Emerald Business Systems Blog

What It Takes to Mollify Aggrieved Customers

Posted in General Business by ebs4pos on October 5, 2009

Retailers fear, with reason, the vengeful consumer. Angry customers, if not assuaged, can post complaints online, or even create Web sites denouncing the guilty party.

A study soon to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research studies the psychology of consumer revenge. In one experiment, the researchers spent eight weeks observing 172 angry consumers who posted complaints at Ripoff Report and ConsumerAffairs.com. Most customers reported over time that their desire for revenge against the companies decreased. But for previously loyal customers, the desire for revenge was replaced with a strong desire to avoid the offending business in the future. Casual customers did not feel the same desire for avoidance.

In another experiment, college students were told to imagine a service disaster at a local restaurant: long wait, cold food, inattentive waiter. Students told to imagine that this was their favorite restaurant were mollified fairly easily by imagining a chance meeting with the owner, who apologized and offered a $50 gift certificate. But casual customers were not so easily soothed; it took $100 to achieve the same effect with them.

via Drilling Down – What It Takes to Mollify Aggrieved Customers – NYTimes.com.


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