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EMAC 2023 Annual

Eliciting Customer Remorse with Proactive Service Recoveries For Reducing Negative Word-of-Mouth

Published: May 24, 2023


Wolfgang Weitzl, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria; Clemens Hutzinger, Seeburg Castle University, Department of Management; Sebastian Martin, Department of Health, Social and Public Management / University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria


While managerial knowledge about consumers’ reactions to recovery efforts following service failures is quite profound, insights about the effects of proactive endeavors for service failure prevention is surprisingly limited. This research compares a pre-failure recovery activity (i.e., forewarning) with two no pre-information failure scenarios (i.e., company-caused failure, circumstances-caused failure) and shows that forewarning induces customer guilt, while the latter anger. These two emotions mediate the failure conditions’ effects on two different forms of electronic negative word-of-mouth (NWOM). That is, revenge-based NWOM (i.e., intention to harm the involved company with unfavorable comments) and support-giving NWOM (i.e., intention to inform fellow consumers about the negative experience). Findings from a scenario-based online experiment suggest that anger triggers both NWOM types simultaneously, while guilt can reduce support-giving NWOM, but not vengeful NWOM.