Transforming Online Complaints into Positive Word-of-Mouth with Webcare

Iris Siret, William Sabadie, Wolfgang Jonas Weitzl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contributionpeer-review


The present research develops and tests a theory explaining the effectiveness of implicit and explicit direct requests from a company embedded in webcare responses to change negative reviews (NWOM) into positive word-of-mouth (PWOM). Based on three scenario-based online experiments with between-subjects designs (n1 = 293, n2 = 349 and n3 = 424), this work offers three important findings: First, explicit requests lead to a higher intention to change the negative review to the benefit of the company compared to implicit requests. Second, it is through the perceived legitimacy that the request influences revision intentions. Third, boundary conditions such as problem stability and post-recovery satisfaction that make the request (un-)effective should be considered. These studies show that, contrary to popular belief, the negative publicity generated by public complaints is not inevitable and can be turned into an asset for the company by simply asking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2023 EMAC Annual Conference
Place of PublicationOdense
PublisherEuropean Marketing Academy
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventEMAC 2023 - University of Souther Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Duration: 23 May 202326 May 2023


ConferenceEMAC 2023


  • Complaining
  • Online complaining
  • Negative word-of-mouth
  • Positive word-of-mouth
  • Customer experience
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Webcare
  • Service recovery
  • Service management
  • Online service recovery


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