1. bookVolume 3 (2011): Issue 1 (May 2011)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
30 May 2019
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

When Your Best Customers Become Your Worst Enemies: Does Time Really Heal all Wounds?

Published Online: 19 Jul 2014
Page range: 26 - 35
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
30 May 2019
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Customer revenge and avoidance in the context of online complaints by the public are hot topics. This article helps managers to understand the phenomenon and to prevent damage. Do online complainers hold a grudge-in terms of revenge and avoidance desires-over time? Results show that time affects the two desires differently: although revenge decreases over time, avoidance increases over time, indicating that customers hold a grudge. Then, we examine the moderation effect of a strong relationship on how customers hold this grudge. Indeed firms’ best customers have the longest unfavorable reactions. This is called the love-becomes-hate effect. Specifically, over time the revenge of strong-relationship customers decreases more slowly, and their avoidance increases more rapidly, than for weak-relationship customers. Further, we explore a solution to attenuate this damaging effect: the firm offering an apology and compensation after the online complaint. Overall, strong-relationship customers are more amenable to any level of recovery attempt.

Keywords

Aaker, Jennifer, Susan Fournier and S. Adam Brasel (2004), “When Good Brands Do Bad”, Journal of Consumer Research, 31 (June), pp. 1 - 16. Search in Google Scholar

Ariely, Dan (2007), “HBR Case study: the Customers’ Revenge”, Harvard Business Review, 85 (December), pp. 31 - 42. Search in Google Scholar

Grégoire, Yany and Robert J. Fisher (2006), “the effects of Relationship Quality on Customer Retaliation”, Marketing Letters, 17 (January), pp. 31 - 46. Search in Google Scholar

Grégoire, Yany and Robert J. Fisher (2008), “Customer Betrayal and Retaliation: When your Best Customers Become your Worst enemies”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing science, 36 (June), pp. 247 - 61. Search in Google Scholar

McGregor, Jena (2008), “Consumer vigilantes”, Business Week, (March 3), pp. 37 - 58. Search in Google Scholar

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