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Investigating Consumer Embarrassment in Service Interactions

Abstract
This study focuses on the elicitation and consequences of customer embarrassment in service interactions. As customer embarrassment potentially induces negative future intentions (e.g. switch intentions) and negative word-of-mouth intentions, it is necessary for management to understand its antecedents and provide prevention/recovery strategies. Following a role theory perspective, we identify three potential elements for embarrassment: a vague service script, mishap from the target customer and his/her realization of the mishap, and the presence of fellow customers. We further propose that the source of flagging (of consumer’s mishap), the number of fellow customers, and the familiarity among the fellow customers will contribute to the elicitation of embarrassment. Further, we proposed that embarrassed consumers are more likely to be less satisfied and are more likely to initiate negative future intentions. Adopting an experimental design, we test the proposed hypothesis and provide results, managerial implications and discussions for future extension.
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Date
2011-01-06
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