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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Customer dissatisfaction: Not always a necessity or curse for online complaining

Published: May 27, 2020


Wolfgang Weitzl, Seeburg Castle University; Clemens Hutzinger, Seeburg Castle University, Department of Management


Service failure; online complaining; brand attachment


This study investigates how cognitions and negative emotions are involved when different types of customers (brand-attached vs. unattached) develop complaint desires (revenge vs. reparation) before voicing their discontent about a service failure online. More specifically, it shows that while attributions trigger the desire for revenge through an indirect, emotional route for both complainant types, the role of post-failure dissatisfaction differs dramatically: For brand-attached complainants, dissatisfaction affects the revenge desire negatively due the elicitation of inward-directed negative emotions (e.g., guilt). These customers also ‘coldly’ decide on their reparation desire – beyond any biasing emotions. Hence, this research shed light on the complex role of customer dissatisfaction as a trigger of online complaining.