Service encounter microblog word of mouth and its impact on firm reputation

Barhorst, Jennifer Brannon and Wilson, Alan and McLean, Graeme James and Brooks, Joshua (2020) Service encounter microblog word of mouth and its impact on firm reputation. Journal of Services Marketing, 34 (5). pp. 717-733. ISSN 0887-6045

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    Abstract

    Purpose: It has now become a normal part of the consumption journey for consumers to share their positive and negative service encounters with firms on microblogs such as Twitter. There is, however, a limited amount of research on service encounter microblog word of mouth (SEMWOM) and its impact on firm reputation from a receiver’s perspective. This study aims to understand the comparative effects of positive and negative valence SEMWOM on receivers’ perceptions of firms’ reputations and the factors that are particularly salient to receivers’ perceptions of firm reputation upon exposure to SEMWOM. Design/methodology/approach: An experiment exposed 372 Twitter users to positive and negative valence SEMWOM. To determine whether changes in perception of firm reputation occurred on exposure to both positive and negative valence SEMWOM, participants’ perceptions of a range of US airlines were measured before and after exposure to the SEMWOM. To confirm the factors that influence the perception of reputation on such exposure, six structural equation models were created to determine the comparative effects of positive and negative valence SEMWOM among three electronic WOM media as follows: video, photo and text. Findings: Both positive and negative valence SEMWOM affect receivers’ perceptions of airlines’ reputations on exposure. Furthermore, the factors that influence perceptions of reputation on exposure to SEMWOM vary depending on valence and type of media contained in a tweet. Originality/value: Although consumers now routinely share their positive and negative service encounters with brands on microblogs, scant research has examined receivers of positive and negative valence SEMWOM, important actors in the microblog domain. This study addresses this research gap by empirically investigating the impact of both positive and negative valence SEMWOM on receivers’ perceptions of firm reputation upon exposure to it.

    ORCID iDs

    Barhorst, Jennifer Brannon, Wilson, Alan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5491-1876, McLean, Graeme James and Brooks, Joshua;