Effects of online service failure on customers’ intentions to complain online
Xing'an Xu, Luqi Wang, Lilei Wang, Kaini Xue, (Hainan University) 2020, 48(10), e9394


I found this article very interesting as we live in an ‘online’ world and as both a customer and a provider of online services and products it was eye-opening to me to read about the motivation of dissatisfied customers to voice complaints publicly or privately.

The authors explore customer behavior differences between process failure and outcome failure, with the interesting background information that “Iglesias (2009) examined a sample of 293 service encounters and noted that customers expressed less satisfaction when service failure was attributed to internal rather than external factors.”

The author’s findings provided empirical evidence that outcome failure significantly predicted public online complaints, whereas process failure significantly predicted private online complaints, which indicates to me that customers are more accepting of process failure than they are of outcome failure.

They found that if customers were informed of a potential problem before a problem was encountered (customer inoculation) it enabled customers to adapt, which influenced their expectations and emotions regarding complaint practices. Customers who were not inoculated were more motivated to express their complaints publicly than customers who were inoculated in both process failure and outcome failure situations.

It appears that in all situations it would be best practice for businesses to advise customers if there is likely to be a potential complication with a service or product being offered so the customers can be prepared and informed prior to purchasing the product or service, thus minimizing the public complaint impact on social media platforms.

Suzi Brown | IT Manager
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal