Check out our new paper: Negative customer engagement behaviour (CEB): The Interplay of Intensity and Valence in Online Networks.
In today’s markets, the explosive growth of technology-enabled interfaces has given customers a powerful role in influencing others. Customers increasingly rely on each other for authoritative information about their purchases and accept shared influencing behaviour to alleviate perceived risks and reduce their reliance on communications by firms which are perceived as less trustworthy.
Although recent research highlights detrimental impact of negative CEB in online social networks, existing research only captures general effects of what customers say about service providers in their negative reviews and doesn’t account for varying levels of intensity.
Our article marks the first attempt to provide a more nuanced view of negative CEB by examining the impact of six different ways in which customers enact negative influence in social online networks. We also extend our understanding of the moderating role of the number of reviews with new findings that provide a view that goes beyond existing understanding – which often presents mixed results – of the aggregate impact of negative reviews when viewed alongside positive reviews.
Negative CEBs are focussed around six types: discrediting a service provider, expressing regret for choosing a focal provider, deriding service providers based on their experiences. In addition, they can dissuade or warn others to avoid transacting with focal providers based on unsatisfactory or perilous experiences respectively, or by endorsing competitors thereby, encouraging actors to transact with a different provider.
Our paper shows that the impact of negative reviews differs, some message types have a stronger negative impact than others even when accompanied with a greater number of positive reviews. Hence, an aggregate view of the negative impact of negative online reviews is less useful; it should be the intensity level that matters. The results of two online experiments show a stronger negative impact of deriding behaviour on other customers attitudes and behavioural intentions towards service providers compared to both discrediting and regretting behaviours and a stronger negative impact of warning behaviour compared to endorsing competitors and dissuading behaviours.
Practically, this paper addresses one of the challenges for service providers in managing negative online reviews centred by understanding their heterogeneity. We suggest that managers can use semantic tools to detect the intensity levels of negative online reviews and prioritise handling and/or mitigating the more impactful ones when they occur. We also provide recommendations on how to respond to these reviews.
Read the original research article: Azer, J. & Alexander, M. (2020). Negative customer engagement behaviour: the interplay of intensity and valence in online networks, Journal of Marketing Management, 36(3-4), 361-383. https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2020.1735488
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