Customer Betrayal and Retaliation: When Your Best Customers Become Your Worst Enemies
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science June 2008, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 247-261
15 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2014
Date Written: June 1, 2007
After a service failure and a poor recovery, what leads loyal customers to try to punish a firm even if there is no material gain for doing so? We propose and test a justice-based model that incorporates perceived betrayal as the means to understand customer retaliation and the "love becomes hate" effect. The results suggest that betrayal is a key motivational force that leads customers to restore fairness by all means possible, including retaliation. In contrast to the majority of findings in the service literature, we propose and find that relationship quality has unfavorable effects on a customer’s response to a service recovery. As a relationship gains in strength, a violation of the fairness norm was found to have a stronger effect on the sense of betrayal experienced by customers. The model was tested on a national sample of airline passengers who complained to a consumer agency after an unsuccessful recovery.
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