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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Public complaints: The influence of the context of simple and double deviation on customers’ motivations

Published: May 27, 2020


Iris SIRET, Université de Lyon, Jean Moulin, iaelyon, Magellan; William SABADIE, iaelyon School of Management


complaint; reviews; deviation


Public complaint, the expression of customer dissatisfaction via the Internet (Hennig-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh, & Gremler, 2004), is often considered as a revenge behaviour following a double deviation (Tripp & Grégoire, 2011). Using a qualitative analysis on Twitter and two experiments, we quantify the situations of simple and double deviations and clarify the context influencing the motivations for the public complaint on a brand social network. First, we show that most public complaints analysed result from simple deviation situations. Then, we conceptually distinguish and show the role of five motivations (reconciliation, support, revenge, avoidance and reparation) in public voices after a service failure. Reconciliation and revenge are two competitive mediators explaining public complaining. Support and avoidance play the same role concerning word-of-mouth. Third, we observe a “love become hates” effect (Grégoire, Tripp, & Legoux, 2009), showing the amplification of revenge desire and behaviours after a double deviation.