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Ignored or Rejected: Retail Exclusion Effects on Construal Levels and Consumer Responses to Compensation

Jayati Sinha and Fang-Chi Lu

Journal of Consumer Research, 2019, vol. 46, issue 4, 791-807

Abstract: Among the top customer complaints regarding retailers are experiences of exclusionary treatment in the form of explicit condescension or implicit disregard. However, little is known about how consumers respond to different instances of exclusion in retail or service settings. This research focuses on how customers respond cognitively and emotionally when frontline staff reject or ignore them and on how retailers can recover from such service failures. Findings from six studies using exclusion as a hypothetical scenario or a real experience demonstrate that direct negative feedback leads customers to feel rejected and to form concrete low-level mental construals, while a lack of attention leads customers to feel ignored and to form abstract high-level construals. Explicit rejection (implicit ignoring) causes consumers to form more (less) vivid mental imagery of the exclusionary experience and to activate a concrete (abstract) mindset, resulting in preferences for tangible (intangible) and visual (textual) compensation options. Retailers are advised to align their compensation with construal levels to increase post-recovery customer satisfaction, customer reviews, intended loyalty, and brand referral behavior.

Keywords: construal level; matching compensation; retail exclusion; service failure recovery (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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