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No Man is an Island: the Effect of Social Presence on Negative Word of Mouth Intention in Service Failures

Yi He (), Miao Hu (), Qimei Chen (), Dana L. Alden () and Wei He ()
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Yi He: California State University, East Bay
Miao Hu: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Qimei Chen: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Dana L. Alden: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Wei He: University of Electronic Science and Technology of China

Customer Needs and Solutions, 2017, vol. 4, issue 4, 56-67

Abstract: Abstract Human life experience is constantly shaped by the impact of the presence of others. In this paper, using five studies, we demonstrate that social presence plays a crucial role in how consumers respond to a service failure. Specifically, studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that social presence prompts higher negative word-of-mouth (NWOM) intentions among consumers after a service failure compared with when they are alone—and that this effect is driven by a frustration-aggression mechanism. Study 3 further shows that self-affirmation can effectively mitigate the social presence effect by suppressing frustration-aggression. Finally, studies 4a and 4b reveal that a sense of entitlement critically moderates the effects of social presence such that participants primed with entitlement show stronger effects of social presence compared with no entitlement prime. These findings provide intriguing insights into the underlying process of social presence effects on NWOM intention and have important theoretical implications for the literatures of service failure, WOM, and social presence, as well as important managerial implications to help marketers manage their frontline interactions with consumers, especially after a service failure.

Keywords: Service failures; Word-of-mouth; Social presence; Frustration-aggression (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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