The purpose of this paper is to examine the behavioral outcomes and effectiveness of organizational response to open complaints by consumers following a dissatisfactory service experience.
Three natural communities (WhatsApp groups) were used with reference to online food and grocery retailing. The respondents comprised community members sharing negative experiences on the group. A scenario implanted in a survey was used as the research approach.
Consumer advocacy, a form of complaining, is a way to help other community members. The relationship between consumer advocacy and community usefulness strengthens the argument of consumers’ collective concern as one of the motivational frames for consumer advocacy. Consumer advocates show stronger reactions, resulting in brand avoidance following voice complaining. An effective organizational response can mitigate brand avoidance.
Finding ways to restrict and alleviate brand avoidance is an area that is of major interest to practitioners. The study finds that prospective explanations could be a very effective antidote to brand avoidance.
The social side of complaining is a relatively under-researched area. This study examines the relationship between consumer advocacy, community usefulness and brand avoidance. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to examine the moderating effect of organizational response on consumer advocacy and its outcomes in the virtual context.
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