Publication type: Conference other
Type of review: Not specified
Title: When the grass is greener on my side of the fence - I'll tell others! : how consumers' competitive assessments of service firms influence positive word-of-mouth
Authors: Mende, Martin
Thompson, Scott
Coenen, Christian
Conference details: AMA Winter Marketing Educators Conference 2011, Austin TX, USA, 18-20 February 2011
Issue Date: 2011
Language: English
Subjects: Customer satisfaction; Competitive advantage; IFM; Word-of-mouth
Subject (DDC): 658.8: Marketing management
Abstract: Although marketing researchers have studied word-of-mouth (WOM) for decades, the antecedents that lead consumers to spread positive WOM are not fully understood (Cheema and Kaikati 2010; De Matos and Rossi 2008). Prior research has focused primarily on the prominent role that satisfaction plays in promoting WOM (Anderson 1998; Brown et al. 2005). Curiously absent is the consideration of how a service firm's merit relative to its competitors might influence consumers' willingness to recommend that firm to friends and acquaintances. We propose that accounting for a consumer's assessment of the focal service firm compared with its competition helps better understand WOM at the individual level. The marketing literature contains repeated calls for more research on how a firm's competition might influence the loyalty of its customers (Boulding et al. 2005; Rust et al. 2000). However, the small set of existing empirical studies have primarily focused on business-to-business environments (Ping 1993, Rust et al. 2000) or have examined customer commitment as the central outcome variable (Andreassen and Olsen 2008). Little research has examined whether competition-oriented assessments influence consumers' positive WOM. We analyze the effects of competition-oriented consumer assessments on WOM over and above satisfaction and other possible antecedents. Study 1 uses data collected from more than 2,000 customers in the retail banking category. This study reveals that competition-oriented consumer assessments play an important role in shaping WOM intentions, over and above established antecedents of WOM. Study 2 replicates these results using data from more than 8,000 consumers spanning multiple business-to-consumer service industries. In sum, our empirical results demonstrate that consumer assessments of a service firm relative to its competition considerably influence the shaping of positive WOM. This insight has important managerial and theoretical implications. First, it suggests that satisfaction may not be enough to garner positive WOM. A firm must not only convince customers that their product or service is satisfactory but that it is also superior to that of competitors. Second, this finding suggests that face management and social capital play an important role in consumers' considerations of whether to spread positive WOM (Goffman 1959; Stephen and Lehmann 2009).
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Life Sciences and Facility Management
Organisational Unit: Institute of Facility Management (IFM)
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management

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