Reaching the Boiling Point: Consumers' Negative Affective Reactions to Firm-Attributed Service Failures


Marketing and Professional Sales

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While anger is the dominant affective reaction following service failure, little research focused on its potentially damaging effects. Our study examines the impact of anger and related negative affective states on evaluations and behavior following firm-attributed service failure. Gender's moderating role in shaping these consequences is also studied. Scenarios involving failures in a bank and a retail store are used. Overall, angry customers are less satisfied, give lower service evaluations, have higher perceptions of injustice, and give weaker ratings of corporate image. Angry customers also less likely spread positive word of mouth and more likely complain, exhibit negative repurchase intentions, and engage in third-party action. Related negative states differentially impact cognitive evaluations and post-purchase behavior with anger (rage) being the most important predictor in a bank (retail) setting. As the intensity of the negative affective state increases, customers more likely engage in effortful consequences. Gender of the customer and the service employee play minimal roles influencing evaluative and behavioral outcomes.