Quotation Weitzl, Wolfgang, Hutzinger, Clemens, Einwiller, Sabine. 2018. An empirical study on how webcare mitigates complainants' failure attributions and negative word-of-mouth. Computers in Human Behavior. 89 316-327.




Nowadays, dissatisfied consumers increasingly voice their frustration publicly by complaining on brand-created social media sites (e.g. Facebook). This work argues that webcare (i.e., messages sent in response to an online complaint) can mitigate complainants' unfavorable failure attributions (i.e., locus, controllability, and stability). However, webcare's ability depends on both prior failure experiences with the same brand and on other consumers' online comments: Our study of 812 consumers shows that in the case of multiple prior failures, complainants are less sensitive to any kind of marketers' webcare. In contrast, if complainants have experienced few prior failures, different webcare types vary in their effectiveness. Most importantly, comments of other consumers defending the brand can improve the effectiveness of marketers' recovery responses. This is only the case when the content of the two responses is congruent. If well-meant advocates' responses are incongruent to marketers' complaint handling strategy, unfavorable failure attributions occur. Additionally, our work reveals that webcare's potential to positively shape complainants' failure attributions is critical for their post-webcare satisfaction and their inclination to engage in negative word-of-mouth.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation External
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Computers in Human Behavior
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new INF-A, WH-B
Language English
Title An empirical study on how webcare mitigates complainants' failure attributions and negative word-of-mouth
Volume 89
Year 2018
Page from 316
Page to 327
Reviewed? Y
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.07.012
Open Access N


Weitzl, Wolfgang (Former researcher)
Einwiller, Sabine (University of Vienna, Austria)
Hutzinger, Clemens (Seeburg Castle University, Austria)
Marketing DP (Details)
Institute for Retailing & Data Science IN (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5300 Economics (Details)
5308 Management sciences (Details)
5320 Marketing (Details)
5338 Science of advertising (Details)
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