Co-creation of online service recoveries and its effects on complaint bystanders

Clemens Hutzinger, Wolfgang Jonas Weitzl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Potential customers often consider public online complaints and the subsequent recovery episode in their purchasing decisions. This research reveals that direct recovery responses by satisfied customers (i.e., brand advocates) are an interesting alternative to marketers’ direct recovery responses. Brand advocates’ responses particularly influence the pre-purchase brand attitude of individuals who are low in ‘susceptibility to normative influence’ (SNI). In contrast, high-SNI individuals are equally receptive to both response sources. However, the response content moderates the effect of response source, such that ‘consumer vouching’ (i.e., favorable defensive statements based on positive personal brand experiences) leads to a positive brand attitude of high-SNI individuals. This study also sheds light on the role of other consumers’ activities after the direct recovery response (i.e., ‘virtual presence’ (VP)), which shape high-SNI individuals’ brand attitude: It demonstrates that simple positive comments supporting consumers’ initial vouching (i.e., substantial positive VP) stimulate its effectiveness, but also that negative comments after marketers’ initial vouching (i.e., substantial negative VP) harm the brand. However, after marketer and consumer vouching, the brand does not benefit from supportive ‘likes’ (i.e., superficial VP).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-538
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online dateDec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Service failure
  • Service recovery
  • Online complaints
  • Social influence
  • Consumer engagement
  • Social media


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