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Customer Needs and Solutions

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 56–67 | Cite as

No Man is an Island: the Effect of Social Presence on Negative Word of Mouth Intention in Service Failures

  • Yi He
  • Miao Hu
  • Qimei Chen
  • Dana L. Alden
  • Wei HeEmail author
Research Article

Abstract

Human life experience is constantly shaped by the impact of the presence of others. In this paper, using five studies, we demonstrate that social presence plays a crucial role in how consumers respond to a service failure. Specifically, studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that social presence prompts higher negative word-of-mouth (NWOM) intentions among consumers after a service failure compared with when they are alone—and that this effect is driven by a frustration-aggression mechanism. Study 3 further shows that self-affirmation can effectively mitigate the social presence effect by suppressing frustration-aggression. Finally, studies 4a and 4b reveal that a sense of entitlement critically moderates the effects of social presence such that participants primed with entitlement show stronger effects of social presence compared with no entitlement prime. These findings provide intriguing insights into the underlying process of social presence effects on NWOM intention and have important theoretical implications for the literatures of service failure, WOM, and social presence, as well as important managerial implications to help marketers manage their frontline interactions with consumers, especially after a service failure.

Keywords

Service failures Word-of-mouth Social presence Frustration-aggression 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi He
    • 1
  • Miao Hu
    • 2
  • Qimei Chen
    • 2
  • Dana L. Alden
    • 2
  • Wei He
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Business and EconomicsCalifornia State University, East BayHaywardUSA
  2. 2.Shidler College of BusinessUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.School of Management and EconomicsUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology of ChinaChengduChina

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