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Why Unhappy Customers are Unlikely to Share Their Opinions with Brands

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This research examines the relationship between a consumers' satisfaction toward a brand and their likelihood to share information with the brand (by completing a survey or submitting a comment.) We show that consumers with negative attitude toward a brand are less likely to share than those with positive attitude because they are uncomfortable sharing negative feedback with the target of that negativity (the brand). This has important implications for brands and researchers that rely on consumer's feedback

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Why Unhappy Customers are Unlikely to Share Their Opinions with Brands

  1. 1. Hydock, Chen, and Carlson (2020) Brand Attitudes & Customer Feedback People with positive or negative (versus neutral) attitudes towards brands are more likely to express those attitudes to other consumers; but do they similarly express those attitudes to brands (through comments or surveys)?
  2. 2. Hydock, Chen, and Carlson (2020) • Consumers with a positive attitude toward a brand share due to reciprocity norms. • Sharing can be a form of “giving back” to the brand for satisfied customers. • Consumers with negative attitude toward a brand share due to desire to vent. • Sharing can be an emotional outlet for a negative experience. • Consumers with negative emotions toward a brand don’t share due to the aversion to criticize. • In general, sharing a negative opinion with the subject of that opinion (i.e., the brand) is uncomfortable. Why Consumers Might or Might not Share with a Brand
  3. 3. Hydock, Chen, and Carlson (2020) • Those with positive attitudes are more likely to share their opinion with a brand than those with negative or neutral attitudes. • Negative sharing is often suppressed by the aversion to criticize. • Exceptions: • When unable to leave a brand (e.g., un-returnable products or monopolistic contexts), consumers have a greater desire to vent, which overpowers their typical aversion to criticize, resulting in increased sharing from those with negative attitudes. • When significant incentives (i.e., monetary payments) are offered, those with negative and neutral attitudes are equally likely to share as those with positive attitudes. Research Findings
  4. 4. Hydock, Chen, and Carlson (2020) • The data brands collect from consumers is likely biased, toward being overly positive. • Insights from dissatisfied consumers are being overlooked. • Brands should either factor such a bias into their analysis or consider solutions to increase sharing from customers that are dissatisfied (and/or are neutral). • Ideas to improve sharing of negative information: • Incentivize with product rebates • Explicitly request critiques Marketing Implications

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