How to Respond to Customer Complaints -from the Perspective of Argument Strength

  •  Wen-Chin Tsao    
  •  Fang-Yu Su    


In this era of rapid network technology development, more and more people are sharing or receiving complaints about products or companies via online platforms. Related research finds that negative electronic word of mouth is perceived as credible and will have an adverse impact on companies. The purpose of this study is to explore how company response strategies to negative reviews affect corporate image and purchase intention. We aim to provide appropriate processing mechanisms to help companies reduce the damage of negative word-of-mouth. This study used an experimental design method, manipulating the experimental situation so that the subjects had a simulated personal experience with a company. A questionnaire was provided to collect subjects’ opinions. There were 180 valid subjects. We utilized variance analysis to verify the hypotheses. This study had three primary findings: (1) Different response strategies to negative reviews will have different effects on corporate image and purchase intention. Among them, the accommodative strategy is significantly better than the other strategies – defensiveness and no action – for enhancing corporate image and purchase intention. (2) The impact of the response strategy on purchase intention will be moderated by the strength of the reviews’ arguments, especially for accommodative strategies; however, this moderating effect does not occurred with respect to the impact of response strategies on corporate image. (3) Corporate image has a positive impact on purchase intention. Managerial implications for marketing managers are also discussed.

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