering customers the opportunity to express anger to strangers through their corporate websites or social media communities, managers may be able to reduce customer dissatisfaction and thus maintain the relationship. In addition, such opportunities may help the firm identify dissatisfied consumers and, in turn, apply service recovery strategies to retain them.

Click here to read “When Sharing Consumption Emotions With Strangers Is More Satisfying Than Sharing Them With Friends” from Journal of Service Research. Can’t wait to read more from Journal of Service Research? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

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