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When Customer Love Turns into Lasting Hate: The Effects of Relationship Strength and Time on Customer Revenge and Avoidance
Yany Grégoire, Thomas M. Tripp and Renaud Legoux
Journal of Marketing
Vol. 73, No. 6 (Nov., 2009), pp. 18-32
Published by: American Marketing Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20619056
Page Count: 15
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This article explores the effects of time and relationship strength on the evolution of customer revenge and avoidance in online public complaining contexts. First, the authors examine whether online complainers hold a grudge—in terms of revenge and avoidance desires—over time. They find that time affects the two desires differently: Although revenge decreases over time, avoidance increases over time, indicating that customers indeed hold a grudge. Second, the authors examine the moderation effect of a strong relationship on how customers hold this grudge. They find that firms' best customers have the longest unfavorable reactions (i.e., a longitudinal love-becomes-hate effect). Specifically, over time, the revenge of strong-relationship customers decreases more slowly and their avoidance increases more rapidly than that of weak-relationship customers. Third, the authors explore a solution to attenuate this damaging effect—namely, the firm offering an apology and compensation after the online complaint. Overall, they find that strong-relationship customers are more amenable to any level of recovery attempt. The authors test the first two issues with a longitudinal survey and the third issue with a follow-up experiment.
Journal of Marketing © 2009 American Marketing Association