Online service recovery, electronic word of mouth, justice theory, social presence, online reviews
Managers have begun to respond to customers' online reviews of services on online review websites. However, it is not known how viewers evaluate company-initiated service recovery in the form of manager responses to online reviews. This research has three objectives: (1) to explore how managers are currently responding to electronic word of mouth; (2) to investigate whether a manager's response to electronic negative word of mouth (eNWOM) positively influences viewers' behavioral intentions; (3) to examine which elements in a manager's responses increases viewers' evaluations of trust and behavioral intentions towards the company. Three studies were conducted, one for each objective. Study "1 examined 21,211 online reviews and manager responses from Tripadvisor.com from 184 hotels in five cities. Study "2 was a single-factor between-subject experimental design by manipulating a manager's response to eNWOM (response message vs. no response message) through scenarios. Study "3 was a 2 (procedural justice: high vs. low) x 2 (interactional justice: high vs. low) x 2 (social presence: high vs. low) between-subject experimental design that manipulated manager's responses through scenarios. Findings from Study "1 revealed that managers were more likely to respond to eNWOM compared to neutral word of mouth. A content analysis of 432 company responses to eNWOM determined that managers used nine online review management strategies: appreciation, apology, future patronage encouragement, explanation, follow up, flexibility, correction, compensation, and social presence. Results from Study "2 indicated that viewers were more likely to visit a restaurant when a manager responded to eNWOM compared to no response to eNWOM. Results from Study "3 revealed a three-way interaction of procedural justice, interactional justice, and social presence on trust. There were also main effects of procedural justice and interactional justice on trust. Additionally, results provided partial support for the mediating role of trust in the relationship between the three-way interaction and behavioral intentions. This study contributes to the online service recovery literature and online trust formation literature by enhancing the understanding of how viewers evaluate manager responses to eNWOM and how social presence can be used with procedural justice and interactional justice to enhance trust in the online review management context. Service organizations should create a comprehensive online review system to respond to eNWOM and identify ways to enhance procedural justice, interactional justice, and social presence into their responses. Online review websites should encourage companies to provide managerial response to online complaints and allow for social presence and enhanced creative options in manager responses.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Hospitality Education Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance; Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic
Olson, Eric, "Customer evaluation of managers' responses to online complaints" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4664.