Effects of Complaining Versus Negative Word of Mouth on Subsequent Changes in Satisfaction: The Role of Public Commitment

Nyer, P., & Gopinath, M. (2005). Effects of complaining versus negative word of mouth on subsequent changes in satisfaction: The role of public commitment. Psychology and Marketing, 22(12), 937-953.

This research reviews the motivation for voice behavior by dissatisfied consumers and demonstrates that facilitating complaining behavior results in reduced levels of negative word-of-mouth activity. Support is found for the hypotheses that dissatisfied consumers who complain to the marketer will experience venting-induced reduction in dissatisfaction, and that they will engage in reduced levels of negative word of mouth. On the other hand, dissatisfied consumers who engage in the relatively public act of negative word of mouth become committed to their level of dissatisfaction and hence do not exhibit any subsequent venting-induced reduction in dissatisfaction. The role of public commitment in binding individuals to their prior evaluations is discussed, along with the managerial implications.

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